Tawdry Tuesday’s for the Birds

Not one, but two poems by Martial playing with Catullus’ bird!

Martial, Epigrams 1.7

“The Dove, my Stella’s pet, I can say–
even though Verona is listening
Beats Catullus’ Sparrow, Maximus.
My Stella is as much better than your Catullus
As a dove is better than a sparrow.”

Stellae delicium mei Columba,
Verona licet audiente dicam,
vicit, Maxime, Passerem Catulli.
tanto Stella meus tuo Catullo
quanto passere maior est columba.

Martial, Epigrams 14.7

“Aulus, an unmentionable crime has happened to by girl.
She has lost her toy and her pet–
Tender Catullus’ girlfriend, Lesbia
Didn’t cry as much when she lost her sparrow’s kiss
As when my Stella sang in sorrow when her dark dove
Took flight in Elysium.
My light isn’t taken with games and those minor loves
And such losses never move my lover’s heart.
She’s lost a lad who counted up six years times two
With a little cock not quite 18 inches long”

Accidit infandum nostrae scelus, Aule, puellae;
amisit lusus deliciasque suas:
non quales teneri ploravit amica Catulli,
Lesbia, nequitiis passeris orba sui,
vel Stellae cantata meo quas flevit Ianthis,
cuius in Elysio nigra columba volat:
lux mea non capitur nugis nec amoribus istis,
nec dominae pectus talia damna movent:
bis senos puerum numerantem perdidit annos,
mentula cui nondum sesquipedalis erat.

“Lessbia and Her Sparrow,” Poynter, 1907

Tawdry Tuesday: An Intertextual Homecoming (NSFW)

Martial 12.59

“Rome gives you as many kisses
when you have returned after fifteen years
As Lesbia never gave to Catullus.

The whole block is on you.
A scruffy farmer rubs you up with a goat kiss;
The weaver’s on this side, the fuller on that;
On this side the cobbler with his just-kissed leather,
The master of the dangerous face,
The limp-legged and glossy-eyed,
The cocksucker and recent pussylicker.
It wasn’t worth much for you to come home.”

Tantum dat tibi Roma basiorum
post annos modo quindecim reverso
quantum Lesbia non dedit Catullo.
te vicinia tota, te pilosus
hircoso premit osculo colonus;
hinc instat tibi textor, inde fullo,
hinc sutor modo pelle basiata,
hinc menti dominus periculosi,
†hinc† dexiocholus, inde lippus
fellatorque recensque cunnilingus.
iam tanti tibi non fuit redire.

The First few lines above seem to recall Catullus 7

Catullus Carmen 7

You ask me, how many kisses of yours,
Lesbia, are enough for me and more.
As great the number as Libyan sands
Lie among Cyrene, the Silphian producing lands
Between the oracle of stormy Jove
And ancient Battus’ sacred grave.
Or as many stars when the night is still
gaze upon humanity’s secret loves.
That is how many kisses are enough to kiss
And more for you and your insane Catullus.
Which the curious could not count.
Nor use their wicked talk to curse.”

Quaeris, quot mihi basiationes
tuae, Lesbia, sint satis superque.
quam magnus numerus Libyssae harenae
lasarpiciferis iacet Cyrenis
oraclum Iovis inter aestuosi
et Batti veteris sacrum sepulcrum;
aut quam sidera multa, cum tacet nox,
furtivos hominum vident amores:
tam te basia multa basiare
vesano satis et super Catullo est,
quae nec pernumerare curiosi
possint nec mala fascinare lingua.

Related image
Thomas Couture – Romans during the Decadence