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