This morning I took my Latin exam.
The big Latin exam.
The one that assures my school that I know the ins and outs of at least one language well enough to be let into the truculant world. The one that allows me to graduate with an official Master of Arts degree. (Now I just need to
start finish my thesis!)
So in celebration, I thought I would share with you all on of Catullus’s (I was translating Catullus) more deep, dark, and delicate of poems.
The poem that he wrote to a former friend or guest who had stolen his linen handerchief. To threaten him with three hundred more poem unless the handerchief were returned.
As poets do, ya know.
Marrucine Asini, manu sinistra
non belle uteris in ioco atque vino:
tollis lintea neglegentiorum.
hoc salsum esse putas? fugit te, inepte!
quamvis sordida res et invenusta est
non credis mihi? crede Pollioni
fratri, qui tua furta vel talent
mutari velit; est enim leporum
disertus puer ac facetiarum.
quare aut hendecasyllabos trecentos
exspecta, aut mihi linteum remitte,
quod me non movet aestimatione,
verum est mnemosynum mei sodalis.
nam sudaria Saetaba ex Hiberis
miserunt mihi muneri Fabullus
et Veranius: haec amem necesse est
et Veraniolum meum et Fabullum.
My Translation. Behold:
Asinius Marrucinus, your left hand
You do not use nicely in either jest or in wine;
You pilfer the linens of the more careless!
You consider this to be amusing? It escapes from you, idiot!
As how sordid and uncharming a thing it is.
You do not credit me? Believe Pollionus
Your brother, who for your thefts to be undone
would give a fortune. He is, in fact, a boy
Of agreeableness, loquacious and witty.
So unless you would expect three hundred hendecasyllabic poems,
Return to me my linen!
It does not trouble me for its worth,
But in truth, it is a remembrance of my friends.
For Fabullus and Veranius sent to me
From Spanish Saetaba the handkerchiefs as a
Saturnalia gift: so it is necessary that I love the handkerchiefs
As I do my Veranius and Fabullus.
Woe to those who pilfer from poets; you might be pestered with poetry!
Someday I will go back and try to make it look more like a poem in the English, but I find the straight up translation fun and sweet enough.