Juvenaltr. Peter Green
Si te propositi nondum pudet atque eadem est mens,
ut bona summa putes aliena uiuere quadra,
si potes illa pati quae nec Sarmentus iniquas
Caesaris ad mensas nec uilis Gabba talisset,
quamuis iurato metuam tibi credere testi.
uentre nihil noui frugalius; hoc tamen ipsum
defecisse puta, quod inani sufficit aluo:
nulla crepido uacat? nusquam pons et tegetis pars
dimidia breuior? tantine iniuria cenae,
tam ieiuna fames, cum possit honestius illic
et tremere et sordes farris mordere canini?
Primo fige loco, quod tu discumbere iussus
mercedem solidm ueterum capis officiorum.
fructus amicitiae magnae cibus: imputat hunc rex,
et quamuis rarum tamen imputat. ergo duos post
si libuit menses neglectum adhibere clientem,
tertia ne uacuo cessaret culcita lecto,
'una simus' ait. uotoruin summa. quid ultra
quaeris? habet Trebius propter quod rumpere somnum
debeat et ligulas dimittere, sollicitus ne
tota salutatrix iam turba peregerit orbem,
sideribus dubiis aut illo tempore quo se
frigida circumagunt pigri serraca Bootae.
Qualis cena tamen! uinum quod sucida nolit
lana pati: de conuiua Corybanta uidebis.
iurgia proludunt, sed mox et pocula torques
saucius et rubra deterges uulnera mappa,
inter uos quotiens libertorumque cohortem
pugna Saguntina feruet commissa lagona.
ipse capillato diffusum consule potat
calcatamque tenet Bellis Socialibus uuam.
If you're still unashamed of your life-style, Trebius, still convinced
that the highest good's scraping crusts from another man's board;
if you can put up with what would not have been tolerated
by Augustus's wits and jesters, down below the salt - why then
I'd be shy of accepting your evidence, even on oath!
Nothing I know asks less than the gut: yet supposing
even the little that's needed to fill its void is absent -
are there no sidewalks or bridges, no share in a beggar's mat
for you to make your pitch from? Is dinner worth such insults?
Are you that famished? Wouldn't your self-respect do better
out there, shivering cold, and chewing on mouldy dog's bread?
Get one thing clear from the start: a dinner-invitation
settles the score in full for your earlier services.
What this great 'friendship' yields is - food. Your lord scores meals,
however infrequent, scores them to square his accounts. So if -
after two months during which his client is quite forgotten -
with the bottom place to be filled at the lowest table,
he says 'Be my guest', you're in heaven. What more could Trebius
hope for? He has his reward - though it means a short night's sleep,
and rushing out, shoelaces trailing, all in a pother for fear
lest the whole crowd's been round already, paid their respects
before the stars have vanished, at that early hour
when the frosty Waggon is lazily circling the heavens still.
Yet, what a dinner! The wine's so rough that sheep-clippings
wouldn't absorb it; you'll see guests tur, Corybants.
At first it's only insults - but soon a regular battle
breaks out between you and the freedmen, cheap crockery flies
in all directions, you're hurling cups yourself
and mopping the blood off with a crimsoned napkin.
Virro's own wine was bottled when the consuls wore long hair:
those grapes were trodden during the Social Wars - and yet
not a spoonful will he send to a friend with heartburn!

Trans. Copyright © Peter Green, 1967, 1974, 1998 - publ. Penguin Classics this book
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