Martial (M. Valerius Martialis) trans. A.S.Kline
Jam certe stupido non dices, Paula, marito,
ad moechum quotiens longius ire voles,
"Caesar in Albanum jussit me mane venire,
Caesar Circeios." Jam stropha talis abit.
Penelopae licet esse tibi sub principe Nerva:
sed prohibet scabies ingeniumque vetus.
Infelix, quid ages? Aegram simulabis amicam?
Haerebit dominae vir comes ipse suae,
ibit et ad fratrem tecum matremque patremque.
Quas igitur fraudes ingeniosa pares?
Diceret hystericam se forsitan altera moecha
in Sinuessano velle sedere lacu.
Quanto tu melius, quotiens placet ire fututum,
quae verum mavis dicere, Paula, viro!
When you want to go visit a distant lover, for sure, now,
Paula, you'll not be telling that stupid husband of yours,
'Caesar's ordered me off to Alba tomorrow first thing,
Caesar: Circeii.' The age of such tricks has gone.
Under Nerva's rule it's all right to be a Penelope:
but those 'needs' of yours, your true nature, won't let you.
Bad girl, what can you do? Discover an ailing friend?
Your husband would stick fast to his lady himself
and go with you, if it were brother, mother, or father.
So, my ingenious one, what ruse do you consider?
Some other adulteress would say, for her nerves,
she needed to take the waters at Sinuessa.
You do better, Paula, when you want to go fucking,
you choose to tell that husband of yours the truth!

Trans. Copyright © A.S.Kline 2003

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