Martial (M. Valerius Martialis) trans. A.S.Kline
Lassa quod nesterni spirant opobalsama dracti,
ultima quod curvo quae cadit nura croco;
poma quod hiberna maturescentia capsa,
arbole quod verna luxuriosus ager;
de Palatinis dominae quod Serica prelis,
sucina virginea quod regelata manu;
amphora quod nigri, sed longe, fracta Falerni,
quod qui Sicanias detinet hortus apes;
quod Cosmi redolent alabastra focique deorum,
quod modo divitibus lapsa corona comis:
singula quid dicam? Non sunt satis; omnia misce
hoc fragrant pueri basia mane mei.
Scire cupis nomen? Si propter basia, dicam.
Jurasti. Nimium scire, Sabine, cupis.
Odour of dried balsam from last nightís vases,
the last scent that falls from the saffronís arc;
that of apples ripening in winter storage,
or a field luxuriant with springís green shoots,
silks from our Empressís Palatine presses,
or amber warmed there in a young girlís hand;
or a shattered jar, not too near, of dark Falernian,
or a garden where they keep Sicilian bees;
what the alabaster boxes Cosmus sells, smell of,
the godís altars, a wreath slipped from perfumed hair -
why speak of them? None will do, mingle them all:
and thatís the fragrance of my boyís dawn kisses.
You wish to know his name? If itís re: kisses, Iíll tell you.
You swear it! Sabinus, youíre far too anxious to know.

Trans. Copyright © A.S.Kline 2003

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