|Carmen 14 (in English by David Kimel)
Vercellese. Compare two languages here.
If I did not love you more than my eyes,
most delightful Calvus, I would hate you
with a Vitinian* hatred because of that gift of yours:
for what did I do or what did I say,
why do you ruin me with so many bad poets?
May the gods pile many adversities on that client,
who sent to you such a pack of sinners.
But if, as I do suspect, this new and choice
gift does Sulla the schoolmaster give you,
I am not upset, but rather well pleased,
since your labors haven't been wasted **.
Great gods above, that horrible and cursed little book!
Surely you sent it to your Catullus,
so that he might die, again and again, on that day,
during the Saturnalia too, the best of days!
It won't end like this for you, oh no, my clever one.
For, if there is light, to the booksellers'
shelves will I dash, and Caesius, Aquinus,
Suffenus, the entire poisonous collection:
I will repay you with these punishments.
You bad poets, meanwhile, farewell, get out of here,
go to that place, from where you got your bad feet.
Curses of our time, very bad poets.
* Vatinius was a man he prosecuted in court.
** Catullus jokes that the book of bad poetry was Calvus' payment for his capacities as lawyer to Sulla.
© copyright 9-8-1998 by David Kimel
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|© copyright 9-8-1998 by David Kimel