Ni te plus oculis meis amarem,
Iocundissime Calve, munere isto
Odissem te odio Vatiniano:
Nam quid feci ego quidve sum locutus,
Cur me tot male perderes poetis? 5
Isti di mala multa dent clienti,
Qui tantum tibi misit inpiorum.
Quod si, ut suspicor, hoc novum ac repertum
Munus dat tibi Sulla litterator,
Non est mi male, sed bene ac beate, 10
Quod non dispereunt tui labores.
Di magni, horribilem et sacrum libellum
Quem tu scilicet ad tuum Catullum
Misti, continuo ut die periret,
Saturnalibus, optimo dierum! 15
Non non hoc tibi, salse, sic abibit:
Nam, si luxerit, ad librariorum
Curram scrinia, Caesios, Aquinos,
Suffenum, omnia colligam venena,
Ac te his suppliciis remunerabor. 20
Vos hinc interea (valete) abite
Illuc, unde malum pedem attulistis,
Saecli incommoda, pessimi poetae.
Siqui forte mearum ineptiarum
Lectores eritis manusque vestras 25
Non horrebitis admovere nobis,
Did I not liefer love thee than my eyes
(Winsomest Calvus!), for that gift of thine
Certès I’d hate thee with Vatinian hate.
Say me, how came I, or by word or deed,
To cause thee plague me with so many a bard? 5
The Gods deal many an ill to such a client,
Who sent of impious wights to thee such crowd.
But if (as guess I) this choice boon new-found
To thee from “Commentator” Sulla come,
None ill I hold it — well and welcome ’tis, 10
For that thy labours ne’er to death be doom’d.
Great Gods! What horrid booklet damnable
Unto thine own Catullus thou (perdie!)
Did send, that ever day by day die he
In Saturnalia, first of festivals. 15
No! No! thus shall’t not pass wi’ thee, sweet wag,
For I at dawning day will scour the booths
Of bibliopoles, Aquinii, Cæsii and
Suffenus, gather all their poison-trash
And with such torments pay thee for thy pains. 20
Now for the present hence, adieu! begone
Thither, whence came ye, brought by luckless feet,
Pests of the Century, ye pernicious Poets.
An of my trifles peradventure chance
You to be readers, and the hands of you 25
Without a shudder unto us be offer’d
Did I not love thee more than mine eyes, O most jocund Calvus, for thy gift I should abhor thee with Vatinian abhorrence. For what have I done or what have I said that thou shouldst torment me so vilely with these poets? May the gods give that client of thine ills enow, who sent thee so much trash! Yet if, as I suspect, this new and care-picked gift, Sulla, the litterateur, gives thee, it is not ill to me, but well and beatific, that thy labours [in his cause] are not made light of. Great gods, what a horrible and accurst book which, forsooth, thou hast sent to thy Catullus that he might die of boredom the livelong day in the Saturnalia, choicest of days! No, no, my joker, this shall not leave thee so: for at daydawn I will haste to the booksellers’ cases; the Caesii, the Aquini, Suffenus, every poisonous rubbish will I collect that I may repay thee with these tortures. Meantime (farewell ye) hence depart ye from here, whither an ill foot brought ye, pests of the period, puniest of poetasters.
If by chance ye ever be readers of my triflings and ye will not quake to lay your hands upon us,
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:06