Martial 12.18: Dum tu forsitan inquietus erras

by Tom Gardner

Dum tu forsitan inquietus erras
clamosa, Iuvenalis, in Subura,
aut collem dominae teris Dianae,
dum per limina te potentiorum
sudatrix toga ventilat vagumque
maior Caelius et minor fatigant:
me multos repetita post Decembres
accepit mea rusticumque fecit
auro Bilbilis et superba ferro.
Hic pigri colimus labore dulci
Boterdum Plateamque — Celtiberis
haec sunt nomina crassiora terris — :
ingenti fruor inproboque somno,
quem nec tertia saepe rumpit hora,
et totum mihi nunc repono, quidquid
ter denos vigilaveram per annos. .
Ignota est toga, sed datur petenti
rupta proxima vestis a cathedra.
Surgentem focus excipit superba
vicini strue cultus iliceti,
multa vilica quem coronat olla.
Venator sequitur, sed ille quem tu
secreta cupias habere silva;
dispensat pueris rogatque longos
levis ponere vilicus capillos.
Sic me vivere, sic iuvat perire.

While you, perhaps, Juvenal, wander restlessly
in noisy Subura,
or tread the hill of lady Diana;
while your sweating toga fans you
through the thresholds of the powerful
and the Greater and Lesser Caelian hills tire out the wanderer:
my Bilbilis, now that I have revisited it after many Decembers,
has received me and made me a country sort,
proud of her gold and iron.
Here, lazy with pleasant work, I inhabit
Boterdus and Platea—these are
the harsher names in Celtiberia:
I enjoy an enormous and wanton amount of sleep,
which is often not even the third hour breaks,
and I repay myself all of it, however much
I had remained awake for thirty years.
The toga is unknown, but it is given to me as I ask for it,
the nearest garment is from a broken armchair.
As I stand up, a fire-place receives me,
tended to by a neighbouring oak forest,
which the overseer’s wife crowns with many pots.
The hunter follows, but he is the one whom you
desire to have in a secret grove;
The smooth-cheeked overseer disburses rations to my boys and asks to cut off my hair.
It delights me to live like this and to die like this.