Martial 4.67: Praetorem pauper centum sestertia

by Tom Gardner

Praetorem pauper centum sestertia Gaurus 
orabat cana notus amicitia, 
dicebatque suis haec tantum desse trecentis, 
ut posset domino plaudere iustus eques. 
Praetor ait: “Scis me Scorpo Thalloque daturum, 
atque utinam centum milia sola darem.” 
Ah! pudet ingratae, pudet ah! male diuitis arcae. 
Quod non das equiti, vis dare, praetor, equo?

The poor man Gaurus was begging a praetor
known by old friendship, for a hundred thousand sesterces,
and he said that only this was lacking from his three hundred thousand,
so that he could applaud our lord as a rightful eques.
The praetor said: “You know that I will give to Scorpus and Thallus,
and would that it were only a hundred thousand.”
Ah, the thankless coffer shames! They shame, ah, the poor riches. 
Would you want to give to a horse, praetor, what you don’t give to an eques?