Martial 7.20: Nihil est miserius

by Tom Gardner

Nihil est miserius neque gulosius Santra.
Rectam uocatus cum cucurrit ad cenam,
quam tot diebus noctibusque captauit,
ter poscit apri glandulas, quater lumbum,
et utramque coxam leporis et duos armos,
nec erubescit peierare de turdo
et ostreorum rapere liuidos cirros.
Buccis placentae sordidam linit mappam;
illic et uvae conlocantur ollares
et Punicorum pauca grana malorum
et excauatae pellis indecens uoluae
et lippa ficus debilisque boletus.
Sed mappa cum iam mille rumpitur furtis,
rosos tepenti spondylos sinu condit
et deuorato capite turturem truncum.
Colligere longa turpe nec putat dextra
analecta quidquid et canes reliquerunt.
Nec esculenta sufficit gulae praeda:
mixto lagonam replet ad pedes uino.
Haec per ducentas cum domum tulit scalas
seque obserata clusit anxius cella
gulosus ille, postero die uendit.

Nothing is more wretched and gluttonous than Santra.
When, having been invited, he runs off to a formal dinner,
which he has been chasing for many days and nights,
thrice he asks for the sweet-breads of a boar, four times for loin,
and both hare’s haunches and two shoulders,
and he isn’t embarrassed to lie about a thrush
and to snatch the blue-bearded oysters.
He smears his filthy napkin with mouthfuls of cake;
there, potted grapes have been positioned too,
and a few bad Punic grains,
and the unseemly skin of a hollowed sow’s womb,
and an oozing fig and a mangled mushroom.
But now, when the napkin bursts with a thousand thefts,
he stores gnawed mussels in his warm pocket
and the body of a turtle-dove whose head has been devoured.
And he doesn’t think it’s shameful to collect, with a lengthened right hand,
whatever the waiter and the dogs have left over.
Even edible plunder is not enough for his appetite:
he fills a flask by his feet with mixed wine.
When he has carried all this home, up two hundred stairs,
and anxiously shut himself in his barred cellar,
that glutton, he sells it the next day.