Martial 10.68: Cum tibi non Ephesos

by Tom Gardner

Cum tibi non Ephesos nec sit Rhodos aut Mitylene,
Sed domus in vico, Laelia, patricio,
Deque coloratis numquam lita mater Etruscis,
Durus Aricina de regione pater;
κυριε μου, μελι μου, ψυχη μου congeris usque,
— Pro pudor! — Hersiliae civis et Egeriae.
Lectulus has voces, nec lectulus audiat omnis,
Sed quem lascivo stravit amica viro.
Scire cupis quo casta modo matrona loquaris?
Numquid, quae crisat, blandior esse potes?
Tu licet ediscas totam referasque Corinthon,
Non tamen omnino, Laelia, Lais eris.

Although you haven’t your home in Ephesos nor Rhodes or Mitylene,
but in the Patrician Quarter, Laelia,
and although your mother, who never used make-up,
is from the tanned Etruscans,
your dour father is of the Aricina district;
you always pile on: “mon seigneur, mon miel, mon âme”,
shame on you, a fellow citizen of Hersilia and Egeria.
May the bed hear these expressions, and not every bed,
but one made for a horny man by his girlfriend.
Do you, a respectable wife, want to know the chaste way in which you talk?
Could you, who gyrates your arse, really be more flattering?
You may learn all Corinth by heart and recite it,
Laelia, but you still won’t entirely be Lais.