Martial 12.48: Boletos et aprum

by Tom Gardner

Boletos et aprum si tamquam vilia ponis
Et non esse putas haec mea vota, volo:
Si fortunatum fieri me credis et heres
Vis scribe??? propter quinque Lucrina, vale.
Lauta tamen cena est: fateor, lautissima, sed cras
Nil erit, immo hodie, protinus immo nihil,
Quod sciat infelix damnatae spongia virgae
Vel quicumque canis iunctaque testa viae:
Mullorum leporumque et suminis exitus hic est, —
Sulphureusque color carnificesque pedes.
Non Albana mihi sit comissatio tanti
Nec Capitolinae pontificumque dapes;
Inputet ipse deus nectar mihi, fiet acetum
Et Vaticani perfida vappa cadi.
Convivas alios cenarum quaere magister,
Quos capiant mensae regna superba tuae:
Me meus ad subitas invitet amicus ofellas:
Haec mihi, quam possum reddere, cena placet.

If you serve mushrooms and wild boar as if they were cheap
and you don’t think these are my prayers, that’s fine by me:
If you think I’m becoming rich and
you want me to be made my heir on account of five Lucrine oysters, farewell.
“But it’s still a fine dinner.” Yes, very fine, I confess, but tomorrow it will be nothing,
or today, really; right away, in fact, it will be nothing.
The sort of thing a hapless sponge on a doomed mop-stick would be familiar with,
or any old dog or the urn which is joined to the road:
Such is the end of mullets and hares and sow’s udder
and a jaundiced hue and gout feet.
No Alban rebel would be worth that much to me,
no Capitoline or priestly banquets;
Should a very god grant me nectar, it would become vinegar
and the flatness, treacherousness in a Vatican jar.
As the master of the feast, search for others
for the proud realm of your table to capture:
and for me, let my friend invite me for impromptu morsels.
I like this dinner, which I can reciprocate.