Martial 9:73: Dentibus antiquas solitus

by Tom Gardner

Dentibus antiquas solitus producere pelles
et mordere luto putre vetusque solum,
Praenestina tenes decepti regna patroni,
in quibus indignor si tibi cella fuit;
rumpis et ardenti madidus crystalla Falerno
et pruris domini cum Ganymede tui.
at me litterulas stulti docuere parentes:
quid cum grammaticis rhetoribusque mihi?
Frange leves calamos et scinde, Thalia, libellos,
si dare sutori calceus ista potest.

You used to stretch out old hides with your teeth
and bite an old shoe sole, rotten with mud.
Now you possess the Praenestine realm of your cheated patron,
and if you had even a closet therein, I would be indignant;
you burst crystal with hot Falernian while awash with drink
and you get horny with your master’s Ganymede.
But my stupid parents taught me the alphabet:
what use are grammarians and orators to me?
Snap your tiny pens and rend your little books, Thalia,
if a shoe can give all that to a cobbler.