Martial 14.37-41: Apophoreta

by Tom Gardner

XXXVII — Scrinium

Constrictos nisi das mihi libellos,
Admittam tineas trucesque blattas.

XXXVIII — Fasces calamorum

Dat chartis habiles calamos Memphitica tellus;
Texantur reliqua tecta palude tibi.

XXXIX — Lucerna cubicularis

Dulcis conscia lectuli lucerna,
Quidquid vis facias licet, tacebo.

XL — Cicindela

Ancillam tibi sors dedit lucernae,
Totas quae vigil exigit tenebras.

XLI — Lucerna polymyxos

Inlustrem cum tota meis convivia flammis
Totque geram myxos, una lucerna vocor.


37 — Bookcase

If you don’t give me tightly-packed books,
I’ll let gnawing worms and savage moths in.

38 — Bundles of pens

The land of Memphis gives reed-pens handy on paper;
Let your roof be thatched from other swamp-reed.

39 — Bedroom lamp

I am a lamp, privy to your sweet bed.
You may do whatever you like; I shall hold my peace.

40 — Candle

The lot has granted you a handmaid to your lamp;
she stays awake right through the dark hours.

41 — Lamp with many wicks

Even though I illuminate whole dinner parties with my flames
and bear so many wicks, I am still called a single lamp.