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Martial
(Marcus Valerius Martialis)
Roman epigrammist, born in Spain

(c. AD 40 - c. 104)



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Lasciva est nobis pagina, vita proba.
My poems are naughty, but my life is pure.
-- Epigrammata, bk. 1, no. 4

Non est, crede mihi, sapientis dicere ‘Vivam’:
Sera nimis vita est crastina: vive hodie.

Believe me, wise men don’t say ‘I shall live to do that’,
tomorrow's life is too late; live today.
-- Epigrammata, bk. 1, no. 15

Non amo te, Sabidi, nec possum dicere quare:
Hoc tantum possum dicere, non amo te.

I do not love thee, Sabidius, nor can I say why;
this only I can say, I do not love thee.
-- Epigrammata, bk. 1, no. 32
A celebrated translation of above lines was made by Thomas Brown (1663-1704) while he was an undergraduate of Christ Church (Oxford University), of which Dr Fell was then the Dean:
I do not love thee, Doctor Fell,
The reason why I cannot tell;
But this alone I know full well,
I do not love thee, Doctor Fell

Laudant illa sed ista legunt.
They praise those works, but read these.
Alternative translation: They praise those works, but they’re not the ones they read.
-- Epigrammata, bk. 4, no. 49

Bonosque
Solos effugere atque abire sentit,
Qui nobis pereunt et imputantur.

Each of us feels the good old days speed and depart,
and they're lost to us and counted against us.
-- Epigrammata, bk. 5, no. 20

Quod tam grande sophos clamat tibi turba togata,
Non tu, Pomponi, cena diserta sua est.

When your crowd of followers shout loudly to aplaud you, Pomponius,
it is not you but your dinner that is eloquent.
-- Epigrammata, bk. 6, no. 48

Vita non est vivere, sed valera vita est.
Life is not living, but living in health.
Alternative translations: It is not life to live, but to be well. Life's not just to be alive, but to be well.
-- Epigrammata, bk. 6, no. 70

Cena fercula nostrae
Malim convivis quam placuisse cocis.

I prefer that the courses at our banquet
should give pleasure to our guests rather than to the cooks.
-- Epigrammata, bk. 9, no. 81

Difficilis facilis iucundus acerbus es idem:
Nec possum tecum vivere nec sine te.

Difficult or easy, pleasant or bitter, you are the same you:
I cannot live with you -- or without you.
-- Epigrammata, bk. 12, no. 46

Rus in urbe.
Country in the town.
-- Epigrammata, bk. 12, no. 57


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The selection of the above quotes and the writing of the accompanying notes was performed by the author David Paul Wagner.

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