Martial [Marcus Valerius Martialis]

Gideon Nisbet (ed.), Oxford World's Classics: Martial: Epigrams

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  • Simplicior priscis, Munati Galle, Sabinis,
  •    Cecropium superas qui bonitate senem,
  • sic tibi consoceri claros retinere penates
  •    perpetua natae det face casta Venus:
  • ut tu, si uiridi tinctos aerugine uersus
  •    forte malus liior dixerit esse meos,
  • ut facis, a nobis abigas, nec scribere quemquam
  • pg 176   talia contendas carmina qui legitur.
  • hunc seruare modum nostri nouere libelli,
  •    parcere personis, dicere de uitiis.



Munatius Gallus, you are more innocent than the Sabines of old, and you outdo the aged Cecropian in goodness. May chaste Venus keep your daughter's marriage-torch forever burning, and thus grant that you retain the brilliant household of your fellow father-in-law. In return, if wicked Envy should chance to say that verses dipped in green verdigris* are mine, may you herd them away from me, as you are doing, and may you insist that no one who has a readership writes pg 177poems of that sort. This rule my little books know to observe: spare persons, skewer vices.

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Editor’s Note
10.33 dipped in green verdigris: verdigris (aerugo) was used figuratively for envy or jealous ill-will because, like rust, envy seeks to consume and ruin what it sees.
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