Martial [Marcus Valerius Martialis]

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

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  • Istanti, quo nec sincerior alter habetur
  •    pectore nec niuea simplicitate prior,
  • si dare uis nostrae uires animosque Thaliae
  •    et uictura petis carmina, da quod amem.
  • pg 148Cynthia te uatem fecit, lasciue Properti;
  •    ingenium Galli pulchra Lycoris erat;
  • fama est arguti Nemesis formosa Tibulli;
  •    Lesbia dictauit, docte Catulle, tibi:
  • non me Paeligni nec spernet Mantua uatem,
  •    si qua Corinna mihi, si quis Alexis erit.



Istantius, no one is reckoned purer of heart than you; none outdoes you in snow-white innocence. If you wish to lend vigour and passion to my Muse, and you desire poems that will live on, give my love an object. Cynthia made you a bard, saucy Propertius; pretty Lycoris pg 149was Gallus' inspiration; fair Nemesis brought fame to clear-voiced Tibullus; and you, bookish Catullus, took dictation from Lesbia.* Neither Paelignians nor Mantua* will spurn me as a poet, if I can just get a Corinna or an Alexis.

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Editor’s Note
8.73 Cynthia … from Lesbia: this poem name-checks the immortalized beloveds of Rome's greatest love-poets as justification for why Martial should be given one too; see note on 4.62. Catullus is 'bookish' or learned (doctus), but so three poems earlier (8.70) was Nero.
Editor’s Note
Neither Paelignians nor Mantua: see note on 1.61.
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