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This poem is taken from PN Review 171, Volume 33 Number 1, September - October 2006.

Six Poems translated from the Latin by Simon Smith Martial


 My friend Stella's favourite is Maximus,
 His dove (dare I say it and Verona hears!)
 Passes Catullus' sparrow beyond measure.
 My friend Stella eye-balls your Catullus,
 Just like a dove weighs in against a sparrow.


 If only you and I, dearest Martial,
 Could fritter our days endlessly idle,
 If we discovered free time, 'The Good Life',
 Ignorant of big houses and 'Big Names',
 Or the boring laws and their dusty courts –
 No, for us: bridle-ways, chatter, the baths,
 The Virgin's Aqueduct, bookstalls, the shade
 Of urban gardens, drinking in 'The Sights',
 The gymnasium – our daily routine.
 But the state-of-play is neither's got it,
 The good times sinking down as each sun sets.

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