BLACK CAT POEMS
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To Asinius, On His Practical Jokes
(c. 84-54 B.C.)
translated by George Lamb
Asinius, Marrucinian vile,
Think you, when wine gives life to jest,
'Tis wit to filch with left-hand wile
The napkin of the careless guest?
Poor idiot, can you not perceive
How rude, how low the deed you do?
But should you not my words believe,
Your brother, Pollio, says so too.
Pollio with hoards of gold would part
No more to see you thus disgraced;
For that's a youth of generous heart,
Of lively wit, and purest taste.
Expect a satire coarse and keen,
Or back to me your plunder send;
'Tis not its value moves my spleen,
But it's the keepsake of a friend.
A dearest friend from Spanish skies
Sent me the gift you stole so sly;
And when the giver's love I prize,
I prize his smallest gift as high.
poems by Catullus