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Catullus 12, A Stolen Napkin

Marrucine Asini, manu sinistra
non belle uteris in ioco atque vino:
tollis lintea neglegentiorum.
hoc salsum esse putas? fugit te, inepte!
quamvis sordida res et invenusta est
non credis mihi? crede Pollioni
fratri, qui tua furta vel talento
mutari velit; est enim leporum
disertus puer ac facetiarum.
quare aut hendecasyllabos trecentos
exspecta, aut mihi linteum remitte,
quod me non movet aestimatione,
verum est mnemosynum mei sodalis.
nam sudaria Saetaba ex Hiberis
miserunt mihi muneri Fabullus
et Veranius: haec amem necesse est
et Veraniolum meum et Fabullum.

Asinius Marrucinus, you’re an ass
if all your left hand can do at dinner is
steal the napkins of unsuspecting guests
caught up in their wine and jests.
You think it’s funny? It isn’t.
You did a very stupid thing.
You don’t believe me? Believe
your brother Pollio who’d pay plenty
to be rid of the embarrassment
your thefts bring him.
How different from you he is.
He has what you haven’t. Wit.
From me expect 300 hendecasyllabics
if you don’t give back my napkin.
It’s one of the gifts Fabullus and Veranius
sent, a fine linen from Spain
and when I look at it I think of them.


  1. Robert Chapman

    Thank you for the translation. Can you tell me the name of the artwork that you posted? Thank you in advance.

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