Thermis

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Lintea ferret Apro vatius cum vernula nuper
et supra togulam lusca sederet anus
atque olei stillam daret enterocelicus unctor,
udorum tetricus censor et asper erat:
frangendos calices effundendumque Falernum
clamabat biberet quod modo lotus eques.
a sene sed postquam patruo venere trecenta,
sobrius a thermis nescit abire domum.
o quantum diatreta valent et quinque comati!
tunc, cum pauper erat, non sitiebat Aper.
(Martial 12.70)

Not long ago, when a bow-legged, home-bred slave carried Aper’s towels and a one-eyed old woman sat watching over his little gown and a ruptured masseur handed him his drop of oil, he was a stern, harsh censor of boozers. He would shout that the cups should be smashed and the Falernian poured away which a knight, fresh from his bath, was imbibing. But now that three hundred thousand has come his way from an aged uncle, he doesn’t know how to go home from the baths sober. Oh, what a difference open-work goblets and five long-haired boys can make! When Aper was poor, he wasn’t thirsty. (tr. David Roy Shackleton-Bailey)

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