Lintea

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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
dissertus 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
ut Veraniolum meum et Fabullum.
(Catullus 12)

The use you put your left hand to,
when people are laughing and drinking, is far
from appealing. In fact, it is stealing—the napkins
of negligent diners, specifically. Clever?
You fool! It is stupid and vile. If you think
I would lie, the guy to ask is Pollio,
your brother and one who would happily pay
a talent to cancel your thefts if he could.
That boy is stuffed with wit and charm!
But you! Prepare for a torrent of versified
insults or else—surrender the napkin!
Its price is not what moves me so.
It is, in fact, a souvenir,
a Saetaban fabric Fabullus sent
from Spain as a gift, and Veranius too.
So I naturally love my napkin as well
as I love my Fabullus and little Verany.
(tr. David Mulroy)

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