Friday, 2 June 2017

By request: Martial 12.61

12.61

This one is for Mym (@LiberalDespot):


You’re afraid I might write a poem about you, Ligurra – something sharp and snappy. And you’re keen to have people think you’re worth it. But you’ve no cause to worry (you wish!). Libyan lions roar at bulls – they don’t maul butterflies. My advice? If you’re desperate for a write-up, seek out some wino poet under a  soot-darkened arch, the kind who writes with a lump of charcoal or a clod of chalk, whose poems people read while they’re shitting. Be a marked man, but I’m not marking you.

 

Brief notes

The 'marked man' bit in the final line:

frons haec stigmate non meo notanda est.

Literally (ish), "This brow shouldn't be /doesn't deserve to be marked by my brand." A runaway slave who was recaptured was branded on the forehead as a permanent and unconcealable mark of recognition. Martial is keeping his irons hot for the serious bad boys and girls; Ligurra's lightweight, 'butterfly' sins aren't nearly as badass as he would like to think.

Libyan lions: There used to be a distinct kind of North African as opposed to Sub-Saharan lion, and these 'Barbary Lions' were the ones Romans typically saw in beast-fights in the arena.

After doing this translation (and yes I should have been marking) I found that Robert Louis Stevenson had done a rather fine version into rhyming couplets:


You fear, Ligurra – above all, you long –
That I should smite you with a stinging song.
This dreadful honour you both fear and hope –
Both all in vain: you fall below my scope.
The Lybian lion tears the roaring bull,
He does not harm the midge along the pool.
Lo! if so close this stands in your regard,
From some blind tap fish forth a drunken bard,
Who shall with charcoal, on the privy wall,
Immortalise your name for once and all.
Found at https://www.poetryloverspage.com/poets/stevenson/de_ligurra.html. 

8 comments:

  1. Excellent! Here's mine.

    Ah Ligurra, you’re quite afraid that I might write
    About you. Some nasty, pithy, diamond-shard of spite
    As is my wont. In fact, you quite like the idea.
    Well, don’t get your hopes up I’ll gratify that fear.

    I may be beastly but I claw with discretion,
    No stepping on insects, flattered to be flattened.

    I’ll give you a tip though, if that’s what you’re after,
    Go and hang around Soho, find some pissed up poet
    Who, for a half of lager, and in felt-tip pen,
    Will write something suitable on a toilet wall.

    So people having a shit can read all about
    Ligurra, who won’t get a single word from me.
    Not even “CUNT”, in capitals, on his forehead.

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  2. Is Soho still rough enough, do you think?... :-)

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  8. الصيانة المتخصصة من مراكز صيانة ال جي والتي تهتم بتوفير خدمة صيانة فوية و متخصصون في صيانة كافة الاعطال من توكيل ال جي المعتمد و قطع غيار راصلية

    http://www.lgmaintenance.com/

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