De qua saepe tibi, venit: sed, Tucca, videre non licet: occulitur limine clausa viri. de qua saepe tibi, non venit adhuc mihi: namque si occulitur—longe est, tangere quod nequeas. 5venerit: audivi. sed iam mihi nuntius iste quid prodest? illi dicite cui rediit.
Corinthiorum amator iste verborum, iste, iste rhetor, namque quatenus totus Thucydides, tyrannus Atticae febris, tau Gallicum, min et sphin ut male illisit, 5ita omnia ista verba miscuit fratri.
- Imeter: elegiac mss = BZ, codd. Quint.
- 6cui Heyne: qui B: quae Z
- 4ut Wagner: et Ω
She, of whom I have often told you, has come; but, Tucca, 1 one is not allowed to see her. She’s kept in hiding, locked inside her husband’s door. She, of whom I have often told you, has not yet come, so far as concerns me; for if she’s kept in hiding—what you can’t touch is miles away. Suppose she has come; so I have heard. but what good is that news to me? Tell it to him for whom she has returned.
It’s2 Corinthian 3 words 4 the fellow adores, that sorry rhetorician! For, perfect Thucydides that he is, he is lord of the Attic fever; as he has wickedly pounded up his Gallic tau, his min and sphin, so of all such spells he has mixed a brew for his brother.
- 1Marcus Plotius Tucca is meant, doubtless, to connect the poem with Virgil; “she” is possibly Plotia Hiereia (Vit. Don. 9).
- 2This enigmatic epigram attacks Titus Annius Cimber, a rhetorician who affected the style of Thucydides and is said to have murdered his brother (cf. Quintilian 8.3.28 and see Cicero, Philippics 11.6.14). Like Quintilian, Ausonius (Technopaegnion 15.5 Green) ascribes the piece to Virgil.
- 3Outlandish, exotic.
- 4In this poem verba means not only “words” but “spells.”