Martial, Epigrams

LCL 480: 88-89

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Martial

Liber XII

valerius martialis prisco suo salutem

Scio me patrocinium debere contumacissimae trienni desidiae; quo absolvenda non esset inter illas quoque urbicas occupationes, quibus facilius consequimur ut molesti potius 5quam ut officiosi esse videamur; nedum in hac provinciali solitudine, ubi nisi etiam intemperanter studemus, et sine solacio et sine excusatione secessimus. accipe ergo rationem. in qua hoc maximum et primum est, quod civitatis 10aures quibus assueveram quaero, et videor mihi in alieno foro litigare; si quid est enim quod in libellis meis placeat, dictavit auditor: illam iudiciorum subtilitatem, illud materiarum ingenium, bibliothecas, theatra, convictus, in quibus studere se voluptates non sentiunt, ad summam omnia 15illa quae delicati reliquimus desideramus quasi destituti. accedit his municipalium robigo dentium et iudici loco livor, et unus aut alter mali, in pusillo loco multi; adversus quod difficile est habere cotidie bonum stomachum: ne Epist. 2 quo γ: om. β: quae ς

  • 4ut β: om. γ
  • 14omnia Friedländer -ium βγ: del. coni. Heraeus
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Epigrams Book XII

Book XII

valerius martialis to his friend priscus greetings

I know I am due to offer a defense of my three years’ obstinate indolence, by which defense, however, it could not have been absolved even amid the occupations of the city, whereby we more easily manage to appear troublesome than conscientious, much less in this provincial solitude, where my retirement has neither solace nor excuse unless I study to the point of intemperance. So let me give you my reasons. The first and most important point is that I miss the ears of the community to which I had grown accustomed. It is like pleading a case in a strange court. For if there is anything to please in my little books, the audience dictated it. The subtlety of judgments, the inspiration of the themes, the libraries, the theaters, the gatherings where pleasure is a student without realizing it, to sum it all up, all those things which in my fastidiousness I forsook, 1 now regret as though they had deserted me. Add to this the tartar of municipal teeth, envy in place of judgment, and one or two malign individuals—in a tiny place a large number. To keep a good temper every day in face of this is not easy. Do not be surprised therefore if I cast aside in

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.martial-epigrams.1993