give you all his wealth. If even Cato himself, recalled from the nether shades of Dis, were to be returned to us, he would be a Caesarian.
On the sumptuous feast days of the old Scythe-bearer, 17 over which King Dice-box rules, methinks you allow me, cap-clad 18 Rome, to sport in toil-free verse. You smile. Permission granted then, I am not forbidden. Pale cares, get you far hence. Whatever conies my way, let me out with it and no moody meditation. Boy, mix me bumpers half and half, such as Pythagoras used to give to Nero, mix them, Dindymus, and not too long between them. I can do nothing sober, but when I drink, fifteen poets will come to my aid. Give me kisses, Catullian kisses. 19 If they shall be as many as he said, I will give you Catullus’ Sparrow. 20
Now at least, Paula, you will not be saying to your fool of a husband, whenever you want to go to a lover at a distance: “Caesar has commanded me to go to Alba tomorrow morning. Caesar has commanded me to Circeii.” The day
- 18The pilleus, or cap of liberty worn by manumitted slaves (cf. 2.68.4), was also generally worn at the Saturnalia. It was a symbol of license.
- 19Cf. Catull. 5.7–9 and 3.
- 20Cf. 1.7.3n. Clearly with an obscene double sense here, but that is M.’s contribution. Catullus meant no such thing, nor is M. likely to have thought he did.