Martial II:53


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english translation

Martial II:53

Be free, my friend? You’re whistling in the dark.
But if you’re serious, this life’s no lark:
Eat out? Forget your favorite restaurants.
Bordeaux and ports? As gone as your old haunts.
Home furnishing high marks? Put up with partials.
New clothes? Try Syms or TJ Maxx or Marshall’s.
And social life? Cheap dates for you, at best
(though you’ll live well with those who pass this test).
Now for the toughest trade, if you’ve the will:
Your corner office for a cubicle.
Choose these—which to your world seem dire straits—
And you’ll live life far freer than Bill Gates.



original Latin poem

Martial II:53

Vis fieri liber? Mentiris, Maxime, non vis:
sed fieri si vis, hac ratione potes.
Liber eris, cenare foris si, Maxime, nolis,
Veientana tuam si domat uva sitim,
si ridere potes miseri chrysendeta, Cinnae,
Contentius nostra si potes esse toga
se plebeian Venus gemino tibi iungitur asse,
si tua non rectus tecta subire potes,
haec tibi si vis est, mentis tanta potestas,
liberior Partho vivere rege potes.