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 Gaius Valerius Catullus     
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Carmen 67 (in English by Brendan Rau)
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Available in Latin, Chinese, Croatian, English, French, Hungarian, Italian, and Scanned. Compare two languages here.
O Door, delightful to a charming husband, delightful to one
with children, hello, and may Jupiter bless you with good
fortune, which they say once served Balbus well when he held
the house as an old man, but which they say served his son
grudgingly after your marriage, when the old man had been
stretched out in death. Come, tell us why you are said to
have changed and forsaken your trust in the old lord. (Thus
may I please Caecilius, to whom I now have been handed
over): it is not my fault, though it is said to be mine, and
nobody can speak of any offense of mine; it is truly the
judgment of the populace that the door does each deed.
Wherever it is discovered that something has not been done
in a moral manner, they all shout at me, "Door, it's your
fault!" But it is not enough for you to say that which I
mention in one word, to make anyone see and understand. "How
am I able? Nobody asks or seeks to understand." We are
willing: don't hesitate to tell us. First of all, as for the
story that a young woman was entrusted to me, that's a lie.
Granted, her first husband didn't touch her; his drooping
penis, more flaccid than a tender beet, never raised itself
to the middle of his tunic, but the father of the son is
said to have defiled the couch and stained the hapless house
with scandal, whether because his irreverent mind burned
with blind lust, or because his lazy son had sterile semen,
so that from somewhere a more sinewy member was to be
sought, which could untie the chastity belt of a virgin. You
give an account, with remarkably dutiful respect, of an
illustrious father, who himself urinated on the lap of his
own son: "You haven't heard the half of it: Brescia, placed
at the foot of Cycnus' lookout point, and past which golden
Mella runs as a gentle river, mother Brescia, loved in my
Verona, says she knows for a fact not only this, but also
tells about trysts with Postumius and Cornelius, with whom
that woman committed a grievous act of adultery. At this
point, someone might say, 'What? You know all these things
you're telling me, Door, you to whom being absent from your
master's doorway and eavesdropping on people is never
permitted, but attached here beneath the lintel, are you
accustomed only to opening and closing the house?' I often
heard her speaking in a furtive voice alone with her
servants about these outrages of hers and mentioning by name
those whom I have mentioned, naturally anticipating that I
have neither tongue nor ear. Moreover, she would add mention
of a particular man whom I don't want to name lest he raise
his red eyebrows in anger. He is a tall man, against whom
feigned childbirth once brought huge lawsuits, for she had
padded her belly."

Taken with kind permission from Brendan
© copyright 17-4-1999 by Brendan Rau
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