Report says that you, Fidentinus, recite my compositions in
public as if they were your own. If you allow them to be called
mine, I will send you my verses gratis; if you wish them to be
called yours, pray buy them, that they may be mine no longer.
Unlike my subject, I will make my song.
It shall be witty, and it shan't be long.
What is an epigram? a dwarfish whole,
Its body brevity, and wit its soul.
What's this that myrrh doth still smell in thy kiss,
And that with thee no other odour is?
'Tis doubt, my Postumus, he that doth smell
So sweetly always, smells not very well.
And have you been able, Flaccus, to see the slender Thais? Then,
Flaccus, I suspect you can see what is invisible.
The diamond's virtues well might grace
The epigram, and both excel
In brilliancy in smallest space,
And power to cut as well.
"You are too free spoken," is your constant remark to me,
Choerilus. He who speaks against you, Choerilus, is indeed a
You ask for lively epigrams, and propose lifeless subjects. What
can I do, Caecilianus? You expect Hyblaen or Hymethian honey to
be produced, and yet offer the Attic bee nothing but Corsican
In whatever place you meet me, Postumus, you cry out immediately,
and your very first words are, "How do you do?" You say this,
even if you meet me ten times in one single hour: you, Postumus,
have nothing, I suppose, to do.
Some learned writers . . . have compared a Scorpion to an Epigram
. . . because as the sting of the Scorpion lyeth in the tayl, so
the force and virtue of an epigram is in the conclusion.
You complain, Velox, that the epigrams which I write are long.
You yourself write nothing; your attempts are shorter.
Lycoris has buried all the female friends she had, Fabianus:
would she were the friend of my wife!
This picture, plac'd the busts between
Gives Satire all its strength;
Wisdom and Wit are little seen
While Folly glares at length.
See how the mountain goat hangs from the summit of the cliff; you
would expect it to fall; it is merely showing its contempt for
When to secure your bald pate from the weather,
You lately wore a cape of black neats' leather;
He was a very wag, who to you said,
"Why do you wear your slippers on your head?"
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