Photo of Franklin P. Adams

Translations from Martial
by Franklin P. Adams

presented by Michael Gilleland

American journalist and radio personality Franklin P. Adams (1881-1960) was an accomplished and witty translator of Latin poetry. Here are his translations from the epigrams of the Roman poet Marcus Valerius Martialis (ca. 42-102 A.D.), better known as Martial.




Source: IOW, p. 45
Roman Innuendo

O Fidentius, when you steal --
  My words are chosen and impartial --
My stuff, it is a phony deal
  You put across on M.V. Martial.

Thus Aegle thinks the teeth she wears,
  So sozodontalish and pearly,
Are hers; thus black Lycoris swears,
  Daubed with white lead, she is Some Girlie.

Bard of the Mrs. Harris school
  (This stanza should be double-leaded),
As you're a poet now, so you'll
  Have lots of hair when you're bald-headed!


Source: IOW, p. 47
Martial's Bit of a Joke

Linus, you are c2k
What I grow from day to day
At my Sabine spot suburban.
Pipe -- and paste it in your turban:

Try it on your piccolo,
Linus: this is what I grow:
(Get my snappy repartee, you)
Happy that I do not see you.


Source: IOW, p. 1
From the Rome Herald, Nov. 29, 71 A.D.

Though for my stuff my readers fall,
A poet likes it not at all.
But, pshaw! what time I give a feast
The cook, perhaps, is pleased the least.