Latijnse gedichten door Michiel Sauter (1964)

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Salax taberna

Cur cauponis olet salax taberna?
Tenax iste negat lavare caudam;
manus mane lavat bis in matella
deinde tergit eas ter in capillis
ovo calvior est et iste caupo.
Num miraris eo magis rogasque
quare fetida sit taberna putra?

In: The Vates Anthology of New Latin Poetry, Edited by Mark Walker, 2015


Filthy pub (hendekasyllabus inspired by Catullus' poem 37)

Why does the publican's filthy pub stink?
Tenaciously he refuses to wash his penis;
in the morning he washes his hands in the chamber pot twice
then he wipes them in his hair three times
that publican is even balder than an egg.
Do you really wonder and all the more ask
why his dirty pub is stinking?




Venustas et vetustas

Quid clamitabas? Te putasne delectam
ob indolem vel magnitudinem solum?
O gratulemur! O puella versuta!
Apparuisti seminuda patrono
nam vix papillas vix natesque velasti.
Tu foeda non es, caecus ille nequaquam;
Di, num est vetustas fortior venustate?

In: The Vates Anthology of New Latin Poetry, Edited by Mark Walker, 2015


Beauty and old age (choliambus)

Why were you shouting out loud? Do you think you have been chosen
just because of your talent or your brightness?
Oh congratulations! Oh cunning girl!
You showed up half-naked before your employer,
hardly hiding your breasts and buttocks.
You are not ugly, he is by no means blind.
Oh Gods, old age is not stronger than beauty, is it?


(True story: a bright young woman went scantily clad to a job interview. She got the job and proudly posted pictures online of herself with her new, yet slightly older employer).



Forum cattorum
(Largo di Torre Argentina, Romae)

Dictator, iactator,
Gallorum vexator
hic animam Caesar efflavit;
sed quis eum fleret
quis adhuc lugeret
quem Brutus ignave necavit?

Flagrabat Urbs bello
haud procul sacello;
hic sole nunc feles fruuntur,
nihil facientes
calore gaudentes
de Caesare numquam loquuntur.

Sint nobis exemplo
hae feles in templo
aeterna sint felibus fana,
ne quies cattorum
destituat forum
quo viguit vix pax humana.

In: Vox Latina, Tomus 56, Fasciculus 220, 2020


Cat Forum
(Largo di Torre Argentina, Rome; amphibrachys)

Dictator, loudmouth
vexation of the Gauls
Caesar here breathed his last;
but who would weep for him
who would still mourn him
whom Brutus cowardly killed?

Rome was burning then during the war
not far from the sanctuary;
here and now cats enjoy the sun:
doing nothing
rejoicing in the heat
they never speak of Caesar.


May the cats in the temple there
be an example to us,
may the cats have their eternal temples,
lest the quiet of the cats
desert the forum
where scarcely flourished any human peace.


(The Largo di Torre Argentina in central Rome, an ancient forum where Julius Caesar was probably killed, is now a stray cat colony).



Sine mora amor
(Basium interdictum, secundum Janum Secundum)

“Amasne me?” rogasti.
Putasne me negare?
Tuos amo capillos,
hos paetulos ocellos
genasque quippe nasum
ac semper haec labella
haec colla mollicella.
Tuos amo lacertos
alasque saepe tangens
necnon tuas papillas
planissimumve ventrem;
admiror umbilicum
femur femurque pulchrum.
Ne cunnulum canamus
quem lingua nostra vellet
ad astra ferre nunciam
nisi statim vetarent
di castimoniarum.
Armos natesque canto
pedesque crura laudo
et corporis leporem:
nil non amore dignumst,
(nec indolem revelo
qua Gorgones fugantur;
sed corporaliter nunc...)
te diligo reapse!


Unconditional love
(A forbidden kiss, after Janus Secundus, ïambus dimetrus catalecticus)

“Do you love me?” you asked...

How I wish I could give the full translation, “if not at once the gods of chastity forbade” to quote the few decent lines from this rather carnal catalogue. However, I took the liberty to borrow many a word from my compatriots Janus Secundus (Basium
VIII) and Janus Dousa (Ad Idam). Hence, I suggest the eager reader find a clue in the translations of these two poems. Needless to say, I copied their metre as well. Another source of inspiration was Vergil, whose opening line of the Aeneid (Arma virumque cano...) I gladly parodied: “Of shoulders and buttocks I sing.”



De mappa et vappa

Urbanum esse putas et eruditum
quod monstrare libens velis aperte
namque emungere te soles acute
personans epulas, fugans amicos
ac mucum mihi linteo relinquis;
immo, taeter, amore linteorum
culum tergere vis tuum, cacator!

The napkin and the parasite (hendekasyllabus)

You think you are so civilised
which you are eager to show off
because you always blow your nose loudly
ruining the dinner party, chasing away my friends
and leaving your snot in my napkin;
even worse, admiring my napkins,
you want to use them to wipe your ass, you awful shithead!




Paraklausithyron per versus Ovidii, Tibulli, Propertii Catullique

Quod precor, exiguum est — aditu fac ianua parvo
    blanditias capiat semiadaperta meas.
Excute veste manum, ne nocte in margine verser
    tantum operire soles aut aperire sinum?
Nox et Amor vinumque nihil moderabile suadent;
    absque pudore sinas: excute veste manum!
Ergo Amor et modicum circa tua tempora vinum
    tecum est, valvas nunc ardore finde mihi.
Non Veneris magnae violabo numina lingua,
    do modo secretis oscula liminibus.
Ferrea lingentem nequiquam, femina, sentis,
    blanditiis puris ianua fulta riget.
Fallimur, an lincto maduerunt limine postes,
    parvaque concussae signa dedere fores?
Fallimur — inpulsa est animoso ianua flatu
    ei mihi, quam longe vim tulit aura meam!
Omnia consumpsi, nec te digitis labiisve
    movimus, o foribus purior ipsa tuis.
Adspice — uti videas, inmitia claustra relaxa —
    uda sit ut lacrimis ianua facta meis!
Te non ulla meae laesit petulantia linguae;
    num mea nunc poenas perpia lingua luit?
Quid tibi vis? cum me defessum mane videbis,
    difficilem toto carmine pande forem!

A paraklausithyron is a lover’s lament at the closed door of his beloved mistress. In vain the exclusus amator is begging for entry. To the best of my knowledge only four Roman poets used the elegiac distichon to write their paraklausithyron: Ovidius (Amores I, 6), Tibullus (I, 2), Propertius (I, 5 and I, 16) and Catullus (67). Largely copying from Ovidius I wrote my own entirely different version, adding three lines from Tibullus, two lines from Propertius and one line from Catullus. Since its title speaks volumes, I strongly recommend that the curious reader resort to translations of the five chaste examples.
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Habent sua fata libelli

Ante inventionem artis typograficae pretiosissimi erant libri. In scriptoriis scribae non modo manu scribebant codices, verum etiam imaginibus ornabant et post nonnullos annos perficiebant. Qua de causa saepe addebant in colophone maledictiones, ne quis inquinaret, surriperet, deleret exemplaria unica.

Eorum librorum lectoribus scribae minabantur excommunicationem, anathema et damnationem ad calamitates avertendas. Quamvis hae minae -quasi praecursores iuris auctorum hodierni- plurimos lectores a malo deterrerent, non semper damna vitare poterant. Non legunt enim animalia.

Praesertim mures vellera codicum devorabant et pagellis rosis nihil relinquebant nisi pulverem. Bibliothecariis feles auxilio veniebant, quippe qui die et nocte optimi praedatores sunt. Feles autem neque legunt, neque bibliophili esse videntur, ut animadvertit quidam scriba Conradus Scheych de Grunenberg terrore affectus Daventriae (Deventer, Nederlandia). Anno 1418° in libro suo questus est de maculis, quas feles in pagella libri reliquit:
“Hic non defectus est, sed cattus minxit desuper nocte quadam. Confundatur pessimus cattus qui minxit super librum istum in nocte Daventrie, et consimiliter omnes alii propter illum, et cavendum valde ne permittantur libri aperti per noctem ubi catti venire possunt.”
Delineavit etiam maniculas indicantes verba sua nec non animal mirum, asino non dissimile, felem simulans. In hoc libro Conradus scripsit De decem praeceptis, ignarus se praeceptum undecimum addidisse: sit nobis ergo etiam diebus hodiernis praemonito ne permittantur computatra aperta per noctem ubi catti venire possunt.

Me ad carmen scribendum instigaverunt et cattus et Conradus. Usus sum scribae temporis metro goliardico, orthographia (nichil, michi) et grammatica (praecipue in ultima linea):


De scriba et fele

Nuper amicitiam
falsa feles finxit,
mentem meam blandula
malo modo vinxit
sed atratis pedibus
librum meum tinxit
et nefanda quadrupes
super librum minxit.

Inquinavit furcifer
illud ornamentum:
partim pulchris paginis
deest atramentum,
partim nichil superest
nisi purgamentum;
sic reliquit animal
doli documentum.

Liber meus optimus
omnium librorum
sordidus et minctus est:
mixtio liquorum;
non iam michi cordi sit
caritas cattorum:
infelicitatis fons,
copia malorum.

Ubivis micturiens
iste cattus catus
fateatur scelera
erga magistratus,
neque neget proditor
crimen obstinatus
statim a Pontifice
sit exorcizatus!

Thijs Porck: Paws, Pee and Mice: Cats among Medieval Manuscripts.
In:
medievalfragments.wordpress.com (2013)

In: Melissa 221, 2021


As some medieval manuscripts document, cats sometimes deemed it necessary to stain books with their inky paws or even worse by urinating on them. This poem is about a medieval scribe who befriended a cat only to discover the disastrous effects of his feline friendship. Accordingly, I used post-classical metre, orthography and grammar (last line).


The Scribe and the Cat (versus Goliardicus, trochaeus)

Recently a fraudulent cat pretended to be my friend
and in a charming manner captivated my mind
but with inked paws he stained my manuscript
and the horrible quadruped urinated on the book.

The villain polluted that ornament:
partly, on some beautiful pages there is no ink left
partly, there is nothing left but rubbish
thus, the animal left an example of his trickery.

My best book of all books,
is sordid and urinated on: a mixture of liquids;
may the love for cats no longer be in my heart:
the source of unhappiness, a lot of misery.

That shrewd cat that wants to urinate everywhere
should confess his crimes before the magistrates
and lest the obstinate traitor deny the crime
he should immediately be exorcized by the Pope!
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