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Is it fair to judge a poet’s nature from their verses alone? Gaius Valerius Catullus (c.84 BC–c.54 BC) thought not, and was sorely grieved when two of his peers, Furius and Aurelius, said that as his verses were sensitive he must be effeminate himself. This went down like a lead balloon, and I think it fair to say his reply was as biting as you’ll find.

Good man!

Catullus 16 (Original Latin in 11-syllable meter)

Paedicabo ego vos et irrumabo,
Aureli pathice et cinaede Furi,
Qui me ex versiculis meis putastis,
Quod sunt molliculi, parum pudicum.
Nam castum esse decet pium poetam
Ipsum, versiculos nihil necesse est;
Qui tum denique habent salem ac leporem,
Si sunt molliculi ac parum pudici
Et quod pruriat incitare possunt,
Non dico pueris, sed his pilosis
Qui duros nequeunt movere lumbos.
Vos, quod milia multa basiorum
Legistis, male me marem putatis?
Paedicabo ego vos et irrumabo.

Catullus 16 (The Cloud’s cherry-picked translation*)

I will sodomize you and face-fuck you,
You cocksucker Aurelius and bottom bitch Furius,
You who think, because my verses
Are sensitive, that I have no shame.
For it is right for the devoted poet to be chaste himself,
But it is not necessary for his verses to be so.
In point of fact, these verses have wit and charm;
If they are sensitive and a little shameless,
And because they can arouse an itch,
And I don’t just mean in boys,
But in hairy old men who can’t get it up!
Because you have read of my thousands of kisses,
You think me less of a man?
I will push your shit in and face-fuck you.


*From a large available selection

So do not vex this noble poet, my dear,
Lest perchance, your words, I overhear;
For I knock enemies to their knees, with ease,
Ink sleaze, so to avenge, in metered tease.


I love the notion that someone’s words can still cause a ripple so many hundreds of years later — that’s what I call immortality, even if it is for going on about sticking his knob up their arses and down their throats. Ha! Some things will never change folks, and people will always use them to try and get their way, as the following article shows:

Catullus still shocks 2,000 years on

Now, it only seems fitting to end on a lighter note with an apt tickler. I love this one by J.A. Essbaum:

On Reading Poorly Transcribed Erotica, by Jill Alexander Essbaum

She stood before him wearing only pantries
And he groped for her Volvo under the gauze.
She had saved her public hair, and his cook
Went hard as a fist. They fell to the bad.
He shovelled his duck into her posse
And all her worm juices spilled out.
Still, his enormous election raged on.
Her beasts heaved as he sacked them,
And his own nibbles went stuff as well.
She put her tong in his rear and talked ditty.
Oh, it was all that he could do not to comb.

And it seems a shame not to send you to the ribald limericks many of you wrote for Esme in 2016 . . . Showtime!