Cenabis belle, Juli Cerialis, apud me;
condicio est melior si tibi nulla, veni.
Octavam poteris servare; lavabimur una:
scis quam sint Stephani balnea juncta mihi.
Prima tibi dabitur ventri lactuca movendo
utilis, et porris fila resecta suis,
mox vetus et tenui major cordyla lacerto,
sed quam cum rutae frondibus ova tegant;
altera non deerunt leni versata favilla,
et Velabrensi massa coacta foco,
et quae Picenum senserunt frigus olivae.
Haec satis in gustu. Cetera nosse cupis?
Mentiar, ut venias: pisces, coloephia, sumen,
et chortis saturas atque paludis aves,
quae nec Stella solet rara nisi ponere cena.
Plus ego polliceor: nil recitabo tibi,
ipse tuos nobis relegas licet usque Gigantas,
rura vel aeterno proxima Vergilio.
You will dine nicely, Julius Cerialis, at my house; if you have no better engagement, come. You will be able to observe the eighth hour;* we will bathe together: you know how near Stephanus’ baths are to me. First, there will be given you lettuce useful for relaxing the stomach, and shoots cut from their parent leeks; then tunny salted and bigger than a small lizard-fish, and one too which eggs will garnish in leaves of rue. Other eggs will not be wanting, roasted in embers of moderate heat, and a lump of cheese ripened over a Velabran hearth, and olives that have felt the Picenian frost. These are enough for a whet: do you want to know the rest? I will deceive you to make you come: fish, mussels, sow’s paps, and fat birds of the poultry-yard and the marsh, which even Stella is not used to serve except at a special dinner. More I promise you: I will recite nothing to you, even although you yourself read again your “Giants” straight through, or your “Pastorals” that rank next to immortal Virgil.
* The usual hour for dining in summer, the bath being taken before...There were sundials at the baths.
Translation adapted from Martial, Epigrams, trans. Walter C. A. Ker, Loeb Classical Library (2 vols.; Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1920).