Some Odd Characters

Martial assorted epigrams a Gellius is always building; now he is laying thresholds, now he is fitting keys to doors and buying bars, now he is remodelling and changing these windows, now those. Provided only that he is building, that man does anything so that when a friend asks for money (lit., to a friend asking for money), he, Gellius, can say that single word, "I'm building."

b Bleary-eyed Hylas recently was willing to pay you three quarters [of his debt], Quintus; [now that he is] one-eyed, he is willing to give [you] half. Ac cept as soon as possible. The opportunity for gain is fleeting. If he becomes blind, Hylas will pay you nothing.

c If I remember, you had four teeth, Aelia. A single cough knocked out two, and [another] single [cough knocked out] two. Now you can cough without care for entire days: a third cough has nothing that it could do there (i.e., in your mouth).

d Over five days in a row, Afer, I wanted to say "hello" to you [when you had] returned from the peoples of Libya. Coming back two and three times, I was told (lit., [to me] having returned ... it was said), "He's not free" or "He's sleeping." That's enough [for] now! You don't wish to be greeted, Afer. Good-bye!

e You pretend to be a young man with [your] dyed hair, Laetinus, so suddenly [you], who just now were a swan, [have become] a crow. You do not deceive everyone. Proserpine knows you [to be] white; she will pull the mask from your head.

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