The Advantages Of Learning
by Marcus Valerius Martialis
I am a man with no ambitions
And few friends, wholly incapable
Of making a living, growing no
Younger, fugitive from some just doom.
Lonely, ill-clothed, what does it matter?
At midnight I make myself a jug
Of hot white wine and cardamon seeds.
In a torn grey robe and shapeless hat,
I sit in the cold writing poems,
Drawing naked figures in the crooked margin,
Fornicating with the insatiable
Virgins of my imagination.
[translated by Kenneth Roxroth, amended by Jamie Chadwick]