Poesis Latina A Johanne Lyaeo scripta
Latin Poetry by John Lee

Poemata omnia ab hoc poeta / All poems by this poet

Xenia Apophoretaque pro Temporibus Praesentibus
Xenia and Apophoreta for the Present Day

Ad Gustavum

Temporibus miseri faciunt qui disticha nostris:
  nam scribunt pauci, scriptaque nemo legit.

To Gus

These, versifex, are straitened times indeed,
When few write epigrams, and fewer read.


Spumantes colae crateras impiger hausi:
  tum mihi dens rubidus, venter onustus erat.

Cola (after Dryden's Aeneid)

I took the Challenge, and embrac'd the Bowl
Of foaming Cola (alas! thirsty Soul);
With ruddy Stain it grim'd my snowy Teeth,
And rack'd my Paunch with Rumblings from beneath.


Splendida pinnigeris cerealia crusta voraram:
  corruptis graviter piscibus aeger eram.


Of farinaceous crust I ate my fill;
The anchovies were stale and made me ill.


Gustatum theobroma diu sapis Aztecianum;
  perula sed vacuast, nunc et obesus ego.


Food of the gods, you linger on the taste,
Empty my wallet, and expand my waist.

Marmelada in ollis figlinis

Ornatis ollis aurantia condita mittit
  Hispalis. an taedet? sola sit olla satis.

Marmalade in Fancy Jars

Jam from Seville! (The figured jars are pleasant.)
Not to your taste? The jar, then, is your present.

Martialis "Xenia"

Miraris quotiens epulas haec disticha lustras;
  nummi si desunt, est liber - adde garum.

Martial's "Xenia"

Ideal for banquets - come and have a look!
What's that? You're broke? Add sauce - and eat the book!

Telephonum mobile (i)

Callida, sit damnosa licet, haec machina prodest:
  dum delet cerebrum, nuntia multa tenet.

A Cell Phone (i)

This deft device delivers gain with pain,
Preserving calls
while it deletes your brain.

Telephonum mobile (ii)

Effigies passim rapide transmittere possum:
  ne tunicam ponas, casta puella, cave!
[In apodyteriis nonnullis nunc prohibentur telephonia mobilia, ne imagines digitales furtim capiantur et per Rete emittantur.]

A Cell Phone (ii)

Be careful, modest maid, not to disrobe:
I can transmit your image round the globe.
[Cell phones are now banned in some locker rooms, to prevent digital photographs being taken surreptitiously and displayed on the Internet.]

Tabellae veloces

Transiliunt fossas strepitu, resonantibus aethris;
  iam pueri vincunt, suffugiuntque viri.


They hurdle gutters with a thunderous noise;
Men quit the field, seen off by mere boys.

Computatri mus

Haec tenet ad duros inopem me cauda labores;
  caseolos renuo, nam mihi Rete cibus.

A Computer Mouse

This tail to my long labours holds me fast;
The Internet, not cheese, forms my repast.

Annulus umbilicalis

Quod damus, invisum matri, gracile indue donum,
  ut monitus natam te fatuus sit amans.

A Navel Ring

Wear this small gift, and brave your mother's scorn:
It will remind your boyfriend you've been born.


Haec tenuis vestis, perfusa coloribus arcus,
  nec veneres multas nec tua menda tegit.

A Bikini

This meagre garb of iridescent hue
Puts all your charms and blemishes on view.

Cera Fucosa

Cum labra vix pudibunda unguento Cynthia fucat,
  munditiis simplex non mihi Pyrrha placet.


When Cynthia paints her lips a bold cerise,
Pyrrha, plain in her neatness, fails to please.

Aurium obturamenta laticina

Stertere, dum vigilas lamentans, assolet uxor?
  quae damus insinuas: stertere et ipse potes.

Rubber Earplugs

Dost thou, by stertorous spouse, thy vigil keep?
Make use of what we give to help thee sleep --
Nay more, to help thee snore.

P. Vergilii Maronis Aeneis

Arma virumque cano breviter, carissime lector,
  haud epice tibi sed nunc epigrammatice,
Punicam et Argivos fugiens qui condidit urbem —
  o si scripsisset tam breve Vergilius!

Virgil's Aeneid

Arms and the man I sing in summary,
Omitting some Virgilian flummery:
Fleeing the Greeks and luckless Dido's curse,
Aeneas spawned much progeny and verse.

Aurelii Augustini Confessiones

Cum lacrimis multis "sero te" scribis "amavi" —
  non lacrimavisses, credo, prius sed amans.

St Augustine's Confessions

"Too late I've loved Thee!" (Book X); rather less
Might earlier love have found tears to confess.

Marcelli Proustii de temporis amissi reminiscentia

Marcellus geminos callis pronuntiat unum —
  sed gravis ille labor, nec levis iste liber.

Marcel Proust's "À la recherche du temps perdu"

Marcel maintains two ways are really one —
A heavy task, and such a weighty tome!

Raymundi Candelarii Novellae Inquisitoriae

Difficiles dominas pravos vigilesque creasti
  quis lepide dicens iste Philippus obest.

The Detective Novels of Raymond Chandler

He made dames difficult and cops malign,
But wrote for Marlowe many a mighty line.

Leonis Tolstoii libri de Anna Karenina

Tramine discedens matrona acquirit amantem:
  heu, repetet tramen, nec comitabit amans.

Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina"

Anna's just met her lover on a train;
She'll meet a train, all by herself, again.

Florentiae Fabrae Poemata Collecta

Nonne precum libros grandaevi martyris optas?
  sacra sapis: cur non credis et esse Deum?

The Collected Poems of Stevie Smith

Your taste inclines to Cranmer's BCP--
Why sceptical about the Deity?
[BCP: The Anglican Book of Common Prayer]

Comoedia Divina Dantis Alagherii

Vergilius quaerit callis, mandante puella,
  Ditis ut in regnis erret Etruscus amans.

Dante's Divine Comedy

At Bice's bidding, Virgil scans terrain
To guide her Tuscan lover down, then up again.

Sylviae Plath Poemata Collecta

Dorica, cum virgo fuerat, tum pura canebat
  Sylvia. iam sponsa est: Lydia metra canit.

Sylvia Plath's Collected Poems

Though still in thrall to rhyme at twenty-three,
She later married, and the verse was free.

Gradus ad Parnassum

Vincula, linguarum mater, cogentia perfers
  ut vates an sit syllaba longa sciat.

A Gradus ad Parnassum

Mother of tongues, you suffer cramping bonds
So that your bard may shuffle "shorts" and "longs".

Donum festum

Accipe quod dono festum pro munere munus:
  sit donum gratis, distichon aere, tuum.

A Holiday Gift

Take gift for gift to mark our holiday;
It's given free, but for the rhyme, please pay.

Scripsit Johannes Lyaeus (lyaeus@ozemail.com.au)
Convertit in XML Marc Moskowitz(marc@suberic.net). Ipse convertrum XML-HTML scripsit.
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