Young Varus and the girl who has his heart
walked with me at the Forum. She's some tart,
but polished, inoffensive. And our chat
was all about Bithynia and that
mostly about whether I'd made a mint
out there. And so I had to say I'm skint.
It's a poor province; I did not get on
with my commander, nor did anyone.
He's just a fuckhead, hates all of his staff.
But Varus and his woman ignored half
of what I said.' You've clearly done quite well
for all you say you haven't.We can tell.
Eight sturdy bearers, that is not so bad.'
I wanted to show off, although I'd had
No luck. I wanted to impress her, chose
to lie a bit. Looked round, and said 'Oh those.
I bought a job lot of eight men.' I lied
- I didn't have a litter I could ride.
I didn't even have a broken chair,
some slave could push. Nor anyone to wear
its struts around his neck. She caught me out
'Catullus, dear,' she said. 'I'm here without
a litter. I would be so very pleased
if you'd lend yours. It is Serapis' feast
down at the temple.'And I thought,'oh no'
I damned her cheek, but said 'you have to go
but those aren't mine, they're Cinna's. He's a friend
What's his is mine to use. But please do send
them back.' I'd told a stupid fib in which
she'd caught me, made me blush. 'You thoughtless bitch
I muttered - If I'd thought, I could have had
a lift back home. You've nabbed it first. Too bad.'