translation by Will Wasta-Werner
THE KALENDS OF DECEMBER
Both Father Phoebus1 Apollo and severe Pallas2 Athena
And the Muses on holiday: begone!
We’ll call you back on the Kalends of January.
Saturn, with his shackles loosened,
 And December, pregnant with much unmixed wine,
And laughing Joke and shameless Wit–
May you all be present here instead, while I recall the beautiful and
Drunk day of our joyous Caesar!
Dawn was scarcely moving new sunrises,
 When desserts came raining down from the canopy3 The feast is taking place in the Colosseum, where an awning would partially cover the seats.:
The coming East Wind poured out this light misty rain.
Whatever remarkable treat from Pontic4 Pontus was a densely wooded area in the northeast of modern Turkey near the Black Sea nut-bearing woods
Or from the fertile hills of Idumea5 Ancient kingdom near modern Palestine falls;
The dates which dutiful Damascus sprouts forth from its branches,
 And which Caunos6 City on the southwest coast of modern Turkey ripens,
They freely fall amid bountiful booties;
Soft little Gaiuses7 Pastries or cookies in the shape of a man and little pastries
And Amerian8 Ameria was a town in central Italy desserts with dough-balls not overcooked
And must-cakes too and finally as if from some unseen palm tree
 Caryotid dates9 Special type of nut-shaped date especially common on Saturnalia swollen with juice –they all were raining down.
Not with such great clouds could stormy Hyas10 Constellation associated with abundant rain
Blanket the earth, nor could unrestrained Plias,11 Constellation of Atlas’ seven daughters
As this winter storm all throughout the Latin wedges 12 Refers to the wedge shape of the seating blocks in the Colosseum
Pounds the people with a calm hail.
 Let Jupiter lead the clouds through the world
And let him threaten downpours over the wide fields
While our Jove carries these here showers to us!
Look here! How it goes through all the wedges,
And how noteworthy in display and adorned in refinements it is,
 It’s another crowd, no fewer in number than those already sitting!
These people–baskets and white napkins
And rather fancy dishes they carry;
Meanwhile some others generously distribute withered wine:
You’d actually think just as many of them were Idaean cupbearers!13 The reference is to Ganymede, the young cupbearer for Zeus on Olympus, since he was from Troy, near Mount Ida
 That section, wherein a man is bettered and more stern,
And the toga-clad classes–you feed them both;
And since you feed so many people, Blessed One,
Haughty Annona knows not this day.
Go on, Antiquity, compare the present age
 With the golden era of ancient Jove:
Not so freely did wines flow then
Nor did the harvest take up the slow year.
Yet now every class is fed at the same table–
The small, women, plebeians, equites, senators:
 Freedom leaves behind any deference.
And you–which of the gods could be called upon for this,
Which ones could promise such a delight–
Even you entered the shared feasts with all of us!
So now he, whomever he may be, rich or poor,
 Can boast of being a guest of the Emperor.
Notes [ + ]
|3.||The feast is taking place in the Colosseum, where an awning would partially cover the seats.|
|4.||Pontus was a densely wooded area in the northeast of modern Turkey near the Black Sea|
|5.||Ancient kingdom near modern Palestine|
|6.||City on the southwest coast of modern Turkey|
|7.||Pastries or cookies in the shape of a man|
|8.||Ameria was a town in central Italy|
|9.||Special type of nut-shaped date especially common on Saturnalia|
|10.||Constellation associated with abundant rain|
|11.||Constellation of Atlas’ seven daughters|
|12.||Refers to the wedge shape of the seating blocks in the Colosseum|
|13.||The reference is to Ganymede, the young cupbearer for Zeus on Olympus, since he was from Troy, near Mount Ida|