Saturday, October 20, 2012

Cenabis bene, mi Fabulle, apud me

With All Hallows' Eve approaching, it seems everything is horror-themed these days. So it's rather fitting that I just translated a poem that contains what is pretty much my worst nightmare. For whatever reason, the gods have decreed that I should become ridiculously sensitive to every single fragrance in a very short time span. Nary three months ago I loved the smell of dryers and of Japanese mint oil. Now, I stop breathing when I suspect the person approaching me has showered and/or used any scented product within the last 12 hours. Let's just say thank goodness for my office and for the non-existence of the person I share it with. Anyway, Catullus 13 is an amusing invitation to one Fabullus to come over to Catullus' house for dinner, provided that he brings the food, the girls, the wine, and the laughs. In return, Catullus promises that Fabullus will get 'undiluted love' (meros amores) and some perfume that Venus and Cupid gave his girlfriend. Now, here's the scary part: apparently this perfume smells so good that Catullus says to Fabullus:

quod tu cum olfacies, deos rogabis, / totum ut te faciant, Fabulle, nasum

Translation: "Fabullus, when you smell this stuff, you're going to beg the gods to make you all nose." Seeing as my little sniffer is making me prefer the smell of rotting garbage to clean people, I couldn't imagine a worse fate.

(Photo from Jessica Darwin - looks like this piece is going to come in handy for me after all!)

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