Marcus Furius Bibaculus

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Marcus Furius Bibaculus (1st century BC) was a Roman poet who flourished during the last century of the Republic.


  • Orbilius ubinam est, litterarum oblivio?
    • Where is Orbilius, pray, great learning's tomb?
    • Fragment quoted by Suetonius, De Grammaticis, IX (tr. J. C. Rolfe)
  • Si quis forte mei domum Catonis,
    Depictas minio assulas, et illos
    Custodis videt hortulos Priapi:
    Miratur, quibus ille disciplinis
    Tantam sit sapientiam assecutus,
    Quem tres cauliculi, selibra farris.
    Racemi duo tegula sub una
    Ad summam prope nutriant senectam.
    • If haply one has seen my Cato's house,
      His shingles stained with red,
      His garden over which Priapus watched:
      One can but wonder by what training he
      To such a height of wisdom has attained,
      That three small cabbages, half a pound of meal,
      And clusters twain of grapes beneath one roof
      Suffice for him when well-nigh at life's end.
    • Fragment quoted by Suetonius, De Grammaticis, XI (tr. J. C. Rolfe)
    • Other translations: Geoffrey Johnson, "Cato's Way of Life" in L. R. Lind, ed., Latin Poetry in Verse Translation (1957), p. 53
  • Catonis modo, Galle, Tusculanum
    Tota creditor urbe venditabat.
    Mirati sumus unicum magistrum,
    Summum grammaticum, optumum poetam
    Omnes solvere posse quaestiones,
    Unum deficere expedire nomen:
    En cor Zenodoti, en iecur Cratetis!
    • Gallus, but now our Cato's creditor
      His Tusculanum offered through the town.
      We wondered that the master without peer,
      The great grammarian, chief among our poets,
      Could solve all questions, solvent could not be.
      Lo! Crates’ heart, mind of Zenodotus.
    • Fragment quoted by Suetonius, De Grammaticis, XI (tr. J. C. Rolfe)


  • Furi cui neque servus est neque arca ...
    • O Furius, who neither slaves, nor coffer, nor bug, nor spider, nor fire hast, but hast both father and step-dame whose teeth can munch up even flints,—thou livest finely with thy sire, and with thy sire's wood-carved spouse. Nor need's amaze! for in good health are ye all, grandly ye digest, naught fear ye, nor arson nor house-fall, thefts impious nor poison's furtive cunning, nor aught of perilous happenings whatsoe'er. And ye have bodies drier than horn (or than aught more arid still, if aught there be), parched by sun, frost, and famine. Wherefore shouldst thou not be happy with such weal. Sweat is a stranger to thee, absent also are saliva, phlegm, and evil nose-snivel. Add to this cleanliness the thing that's still more cleanly, that thy backside is purer than a salt-cellar, nor cackst thou ten times in the total year, and then 'tis harder than beans and pebbles; nay, 'tis such that if thou dost rub and crumble it in thy hands, not a finger canst thou ever dirty. These goodly gifts and favours, O Furius, spurn not nor think lightly of; and cease thy 'customed begging for an hundred sesterces: for thou'rt blest enough!
    • Catullus, 23 (tr. Leonard C. Smithers)
  • Furi, villula vestra non ad Austri
    flatus opposita est neque ad Favoni
    nec saevi Boreae aut Aphelotae,
    verum ad milia quindecim et ducentos.
    Ō ventum horribilem atque pestilentem!
    • Furius, our villa not 'gainst the southern breeze is pitted nor the western wind nor cruel Boreas nor sunny east, but sesterces fifteen thousand two hundred oppose it. O horrible and baleful draught.
    • Catullus, 26 (tr. Leonard C. Smithers)
  • Non esse sibi dicens rem cum Furio Bibaculo, ne cum Ticida quidem aut litteratore Catone.
  • Persta atque obdura, seu rubra Canicula findet
    infantis statuas, seu pingui tentus omaso
    Furius hibernas cana nive conspuet Alpis.
    • Carry on, and stick at it, whether
                                      "the Dog-star red
      Dumb statues split,"
      or Furius, stuffed with rich tripe,
      "With hoary snow bespew the wintry Alps."
    • Horace, Sermones, II, v, 39–41 (tr. H. Rushton Fairclough), makes satiric use of some verses from Furius Bibaculus. Cp. Quintilian, VIII, vi, 17


  • Emil Bährens, Fragmenta Poetarum Romanorum (Leipzig, 1886), p. 317
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