The fact I asked you last night
To come round this evening and dine,
Procillus, would seem to be due
To that fifth or sixth bottle of wine.
To think it entirely arranged
And take notes on the nonsense you hear
Is a hazardous way to behave —
D–n a drinker whose memory’s clear!
[Hesterna tibi nocte dixeramus,
Quincunces puto post decem peractos,
Cenares hodie, Procille, mecum.
Tu factam tibi rem statim putasti
Et non sobria verba subnotasti
Exemplo nimium periculoso:
Μισῶ μνάμονα συμπόταν, Procille.]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 1, epigram 27 (1.27) [tr. Nixon (1911), “A Alleybi’s the Thing”]
"To Procillus." The Greek phrase, attested to elsewhere in Classical literature, reads, as variously translated here, "I dislike a drinking companion who remembers."
(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:
I had this day carroust the thirteenth cup,
And was both slipper-tong'd, and idle-brain'd,
And said by chance, that you with me should sup.
You thought hereby, a supper cleerely gain'd:
And in your Tables you did quote it up.
Uncivill ghest, that hath been so ill train'd!
Worthy thou are hence supperlesse to walke,
That tak'st advantage of our Table-talke.
[tr. Harington (fl. c. 1600)]
To sup with me, to thee I did propound,
But 'twas when our full cups had oft gone round.
The thing thou straight concludest to be done,
Merry and sober words counting all one.
Th' example's dangerous at the highest rate;
A memorative drunkard all men hate.
[tr. Killigrew (1695)]
Yesternight, it seems, I swore,
Fifty bumpers hardly o'er,
You should sup tonight with me;
Instant you devour'd the glee;
And would bind the words of drink:
Dang'rous precedent, I think.
Wofull partner of the bowl,
Proves a reminiscent soul.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 7, ep. 17]
Last night I had invited you -- after some fifty glasses, I suppose, had been despatched -- to sup with me today. You immediately thought your fortune was made, and took note of my unsober words, with a precedent but too dangerous. I hate a boon companion whose memory is good, Procillus.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]
Last night I said to you (I think it was after I had got through ten half-pints): "Dine with me today, Procillus." You at once thought the matter settled for you, and took secret note of my unsober remark -- a precedent too dangerous! "I hate a messmate with a memory," Procillus.
[tr. Ker (1919)]
I may have asked you here to dine,
But that was late at night,
And none of us had spared the wine
If I remember right.
You thought the invitation meant,
Though wine obscured my wit!
And -- O most parous precedent --
You made a note of it!
The maxim that in Greece was true
Is true in Rome today --
"I hate a fellow-toper who
Remembers what I say."
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921), "'Tis Wise to Forget"]
After ten cups were put away
I said, "Procillus," yesterday,
"You'll dine with me, my friend, you're wanted."
You promptly took the thing for granted
And made a note without formality
Of my incautious hospitality;
A dangerous precedent to set;
I hate a guest who won't forget.
[tr. Francis & Tatum (1924), #16]
Last night I said, while feeling fine,
Having drunk much too much wine,
That you must promise, when this way,
To stop and dine with me some day.
You made a mental note of it,
A practice which, I must admit --
Taking me at my drunken word! --
Is dangerous and quite absurds.
Barroom promises are fine,
But he who keeps them is a swine!
[tr. Marcellino (1968)]
Last night in my cups,
or my brandy tumbler, at least,
I asked you for dinner today.
But you took me seriously, Procillus,
and noted down carefully the words I spouted
under the influence. A dangerous business.
I don't like to drink with people who remember.
[tr. Bovie (1970)]
Last night, after five pints of wine,
I said, "Procillus, come and dine
Tomorrow." You assumed I meant
What I said (a dangerous precedent)
And slyly jotted down a note
Of my drunk offer. Let me quote
A proverb from the Greek: "I hate
An unforgetful drinking mate."
[tr. Michie (1972)]
Last night when I was carried off with wine
I made you promise to drop by and dine
With me today. Only a fool or a turd
Expects a drunken man to keep his word.
[tr. O'Connell (1991), "Bummer"]
Last night after getting through four pints or so I asked you to dine with me this evening, Procillus. You thought you had the matter settled then and there, and made a mental note of my tipsy words -- a very dangerous precedent. I don't like a boozing partner with a memory, Procillus.
[tr. Shackleton Bailey (1993)]
When drinks I had beyond my number,
I thought I would myself encumber
With a pledge to give you lunch today.
You wrote it down with great display
As if to register disputed votes.
I hate a tippler taking notes.
[tr. Wills (2007)]
Last night, Procillus, after I had drunk
four pints or so, I asked if you would dine
with me today. At once, you thought the matter
was settled, based on statements blurred by wine --
a risky precedent. Good memory
is odious in one who drinks with me.
[tr. McLean (2014)]
Last night I invited you,
after we killed, what, fifty-something cups,
to come and eat some food with me today.
Right then and there you thought the thing was done
and took me at my not-so-sober word.
A very risky thing to do: I hate
a drinking bud whose memory is good.
[tr. Goldman (2022)]
Added on 25-Feb-23 | Last updated 3-Mar-23
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