‘Tis a mere nothing that you ask, you cry:
If you ask nothing, nothing I deny.

[Esse nihil dicis quidquid petis, inprobe Cinna:
Si nil, Cinna, petis, nil tibi, Cinna, nego.]

Marcus Valerius Martial
Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 3, epigram 61 (3.61) (AD 87-88) [tr. Hay (1755)]

"To Cinna." (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

What so'ere you coggingly require,
'Tis nothing (Cinna) still you cry:
Then Cinna you have your desire,
If you aske nought, nought I deny.
[tr. Davison (1602)]

Whate'er you ask, 'tis nothing, still you cry:
If nothing, Cinna, nothing I'll deny.
[tr. Wright (1663)]

'Tis a mere nothing, Cinna, still you cry.
If nothing you demand, I nought deny.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 12, ep. 76]

Whatever favour you ask, presuming Cinna, you call it nothing: if you ask for nothing, Cinna, I refuse you nothing.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

Your importunity to mask,
"'Tis a mere nothing," still you cry.
Since nothing, Cinna, 'tis you ask,
Then nothing, Cinna, I deny.
[tr. Webb (1879)]

"It's nothing," is a phrase that you
To favors oft apply.
You're sure it's nothing that you want?
Then nothing I'll deny.
[tr. Nixon (1911)]

"'Tis nothing," you say, whatever you ask, importunate Cinna. If you ask "nothing," Cinna, nothing I deny you, Cinna.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

Your impudent demands to mask,
You always say that what you ask
Is -- nothing -- but, if that be true,
What I refuse is nothing too.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]

Of your importunate request you cry
"'Tis nothing!" Nothing, Cinna, I deny.
[tr. Francis & Tatum (1924), #150]

Cinna, Cinna, you cynic, you say
it's nothing to ask, nothing at all.
So I suppose I'm not refusing anything, either.
[tr. Bovie (1970)]

Unconscionable Cinna, whatever you ask for, you say it's nothing. Cinna, if you ask for nothing, nothing, Cinna, do I refuse you.
[tr. Shackleton Bailey (1993)]

"It's nothing," whatever
you beg for. If that's true,
it must be the very
nothing I'd deny you.
[tr. Matthews (1992)]

Since "only a mere nothing" you request,
You'll get it -- for that nothing, be my guest.
[tr. Wills (2007)]

Whatever you ask for, Cinna, you say
"Oh, it's nothing!"
Well, if it's nothing you ask for, Cinna,
it's nothing I refuse.
[tr. Kennelly (2008), "Nothing"]

Vile Cinna, you ask for "nothing" -- so say you.
If that's true, I deny you nothing, too.
[tr. McLean (2014)]

Added on 7-Apr-23 | Last updated 27-Nov-23
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