You serve the best wine always, my dear sir,
And yet they say your wines are not so good.
They say you are four times a widower.
They say … A drink? I don’t believe I would.

[Tu Setina quidem semper vel Massica ponis,
Papyle, sed rumor tam bona vina negat:
Diceris hac factus caelebs quater esse lagona.
Nec puto nec credo, Papyle, nec sitio.]

Marcus Valerius Martial
Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 4, epigram 69 (4.69) [tr. Cunningham (1971)]

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

When I with thee, Cinna, doe die or sup,
Thou still do'st offer me they Gossips cup:
And though it savour well, and be well spiced,
Yet I to taste thereof am not enticed.
Now sith you needs will have me cause alledge,
While I straine curt'sie in that cup to pledge:
One said, thou mad'st that cup so hote of spice,
That it had made thee now a widower twice.
I will not say 'tis so, nor that I thinke it:
But good Sir, pardon me, I cannot drinke it.
[tr. Harington (1618), ep. 101; Book 2, ep. 5]

Pure Massic wine thou does not only drink,
But giv'st thy guests: though some this do not think.
Four wives, 't is said, thy flagon caused to die;
This I believe not, yet not thirst to try.
[tr. Killigrew (1695)]

With the best wines of France you entertain:
Yet that your wine is bad the world complain:
That you have lost four wives by it; but I
Neither believe it, Sir, -- nor am adry.
[tr. Hay (1755)]

Thou Setian and Massic serv'st, Pamphilus, up:
But rumor thy wines has accurst.
A fourth time the wid'wer thou'rt hail'd by the cup:
I neither believe it, nor -- thirst.
[tr. Elphinston (1782)]

You always, it is true, Pamphilus, place Setine wine, or Massic, on table; but rumour says that they are not so pure as they ought to be. You are reported to have been four times made a widower by the aid of your goblet. I do not think this, or believe it, Pamphilus; but I am not thirsty.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

On Massic and Setinian fares
The guest that banquets in your hall.
Yet, Papilus, report declares
Them not so wholesome after all.
'Tis said that by that wine-jar you
Four times became a widower. Thus
I neither think, nor hold it true,
Nor am I thirsty, Papilus.
[tr. Webb (1879)]

You indeed put on your table always Setine or Massic, Papilus, but rumour says your wines are not so very good: you are said by means of this brand to have been made a widower four times. I don't think so, or believe it, Papilus, but -- I am not thirsty.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

Setine and Massic at your board abound,
Yet some aver your wine is hardly sound;
’Twas this relieved you of four wives they say;
A libel -- but I will not dine to-day.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921), "A Doubtful Vintage"]

Your butler prates of Setine and of Massic,
But scandal gives it titles not so classic.
"Four wives it's cost you." Gossip's never true,
But I'm not thirsty -- much obliged to you.
[tr. Francis & Tatum (1924), Ep. 202]

I see you do serve Massic wine
And even glorious Setian.
But rumor has it that they smack
A bit of that Venetian
Mixture that Lucretia served,
That four of your dear wives
On tasting those expensive labels
Promptly lost their lives.
It's all, I'm sure, a lot of talk,
Incredible, I think.
But thank you, no; I've got to go.
Besides, I do not drink.
[tr. Marcellino (1968)]

You serve wine in the very best bottles, Papylus,
but they say the wine is not exactly the best,
they say you've become a widower four times now
thanks to those very bottles.
What a crock!
You know I wouldn't take stock
in a rumor like that, Papylus.
It's just that I'm not thirsty.
[tr. Bovie (1970)]

You always serve Setine or Massic, Papylus, but rumor refuses us such excellent wines. This flask is said to have made you a widower four times over. I don't think so or believe so, Papylus, but -- I'm not thirsty.
[tr. Shackleton Bailey (1993)]

Pappus, they say your wine is not good,
it made you a widower four times.
I don't believe that. You're a civilised man.
Nevertheless, my thirst is suddenly gone.v [tr. Kennelly (2008), "A Civilised Man"]

You always serve such fine wine, Papylus,
but rumor makes us pass it up. They say
this flask has widowed you four times. I don't
believe it -- but my thirst has gone away.
[tr. McLean (2014)]

Added on 2-Jun-23 | Last updated 2-Jun-23
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