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    forbidden fruit

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History proves there is no better advertisement for a book than to condemn it for obscenity. Forbidden fruits have unique flavors, and the bounds of suppression create new limits of desire.

Holbrook Jackson (1874-1948) English journalist, editor, author
The Fear of Books, Part 2, ch. 1 (1932)
Added on 31-May-23 | Last updated 31-May-23
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Aufidia’s spouse before, you’re now her lover;
your former rival is the one she wed.
Why want her not as your wife, but another’s?
Does it take fear to make you rise in bed?

[Moechus es Aufidiae, qui vir, Scaevine, fuisti;
Rivalis fuerat qui tuus, ille vir est.
Cur aliena placet tibi, quae tua non placet, uxor?
Numquid securus non potes arrigere?]

Marcus Valerius Martial
Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 3, epigram 70 (3.70) (AD 87-88) [tr. McLean (2014)]

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

Aufidia's now gallant, who was her lord!
Her lord thy rival, once again abhorr'd!
Why like another's, nor thine own endure?
Canst feel no fervour, where thou are secure?
[tr. Elphinston (1782); Book 6, part 2, ep. 44]

For years neglected and turn'd off at last,
Dodwell's fair wife upon the town was cast. --
Now Dodwell's coach is ever at her door:
He likes the danger of a common whore.
[tr. Halhead (1793)]

You, Scaevinus, who were recently the husband of Aufidia, are now her gallant; while he who was your rival is now her husband. Why should you take pleasure in her, as the wife of your neighbour, who, as your own wife, gave you no pleasure? Is it that obstacles alone inspire you with ardour?
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

You are the paramour of Aufidia, and you were, Scaevinus, her husband; he who was your rival is her husband. Why does another man’s wife please you when she as your own does not please you? Is it that when secure you can’t get an erection?
[tr. Ker (1919)]

The wife you divorced, who has married her love,
You're trying again on the sly to recover.
From the fact she's another's fresh charm she derives,
And the danger a zest to adultery gives.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]

First you were the husband
then you became the adulterous seducer
of your former wife Aufidia. And the man
who used to be her seducer is now her husband.
If another man's wife
arouses you
though you cannot respond to your own
can it be the security that keeps you down?
[tr. Bovie (1970)]

You're fucking Aufidia, your ex
who's married to the guy who gave you grounds.
Adultery's the one way you get sex.
you only get a hard-on out of bounds.
[tr. Harrison (1981)]

You are Aufidia's lover, Scaevinus, who used to be her husband. Your rival that was, he is her husband now. Why does a woman attract you as somebody else's wife who doesn't attract you as your own? Can't you rise if there's nothing to be afraid of?
[tr. Shackleton Bailey (1993)]

Your present mistress once you held as wife,
With whom you could not live a wedded life.
Unless provoked by sexual transgression,
You obviously can't achieve erection.
[tr. Wills (2007)]

Added on 3-Sep-22 | Last updated 27-Nov-23
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When you offered your wife to each passer-by free,
Not a soul ever wanted to try her.
You have learnt wisdom now: kept beneath lock and key
She has crowds of men waiting to buy her.

[Nullus in urbe fuit tota qui tangere vellet
Uxorem gratis, Caeciliane, tuam,
Dum licuit: sed nunc positis custodibus ingens
Turba fututorum est: ingeniosus homo es.]

Marcus Valerius Martial
Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 1, epigram 73 (1.73) (AD 85-86) [tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Cayus, none reckned of they wife a poynt,
While each man might, without all let or cumber,
But since a watch o're her thou didst appoint,
Of Customers she hath no little number.
Well, let them laugh hereat that list, and scoffe it,
But thou do'st find what makes most for thy profit.
[tr. Harington (1618)]

Scarce one in all the city would embrace
Thy proffere'd wife, Caecilian, free to have;
But now she's guarded, and lock'd up, apace
Thy custom comes. Oh, thou'rt a witty knave!
[tr. Fletcher (c. 1650)]

Your wife's the plainest piece a man can see:
No soul would touch her, whilst you left her free:
But since to guard her you employ all arts,
The rakes besiege her. -- You're a man of parts!
[tr. Hay (1755), ep. 74]

These was no one in the whole city, Caecilianus, who desired to meddle with your wife, even gratis, while permission was given; but now, since you have set a watch upon her, the crowd of gallants is innumerable. You are a clever fellow!
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

There was no one in the whole town willing to touch your wife, Caecilianus, gratis, while he was allowed; but now you have set your guards, there is a huge crowd of gallants. You are an ingenious person!
[tr. Ker (1919)]

No one in town would touch your wife
so long as she was free, and willing to boot.
But you posted guards, and suddenly brought to life
a swarm of suitors ardent after forbidden fruit
in the garden.
Say, you're a wily warden.
[tr. Bovie (1970)]

When you complaisantly allowed Any man, free of charge, to lay Hands on your wife, not one would play. But now you've posted a house guard There's an enormous randy crowd. Caecilianus, you're a card.
[tr. Michie (1972)]

Nobody in all Rome would have wanted to lay a finger on your wife gratis so long as it was permitted, Maecilianus; but now you have posted guards, there is a huge crowd of fuckers. You're a smart fellow.
[tr. Shackleton Bailey (1993)]

To screw your wife, unguarded, no one cared.
But once you barred her door, a thousand dared.
[tr. Wills (2007)]

None in all Rome would've wished to touch your wife
for free -- if you permitted it -- not ever.
Now that you've posted guards, Caecilianus,
you've drawn a crowd of fuckers. You're so clever.
[tr. McLean (2014)]

No one in this city would
touch your wife, while free they could;
now she’s guarded, there’s a band
of fuckers for her -- clever man!
[tr. @sentantiq/Robinson (2016)]

There wasn’t a guy in this whole damn city
Who would have touched your old lady without a stud fee
When she was easily available.
But now, with all those chaperones you’ve hired,
There’s a pack of cocksmen waiting to bang her.
You sure are clever.
[tr. Salemi]

Added on 7-Jan-22 | Last updated 27-Nov-23
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There is a charm about the forbidden that makes it unspeakably desirable.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Mark Twain’s Notebook [ed. Paine (1935)]
Added on 4-Aug-21 | Last updated 4-Aug-21
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Adam was but human — this explains it all. He did not want the apple for the apple’s sake, he wanted it only because it was forbidden. The mistake was in not forbidding the serpent; then he would have eaten the serpent.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson, ch. 2 (1894)
Added on 3-Sep-14 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
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