Quid hoc negoti est quave suspicer causa
venire in hortum plurimos meum fures,
cum quisquis in nos incidit, luat poenas
et usque curvos excavetur ad lumbos?
non ficus hic est praeferenda vicinae
uvaeque, quales flava legit Arete,
non mala truncis adserenda Picenis
pirumve, tanto quod periculo captes,
magisque cera luteum nova prunum
sorbumve ventres lubricos moraturum.
praesigne rami nec mei ferunt morum
nucemve longam, quam vocant Abellanam,
amygdalumve flore purpurae fulgens.
non brassicarum ferre glorior caules
betasve, quantas hortus educat nullus,
crescensve semper in suum caput porrum.
nec seminosas ad cucurbitas quemquam
ad ocimumve cucumeresque humi fusos
venire credo, sessilesve lactucas
acresque cepas aliumque furatum,
nec ut salaces nocte tollat erucas
mentamque olentem cum salubribus rutis.
quae cuncta quamvis nostro habemus in saepto,
non pauciora proximi ferunt horti.
quibus relictis in mihi laboratum
locum venitis, improbissimi fures:
nimirum apertam convolatis ad poenam,
hoc vos et ipsum, quod minamur, invitat.
What be this pother? For what cause suspects
My mind so many thieves will rob my garth,
When all pay forfeit (as on us they light)
Of being diggèd deep to bending loins?
Here be no better Figs than neighbours, figs
Nor Grapes as pluckt by blond-haired Areté,
Nor Apples grafted on Picenian stock,
Nor Pear-fruits worthy such a risk to run,
Nor Plum though yellower than wax virginal,
Nor Sorb that stayeth slippery stomach-flux.
My branches bear not best of Mulberries,
Or oval Filbert men 'Avellan' clepe,
Or Almond gleaming with a rosy flame.
I greed not Coleworts or fine greens to grow,
Or Beets of bigness by no garden borne,
Or Scallion ever shooting at the head,
Ne'er deem I any for the seed-full Gourd,
Basil or Cucumbers aground bestrown,
Come to my garth; or sessile Lettuces;
Or that one nightly lustful Rockets rob,
The Mint strong-smelling and the healthful Rue,
The fibrous Garlic and the Onion sharp--
Which all though safely fenced and hedged by us
Not less are cultured in the neighbouring garths.
Yet, these abandoning, to what grounds I worked
(Most villainous of thieves!), you're fain to flock.
Doubtless for open penalty ye come
And that attracts you wherewithal we threat.
What is this? Or wherefore do I suspect the greatest number of thieves to come into my garden, when everyone of them who happens unexpectedly upon me pays the penalty and is excavated up to his undulating loins? The fig tree here is no better than my neighbour is, nor are the grapes such as golden-haired Arete gathered; nor are the apples meet to be the produce of the trees of Picenum. Neither is the pear, which at such hazard you try to pilfer; nor the plum, more mellow in colour than new wax, nor the service-apple which stays slippery stomachs. Neither do my branches yield an excellent mulberry, the oblong nut, hight filbert, nor the almond bright with purple blossom. I do not, more gluttonously, grow divers kind of cabbage and beet, larger than any other garden trains, and the scallion with its ever-growing head; nor think I that any come for the seed-abounding gourd, the clover, the cucumbers extended along the soil, or the dwarfish lettuce. Nor that any bear away in the night-time lust-exciting rockets, and fragrant mint with healthy rue, pungent onions and fibrous garlic. All of which, though enclosed within my hedgerow, grow with no sparser measure in the neighbouring garden, which having left, ye come to the place which I cultivate, O most vile thieves. Without doubt, ye flock to the open punishment, and the very thing with which I threaten, allures you.
[1. The wife of Alcinous, King of the Phaeacians.
2. So called because the natural parts of Priapus were always exposed to view.
3. The thieves came for the pleasure of being sodomised, instead of looking on it as a punishment.]