Monday, January 12, 2009


You might be familiar with this problem- a friend, colleague, family member stinks and you don't know how to tell them without embarassing them, offending them and destroying your relationship with them. Thankfully Marcus Aurelius has the answer:

Are you angry with the man who smells like a goat, or the one with foul breath? What will you have him do? That's the way his mouth is, that's the way his armpits are, so it is inievitable that they should give out odours to match. 'But the man is endowed with reason', you say, 'and if he puts his mind to it he can work out why he causes offence.' Well, good for you! So you too are no less endowed with reason: bring your rationality, then, to bear on his rationality - show him, tell him. If he listens, you will cure him, and no need for anger.

(Meditations 5.28)

Catullus also had a friend with the same problem, but was not quite so sensitive:

Noli admirari, quare tibi femina nulla,
Rufe, velit tenerum supposuisse femur,
non si illam rarae labefactes munere vestis
aut perluciduli deliciis lapidis.
laedit te quaedam mala fabula, qua tibi fertur
valle sub alarum trux habitare caper.
hunc metuunt omnes, neque mirum: nam mala valde est
bestia, nec quicum bella puella cubet.
quare aut crudelem nasorum interfice pestem,
aut admirari desine cur fugiunt.

Don't be so amazed, Rufus, that no woman
wants to lay her soft thigh beneath you,
even though you tempt her with a gift of rare cloth
or the delight of a translucent stone.
A certain evil rumour haunts you, which reports
that a wild goat lives down in the valley of your armpits.
Everyone fears him, and I'm not surprised: for he is a particularly
evil creature, who no pretty girl would want to sleep with.
And so either kill that cruel plague of noses,
or stop wondering why they run away.

(Catullus 69)

1 comment:

DhiRAj SinGh said...

Wow Latin lives thru your blog!!

Was for me truly audio, video, disco!!!