Image: “Modern bust of Catullus on the Piazza Carducci in Sirmione”, Wikimedia
The following epigram illustrates an amusing play on words. It was written by Gaius Valerius Catullus (c. 84 BC – c. 54 BC), a Roman poet during the late Roman Republic, and was translated by Theodore Martin from Latin in The Poems of Catullus, 1861.
Dear Furius, you may rest assured,
My country-house is well secured.
How? With good timber, stone, and plaster,
From wind, and rain, and all disaster?
Ah, no! but by a certain skin,
Which is encased in painted tin,
It is secured for “money lent,”
To a curst son of Ten-per-Cent.
It was mortgaged!