|Carmen 22 (in English by Greg Drudy)
Vercellese. Compare two languages here.
That Suffenus, Varius, whom you know well,
That man is charming, and witty, and sophisticated,
And the same man makes the most by far very many verses of poetry.
I think that either 10,000 or more verses
Have been written by that man, as is common in palimpsest
Having been jotted down there are: royal papers (expensive papyri), new books,
New knobs, red straps, scroll covers,
All things having been ruled with lead and smoothed by pumice.
When you read this, that good and sophisticated
Suffenus merely a goatherder or a ditchdigger
On the contrary seems: he differs and changes so much.
What are we to think that this is? He who recently seemed a clever man
Or if anything is more clever than this thing
That same man is more witless than the dull countryside,
As soon as he has undertaken a poem, nor is that same man
Ever equally as happy as when he writes the poem:
So much he rejoices in himself and so much he himself admires at himself
Clearly we are all deceived in the same way, nor is there anyone
Whom you could see not to be Suffenus in some thing.
To each one of us one's own mistakes have been assigned;
but we do not see the knapsack which is on our back.
|© copyright 5-12-1997 by Greg Drudy