The Poetry of Gaius Valerius Catullus/22

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Text and Translation[edit | edit source]

Meter - Limping Iambics

Line Latin Text English Translation
1 Suffenus iste, Vare, quem probe nosti, That Suffenus, Varus, who is well known,
2 homo est venustus et dicax et urbanus, is a charming and well-spoken and sophisticated man,
3 idemque longe plurimos facit versus. and this same man writes rather many verses by far.
4 Puto esse ego illi milia aut decem aut plura I think that there are a thousand or ten thousand or more authored by him
5 perscripta, nec sic ut fit in palimpsesto and not related on palimpsest, as it is usually done,
6 relata: cartae regiae, novi libri, regal sheets, new books,
7 novi umbilici, lora rubra, membranae, new scroll knobs, red straps, cover skins,
8 derecta plumbo et pumice omnia aequata. lined with lead and all polished with pumice.
9 Haec cum legas tu, bellus ille et urbanus When you read these, that attractive and sophisticated
10 Suffenus unus caprimulgus aut fossor Suffenus seems instead a goat-herder or a ditch-digger:
11 rursus videtur: tantum abhorret ac mutat. he is so inconsistent and changes so much.
12 Hoc quid putemus esse? Qui modo scurra What can we think this is? He who just recently seemed a wit
13 aut si quid hac re scitius videbatur, or whatever is more wittier than this title,
14 idem infaceto est infacetior rure, this same man is duller than the dull countryside,
15 simul poemata attigit, neque idem umquam as soon as he has touched his poems, and he is never
16 aeque est beautus ac poema cum scribit, as happy as when he writes his poems,
17 tam gaudet in se tamque se ipse miratur he himself so rejoices in himself so marvels at himself
18 Nimirum idem omnes fallimur, neque est quisquam Evidently we all falter in the same way, and there is no one
19 quem non in aliqua re videre Suffenum whom you cannot see Suffenus in some fashion
20 possis. Suus cuique attributus est error; To each man is attributed his own error;
21 sed non videmus manticae quod in tergo est. but we do not see the kind of knapsack which is on our back.