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All translations are © 1999-2000 by Ulysses K. Vestal.


Furius Bibaculus  (Return to List) (Next Poet)



The Splendor of Cato's Home (FLP 192.1; Suet. De Gramm. 11)



Si quis forte mei domum Catonis,
depictas minio assulas, et illos
custodis videt hortulos Priapi:
Miratur, quibus ille disciplinis
tantum sit sapientiam assecutus,
quem tres cauliculi, selibra farris,
racemi duo tegula sub una
ad summam prope nutriant senectam.



If anyone perchance sees the home of my Cato,
the tiles painted with red, and those
little gardens of Priapus the Guardian:
He's amazed, with what instruction
did he attain such great wisdom,
whom three heads of cabbage, a half-pound of meal,
two clusters of grapes under one roof
sustains near the twilight of old age.




The Debt of a Scholar (FLP 192.2; Suet. De Gramm. 11)


Catonis modo, Galle, Tusculanum
tota creditor urbe venditabat.
Mirati sumus, unicum magistrum,
summum grammaticum, optimum poetam
omnes solvere posse quaestiones,
unum difficile expedire nomen.
En cor Zenodoti, en iecur Cratetis.



Gallus, just lately the creditor of Cato,
he advertised Cato's Tuscany villa through the whole city.
We're amazed that an unparalleled teacher,
greatest grammarian, poet of poets,
able to solve all questions,
settles with difficulty one account.
Observe! the intellect of Zenodotus! Look! the passions of Crates!




Old Orbilius (FLP 194.3; Suet. De Gramm. 9)


[Orbilius] vixit prope ad centesimum aetatis annum, amissa ima pridem memoria, ut versus Bibaculi docet:


Orbilius ubinam est, litterarum oblivio?



Orbilius lived nearly to one hundred years of age, after his memory had been lost long before, as the line of Bibaculus informs:


Where, I ask, is Orbilius, forgetful of his scholarship?




An Address to a Motley Group (FLP 194.3; Schol. Juv. 8.16)


Catina oppidum Siciliae usque ad probra dissolutum notatur, ut et Bibaculus:


Osce senex Catinaeque puer, Cumana meretrix.



The Sicilian town of Catania, immoral through and through amid its scandals, is noted disapprovingly, as Bibaculus also [says]:


[You], the old Oscan and the Catanian boy, [you] the Cumaean harlot.




Three words (FLP 194.4; De Dub. Nom. 573)


Grabatum generis neutri, ut Bibaculus:
nam meo grabato.



Bed is of neuter gender, as Bibaculus [says]:
For [on?] my bed.




Fragment from Annales (FLP 195.7; Macrob. Sat. 6.1.31)


Furius in primo annali:
interea Oceani linquens Aurora cubile.



Furius [says] in book one of his Annals:
meanwhile when Dawn departs from the bed of the Ocean.




Lines on the Death of a Gaul (FLP 195.8; Macrob. Sat. 6.4.10)


Ille gravis sub subito devictus volnere habenas
misit equi lapsusque in humum defluxit et armis
reddidit aeratis sonitum.



He was overcome by a serious wound and let go
the reins of his horse and slumping over he fell to the earth
and made a crash with his bronze arms.




An Echo of Lucretius 4.907 (FLP 196.9; Macrob. Sat. 6.1.44)


Furius in primo:
mitemque rigat per pectora somnum.



Furius [says] in his first [book]:
and diffused a soft slumber through their breasts.




How Jupiter Makes Snow (FLP 197.15; Porphyrio ad Hor. Serm. 25.40)


Iuppiter hibernas cana nive conspuit Alpes.



Jupiter spits upon the wintry Alpes with white snow.


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