Thomas Campion [Campion]
1567-1620 c. AD
Latin (Renaissance Era)
THOMAE CAMPIANI EPIGRAMMATUM LIBER PRIMUS
1. AD EXCELSISSIMUM FLORENTISSIMUMQUE CAROLUM,
MAGNAE BRITANNIAE PRINCIPEM [In honor of the highest and most successful Charles, the Prince of Great Britain]
Ludicra qui tibi nunc dicat, olim (amplissime princeps),
[He who now enriches you with profits, my most endowed prince, once upon a time,]
grandior ut fueris,
[so that you could grow greater,]
grandia forte canet,
[may he sing great things and forcefully]
quaeque genus celebrare tuum et tua lucida possunt
facta, domi crescunt, sive patrata foris.
[Everything, your high birth, and your light, can celebrate your deeds, they grow large at home, unless accomplished abroad.]
at tenues ne tu nimis (optime) despice Musas: 5
[but, for you part, don't despise the gentle Muses, your excellency,]
pondere magna valent, parva lepore iuvant.
[great things grow strong from their weight, small things are pleasing from their charm.]
regibus athletae spatiis grati esse solebant
apricis, nani ridiculique domi.
[In their sunny fields, athletes are usually great for kings, but they are dwarfs and idiots at home.]
magnus Alexander magno plaudebat Homero,
suspiciens inter praelia ficta deos; 10
[Alexander the Great used to clap his hands for mighty Homer, imagining the gods among phony battles;]
Caesar, maior eo, Romana epigrammata legit,
[More than he, did Caesar read Roman epigrams,]
sceptigera quaedam fecit et ipse manu.
[and he himself made certain statues bear scepters in their hands.]
talia sed recitent alii tibi (maxime princeps);
[but, greatest prince, let other people recite things like these;]
tu facias semper maxima, parva lege.
[may you always do the greatest things, using little recourse of the law.]
enecat activam quia contemplatio vitam 15
[Because long contemplation kills off an industrious life,]
necnon ingeniosa, fovet.
[brief contemplation, but still ingenious, makes it all the better.]
2. DE LIBRIS SUIS
Nuper cur natum libro praepono priori?
[Why do I now newly set my son to a book from the past?]
princeps est aequum principe stare loco.
[The best thing is the same as when you find yourself at the start.]
3. AD LECTOREM
Nec sua barbaricis Galeno scribere visum est,
[It did not seem right for Galenus to write his own things to barbarians,]
in mensa nullum qui didicere modum;
[since he was a man who learned no meaning of measure on his desk.]
nec mea commendo nimium lectoribus illis
[Nor do I advise too much my own writings to those readers]
qui sine delectu vilia quaeque legunt.
[who chose any old cheap things with no intention of delight.]
4. IN NERVAM
In coenam immunis propter ioca salsa vocatur
[Now Nerva is called, unharmed, to dinner on account of his salty wit.]
suum fas est lingere quemque salem.
[So it is the best thing for everyone to lap up his own salt.]
5. IN TABACCAM
Aurum nauta suis Hispanus vectat ab Indis,
[The Spanish sailors transports gold to his own lands from India,]
et longas queritur se subiise vias.
[and he complains how he had to endure long journeys.]
maius iter portus ad eosdem suscipit Anglus,
[An English port supplied a greater journey to these very same fellows,]
ut referat fumos, nuda tabacca, tuos:
[so that one could bring back your smokes, your raw tobacco:]
copia detonsis quos vendit Ibera Britannis, 5
[these are what one sells from Spanish resources to the clean-face British,]
per fumos ad se vellera callíde trahens.
[while he happily lugs his wool in exchange for 'smoke'.]
nec mirum est stupidos vitiatis naribus Anglos
olfacere Hesperios non potuisse dolos.
[It's no wonder that the witless Brits, with their faulty noses, cannot have ever learned how to sniff out the tricks of the Spanish.]