Monday, March 7, 2011

Quintilian, Rhetorical Training I


Marcus Fabius Quintilianus [Quintilian]
35-100 AD
Trans RMBullard
Latin (Imperial Era)

I. Post impetratam studiis meis quietem, quae per viginti annos erudiendis iuvenibus inpenderam, cum a me quidam familiariter postularent ut aliquid de ratione dicendi componerem, diu sum equidem reluctatus, quod auctores utriusque linguae clarissimos non ignorabam multa quae ad hoc opus pertinerent diligentissime scripta posteris reliquisse.

[Even though certain people--I won't name who--requested that I prepare something dealing with the skill of speaking, after I had sought peace and quiet from my academic occupation, which I had once engaged in by teaching young men for over twenty years, I admit, I was reluctant to do so for too long, because I was extremely familiar with the most famous writers of each language and their many works of literature which, in the most diligent many possible, could be relevant to this work of mine in the future.]

II. Sed qua ego ex causa faciliorem mihi veniam meae deprecationis arbitrabar fore, hac accendebantur illi magis, quod inter diversas opiniones priorum et quasdam etiam inter se contrarias difficilis esset electio, ut mihi si non inveniendi nova, at certe iudicandi de veteribus iniungere laborem non iniuste viderentur.

[But however much I think that the excuse for my abstention will be easier as a matter of cause, all the more did those fellows--we all know who--approach me, since my choice would have been difficult in this environment of differing opinions of men before us, and somewhat specific points of contention between each other, and the result? That if I had not discovered anything interesting, still they would surely appear, and without justification, to obligate that someone judge my work according the standards of predecessors.]

III. Quamvis autem non tam me vinceret praestandi quod exigebatur fiducia quam negandi verecundia, latius se tamen aperiente materia plus quam imponebatur oneris sponte suscepi,

[But still, although it should not overwhelm me so much that a man, who must go beyond the call of duty, lacks any confidence, but that a man who must refuse lacks a sense of shame, and yet, the subject matter, which I have undertaken, by my own accord, more than it was imposed upon me,]

simul ut pleniore obsequio demererer amantissimos mei, simul ne vulgarem viam ingressus alienis demum vestigiis insisterem.
[just as, with even fuller obedience, I would do a favor for my most beloved ones, so too, by not entering upon the common street--so to speak--would I be stepping onto unfamiliar territory.]

Nam ceteri fere qui artem orandi litteris tradiderunt ita sunt exorsi quasi perfectis omni alio genere doctrinae summam (in eloquentiae) manum imponerent,
[you see, almost all the others who have learned how to make speeches--after learning how to read-- have arisen in a fashion such that they could make the greatest impression possible of their eloquence in any other type of discipline.]

sive contemnentes tamquam parva quae prius discimus studia,
[either those condemning studies which I taught beforehand as insignificant,]

 sive non ad suum pertinere officium opinati,
[or those thinking that they do not pertain to their own station in life,]

quando divisae professionum vices essent,
[when both instances of the professions could be that, ]

 seu, quod proximum vero,
[either, because the latter is true]

nullam ingenii sperantes gratiam circa res etiamsi necessarias,
[the hope that there is no benefit to one's intelligence concerning things that might actually be necessary,]

 procul tamen ab ostentatione positas,
[despite being placed far from any open demonstration thereof,]

ut operum fastigia spectantur, latent fundamenta.
[and the result? That when complexities of works of art are gazed upon, their founding principles escape their notice.] 

V. Ego cum existimem nihil arti oratoriae alienum
[for my part, since I think that there is nothing strange about the practice of speaking,]

sine quo fieri non posse oratorem fatendum est,
[without which one has to confess could not never exist an orator,]

nec ad ullius rei summam nisi praecedentibus initiis perveniri, ad minora illa,
[nor can the very best achievement of anything be fully attain except by a mastery of its beginnings,]

sed quae si neglegas non sit maioribus locus, demittere me non recusabo,
[but should you neglect anything, let it not be somewhere among the more important concepts, and I will not refuse to stand back]

nec aliter quam si mihi tradatur educandus orator studia eius formare ab infantia incipiam.
[nor other than if I must train an orator, shall I begin to train the studies of this fellow from childhood.] 

VI. Quod opus, Marcelle Vitori, tibi dicamus,
[Let me speak, Marcellus Vitorius, this work to you]

quem cum amicissimum nobis tum eximio litterarum amore flagrantem non propter haec modo,
[you who are most dear to me and also burning with extraordinary passion for letters, and not only on account of these things,]

quamquam sint magna,
[even though they might be great things]

dignissimum hoc mutuae inter nos caritatis pignore iudicabamus,
[I judge this thing to be the most worthy of exchange between us, as a pledge of goodwill]

sed quod erudiendo Getae tuo,
[but whatever belongs your son Geta, who need be educated]

cuius prima aetas manifestum iam ingenii lumen ostendit,
[and whose first bloom of manhood already shows the light of his potential,]

non inutiles fore libri videbantur
[so books should not seem to be useless]

 quos ab ipsis dicendi velut incunabulis
[those belong to one speaking as though from the cradle itself]

per omnes quae modo aliquid oratori futuro conferant artis
[in their entirety are they the things that confer, in some way or another, something of skill to a future speaker]

 ad summam eius operis perducere festinabimus,
[to its zenith of this work of art will we rush]

VII. atque eo magis quod duo iam sub nomine meo libri ferebantur artis rhetoricae
[and furthermore because two books on the art of speaking began to be produced under my name]

neque editi a me neque in hoc comparati.
[neither of which were published by me, or were compiled in this]

Namque alterum sermonem per biduum habitum
[Wherefore the first, a speech, which took place for two days]

pueri quibus id praestabatur exceperant,
[something which went above and beyond for boys who had taken advantage of it,]

 alterum pluribus sane diebus,
[the second occurred quite a couple of days further,]

 quantum notando consequi potuerant,
[as must as they could have previously followed with by taking notice]

interceptum boni iuvenes sed nimium amantes mei temerario editionis honore vulgaverant.
[good -standing youths had beforehand made it public, after they intercepting it, even though they are too enamoured with the rash standing of my own publication.]