Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tacitus, Agricola

Publius Cornelius Tacitus [Tacitus]
56-117 AD
Trans RMBullard
Latin (Imperial Era)


[1] Clarorum virorum facta moresque posteris tradere, antiquitus usitatum, ne nostris quidem temporibus quamquam incuriosa suorum aetas omisit,
[To tell the deeds and practices to posterity, as it was the tradition in ancient times, lest indeed their time period, however negligent, hold anything from our generations]

quotiens magna aliqua ac nobilis virtus vicit ac supergressa est vitium parvis magnisque civitatibus commune, ignorantiam recti et invidiam.
[as many times as some great and noble virtue prevails, and overcame the vice shared by insignificant and famous city-states, to set ignorance and hatred straight.]

Sed apud priores ut agere digna memoratu pronum magisque in aperto erat,
[But in the presence of men before us, as the action of doing things worthy of record was inclined to become public,]

ita celeberrimus quisque ingenio ad prodendam virtutis memoriam sine gratia aut ambitione bonae tantum conscientiae pretio ducebantur.
[And so, most of all, people inclined to betraying the memory of their virtue, without any desire for favor or ambition, used be inspired by the payoff of only a good conscience.]

Ac plerique suam ipsi vitam narrare fiduciam potius morum quam adrogantiam arbitrati sunt,
[And very many people, for their part, think that telling a story about their own life is more empowering in the belief of morals than arrogance,] 

nec id Rutilio et Scauro citra fidem aut obtrectationi fuit:
[nor was this idea belong to Rutilius and Scaurus, aside their faith, or to *obtrection]

 adeo virtutes isdem temporibus optime aestimantur,
[to such extent that, during these very same times, strengths of character were most highly esteemed,]

 quibus facillime gignuntur.
[through which they grew in the easier fashion possible.]

 At nunc narraturo mihi vitam defuncti hominis venia opus fuit,
[But there was cause for excuse for my telling the life of a deceased man,]

 quam non petissem incusaturus:
[as I could never had imagined myself launching attacks:]

 tam saeva et infesta virtutibus tempora.
[the times were so ruthless and contrary to good qualities.]

  Legimus, cum Aruleno Rustico Paetus Thrasea, Herennio Senecioni Priscus Helvidius laudati essent, capitale fuisse,
[I read that there was a capital offense, when Paetus Thrasea was praised by Arulenus Rusticus, and Priscus Helvidius by Herennius Senecio,]

neque in ipsos modo auctores, sed in libros quoque eorum saevitum, 
[and that there was a savage attack not only against the authors themselves, but against their books,]

delegato triumviris ministerio ut monumenta clarissimorum ingeniorum in comitio ac foro urerentur.
[such that the monuments of these most distinguished genius around the assembly and forum were burned, as soon as administrative power had been delegated to the triumvirs.]

Scilicet illo igne vocem populi Romani et libertatem senatus et conscientiam generis humani aboleri arbitrabantur,
[So thus, through that fire, people believe that the voice of the Roman people and free will of the senate, and conscience of the human race was destroyed,]

expulsis insuper sapientiae professoribus atque omni bona arte in exilium acta,
[when soon after professional teachers were expelled from their wisdom, and all science and art was driven into exile,]

ne quid usquam honestum occurreret.
[and all so that nothing honorable should come to fruition.]

Dedimus profecto grande patientiae documentum; 
[I have given a completely grand example of endurance;]

et sicut vetus aetas vidit quid ultimum in libertate esset,
[and by this token, the old generation witnessed what the very last one could be, in a state of freedom,]

ita nos quid in servitute, 
[and thus what we manage in a condition of servitude,]

adempto per inquisitiones etiam loquendi audiendique commercio.
[now that, through our iniquities, the business of speaking and listening has now been erased.]

Memoriam quoque ipsam cum voce perdidissemus,
[We would have previously lost the memory itself, along with its speech,]

 si tam in nostra potestate esset oblivisci quam tacere.
[if it could be so forgotten in our capacity, rather than fall silent.]

Nunc demum redit animus;
[Now, finally, the faculty of mind returns;]

et quamquam primo statim beatissimi saeculi ortu Nerva Caesar res olim dissociabilis miscuerit,  principatum ac libertatem,
[and although, at first, before the sudden rise of a most blessed generation, emperor Nerva, at one point, tried to mix two opposite concepts, the Principate and democracy,]

augeatque cotidie felicitatem temporum Nerva Traianus,
[and everyday Nerva's son Trajan increases the felicity our times,]

nec spem modo ac votum securitas publica, sed ipsius voti fiduciam ac robur adsumpserit,
[not only did the people's safety gain hope and promise, but its vigor gained confidence in this promise,]

natura tamen infirmitatis humanae tardiora sunt remedia quam mala;
[and still, because of the nature of human frailty, remedies are slower than vices;]

et ut corpora nostra lente augescunt,
[and just as our bodies grow at a slow pace,]

cito extinguuntur,
[they are put down quickly,]

sic ingenia studiaque oppresseris facilius quam revocaveris:
[so too could you oppress ingenuity and progress more easily than redeem:]

subit quippe etiam ipsius inertiae dulcedo,
[why indeed, the sweetness of its inertia subsides even,]

et invisa primo desidia postremo amatur. 
[and although first despised, as soon as it is sedated, it is finally esteemed.]

Quid, si per quindecim annos, grande mortalis aevi spatium, multi fortuitis casibus, promptissimus quisque saevitia principis interciderunt,
[Why then, if for fifteen years, a grand space of mortal time, a slew of men perished, by coincidental accidents, each one by the savage nature of an emperor,]

pauci et, ut ita dixerim, non modo aliorum sed etiam nostri superstites sumus,
[and few of us, if I might say,are survivors, not only among other men, but I include myself,]

exemptis e media vita tot annis,
[when so many years had been taken away from the middle of a lifetime,]

 quibus iuvenes ad senectutem, senes prope ad ipsos exactae aetatis terminos per silentium venimus?
[after which we, once youths, reach old age, almost old men at the very ends of a life now finished in silence?]