Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus [Suetonius]
Latin (Imperial Era)
C. SVETONI TRANQVILLVI DE POETIS
M. ANNAEUS LUCANUS CORDUBENSIS prima ingenii experimenta in "Neronis laudibus" dedit quinquennali certamine,
[Marcus Annaeus Lucan, of Cordoba, gave a 15-year effort in the first application of his talent to his "Praise of Nero"]
dein "Civile Bellum," quod a Pompeio et Caesare gestum est, recitavit,
[and then, he recited his "Civil War", the one that was waged between Pompey and Caesar,]
ut praefatione quadam aetatem et initia sua cum Vergilio comparans ausus sit dicere:
[such that he dared to say the following, as though he were invoking his own generation and beginning through Vergil's words:]
"et quantum mihi restat
["and how much of "Ad Culicem" do I have left?"]
Hic initio adolescentiae, cum ob infestum matrimonium patrem suum ruri agere longissime cognovisset
[At this point, in the beginning of his youth, he lived in his life way out of the countryside, on account of a politically dangerous marriage,]
*** Revocatus Athenis a Nerone
[but he was recalled from Athens by Nero,]
cohortique amicorum additus
[and included among the cohort of his associates]
atque etiam quaestura honoratus,
[and was even appointed a position as quaestor,]
non tamen permansit in gratia.
[Nevertheless, he did not remain in his good graces.]
Siquidem aegre ferens,
[And so he took this rather personally,]
recitante se subito ac nulla nisi refrigerandi sui causa indicto senatu recessisse,
[and taking up the habit of reciting his written works, he departed from the senate, by no other reason except that his connections had grown cold,]
neque verbis adversus principem neque factis exstantibus post haec temperavit,
[though he neither tried to speak against the emperor in his words, nor did anything of the sort, except for the following,]
adeo ut quondam in latrinis publicis clariore cum strepitu ventris emissi hemistichium Neronis magna consessorum fuga pronuntiarit:
[such that it happened that, one time, in the public bathrooms, he announced in public that a great exodus of fellow restroom-goes would be scared away by the tremendous rip of one of Nero's BMs]
"Sub terris tonuisse putes."
["You'd think that it had thundered beneath the earth itself."]
Sed et famoso carmine cum ipsum tum potentissimos amicorum gravissime proscidit.
[But, with this famous song of his, he not only showed dissent, in the sharpest tones, but also his most powerful friends.]
Ad extremum paene signifer Pisonianae coniurationis exstitit,
[Barely did the leader of Piso's conspiracy meet his end,]
multus in gloria tyrannicidarum palam praedicanda ac plenus minarum,
[than he openly basked in the glory of predicting the tyrant's death, all full of threats he was,]
usque eo intemperans ut Caesaris caput proximo cuique iactaret.
[even to the point that he was itching to have Caesar's head tossed about from person to person.]
Verum detecta coniuratione nequaquam parem animi constantiam praestitit;
[However, when the plot was revealed, he found no similar boldness of mind;]
facile enim confessus
[you see, he quickly confessed,]
et ad humillimas devolutus preces matrem quoque innoxiam inter socios nominavit,
[and after he broke down to the most humiliating bout of begging, he also ratted out his mother's name, though she remained uncharged among her fellow conspirators,]
sperans impietatem sibi apud parricidam principem profuturam.
[as he hoped that the emperor might find it advantageous to commit the murder of his own mother.]
Impetrato autem mortis arbitrio libero codicillos ad patrem corrigendis quibusdam versibus suis exaravit,
[Nevertheless, after his execution was officially ordered by her son, he scribbled out a few books whoses lines needed editing,]
epulatusque largiter brachia ad secandas venas praebuit medico.
[and after having a tremendous feast, he had his doctor slit the veins to his lungs.]
Poemata eius etiam praelegi memini,
[Even I remember him reading his poetry,]
confici vero ac proponi venalia non tantum operose et diligenter sed inepte quoque.
[and his sold works were completed and put on the market, but not so meticulously, and diligently at times, and even ineptly at others.]