Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Suetonius, Life of Vergil

Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus [Suetonius]
69-130 AD
Trans RMBullard
Latin (Imperial Era)


P. VERGILIUS MARO Mantuanus parentibus modicis fuit
[Publius Vergilius Maro was born to parents of middle means,]

ac praecipue patre, quem quidam opificem figulum, plures Magi cuiusdam viatoris initio mercennarium,
mox ob industriam generum tradiderunt,
[and notably from a father whom certain people said was a sculptor of clay, but most think he was, in the beginning, a mercenary hired by a road engineer named Magus, but soon became his son in law, out of sheer hard work]

egregieque substantiae silvis coemendis et apibus curandis auxisse reculam.
[and that he had grown an estate of considerable fortune from bee-farming and forestry.]

Natus est Gn. Pompeio Magno M. Licinio Crasso primum conss. Iduum Octobrium die in pago qui Andes dicitur
[He was born in the consul year of Gnaeus Pompey the Great and Marcus Licinius Crassus, on the 1st Ides of October, in the district called Andes,]

et abest a Mantua non procul.
[and he was not far from Mantua.]

Praegnas eo mater somniavit enixam se laureum ramum,
[His mother pregnant with him dreamed that she was holding on to a laurel branch,]

quem contactu terrae coaluisse
[which she had then planted down, touching the earth]

 et excrevisse ilico in speciem maturae arboris
[and all of sudden, the appearance of a full-grown tree sprung out]

 refertaeque variis pomis et floribus,
[one with an assortment of fruits and blossoms,]

ac sequenti luce cum marito rus propinquum petens ex itinere devertit
[and as the dawn following, she, searching the neighboring countryside at the side of her husband, turn off the normal path of their journey,]

 atque in subiecta fossa partu levata est.
[and raised herself to the ditch beneath her to deliver their baby.]

 Ferunt infantem ut sit editus neque vagisse
[They say he, as an infant, as soon as he came into the world, never cried once]

 et adeo miti vultu fuisse,
[and had such a calm demeanor,]

 ut haud dubiam spem prosperioris geniturae iam tum daret.
[that even at that time, he gave certain hope of his good fortune to come.]

 Et accessit aliud praesagium,
[And another omen happened,]

 siquidem virga populea more regionis in puerperiis eodem statim loco depacta ita brevi evaluit tempore,
[that indeed, by the custom of the region, a stick from a poplar tree, once it was plucked down into the ground from its very first years, it sprouted in so brief a period of time]

 ut multo ante satas populos adaequavisset,
[that it had by far equaled fully grown poplar trees,]

quae arbor Vergilii ex eo dicta atque etiam consecrata est summa gravidarum ac fetarum religione suscipientium ibi et solventium vota.
[which is now called Vergil's tree, ever since that point, and has even been consecrated by the most devout sacrifice of pregnant animals, and in that place, that receive and accomplish their prayers.]

Initia aetatis Cremonae egit usque ad virilem togam,
[He spent the beginning of his life in Cremona until he donned his manly toga,]

quam XV anno natali suo accepit iisdem illis consulibus iterum duobus,
[which he received on his fifteen birthday, on the consul of the very same men,]

quibus erat natus,
[in which he was born,]

 evenitque ut eo ipso die Lucretius poeta decederet.
[and it happened that the poet Lucretius died on that very same day.]

 Sed Vergilius a Cremona Mediolanum et inde paulo post transiit in urbem.
[But after that, Vergil moved from Cremona to Mediolanum, and shortly after that, to the big city.]

Corpore et statura fuit grandi,
[He was a man of great stature and girth,]

aquilo colore, facie rusticana, valetudine varia;
[with a parched hue, a yeoman's appearance, and uneasy health;]

nam plerumque a stomacho et a faucibus ac dolore capitis laborabat,
[you see, he struggled mostly from stomach and throat problems, as well as headaches,]

sanguinem etiam saepe reiecit.
[and often he even coughed up blood.]

Cibi vinique minimi;
[He tolerated only the smallest amounts of food and wine;]

libidinis in pueros pronioris,
[he tended to be more turned on to boys,]

quorum maxime dilexit Cebetem et Alexandrum,
[of whom he liked Cebetus and Alexander the most,]

 quem secunda "Bucolicorum" egloga Alexim appellat,
[whom he calls Alexis in the second eclogue of his Bucolics,]

 donatum sibi ab Asinio Pollione,
[after he was given to him by Asinius Pollio,]

utrumque non ineruditum, Cebetem vero et poetam.
[and both of these boys were quite educated, in fact, Cebetus was even a poet.]

Vulgatum est consuesse eum et cum Plotia Hieria.
[And it was publicly known that he had attached himself to him, and at Plotia Hieria's side.]