Francesco Petrarch [Petrarch]
July 20, 1304 – July 19, 1374
Latin (Renaissance Era)
PETRARCAE M. TULLIO CICERONI S.P.D. (LIVER XXIV, EP. IV)
Si te superior offendit epistola
[If the letter above causes any offense to you]
(verum enim, ut ipse soles dicere, quod ait familiaris tuus in Andria:
[you see, to be honest, as you are accustomed to say what your own relative declares in the "Andria":]
"Obsequium amicos, veritas odium parit"),
["Obsequiousness gets you friends, while the truth gets you despise."]
accipe quod offensum animum ex parte mulceat,
[receive whatever might soothe a mind offended for no good reason,]
nec semper odiosa sit veritas;
[nor let truth ever be odious;]
quoniam veris reprehensionibus irascimur,
[since I grow angry at true critiques,]
veris laudibus delectamur.
[I find pleasure in true praise.]
Tu quidem, Cicero, quod pace tua dixerim,
[Indeed, Cicero, it is you, since I've spoken in a peace like yours,]
ut homo vixisti,
[as you once lived like a man,]
ut orator dixisti,
[as you once spoke like an orator,]
ut philosophus scripsisti.
[as you once wrote like a philosopher.]
Vitam ego tuam carpsi,
[It is I who once seized your biography,]
non ingenium aut linguam, ut qui illud mirer, hanc stupeam.
[let me not be amazed by your talent or linguistic talent, as I'm the kind of person to be impressed by that kind of thing.]
Neque tamen in vita tua quidquam praeter constantiam requiro,
[And yet, I don't seek anything beyond consistency in your biography,]
et professioni philosophicae debitum quietis studium,
[and the eagerness for peace and quiet that is owed to the profession of philosophy,]
et a civilibus bellis fugam.
[and an escape from civil wars.]
extincta libertate ac sepulta iam et complorata Republica.
[Then liberty was put out and already dead and buried, and the Republic was bemoaned.]
Vide ut aliter tecum ago ac tu cum Epicuro multis in locis,
[See that I act others in your accompaniment, and you, for your sake, alongside Epicurus in various places,]
sed expressius in libro De Finibus agebas.
[but you acted more expressly in your book, "On Boundaries."]
Eius enim ubilibet vitam probas,
[You see, every aspect of his life you approve,]
[you mock his ingenuity.]
Ego nihil in te rideo,
[But I don't mock you in any way,]
vitae tamen compatior,
[and yet, I your life,]
ut dixi, ingenio gratulor eloquiove.
[as I said, I commend your intelligence and eloquence.]
O Romani eloquii summe parens,
[O highest father of Roman eloquence,]
nec solus ego, sed omnes tibi gratias agimus,
[not only I, but all people, thank you,]
quicumque Latinae linguae floribus ornamur;
[I mean any of us who are adorned with the flowers of the Latin language,]
tuis enim prata de fontibus irrigamus,
[you see, we water our meadows from your fountains,]
tuo ductu directos, tuis suffragiis adiutos.
[we are men directed by your leadership and aided by your guidance.]
tuo nos lumine illustratos ingenue confitemur:
[by your light, we admit we have been illuminated by your genius:]
tuis denique, ut ita dicam, auspiciis ad hanc, quantulacumque est,
[finally, as I just said, by so ever little a degree it is, for this purpose and by your auspices,]
scribendi facultatem ac propositum pervenisse.
[it is possible to have reached this ability and purpose to write.]
Accessit et alter poeticae viae dux;
[And the another general has arrived at the poetry's road;]
ita enim necessitas poscebat.
[so you see, necessity demands so.]