Monday, July 25, 2011

Petrarch, Letter to Cicero

Francesco Petrarch [Petrarch]
July 20, 1304 – July 19, 1374
Trans RMBullard
Latin (Renaissance Era)


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,]

 rides ingenium.
[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.]