Sed nec pelle tamen; laeto omnes accipe vultu,
Quos, quas, vel quales, inde vel unde viros.
Gratus erit quicunque venit, gratissimus hospes
Quisquis erit, facilis difficilisque mihi.
Nam si culparit, quaedam culpasse juvabit,
Culpando faciet me meliora sequi.
Sed si laudarit, neque laudibus efferar ullis,
Sit satis hisce malis opposuisse bonum.
Haec sunt quae nostro placuit mandare libello,
Et quae dimittens dicere jussit Herus.
DEMOCRITUS JUNIOR TO HIS BOOK
PARAPHRASTIC METRICAL TRANSLATION.
forth my book into the open day;
Happy, if made so by its garish eye.
O’er earth’s wide surface take thy vagrant way,
To imitate thy master’s genius try.
The Graces three, the Muses nine salute,
Should those who love them try to con thy lore.
The country, city seek, grand thrones to boot,
With gentle courtesy humbly bow before.
Should nobles gallant, soldiers frank and brave
Seek thy acquaintance, hail their first advance:
From twitch of care thy pleasant vein may save,
May laughter cause or wisdom give perchance.
Some surly Cato, Senator austere,
Haply may wish to peep into thy book:
Seem very nothing—tremble and revere:
No forceful eagles, butterflies e’er look.
They love not thee: of them then little seek,
And wish for readers triflers like thyself.
Of ludeful matron watchful catch the beck,
Or gorgeous countess full of pride and pelf.
They may say “pish!” and frown, and yet read on:
Cry odd, and silly, coarse, and yet amusing.
Should dainty damsels seek thy page to con,
Spread thy best stores: to them be ne’er refusing:
Say, fair one, master loves thee dear as life;
Would he were here to gaze on thy sweet look.
Should known or unknown student, freed from strife
Of logic and the schools, explore my book:
Cry mercy critic, and thy book withhold:
Be some few errors pardon’d though observ’d:
An humble author to implore makes bold.
Thy kind indulgence, even undeserv’d,
Should melancholy wight or pensive lover,
Courtier, snug cit, or carpet knight so trim
Our blossoms cull, he’ll find himself in clover,
Gain sense from precept, laughter from our whim.
Should learned leech with solemn air unfold
Thy leaves, beware, be civil, and be wise:
Thy volume many precepts sage may hold,