Monday, May 21, 2012


Two Little Houses

Suetonius, De Grammmaticis 11.3 (tr. J.C. Rolfe; on the poet P. Valerius Cato):
He reached an advanced age, but in extreme poverty and almost in destitution, buried in a little hovel, after he had given up his villa at Tusculum to his creditors, as Bibaculus tells us:
If haply one has seen my Cato's house,
His shingles stained with red,
His garden over which Priapus watched:
One can but wonder by what training he
To such a height of wisdom has attained
That three small cabbages, half a pound of meal,
And clusters twain of grapes beneath one roof
Suffice for him when well-nigh at life's end.
The Latin:
vixit ad extremam senectam, sed in summa pauperie et paene inopia, abditus modico gurgustio, postquam Tusculana villa creditoribus cesserat, ut auctor est Bibaculus:
si quis forte mei domum Catonis,
depictas minio assulas, et illos
custodis videt hortulos Priapi:
miratur, quibus ille disciplinis
tantum sit sapientiam assecutus,
quem tres cauliculi, selibra farris,
racemi duo tegula sub una
ad summam prope nutriant senectam.
Robert A. Kaster's edition of Suetonius, De Grammaticis (Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1995), is unavailable to me. For commentary on Bibaculus' verses, see Edward Courtney, ed., The Fragmentary Latin Poets (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993; rpt. 2003), pp. 192-193, and Adrian S. Hollis, ed., Fragments of Roman Poetry c. 60 BC-AD 20 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), pp. 138-139.

Leonidas, in Greek Anthology 6.226 (tr. W.R. Paton):
This is Clito's little cottage, this his little strip of land to sow, and the scanty vineyard hard by, this is his patch of brushwood, but here Clito passed eighty years.
The same, tr. Kenneth Rexroth:
Here is Klito's little shack.
Here is his little corn-patch.
Here is his tiny vineyard.
Here is his little woodlot.
Here Klito spent eighty years.
The Greek:
τοῦτ᾽ <ὀλίγον> Κλείτωνος ἐπαύλιον, ἥ τ᾽ ὀλιγῶλαξ
  σπείρεσθαι, λιτός θ᾽ ὁ σχεδὸν ἀμπελεὼν,
τοῦτό τε † ῥωπεῖον ὀλιγόξυλον· ἀλλ᾽ ἐπὶ τούτοις
  Κλείτων ὀγδώκοντ᾽ ἐξεπέρησ' ἔτεα.
I don't have access to A.S.F. Gow and D.L. Page, edd., The Garland of Philip and Some Contemporary Epigrams (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1968).

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