Doubtless we’re all mistaken so — ’tis true,
Each is in something a Suffenus too:
Our neighbour’s failing on his back is shown,
But we don’t see the wallet on our own.

[Nimirum idem omnes fallimur, neque est quisquam
quem non in aliqua re videre Suffenum
possis. Suus cuique attributus est error,
sed non videmus manticae quod in tergo est.]

gaius valerius catullus
Catullus (c. 84 BC – c. 54 BC) Latin poet [Gaius Valerius Catullus]
Carmina # 22 “To Varus,” ll. 18-21 [tr. Cranstoun (1867)]

Discussing Suffenus, a prolific (but very mediocre) poet, who believes himself to be extremely clever and talented. The metaphor in the last few lines reference Aesop's fable of the two bags.

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Yet all to such errors are prone, I believe;
Each man in himself a Suffenus may find:
The failings of others we quickly perceive,
But carry our own imperfection behind.
[tr. Nott (1795), # 19]

Yet we are all, I doubt, in truth
Deceived like this complacent youth;
All, I am much afraid, demean us
In some one thing just like Suffenus.
For still to every man that lives
His share of errors Nature gives;
But they, as 'tis in fable sung,
Are in a bag behind us hung;
And our formation kindly lacks
The power to see behind our backs.
[tr. Lamb (1821)]

Yet, which of us is there but makes
About himself as odd mistakes?
In some one thing we all demean us
Not less absurdly than Suffenus;
For vice or failing, small or great,
Is dealt to every man by fate.
But in a wallet at our back
Do we our peccadilloes pack,
And, as we never look behind,
So out of sight is out of mind.
[tr. T. Martin (1861)]

Friend, 'tis the common error; all alike are wrong,
Not one, but in some trifle you shall eye him true
Suffenus; each man bears from heaven the fault they send,
None sees within the wallet hung behind, our own.
[tr. Ellis (1871)]

In sooth, we all thus err, nor man there be
But in some matter a Suffenus see
Thou canst: his lache allotted none shall lack
Yet spy we nothing of our back-borne pack.
[tr. Burton (1893)]

Still, we are all the same and are deceived, nor is there any man in whom you can not see a Suffenus in some one point. Each of us has his assigned delusion: but we see not what's in the wallet on our back.
[tr. Smithers (1894)]

True enough, we all are under the same delusion, and there is no one whom you may not see to be a Suffenus in one thing or another. Everybody has his own fault assigned to him: but we do not see that part of the bag which hangs on our back.
[tr. Warre Cornish (1904)]

After all, every man of us is deceived in the same way, nor is there any one in whom, in some trait or another, you cannot recognize a Suffenus. Every one has his weak point, but we do not see what lies in that part of our wallet which is behind our backs.
[tr. Stuttaford (1912)]

Sure, all men into some such error fall,
There's a Suffenus in us one and all,
Each has his proper fault and each is blind
To the wallet's other half that hangs behind.
[tr. MacNaghten (1925)]

Have we not all some faults like these?
Are we not all Suffenuses?
In others the defect we find,
But cannot see our sack behind.
[tr. Landor (c. 1926)]

And we (all of us) have the same rich glow, the rapture
when writing verse. And there is no one living
who cannot find within him something of Suffenus,
each his hallucination that blinds him,
nor can he nor his sharp eyes discover
the load on his own shoulders.
[tr. Gregory (1931)]

Well, we all fall this way! There's not a person
whom in some matter you can fail to see
to be Suffenus. We cart round our follies,
but cannot see the bags upon our backs.
[tr. Fraser (1961)]

Conceited? Yes, but show me a man who isn't:
someone who doesn't seem like Suffenus in something.
A glaring fault? It must be somebody else's:
I carry mine in my backpack & ignore them.
[tr. C. Martin (1979)]

Of course we’re all deceived in the same way, and
there’s no one who can’t somehow or other be seen
as a Suffenus. Whoever it is, is subject to error:
we don’t see the pack on our own back.
[tr. Kline (2001)]

Clearly we are all deceived in the same way, nor is there anyone
Whom you could see not to be Suffenus in some thing.
To each one of us one's own mistakes have been assigned;
but we do not see the knapsack which is on our back.
[tr. Drudy (1997)]

Ah well, we all make that mistake -- there's not
one of us whom you can't in some small way
see as Suffenus. Each reveals his inborn flaw --
and yet we're blind to the load on our own backs!
[tr. Green (2005)]

Evidently we all falter in the same way, and there is no one
whom you cannot see Suffenus in some fashion.
To each man is attributed his own error;
but we do not see the kind of knapsack which is on our back.
[tr. Wikibooks (2017)]

Evidently we all are deceived the same way, nor is there anyone
whom you are not able to see Suffenus in some way.
To each their own error has been assigned;
but we do not see the knapsack which is on our back.
[tr. Wikisource (2018)]

Added on 15-May-24 | Last updated 15-May-24
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