Why are you laughing? Just change the name, and the story could be told of you.

[Quid rides? Mutato nomine de te / fabula narratur.]

Horace (65-8 BC) Roman poet and satirist [Quintus Horacius Flaccus]
Sermonum, I.1.69

Sometimes "... fabula de te narratur."

Alternate translations:
  • "Do you but change the name / Of you is saide the same."
  • "Change but the name, of you the tale is told."
  • "Change only the name and this story is also about you."
  • "Change but the name, and the tale is told of you."
  • "What are you laughing at? Just change the name and the joke's on you."
  • "You laugh? Well, just change the name and you'll find that this story, / as a matter of fact, means YOU." (tr. S.P. Bovie (2002))
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 9-Jul-10
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3 Responses to Sermonum, I.1.69

  1. marcelo papini says:

    I have found elsewhere, instead of “fabula de te narratur”, the phrase “de te fabula narratur”.

  2. *** Dave says:

    Huh. Well, looking up “mutato nomine horace” in Google, your version seems to be what’s out there. I’ll change it. Thanks!

  3. *** Dave says:

    Actually, now that I look at it, I find both arrangements. Odd. I’ll note one as an alternate.

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