Thou morning client, this is my retreat:
Go to the town and palace of the great.
No lawyer I, nor can your cause defend;
But old, and idle, and the muse’s friend.
Ease and repose I love, but if in vain
I seek them here; why not to town again?
[Matutine cliens, urbis mihi causa relictae,
Atria, si sapias, ambitiosa colas.
Non sum ego causidicus, nec amaris litibus aptus,
Sed piger et senior Pieridumque comes;
tia me somnusque iuvant, quae magna negavit
Roma mihi: redeo, si vigilatur et hic.]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 12, epigram 68 (12.68) [tr. Hay (1755)]
(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:
Whoe'er in town dist morning-homage pay,
And wast one cause, why thence I win'd my way;
Hunt now ambition's hants, let me advise;
And learn, at least in this, learn to be wise.
I am no brangler, nor can hairs untwine:
My growing age asks ease, yet woos the Nine.
Scenes are my joy, for which at Rome I sigh'd:
But thither I return, if here deni'd.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 2, ep. 136]
O clients, that beset me in the morning, and who were the cause of my departure from Rome, frequent, if you are wise, the lordly mansions of the city. I am no lawyer, nor fitted for pleading troublesome causes, but inactive, somewhat advanced in years, and a votary of the Pierian sisters. I wish to enjoy repose and slumber, which great Rome denied; but I must return thither, if I am to be equally hunted here.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]
Morning client, the cause of my leaving Rome, you would court, were you wise, the halls of greatness. No pleader am I, nor fitted for bitter lawsuits, but an indolent man and one growing old, and the comrade of the Muses. Ease and sleep attract me, and great Rome denied me these; I return if I am sleepless even here.
[tr. Ker (1919)]
I fled from Rome and early calls,
So, Spanish friends, I pray you,
Be wise and seek the lordly halls
Of those who can repay you.
I hate the courts, and legal strife
My lazy mind refuses,
For I am getting on in life
And love to serve the Muses;
Unbroken sleep I love; the stir
And din of Rome destroy it;
But I am going back to her
If here I can't enjoy it.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]
You want a patron, and you pester me --
Exactly what made me the City flee.
You're not at some ambitious lawyer's door.
A poet now retired, I'd rather snore.
If Rome you are inflicting on me here,
Then backward to the real one I must steer.
[tr. Wills (2007)]
You early-morning client -- you're the reason I left Rome. If you had sense, you'd hang around the lobbies of people who care about appearances. I'm no barrister, I've no head for bitter litigation: I'm sleepy, I'm getting old, I hang out with the Muses; what I like is free time and sleep, the very things that mighty Rome wouldn't let me have. If there are early mornings even here, I'm going back.
[tr. Nisbet (2015)]
Morning appointment -- my reason for leaving the city --
If you knew better, you would visit more ambitious homes.
I am no lawyer, no man prepared for harsh suits,
I am a lazy and aging friend of the Muses.
Sleep and leisure make me happy -- the very things
Which Rome denied me. But I’ll go back if I can’t sleep here.
[tr. @sentantiq (2018)]
Added on 17-Dec-21 | Last updated 17-Dec-21
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