Matho alleges that my book’s uneven.
He compliments my poems, if that’s true.
Calvinus and Umber write consistent books.
Consistent books are lousy through and through.
[Iactat inaequalem Matho me fecisse libellum:
Si verum est, laudat carmina nostra Matho.
Aequales scribit libros Calvinus et Umber:
Aequalis liber est, Cretice, qui malus est.]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 7, epigram 90 (7.90) [tr. McLean (2014)]
"To Creticus" (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:
Matho objects, my books unequal are;
If he says true, he praises ere aware.
Calvin and Umber write an equal strain:
Naught is the book that's free from heights, and plain.
[tr. Killigrew (1695)]
My book is unequal, a Matho may boast.
So saying, he knows not he cries it up most.
Books equal a Calvin and Umber did write;
But equally penn'd in poor Pallasses spite.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 3, ep. 15]
Matho exults that I have produced a book full of inequalities; if this be true, Matho only commends my verses. Books without inequalities are produced by Calvinus and Umber. A book that is all bad, Creticus, may be all equality.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]
I've writ, says Matho, an uneven book:
If that be true, then Matho lauds my verse.
Umber writes evenly, Calvinus too;
For even books, to be sure, are always bad.
[ed. Harbottle (1897)]Matho puts it abroad that I have composed an unequal book; if that is true, Matho praises my poems. Equal books are what Calvinus and Umber write: the equal book, Creticus, is the bad one.
[tr. Ker (1919)]
My work's uneven, you protest
And sometimes falls beneath my best;
A compliment, say I:
Dull bards on level planes that grope
Shall never err -- or soar -- with Pope,
Although they shine with Pye.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921), "The Dull Level"]
I write unequal verse, so Matho says;
If it be true his criticism's a praise.
Try Umber, Cluveienus by that test:
No, Creticus; bad's bad; good seldom best.
[tr. Francis & Tatum (1924), #382]
Matho exults and crows my book's uneven.
If that is true, he praises me. I'm glad.
Calvinus and Umber write books that are even.
Even books are books that are all bad.
[tr. Marcellino (1968)]
says my book
are dull books.
[tr. Goertz (1971)]
Matho spreads the word that I have made an uneven book. If so, Matho praises my poems. Calvinus adn Umber write even books. An even book, Creticus, is a bad book.
[tr. Shackleton Bailey (1993)]
Matho says my book's uneven.
He thinks he's quite the joker.
I'd rather have both highs and lows,
Than just be mediocre.
[tr. Ericsson (1995)]
Matho's one-word review of my small book:
"Uneven." I'm supposed to get all shook!
The scribblings of Calvinus and Umber
Are very "even" ... yet how they lumber.
I swear to you, Creticus, I thank God
My gift is for being quite frankly "odd."
[tr. Schmidgall (2001)]
Dour Matho offers me a "mixed review,"
To which contentedly I answer, "Whew!"
Most poets get reviews that are unmixed,
With every verse and stanza in them nixed.
[tr. Wills (2007)]
Smootus says my book is uneven.
I see this as praise of my work.
A bad book is fat with unvarying quality.
[tr. Kennelly (2008)]
Matho is crowing that I've "made an inconsistent book." If he's right, he's actually praising my poems. Calvinus and Umber write "consistent" books; if a book's "consistent," Creticus, it's consistently bad.
[tr. Nisbet (2015)]
Added on 8-Apr-22 | Last updated 8-Mar-23
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