You recite no verse, Mamercus, but claim you write.
Claim what you like — so long as you don’t recite.

[Nil recitas et vis, Mamerce, poeta videri.
Quidquid vis esto, dummodo nil recites.]

Marcus Valerius Martial
Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 2, epigram 88 (2.88) (AD 86) [tr. McLean (2014)]

"To Mamercus." (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

You'd Poet seem, yet nothing you rehearse:
Be what you will, so we ne'er hear your verse.
[tr. Wright (1663)]

Thou would'st a poet be, yet nought dost write:
Be what thou wilt, so nought thou dost indite.
[tr. Killigrew (1695)]

Arthur, they say, has wit. "For what?
For writing?" No -- for writing not.
[tr. Swift (early 18th C)]

Nought you recite, and would be pris'd a poet?
Be what you will, so no reciting blow it.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), 12.18]

You don't recite, but would be deemed a poet;
You shall be Homer -- so you do not show it.
[tr. Byron (early 19th C)]

You don't recite; but still would seem a poet.
You shall be Homer, so you do not show it.
[tr. Byron (early 19th C), alt.]

You recite nothing, and you wish, Mamercus, to be thought a poet. Be whatever you will, only do not recite.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

Though you never have read us a line of your verse,
You insist on our thinking you write.
Yes, yes, be a poet; be anything else --
If only you'll forbear to recite.
[tr. Nixon (1911)]

You recite nothing, and yet wish, Mamercus, to be held a poet. Be what you like -- provided you recite nothing.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

You never recite, though you pose as a poet.
Well, for that many thanks: we will gladly forgo it.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]

You'd like to be thought of as a poet
but refuse to recite your material?
Be what you want, Mammercus; the public
will tolerate you so long as you don't inflict
your verse on public nerves.
[tr. Bovie (1970)]

You recite nothing and want to be considered a poet, Mamercus. Be what you like, so long as you recite nothing.
[tr. Shackleton Bailey (1993)]

Added on 24-Mar-23 | Last updated 27-Nov-23
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