You write two hundred lines a day, but don’t recite.
Varus, you are wise, if none too bright.

[Cum facias versus nulla non luce ducenos,
Vare, nihil recitas. Non sapis, atque sapis.]

Marcus Valerius Martial
Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 8, epigram 20 (8.20) (AD 94) [tr. McLean (2014)]

"To Varus." See also 2.88.

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Each day you make two hundred verses, sott,
But none recite: you're wise, and you are nott.
[16th C Manuscript]

You make two hundred verses in a trice;
But publish none: -- The man is mad and wise.
[tr. Hay (1755)]

You countless verses pen, each morn you rise;
Yet none recite: how witty, and how wise!
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 12, ep. 8]

Though you write two hundred verses every day, Varus, you recite nothing in public. You are unwise, and yet you are wise.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

Varus writes facile verse and keeps it mum.
He's weakly garrulous, and wisely dumb.
[tr. Street (1907)]

Every day Varus writes
Scores of verses, I've heard:
But he never recites.
He's both wise and absurd.
[tr. Nixon (1911), "The Wisest Fool"]

Although no day passes but you compose two hundred verses, Varus, you recite none of them. You have no wit -- and yet are wise.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

You write a hundred lines a day?
That means a crazy brain.
And yet you publish none, you say;
That shows that you are sane.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921), "The Wise Fool"]

Varus, two hundred lines each day that flies
You write and burn. How foolish -- and how wise!
[tr. Francis & Tatum (1924), ep. 401]

Although you write two hundred lines
Of poetry each day,
You shun our constant plea to let us
Hear your poetry.
Two hundred verses every day,
And I, with luck, one line!
You can't be good, though very good
Of you, sir, to decline!
[tr. Marcellino (1968)]

Although you make two hundred verses every day, Varus, you never recite. You are a fool, and you are no fool.
[tr. Shackleton Bailey (1993)]

He turns out verses by the ton,
But never publishes a one.
He is too dumb to be a poet,
But wise enough in fact to know it.
[tr. Wills (2007)]

Though Varus daily sits and writes --
Two hundred lines! -- he neither tries
To publish verses nor recites.
He's not too witty, but he's wise.
[tr. Barth]

Added on 21-Jul-23 | Last updated 27-Nov-23
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