Catullus 22

That Suffenus, Varus, whom you know to be good,
Is a lovely man, and witty, urbane,
And notwithstanding, makes many long verses.
I think he has written our ten thousand or
More, nor thus, as it is done, are they set
In common parchment: new books of kingly
Paper, new rods, bindings, a ruddy cover,
All ruled with lead, and smoothed evenly with pumice.
When you read these, that beautiful and urbane
Suffensus at once seems a rural goatherd and
Ditch-digger: so much he changes and shocks.
Is this what we should think him to be? Who seemed
Just now a gentleman, or anything more polished than this,
Himself is more witless than a witless countryman
As soon as he goes about poetry, nor ever equally
Is he content as when he will write verses:
For he rejoices in himself, and marvels at himself.
Doubtless, we all are deceived, for there is none
Whom you are in their work, unable to see
Suffenus. To each is attributed his own error,
But we are unable to see what is in the bag on our back.


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