Roman Poetry V - Phaedrus

The Fables of Phaedrus, Book IV, Epilogue 5
Phaedrus (15BC-50AD)


There are still remaining many things which I might say,
and there is a copious abundance of subjects;
but though witticisms, well-timed, are pleasing;
out of place, they disgust. Wherefore, most upright
Particulo, a name destined to live in my writings,
so long as a value shall continue to be set upon the
Latin literature, if you like not my genius, at least
approve my brevity, which has the more just claim
to be commended, seeing how wearisome Poets usually are.

Phaedr. IV. Epil 5 sq

The Original:

Epilogus: Poeta ad Particulonem

Adhuc supersunt multa quae possim loqui,
et copiosa abundat rerum uarietas;
sed temperatae suaues sunt argutiae,
immodicae offendunt. Quare, uir sanctissime,
ep.,Particulo, chartis nomen uicturum meis,
Latinis dum manebit pretium litteris,
si non ingenium, certe breuitatem adproba;
quae commendari tanto debet iustius,
quanto cantores sunt molesti ualidius.

Obviously, then, Phaedrus took seriously his small talent. When in 4 epil 4-6 he promises Particulo that his name shall live so long as Latin literature remains because he mentions him in his fables, Phaedrus is laying claim in conventional manner to being a serious author, not a mere versifying trifler. In the political sphere gloria was for the Romans the natural concomitant and reward of virtus, and within the Greco-Roman cultural tradition artists nourished the same hope of renown for their work with posterity.
- Principat: Sprache und Literatur by Wolfgang Haase