Ludus Septem Sapientum
I.—Ausonius Consul Drepanio Proconsuli Sal.
Ignoscenda istaec an cognoscenda rearis, adtento, Drepani, perlege iudicio. aequanimus fiam te iudice, sive legenda, sive tegenda putes carmina, quae dedimus. 5nam primum est meruisse tuum, Pacate, favorem: proxima defensi cura pudoris erit. possum ego censuram lectoris ferre severi et possum modica laude placere mihi: novit equus plausae sonitum cervicis amare, 10novit et intrepidus verbera lenta pati. Maeonio qualem cultum quaesivit Homero censor Aristarchus normaque Zenodoti! pone obelos igitur primorum stigmata vatum: palmas, non culpas esse putabo meas; 15et correcta magis quam condemnata vocabo, adponet docti quae mihi lima viri. interea arbitrii subiturus pondera tanti optabo, ut placeam; si minus, ut lateam.
The Masque of The Seven Sages
I.—Ausonius the Consul to Drepanius the Proconsul sends Greeting
Read through these lines, Drepanius, needfully judging whether you think they should be pardoned or perused. With you as judge I shall be content, whether you think the verse I send worth conning or concealing. For my first aim, Pacatus, is to earn your countenance: to defend my modesty shall be my second thought. I can bear a stern reader’s criticism, and I can satisfy myself with a modest meed of praise: a horse learns to love the sound of a patted neck, learns also to endure the pliant lash unterrified. What finish did critic Aristarchus1 and Zenodotus2 with his rules demand in Maeonian Homer! Set down your brackets,3 then—brands which distinguish the chiefest bards: I will consider them marks of fame, not blame; and will call those passages corrected rather than condemned which the polish of a scholar’s taste shall mark against me. Meanwhile, ere I face a verdict of such weight, I ’ll hope to impress you; or else myself suppress.