Laus Pisonis

LCL 284: 294-295

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Minor Latin Poets

Laus Pisonis

Unde prius coepti surgat mihi carminis ordo quosve canam titulos, dubius feror. hinc tua, Piso, nobilitas veterisque citant sublimia Calpi nomina, Romanas inter fulgentia gentes; 5hinc tua me virtus rapit et miranda per omnes vita modos: quae, si desset tibi forte creato nobilitas, eadem pro nobilitate fuisset. nam quid imaginibus, quid avitis fulta triumphis atria, quid pleni numeroso consule fasti 10profuerint, cui vita labat? perit omnis in illo gentis honos, cuius laus est in origine sola. at tu, qui tantis animum natalibus aequas, et partem tituli, non summam, ponis in illis, ipse canendus eris: nam quid memorare necesse est, 15ut domus a Calpo nomen Calpurnia ducat claraque Pisonis tulerit cognomina prima, humida callosa cum “pinseret” hordea dextra? nec si cuncta velim breviter decurrere possim; et prius aethereae moles circumvaga flammae 20annua bissenis revocabit mensibus astra,

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Panegyric on Piso

Panegyric on Piso

Uncertain are my feelings where first should start the order of the poem which I have undertaken, or what titles of honour I should chant. On the one hand, Piso, comes the summons of your noble rank with the exalted names of ancient Calpus, a resplendent among the clans of Rome: on the other, I am thrilled by your own merit, your life in every phase inspiring admiration—such a life as would have been equal to nobility, if nobility had perchance not been yours at birth. For what shall halls strengthened by images and triumphs ancestral, b what shall archives filled with many a consulate, profit the man of unstable life? In him whose only merit is birth, the whole honour of a family is lost. But you, gifted with a mind to match your high descent in which you set a part but not the whole of your renown, you will yourself be a fit theme for song. What need to record how the Calpurnian house derives its name from Calpus and won its first famous surname of Piso for pounding (pi(n)seret) the moist barley with hard-skinned hand? I could not, if I would, rehearse the whole in brief; the circling mass of heavenly flame c will in a twelvemonth recall its yearly con-

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.laus_pisonis.1934