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Juvenal
(Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis)
Roman satirist
(c. AD 60 - c. 130)



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Semper ego auditor tantum?
Must I always be a mere listener?
-- Satires, no. 1, line 1

Probitas laudatur et alget.
Honesty is praised and starves.
Alternative translations: Honesty is praised and left to shiver. Honesty is praised and is left out in the cold.
-- Satires, no. 1, line 74

Si natura negat, facit indignatio versum.
Even if nature says no, indignation makes me write verse.
-- Satires, no. 1, line 79

Quidquid agunt homines, votum timor ira voluptas
Gaudia discursus nostri farrago libelli est.

Everything mankind does, their hope, fear, rage, pleasure,
joys, business, are the hotch-potch of my little book.
-- Satires, no. 1, line 85

Poena tamen praesens, cum tu deponis amictus
turgidus et crudum pavonem in balnea portas.
hinc subitae mortes atque intestata senectus;
it nova nec tristis per cunctas fabula cenas:
ducitur iratis plaudendum funus amicis.

But you will soon pay for it, my friend, when you take off your clothes,
and with distended stomach carry your peacock into the bath undigested!
Hence a sudden death, and an intestate old age;
the new and merry tale runs the round of every dinner-table,
and the corpse is carried forth to burial amid the cheers of enraged friends!
-- Satires, no. 1, line 142

Quis tulerit Gracchos de seditione querentes?
Who would put up with the Gracchi complaining of subversion?
-- Satires, no. 2, line 24

Dat veniam corvis, vexat censura columbas.
Censure condemns the doves while while acquitting the ravens.
-- Satires, no. 2, line 63

Nemo repente fuit turpissimus.
No man ever became extremely wicked all at once.
-- Satires, no. 2, line 83
Compare:
"There is a method in man’s wickedness, — It grows up by degrees.
-- Beaumont and Fletcher, A King and No King, act v, scene 4

... me nemo ministro fur erit, atque ideo nulli comes exeo
... no one shall be a thief by my co-operation, and therefore no governor will take me on his staff
Alternative translation: No man will get my help in robbery, and therefore no governor will take me on his staff
-- Satires, no. 3, line 46

Grammaticus, rhetor, geometres, pictor, aliptes,
Augur, schoenobates, medicus, magus, omnia novit
Graeculus esuriens: in caelum iusseris ibit.

Scholar, public speaker, geometrician, painter, physical training instructor,
Diviner of the future, rope-dancer, doctor, magician, the hungry little Greek
Can do everything: send him to heaven and he'll go there.
-- Satires, no. 3, line 76

Nil habet infelix paupertas durius in se,
quam quod ridiculos homines facit.

Bitter poverty has no harder pang
than that it makes men ridiculous.
Alternative translation (by Samuel Johnson):
Of all the Griefs that harass the Distrest,
Sure the most bitter is a scornful Jest.
-- Satires, no. 3, lines 152-3

Haut facile emergunt quorum virtutibus opstat
res angusta domi.

It is not easy for men to rise whose qualities are thwarted
by straightened circumstances at home.
-- Satires, no. 3, line 164

Hic vivimus ambitiosa paupertate omnes.
We all live in a state of ambitious poverty.
-- Satires, no. 3, line 182

... Omina Romae
Cum pretio.

Everything in Rome has its price.
-- Satires, no. 3, line 183

Vitam impendere vero.
Dedicate one’s life to truth.
-- Satires, no. 4, line 91

Rara avis in terris nigroque simillima cycno.
A rare bird on this earth, like nothing so much as a black swan.
-- Satires, no. 6, line 165

Hoc volo, sic iubeo, sit pro ratione voluntas.
I will have this done, so I order it done; let my will replace reasoned judgement.
-- Satires, no. 6, line 223

Nulla fere causa est, in qua non femina litem moverit.
There's hardly a case that comes to court that is not inspired by a woman.
-- Satires, no. 6, line 242 (Niall Rudd, tr.)

Nunc patimur longae pacis mala, saevior armis
luxuria incubuit victumque ulciscitur orbem.

We are now suffering the evils of a long peace. Luxury, more
deadly than war, broods over the city, and avenges a conquered world.
-- Satires, no. 6, line 292

'Pone seram, cohibe.' Sed quis custodiet ipsos
custodes? Cauta est et ab illis incipit uxor.

'Bolt her in, keep her in indoors.' But who is to guard
the guards themselves. Your wife is prudent and begins with them.
-- Satires, no. 6, line 347

Tenet insanabile multos
Scribendi cacoethes et aegro in corde senescit.

Many suffer from the incurable disease of writing,
and it become chronic in their sick minds.
-- Satires, no. 7, line 51

Occidet miseros crambe repitita magistros.
Warmed up cabbage wore out the wretched teachers.
-- Satires, no. 7, line 154

Nobilitas sola est atque unica virtus.
Virtue is the one and only nobility.
-- Satires, no. 8, line 20

Summum crede nefas animam praeferre pudori
et propter vitam vivendi perdere causas.

Count it the greatest sin to prefer life to honour,
and for the sake of living to lose what makes life worth living.
Alternative translation:
Count it the greatest sin to prefer mere existence to honour,
and for the sake of life to lose the reasons for living.
-- Satires, no. 8, line 83

Cantabit vacuus coram latrone viator.
The traveller with empty pockets will sing in the thief's face.
Alternative translation: Travel light and you can sing in the robber's face.
-- Satires, no. 10, line 22

Nam qui dabat olim
imperium, fasces, legiones, omnia, nunc se
continet atque duas tantum res anxius optat,
panem et circenses.

The people that once bestowed
commands, consulships, legions, and all else,
now meddles no more and longs eagerly for just two things —
bread and circuses!
-- Satires, no. 10, line 78

... I, demens, et saevas currite per Alpes
Ut pueris placeas et declamatio fias.

Off you go, madman, and hurry across the horrible Alps,
duly to delight schoolboys and to become a subject for practising speech-making.
-- On Hannibal, in: Satires, no. 10, line 166

Orandum est ut sit mens sana in corpore sano.
You should pray for a sound mind in a sound body.
-- Satires, no. 10, line 356

Voluptates commendat rarior usus.
The less we indulge our pleasures the more we enjoy them.
-- Satires, no. 11, line 208 (Niall Rudd, tr.)

... Prima est haec ultio, quod se
Iudice nemo nocens absolvitur.

This is the first of punishments, that
no guilty man is acquitted if judged by himself.
-- Satires, no. 13, line 2

Quippe minuti
Semper et infirmi est animi exiguique voluptas
Ultio.

Indeed,
revenge is always the pleasure of a paltry, feeble, tiny mind.
-- Satires, no. 13, line 189

Maxima debetur puero reverentia, siquid
Turpe paras, nec tu pueri contempseris annos.

A child is owed the greatest respect; if you ever
have something disgraceful in mind, don't ignore your son's tender years.
-- Satires, no. 14, line 47


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The selection of the above quotes and the writing of the accompanying notes was performed by the author David Paul Wagner.

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