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Bill Thayer

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This webpage reproduces one of the
Carmina Minora


published in the Loeb Classical Library,

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!

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Apology to Alethius, the Quaestor.1

 p201  [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] XXIII (LXXIV)

As I hope never to cross the plains of Ethiopia beneath a summer sun, never to pass a winter naked  p201 beneath the northern pole, never to entrust my bellying sails to the Ionian Sea what time the Kids bring round the rainy nights, never, driven by the Furies' hellish blows, to re-read the verses of an angry pedant,2 'twas not, I swear, impudent effrontery that moved me, nor did my tongue exceed a just outspokenness. I admit I incautiously found fault with a few lines, not realizing, luckless wight, the heinousness of my offence. Others attack the books of Orpheus and nothing is said; nor does thy fame, Maro, support thee in safety. The very father of poetry, Homer, lord of Helicon, knew the stigma of the censor's pen. yet neither Vergil nor Homer complains, for neither was a quaestor and both were poor. See, then, I applaud! See, in terror I praise every word and loudly cry again and again "bravo!" Let him be appeased and pardon at last, let him cease from wrath — and with secure voice recite whate'er he will; I applaud.

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 Nothing is known about this Alethius.

2 The "pedant" is doubtless Alethius himself and the "verses" the very poem which Claudian has already read once and criticized unfavourably.

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Page updated: 10 Aug 07