Soothsayers by Quintus Ennius

For no Marsian augur (whom fools view with awe),
Nor diviner nor star-gazer, care I a straw;
The Egyptian quack, an expounder of dreams,
Is neither in science nor art what he seems;
Superstitious and shameless, they prowl through our streets,
Some hungry, some crazy, but all of them cheats.
Impostors who vaunt that to others they’ll show
A path, which themselves neither travel nor know.
Since they promise us wealth, if we pay for their pains,
Let them take from that wealth, and bestow what remains.

From: Dunlop, John, History of Roman Literature, From Its Earliest Period to the Augustan Age. In two volumes. Second Edition, Volume I, 1824, Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green: London, p. 96.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=NtFaAAAAcAAJ)

Date: 2nd century BCE (original in Latin); 1828 (translation in English)

By: Quintus Ennius (c239 BCE-c169 BCE)

Translated by: John Colin Dunlop (1785-1842)

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One Comment to “Soothsayers by Quintus Ennius”

  1. Julie, This translation works as a poem, but it’s probably more John Dunlop than Quintus Ennius. Roman poets didn’t use end rhyme so the translation probably uses different words than those that the poet used.

    Best, DG

    On Wed, Jul 18, 2018 at 9:31 PM, From Troubles of The World wrote:

    > flusteredduck posted: “For no Marsian augur (whom fools view with awe), > Nor diviner nor star-gazer, care I a straw; The Egyptian quack, an > expounder of dreams, Is neither in science nor art what he seems; > Superstitious and shameless, they prowl through our streets, Some hu” >

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