That Suffenus of yours, Varus, whom you have known well,
is attractive and well-spoken and sophisticated,
and the same man makes the most verses by far.
I think that either ten thousand or more have been written
by him, nor have they, as it is custom, been written
on palimpsests: [but] royal papers, new books,
new scroll-knobs, red leather-straps, skins,
aligned with lead and all things having been smoothed with pumice.
When you read these, that handsome and sophisticated
Suffenus is seen as a goat-milker or a digger
again: he shrinks back and changes by so much.
We think, why is this? He who just now was
seen as a jester by manner or somebody rather knowing about this thing,
the same one is duller than a dull countryside,
as soon as he touched poems, the same one is not ever as
equally happy as when he writes poetry:
he rejoices about himself and admires himself so much.
Evidently we all are deceived the same way, nor is there anyone
whom you are not able to see Suffenus in some way.
To each their own error has been assigned;
but we do not see the knapsack which is on our back.
Suffenus iste, Vare, quem probe nosti,
homo est venustus et dicax et urbanus,
idemque longe plurimos facit versus.
Puto esse ego illi milia aut decem aut plura
perscripta, nec sic, ut fit, in palimpsesto
relata: cartae regiae, novi libri,
novi umbilici, lora rubra, membranae,
derecta plumbo et pumice omnia aequata.
Haec cum legas tu, bellus ille et urbanus
Suffenus unus caprimulgus aut fossor
rursus videtur: tantum abhorret ac mutat.
Hoc quid putemus esse? Qui modo scurra
aut si quid hac re scitius videbatur,
idem infaceto est infacetior rure,
simul poemata attigit, neque idem umquam
aeque est beatus ac poema cum scribit:
tam gaudet in se tamque se ipse miratur.
Nimirum idem omnes fallimur, neque est quisquam
quem non in aliqua re videre Suffenum
possis. Suus cuique attributus est error;
sed non videmus manticae quod in tergo est.