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Decimus Magnus Ausonius (c. 310 – c. 395) was a Gallo-Roman poet, rhetorician and consul.


  • Jejunis nil scribo: meum post pocula si quis
    legerit, hic sapiet.
    Sed magis hic sapiet, si dormiet: et putet ista
    somnia missa sibi.
    • I've never written for a fasting man;
      A taste of wine is good before my verse.
      But sleep is better than a little wine,
      For when sleeping one thinks my songs are dreams.
    • "De Bissula", line 13; translation from Harold Isbell (trans.) The Last Poets of Imperial Rome (1971) p. 48.
  • Quis color ille vadis, seras cum propulit umbras
    Hesperus et viridi perfudit monte Mosellam!
    tota natant crispis iuga motibus et tremit absens
    pampinus et vitreis vindemia turget in undis.
    • What colour are they now, thy quiet waters?
      The evening star has brought the evening light,
      And filled the river with the green hillside;
      The hill-tops waver in the rippling water,
      Trembles the absent vine and swells the grape
      In thy clear crystal.
    • "Mosella", line 192; translation from Helen Waddell Mediaeval Latin Lyrics ([1929] 1943) p. 31.
  • Errantes silva in magna et sub luce maligna
    inter harundineasque comas gravidumque papaver
    et tacitos sine labe lacus, sine murmure rivos,
    quorum per ripas nebuloso lumine marcent
    fleti, olim regum et puerorum nomina, flores.
    • They wander in deep woods, in mournful light,
      Amid long reeds and drowsy headed poppies
      And lakes where no wave laps, and voiceless streams,
      Upon whose banks in the dim light grow old
      Flowers that were once bewailèd names of kings.
    • "Cupido Cruciator", line 5; translation from Helen Waddell Mediaeval Latin Lyrics ([1929] 1943) p. 31.
  • Tot species, tantosque ortus variosque novatus
    una dies aperit, conficit ipsa dies.
    • So many lovely things, so rare, so young,
      A day begat them, and a day will end.
    • "De Rosis Nascentibus", line 39; translation from Helen Waddell Mediaeval Latin Lyrics ([1929] 1943) p. 29.
    • This poem used to be misattributed to Virgil, but is now usually ascribed to Ausonius.
  • Collige, virgo, rosas, dum flos novus et nova pubes,
    et memor esto aevum sic properare tuum.
    • O maid, while youth is with the rose and thee,
      Pluck thou the rose: life is as swift for thee.
    • "De Rosis Nascentibus", line 49; translation from Helen Waddell Mediaeval Latin Lyrics ([1929] 1943) p. 29.
  • Monumenta fatiscunt:
    mors etiam saxis nominibusque venit.
    • His monuments decay, and death comes even to his marbles and his names.
    • "Epitaphia" 31: De Nomine Cuiusdam Lucii Sculpto in Marmore, line 10; translation from Hugh Gerard Evelyn White Ausonius ([1919-21] 1951) vol. 1, p. 159.
  • Omne aevum curae; cunctis sua displicet aetas.
    • Every stage of life has its troubles, and no man is content with his own age.
    • Eclogae 2, line 10; translation from Hugh Gerard Evelyn White Ausonius ([1919-21] 1951) vol. 1, p. 165.
  • Multis terribilis timeto multos.
    • If many dread you, then beware of many.
    • "Septem Sapientium Sententiae" 4: Periander Corinthius, line 5; translation from Hugh Gerard Evelyn White Ausonius ([1919-21] 1951) vol. 2, p. 275.
  • Iniurium est de poeta male sobrio lectorem abstemium iudicare.
    • It is outrageous that a strictly abstemious reader should sit in judgement on a poet a little drunk.
    • Griphus Ternarii Numeri, "Ausonio Symmacho"; translation from Helen Waddell The Wandering Scholars ([1927] 1954) p. 37.


  • In the history of versification did anyone ever juggle so wildly well with iambics, sapphics, dactylics, anapestics, and all the rest? He fabricated verses most ingeniously, most enthusiastically. His virtuosity is amazing. Almost every line he wrote was a tour de force. And in spite of all this highly self-conscious technical facility he managed occasionally to write poetry.
    • Edward Townsend Booth God Made the Country (1946) p. 37.
  • Ausonius must be read to be believed! As poet, no subject is too trivial for him; as courtier, no flattery too excessive.
  • It is the things which Ausonius reveals unconsciously that win him liking, not those which he sets out to celebrate with a kind of innocent pomp: not the chair of rhetoric at twenty-five, nor the imperial tutorship in his fifties, nor the consulship at sixty-nine, but that he loved and taught rhetoric all his life, and kept his simplicity.
    • Helen Waddell Mediaeval Latin Lyrics ([1929] 1943) p. 291.

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