Section 25

1. Nam cum ōlim, audītā fidē eius vitā atque virtūte, dēsīderiō illius aestuārēmus, grātam nobis ad eum videndum suscēpimus peregrīnātiōnem: simul quia iam ardēbat animus vītam illius scrībere, partim ab ipsō, in quantum ille interrogārī potuit, sciscitātī sumus, partim ab hīs, quī interfuerant vel sciēbant, cognōvimus. 2. quō quidem tempore crēdī nōn potest, quā mē humilitāte, quā benignitāte suscēperit, congrātulātus plūrimum et gāvīsus in Dominō, quod tantī esset habitus ā nobis, quem peregrīnātiōne susceptā expeterēmus. 3. miserum mē — paene nōn audeō cōnfitērī — cum mē sānctō convīviō suō dignātus esset adhibēre, aquam manibus nostrīs ipse obtulit, ad vesperum autem pedēs ipse nobis abluit. nec renītī aut contrā īre cōnstantia fuit: ita auctōritāte illius oppressus sum, ut nefās putārem, sī nōn adquiēvissem. 4. sermō autem illius nōn alius apud nōs fuit, quam mundī illecebrās et saeculī onera relinquenda, ut Dominum Iēsum līberī expedītīque sequerēmur: praestantissimumque nobis praesentium temporum illustris virī Paulīnī, cuius suprā fēcimus mentiōnem, exemplum ingerēbat, quī summīs opibus abiectīs Christum secūtus sōlus paene hīs temporibus ēvangelica praecepta complēsset: 5. illum nobis sequendum, illum clāmābat imitandum: beātumque esse praesēns saeculum tantae fideī virtūtisque documentō, cum secundum sententiam Dominī dīves et possidēns multa vendendō omnia et dandō pauperibus, quod erat factū impossibile, possibile fēcisset exemplō. 6. iam vērō in verbīs et cōnfābulātiōne eius quanta gravitās, quanta dignitās erat! quam ācer, quam efficax erat, quam in absolvendīs scriptūrārum quaestiōnibus promptus et facilis! 7. et quia multōs ad hanc partem incrēdulōs sciō, quippe quōs vīderim mē ipsō etiam referente nōn crēdere, Iēsum testor spemque commūnem mē ex nūllius umquam ōre tantum scientiae, tantum ingeniī tantum tam bonī et tam pūrī sermōnis audīsse. 8. quamquam in Martīnī virtūtibus quantula est ista laudātio! nisi quod mīrum est hominī illitterātō nē hanc quidem grātiam dēfuisse.

olim audita fide eius vita atque virtute: 'having heard long ago of his faith, his life, and his virtue'.

aestuaremus: 'I was burning'. The first person plural here, as in suscepimusnobissciscitati sumus and cognovimus below, is polite and refers to Sulpicius alone.

in quantum: 'in so far as'.

sciscitati sumus . . . cognovimus: 'I inquired . . . I gained knowledge'. sciscitor, -ari, -tatus sum: inquire thoroughly.

credi non potest: 'it cannot be believed', 'it is incredible'.

congratulatus plurimum et gavisus: 'expressing great happiness and rejoicing'. congratulor, -ari, atus sum: rejoice (eccl.); gaudeo, -ēre, gavisus sum.

quod tanti esset habitus: 'because he was considered to be of such great worth'. tanti is genitive of value (AG 417).

quem . . . expeteremus: 'that I sought him out', subjunctive in a relative clause of result (AG 537).

cum me sancto convivio suo dignatus esset adhibere: 'when he considered me worthy to invite to his holy feast', i.e. a dinner. dignor (1): consider worthy. adhibeo, -ēre: invite (as a guest), summon (to a feast, etc.).

nec . . . constantia fuit: (sc. mihi) 'nor did I have the strength of will'.

si non adquievissem: 'if I had not consented (> adquiesco, -ere, -evi).

non alius . . . quam: '(about) nothing but'.

praesentissimum . . . exemplum ingerebat: 'he repeatedly brought up the most outstanding example' (ingero, -ere: to din into a person's ears, say repeatedly).

Paulini: Paulinus of Nola, a wealthy man who sold his possessions and devoted himself to the life of the church; also a friend of Sulpicius, and one of the most prominent poets of this period.

solus paene . . . complesset: 'almost alone had fulfilled', i.e. 'was practically the only one who had fulfilled'.

beatum . . . documento: 'blessed in (having) an example' (documentum, -i, n.: an example serving as a precedent, warning, instruction, etc.).

secundum: in accordance with (preposition + acc.).

dives et possidens multa: 'a rich man and one possessing much' (i.e., Paulinus)..

quod erat factu impossibile: '(that) which was impossible to do'. factu is supine, abl. of specification (AG 510).

confabulatione: 'conversation' > confabulatio, -onis, f. (late Lat.).

in absolvendis scripturarum quaestionibus: 'in resolving disputed points of scripture'.

promptus et facilis: 'ready and accommodating'.

ad hanc partem: 'on this point'.

quippe quos viderim me ipso etiam referente non credere: 'in as much as I have seen some people fail to believe even when I was telling them myself'. viderim is pf. subj. in a causal relative clause (AG 535e). quippe + qui, quae, quod = 'as one in fact who', i.e. 'since' or 'inasmuch as I, you, he' etc. (L&S s.v. quippe 5).

puri sermonis: 'correct speech', according to the standards set by teachers of the day, based on classical authors.

tantum scientiae, tantum ingenii, tantum tam boni et tam puri sermonis: 'so much knowledge, so much natural ability, so much excellent and correct speech.' This follows the text of Fontaine, rather than of Halm. ingenium, -i, n.: mental powers, natural ability, talent.

illiterato: 'uneducated'. A soldier at 15, Martin did not receive the advanced training in literature and rhetoric that would have been typical for a bishop. He was definitely literate, as emerges below, 26.3 lectionihomini illiterato is dative of person, regular after defuisse (> desum).

dēsīderium -ī n.: longing

aestuō -āre: boil up, foam

peregrīnātio -ōnis f.: sojourning, travel, peregrination

partim: (adv.) partly, in part

scīscitor -ārī -ātus sum: ask, inquire, question

benīgnitās -ātis f.: favour, courtesy

congrātulor -ārī -ātus sum: wish joy, congratulate

expetō -petere -petīvi -petītum: deek out, seek for; long for (+abl.)

dignor -ārī: deem worthy of, deign

vesper -eris or -erī m.: evening, evening star

pēs pedis m.: foot

abluō -uere -ui -ūtum: wash off, wash, cleanse

renītor -nītī: struggle against, resist

cōnstantia -ae f.: firmness of character, steadfastness

opprimō -primere -pressī -pressum: overwhelm, overpower

acquiēscō -quiēscere -quiēvī -quiētum: rest, repose; acquiesce, assent

illecebra -ae f.: enticement, allurement

expedītus -a -um: unimpeded, unencumbered, disengaged

praestāns -antis: pre-eminent, excellent. distinguished

mentiō -ōnis f.: mention

abiciō -ere -iēcī -iectum: throw away

ēvangelicus -a -um: evangelical

clāmō -āre: call, cry out, shout

imitor -āri: imitate

documentum -ī n.: lesson, example

possīdō -sīdere -sēdī -sessum: take possession of, possess one's self of

vēndō -dere -didī -ditum: sell, vend

impossibilis -e: impossible

possibilis -e: possible

confābulātio -ōnis f.: conversation

efficāx -ācis: efficacious, effectual, powerful

scrīptūra -ae f.: writing, scripture, a passage of Scripture

quaestio -ōnis f.: inquiry, judicial investigation, trial

prōmptus -a -um: ready, quick, prompt

incrēdulus -a -um: unbelieving, incredulous

tēstor -ārī: bear witness, testify

pūrus -a -um: clean, pure

quantulus -a -um: how little, how small, how trifling

laudātiō -ōnis f.: praising, praise, commendation

illiterātus -a -um: illiterate, uneducated

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Suggested Citation

Christopher Francese, Sulpicius Severus: Life of St. Martin. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2011. ISBN: 978-1-947822-03-0. http://dcc.dickinson.edu/sulpicius-severus/section-25