Preface

Sevērus Dēsīderiō frātrī cārissimō. Ego quidem, frāter ūnanimis, libellum quem dē vītā sānctī Martīnī scrīpseram, schedā suā premere et intrā domesticōs pariētēs cohibēre dēcrēveram, quia, ut sum nātūrā īnfirmissimus, iūdicia hūmāna vītābam, nē, quod fore arbitror, sermō incultior legentibus displicēret omniumque reprehēnsiōnis dignissimus iūdicārer, quī māteriem disertīs meritō scriptōribus reservandam impudēns occupāssem: sed petentī tibi saepius negāre nōn potuī. quid enim esset, quod nōn amōrī tuō vel cum dētrīmentō meī pudōris impenderem? 2. vērumtamen eā tibi fīdūciā libellum ēdidi, quā nūllī ā tē prōdendum reor, quia id spopondistī. sed vereor nē tū eī iānua sīs futūrus, et ēmissus semel revocārī nōn queat. 3. quod sī acciderit et ab aliquibus eum legī vīderis, bonā veniā id a lectōribus postulābis, ut rēs potius quam verba perpendant et aequō animō ferant, sī aurēs eōrum vitiōsus forsitan sermō perculerit, quia rēgnum Deī nōn in ēloquentiā, sed in fide cōnstat. 4. meminerint etiam, salūtem saeculō nōn ab ōrātōribus, cum utique, sī ūtile fuisset, id quoque Dominus praestāre potuisset, sed a piscātōribus praedīcātam esse. 5. ego enim, cum prīmum animum ad scrībendum appulī, quia nefās putārem tantī virī latēre virtūtēs, apud mē ipse dēcīdī, ut soloecismīs nōn ērubēscerem: quia nec magnam istārum umquam rērum scientiam contigissem, et sī quid ex hīs studiīs ōlim fortasse lībāssem, tōtum id dēsuētūdine tantī temporis perdidissem. 6. sed tamen nē nōs maneat tam molesta dēfēnsiō, suppressō, sī tibi vidētur, nōmine libellus ēdātur. quod ut fierī valeat, titulum frontis ērāde, ut mūta sit pāgina et, quod sufficit, loquātur māteriam, nōn loquātur auctōrem.

Desiderius, here is the Life of St. Martin you asked for. Please do not circulate it; or if you do, ask people to overlook its stylistic shortcomings and consider only the substance.

Severus Desiderio: understand salutem dicit, 'sends greetings to.'

ego quidem . . . decreveram: 'I, for my part, had decided' (> decerno, decernere, decrevi, decretum).

schedā suā premere: 'to suppress in its own paper,' i.e. not to publish.

naturā: 'by nature', abl. of specification (AG 418)

quod fore arbitror: '[a thing] which I think will happen.' fore = futurum esse.

qui materiem . . . occupassem: 'because I had impudently usurped material that should rightly be reserved for learned writers.' The relative clause is causal (Woodcock sec. 156, AG 540c).

ocuppassem: = occupavissem (plupf. subj., > occupo [1]).

petenti: '(you) asking for (it)'.

quid enim esset, quod non . . . impenderem?: 'what would there be that I would not spend for', i.e., 'I would expend any effort for'.

eā . . . fiduciā . . . quā: 'with the confidence that'.

prodendum: (understand esse) 'that it must be revealed'.

eum legi: 'that it is being read'.

bonā veniā . . . postulabis: 'you must kindly ask', a colloquial use of the future tense like an imperative (AG 449b). bonā veniā = 'with your indulgence'.

aequo animo ferant: 'bear it calmly'.

vitiosus sermo: 'faulty style'.

perculerit: 'strikes', fut. pf. in a future more vivid condition. (A&G)

meminerint: 'let them recall', pf. subj., jussive. (A&G)

salutem . . . praedicatam esse: 'that salvation was proclaimed'.

suppresso . . . nomine: 'with the name having been suppressed', 'anonymously'.

videtur: 'it seems best'.

quod ut fieri valeat: 'so that this might be able to happen'.

ūnanimis -e: of one mind, harmonious, unanimous

libellus -ī m.: booklet

scheda ae f.: leaf of paper

domesticus -a -um: of the home, domestic

pariēs -etis m.: wall

cohibeō -hibēre: keep in, restrain, keep

īnfīrmus -a -um: not strong, weak, feeble

incultus -a -um: unadorned, unpolished, rude

displiceō -plicēre -plicuī -plicitum: displease

reprehensiō -ōnis f.: blame, censure, reprehension

disertus -a -um: clear, well-spoken

meritum -ī n.: merit, desert

impudēns -entis: shameless, impudent

dētrīmentum -ī n.: loss, damage

impendeō -pendēre: expend; overhang, impend, threaten (+ dat.)

vērumtamen: but yet, not withstanding, however

fīdūcia -ae f.: trust, confidence

spondeo spondēre spopondī sponsum: pledge, vow

iānua -ae f.: outer door, gate

ēmittō -mittere -mīsī -missum: send out, let fly (+ abl.)

queō quīre quīvī quitum: be able

lēctor -ōris m.: reader

perpendō -pendere -pendī -pensum: weigh carefully, ponder

vitiōsus -a -um: bad, corrupt

percellō -cellere -culī -culsum: strike down, overthrow; deject, dishearten

ēloquentia -ae f.: eloquence

ōrātor -ōris m.: a speaker, orator

utique: (adv.) certainly, assuredly, undoubtedly

piscātor -ōris m.: fisherman

lateō -ēre -uī: lie hid, be hidden

dēcīdō -cīdere -cīdī -cīsum: decide

soloecismus -i m.: grammatical fault, a solecism

ērubēscō -rubēscere -rubuī: redden

lībō lībāre: take a little

dēsuētūdo -inis f.: discontinuance, disuse, desuetude

molestus -a -um: troublesome, annoying; difficult

dēfēnsio -ōnis f.: a defence

supprimō -primere -pressī -pressum: hold or keep back; restrain, support

titulus -ī n.: label, title

ērādō -dere -si -sum: scratch out, scrape off

mūtus -a -um: dumb, mute; silent

pāgina -ae f.: written page

sufficiō -ficere -fēcī -fectum: supply, afford; be able

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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/preface