For it’s an outrage for an abstaining reader to pass judgment on a badly drunk poet

From Ausonius’ A Riddle of the Number Three (Griphus Ternarii Numeri). I’m sticking with the Loeb translation, old-fashioned as it is, because I like the Edwardian savour.

And that you may know me for a boaster—I began these bits of verses during tiffin and finished them before messtime, that is to say, while drinking and a little before drinking (again). Your criticism, therefore, must allow for the subject and the season. Nay, do you too read this same book when a trifle “gay” and “wutty”; for it is unfair for a teetotal critic to pass judgment on a poet half-seas over.

ac ne me nescias gloriosum, coeptos inter pranden­dum dum versiculos ante cenae tempus absolvi, hoc est, dum bibo et paulo ante quam biberem. Sit ergo examen pro materia et tempore, set tu quoque hoc ipsum paulo hilarior et dilutior lege; namque iniurium est de poeta male sobrio lectorem abstemium iudicare.

The last line alone I’ll re-render – ‘for it’s an outrage for an abstaining reader to pass judgment on a badly drunk poet.’

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