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.’

They wander in deep woods, in mournful light

From Helen Waddell’s Medieval Latin Lyrics, an atmospheric excerpt from a longer poem of Ausonius’ (Cupido Cruciatur) that she gives as The Fields of Sorrow (pg. 31).

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 bewailed names of kings.

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