Publilius mimos scriptitavit. dignus habitus est qui subpar Laberio iudicaretur. C. autem Caesarem ita Laberii maledicentia et adrogantia offendebat, ut acceptiores sibi esse Publili quam Laberii mimos praedicaret. huius Publili sententiae feruntur pleraeque lepidae et ad communem sermonum usum commendatissimae, ex quibus sunt istae singulis versibus circumscriptae, quas libitum hercle est adscribere:
malum est consilium quod mutari non potest.
beneficium dando accepit, qui digno dedit.
feras, non culpes, quod vitari non potest.
cui plus licet, quam par est, plus vult, quam licet.
comes facundus in via pro vehiculo est.
frugalitas miseria est rumoris boni.
heredis fletus sub persona risus est.
furor fit laesa saepius patientia.
improbe Neptunum accusat, qui iterum naufragium facit.
ita amicum habeas pesse ut facile fieri hunc inimicum putes.
veterem ferendo iniuriam invites novam.
numquam periclum sine periclo vincitur.
nimium altercando veritas amittitur.
pars benefici est, quod petitur si belle neges.
(Aulus Gellius, Noct. Att. 17.14)
Publilius wrote mimes. He was thought worthy of being rated about equal to Laberius. But the scurrility and the arrogance of Laberius so offended Gaius Caesar, that he declared that he was better pleased with the mimes of Publilius than with those of Laberius. Many sayings of this Publilius are current, which are neat and well adapted to the use of ordinary conversation. Among these are the following, consisting of a single line each, which I have indeed taken pleasure in quoting*:
Bad is the plan which cannot bear a change.
He gains by giving who has given to worth.
Endure and don’t deplore what can’t be helped.**
Who’s given too much, will want more than’s allowed.***
A witty comrade at your side,
To walk’s as easy as to ride.
Frugality is misery in disguise.
Heirs’ tears are laughter underneath a mask.
Patience too oft provoked is turned to rage.
He wrongly Neptune blames, who suffers shipwreck twice.
Regard a friend as one who may be foe.
By bearing old wrongs new ones you provoke.
With danger ever danger’s overcome.
‘Mid too much wrangling truth is often lost.
Who courteously declines, grants half your suit.
* Meyer, vv. 362, 55, 176, 106, 104, 193, 221, 178, 264, 245, 645, 383, 416, 469. In one instance it has seemed necessary to use two lines in the English version.
** Cf. “What can’t be cured must be endured.”
*** Cf. “Give an inch, he’ll take an ell.”
(tr. John C. Rolfe, with his notes)