“Don’t begin, as a certain Cyclic poet once did, ‘I will sing the fortune of Priam and that noble war…’ What could he produce worthy of such an opening? The mountains would part, and out would pop a ridiculous mouse. How much more proper the poet who labored at nothing foolishly: ‘Tell me, Muse, about the man who, in the time after Troy was captured, saw the cities and ways of many men.’ He had a mind, not to produce smoke from lightning, but to let the fire come forth from the smoke…”
Nec sic incipies, ut scriptor cyclicus olim:
“Fortunam Priami cantabo et nobile bellum”.
Quid dignum tanto feret hic promissor hiatu?
Parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus.
Quanto rectius hic, qui nil molitur inepte: 140
“Dic mihi, Musa, uirum, captae post tempora Troiae
qui mores hominum multorum uidit et urbes”.
Non fumum ex fulgore, sed ex fumo dare lucem