John Emerson, at Idiocentrism (scroll down below “Samuel Butler on Rat-traps”), discusses “The Ruins of Rome,” a poem by “a little-known Latin humanist, Ianus [Janus] Vitalis of Palermo.” He says:
At the link I have posted the versions by Bellay, Quevedo, Cohen, Pound, Spenser, Sęp-Szarzyński, Alex Ingber (from Quevedo), and an unknown translator’s English version of Sęp-Szarzyński. It can be seen that the translators allowed themselves quite a bit of freedom in the way they set up the clinching lines — for example, they address the poem variously to “the stranger”, “the pilgrim”, “the traveller”, and “the newcomer”.
The one version that Googling has not been able to find — not so oddly, really — is the Latin original by the almost-unknown Vitalis. All I have so far are these fragments:
….Aspice murorum moles, paeruptaque saxa
Obrutaque norrenti vesta theatra situ:
Haec sunt Roma. Viden velut ipsa cadavera taritae
Urbis adhuc spirent imperiosa minas?….
Disce hinc quid possit fortuna: immota labascunt
Et quae perpetuo sunt agitata manent.
So I’m asking my vast readership to help me find the rest of the poem. And if you can find more versions in more languages, send them by and I’ll post them too.
I hereby transmit his quest (and his offer) to my own readership; any Vitalis experts out there?