eLatin eGreek eLearn

More wired than a Roman Internet café

Here's my translation of Horace's Epode 5

“Oh, by whichever of the gods in heaven that rule the earth and human affairs-- what is the meaning of this cacophony of yours and why do you have a grim face only for me? By your children, if, when called upon, Lucina appeared at true birth, by this empty purple symbol, by Jove, who disapproving of all of this-- why are you staring at me like a stepmother or as a wild beast hounded by the spear?”

Once he had said this with trembling lip, the boy with his childish body as might soften the impious heart of a Thracian stood there, his toga and charm stripped away. Canidia, her hair tangled and head braided with tiny vipers, ordered wild figs torn up from graves; she called for funereal cypresses and eggs smeared with the blood of a foul toad and feathers of a nocturnal screech owl, and herbs that Iolcos and the land of Hiberes-- fertile in potions-- send, and she ordered the jawbone taken from a starving dog to be burned in Colchan flames.

Meanwhile, Sagana, skirt hitched up, sprinkling Avernine water throughout the whole house, bristles with hair like a sea urchin or a running boar.

Nothing drives back Veia’s conscience as she removes soil with an iron hoe, groaning under her labors; digging so that the buried boy will be able to die at the spectacle of a meal changed two or three times a day, while he protrudes from the ground to his mouth as bodies in water float to the chin, so that his cut out marrow and dried liver will be a love potion once his eyes, fixed on the forbidden food, have withered away.

Not lacking in lust for men was Folia of Arinimum, who all the lazy Neapolitans and the yokels from neighboring towns believe could snatch down the moon and stars from the sky with a Thessalonian incantation.

Then cruel Canidia gnawing her short thumb nail with her rotten tooth-- what did she say and to what did she remain silent? “Oh faithful witnesses of my affairs, Night and Diana, who rules the silence when sacred mysteries are preformed, now, now come, and now turn your wrath and divine will against my enemies.

‘In the dread forest while the gentle beasts lie hidden in sweet sleep, Suburan dogs bark at that laughable old letch, anointed with nard which my hands could not have more perfectly made. What happened? Why did the abominable love potion of the barbarian Medea not work? The potion which she, before she fled, took revenge on Jason’s proud mistress, the daughter of Creon, with a robe, a gift steeped in poison, which burned away the new bride? Despite the fact that neither herb nor secret root from the remotest places has escaped my notice, he sleeps on beds smeared with my potions in oblivion of all mistresses.

“Ah, Ah! He walks free through the spell of a more knowledgeable witch! Not by the usual potions, Oh Varus, creature of many sorrows, will your sanity return when called out by Marsian spells. I’ll get greater potions; I’ll give you a greater, more terrible, love philter, and sooner the heavens shall sit below the sea with the Earth stretched out above then you will not burn with love for me as bitumen in the black flame.”

There upon the boy, while before trying to sooth the impious with gentle words, then doubtful how to shatter the silence, now cries out Thyestian curses: “Magic potions do not have the power to exchange good for evil, nor to divert humane revenge. I shall drive you with curses; my dire curses will not be appeased by any sacrifice. Once I, condemned to die, have breathed my last, I shall return at night as a Fury and as a shade I will attack your face with a curved nail while sitting on your troubled chest, the right of the spirits of the dead. I will drive away sleep with fear. A mob will break you obscene old women to pieces stoning you from neighborhood to neighborhood- from all over the city-and then wolves and Esquiline crows will carry off your limbs. Nor will my parents who will, alas, survive me, flee from the spectacle.”

Views: 69

Comment

You need to be a member of eLatin eGreek eLearn to add comments!

Join eLatin eGreek eLearn

Badge

Loading…

© 2019   Created by Andrew Reinhard.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service