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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Ancient Roman Poetry, Drama and Literature
    Posted: 09-May-2012 at 01:13
Horace

BkII:VIII Faithless Barine

 

If any punishment ever visited

you, Barine, for all your perjuries, if you

were ever harmed at all by a darkened tooth,

a spoilt fingernail,

 

I’d trust you. But no sooner have you bound your

faithless soul by promises, than you appear

much lovelier, and shine out, as everyone’s

dearest young thing.

 

It helps you to swear by your mother’s buried

ashes, by all night’s silent constellations,

by the heavens, and the gods, who are free from

the icy chill of death.

 

Venus herself smiles at it all, yes she does:

the artless Nymphs, smile too, and cruel Cupid,

who’s always sharpening his burning arrows

on a blood-stained stone.

 

Add that all our youths are being groomed for you,

groomed as fresh slaves, while none of your old lovers

leave the house of their impious mistress, as

they often threatened.

 

All the mothers fear you, because of their sons,

and the thrifty old fathers, and wretched brides,

who once were virgins, in case your radiance

makes husbands linger.

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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-May-2012 at 01:50
Horace

BkII:VII A Friend Home From the Wars

 

O Pompey, often led, with me, by Brutus,

the head of our army, into great danger,

who’s sent you back, as a citizen,

to your country’s gods and Italy’s sky,

 

Pompey, the very dearest of my comrades,

with whom I’ve often drawn out the lingering

day in wine, my hair wreathed, and glistening

with perfumed balsam, of Syrian nard?

 

I was there at Philippi, with you, in that

headlong flight, sadly leaving my shield behind,

when shattered Virtue, and what threatened

from an ignoble purpose, fell to earth.

 

While in my fear Mercury dragged me, swiftly,

through the hostile ranks in a thickening cloud:

the wave was drawing you back to war,

carried once more by the troubled waters.

 

So grant Jupiter the feast he’s owed, and stretch

your limbs, wearied by long campaigning, under

my laurel boughs, and don’t spare the jars

that were destined to be opened by you.

 

Fill the smooth cups with Massic oblivion,

pour out the perfume from generous dishes,

Who’ll hurry to weave the wreathes for us

of dew-wet parsley or pliant myrtle?

 

Who’ll throw high Venus at dice and so become

the master of drink? I’ll rage as insanely

as any Thracian: It’s sweet to me

to revel when a friend is home again.



Edited by Don Quixote - 08-May-2012 at 01:51
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Apr-2012 at 02:36
Horace:

BkII:VI Tibur and Tarentum

 

Septimus, you, who are prepared to visit

Cadiz with me, and its tribes (they’re not used

to bearing our yoke) and barbarous Syrtes,

by the Moors’ fierce Sea,

 

I’d rather Tibur, founded by men of Greece,

were my home when I’m old, let it be my goal,

when I’m tired of the seas, and the roads, and all

this endless fighting.

 

But if the cruel Fates deny me that place,

I’ll head for the river Galaesus, sweet

with its precious sheep, on Spartan fields, once ruled

by King Phalanthus.

 

That corner of earth is the brightest to me,

where the honey gives nothing away to that

of Hymettus, and its olives compete with

green Venafrum:

 

where Jupiter grants a lengthy spring, and mild

winters, and Aulon’s hill-slopes, dear to fertile

Bacchus, are filled with least envy for those rich

grapes of Falernum.

 

That place, and its lovely heights, call out to me,

to you: and there’ll you’ll scatter your debt of sad

tears, over the still-glowing ashes of this,

the poet, your friend.



Edited by Don Quixote - 17-Apr-2012 at 02:36
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Apr-2012 at 02:43
Horace:

BkII:V Be Patient

 

She’s not ready to bear a yoke on her bowed

neck yet, she’s not yet equal to the duty

of coupling, or bearing the heavy

weight of a charging bull in the mating act.

 

The thoughts of your heifer are on green pastures,

on easing her burning heat in the river,

and sporting with the eager calves

in the depths of moist willow plantations.

 

Forget this passion of yours for the unripe

grape: autumn, the season of many-colours,

will soon be dyeing bluish clusters

a darker purple, on the vine, for you.

 

Soon she’ll pursue you, since fierce time rushes on

and will add to her the years it takes from you,

soon Lalage herself will be eager

to search you out as a husband, Lalage,

 

beloved as shy Pholoë was not, nor your

Chloris, with shoulders gleaming white, like a clear

moon shining over a midnight sea,

nor Cnidian Gyges, that lovely boy,

 

whom you could insert in a choir of girls,

and the wisest of strangers would fail to tell

the difference, with him hidden behind

his flowing hair, and ambiguous looks.



Edited by Don Quixote - 10-Apr-2012 at 02:44
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Apr-2012 at 03:29
Horace:

BkII:IV Loving A Servant Girl

 

Phocian Xanthis, don’t be ashamed of love

for your serving-girl. Once before, Briseis

the Trojan slave with her snow-white skin stirred

angry Achilles:

 

and captive Tecmessa’s loveliness troubled

her master Ajax, the son of Telamon:

and Agamemnon, in his mid-triumph, burned

for a stolen girl,

 

while the barbarian armies, defeated

in Greek victory, and the loss of Hector,

handed Troy to the weary Thessalians,

an easier prey.

 

You don’t know your blond Phyllis hasn’t parents

who are wealthy, and might grace their son-in-law.

Surely she’s royally born, and grieves at her

cruel household gods.

 

Believe that the girl you love’s not one who comes

from the wicked masses, that one so faithful

so averse to gain, couldn’t be the child of

a shameful mother.

 

I’m unbiased in praising her arms and face,

and shapely ankles: reject all suspicion

of one whose swiftly vanishing life has known

its fortieth year.



Edited by Don Quixote - 09-Apr-2012 at 03:30
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Apr-2012 at 01:40
Horace:

BkII:III One Ending

 

When things are troublesome, always remember,

keep an even mind, and in prosperity

be careful of too much happiness:

since my Dellius, you’re destined to die,

 

whether you live a life that’s always sad,

or reclining, privately, on distant lawns,

in one long holiday, take delight

in drinking your vintage Falernian.

 

Why do tall pines, and white poplars, love to merge

their branches in the hospitable shadows?

Why do the rushing waters labour

to hurry along down the winding rivers?

 

Tell them to bring us the wine, and the perfume, 

and all-too-brief petals of lovely roses,

while the world, and the years, and the dark

threads of the three fatal sisters allow.

 

You’ll leave behind all those meadows you purchased,

your house, your estate, yellow Tiber washes,

you’ll leave them behind, your heir will own

those towering riches you’ve piled so high.

 

Whether you’re rich, of old Inachus’s line,

or live beneath the sky, a pauper, blessed with

humble birth, it makes no difference:

you’ll be pitiless Orcus’s victim.

 

We’re all being driven to a single end,

all our lots are tossed in the urn, and, sooner

or later, they’ll emerge, and seat us

in Charon’s boat for eternal exile.



Edited by Don Quixote - 06-Apr-2012 at 01:41
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Apr-2012 at 00:46
Horace

BkII:II Money

 

Crispus, silver concealed in the greedy earth

has no colour, and you are an enemy

to all such metal unless, indeed, it gleams

from sensible use.

 

Proculeius will be famous in distant

ages for his generous feelings towards

his brothers: enduring fame will carry him

on its tireless wings.

 

You may rule a wider kingdom by taming

a greedy spirit, than by joining Spain

to far-off Libya, while Carthaginians

on both sides, serve one.

 

A fatal dropsy grows worse with indulgence,

the patient can’t rid himself of thirst unless

his veins are free of illness, and his pale flesh

of watery languor.

 

Though Phraates is back on the Armenian

throne, Virtue, differing from the rabble, excludes

him from the blessed, and instructs the people

not to misuse words,

 

instead conferring power, and security

of rule, and lasting laurels, on him alone

who can pass by enormous piles of treasure

without looking back.



Edited by Don Quixote - 06-Apr-2012 at 01:40
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Apr-2012 at 13:58
I'm starting Horace, Odes, Book II


BkII:I To Pollio, Writing His History of the Civil Wars

 

You’re handling the Civil Wars, since Metellus

was Consul, the causes, errors, and stages,

Fortune’s game, and the heavy friendships

of princes, and the un-expiated

 

stain of blood over various weapons,

a task that’s filled with dangerous pitfalls,

so that you’re walking over embers

hidden under the treacherous ashes.

 

Don’t let the Muse of dark actions be long away

from the theatre: soon, when you’ve finished writing

public events, reveal your great gifts

again in Athenian tragedy,

 

you famous defendant of troubled clients,

Pollio, support of the Senate’s councils,

whom the laurel gave lasting glory

in the form of your Dalmatian triumph.

 

Already you’re striking our ears with the sounds,

the menace of blaring horns, and the trumpets,

already the glitter of weapons

terrifies horses, and riders’ faces.

 

Now I seem to hear magnificent leaders,

heads darkened, but not with inglorious dust,

and all the lands of earth are subdued,

but not implacable Cato’s spirit.

 

Juno, and those gods friendly to Africa,

who, powerless to avenge the land, withdrew,

make funeral offerings to Jugurtha,

of the grandchildren of his conquerors.


 

What fields are not enriched with the blood of Rome,

to bear witness with their graves to this impious

struggle of ours, and the sound, even heard

by the Persians, of Italy’s ruin?

 

What river or pool is ignorant of these

wretched wars? What sea has Roman slaughter failed

to discolour, and show me the shores

that are, as yet, still unstained by our blood.

 

But Muse, lest you dare to leave happy themes,

and take up Simonides’ dirges again,

search out a lighter plectrum’s measures,

with me, in some deep cavern of Venus.



Edited by Don Quixote - 02-Apr-2012 at 14:00
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  Quote Leroy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Apr-2012 at 08:21
Aeneid, 428-433

Aeneas wakes up to see the Greeks ravaging his city



Insane, I seize my weapons. There's no sense

in weapons, yet my spirit burns to gather

a band for battle, to rush out against

the citadel with my companions. Rage

and anger drive my mind. My only thought:

how fine a thing it is to die in arms.

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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Mar-2012 at 23:57
Horace:

BkI:XXXVIII The Simple Myrtle

 

My child, how I hate Persian ostentation,

garlands twined around lime-tree bark displease me:

forget your chasing, to find all the places

where late roses fade.

 

You’re eager, take care, that nothing enhances

the simple myrtle: it’s not only you that

it graces, the servant, but me as I drink,

beneath the dark vine.


This was the last poem from Horace's "Odes"; I have to find something else to start from tomorrow on.



Edited by Don Quixote - 30-Mar-2012 at 00:01
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Mar-2012 at 00:26
Horace:

BkI:XXXVII Cleopatra

 

Now’s the time for drinking deep, and now’s the time

to beat the earth with unfettered feet, the time

to set out the gods’ sacred couches,

my friends, and prepare a Salian feast.

 

It would have been wrong, before today, to broach

the Caecuban wines from out the ancient bins,

while a maddened queen was still plotting

the Capitol’s and the empire’s ruin,

 

with her crowd of deeply-corrupted creatures

sick with turpitude, she, violent with hope

of all kinds, and intoxicated

by Fortune’s favour. But it calmed her frenzy

 

that scarcely a single ship escaped the flames,

and Caesar reduced the distracted thoughts, bred

by Mareotic wine, to true fear,

pursuing her close as she fled from Rome,

 

out to capture that deadly monster, bind her,

as the sparrow-hawk follows the gentle dove

or the swift hunter chases the hare,

over the snowy plains of Thessaly.

 

But she, intending to perish more nobly,

showed no sign of womanish fear at the sword,

nor did she even attempt to win

with her speedy ships to some hidden shore.

 

And she dared to gaze at her fallen kingdom

with a calm face, and touch the poisonous asps

with courage, so that she might drink down

their dark venom, to the depths of her heart,


 

growing fiercer still, and resolving to die:

scorning to be taken by hostile galleys,

and, no ordinary woman, yet queen

no longer, be led along in proud triumph.



Edited by Don Quixote - 28-Mar-2012 at 00:27
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Mar-2012 at 01:23
Horace:

BkI:XXXVI Numida’s Back Again

 

With music, and incense, and blood

of a bullock, delight in placating the gods

that guarded our Numida well,

who’s returned safe and sound, from the farthest West, now,

 

showering a host of kisses

on every dear friend, but on none of us more than

lovely Lamia, remembering

their boyhood spent under the self-same master,

 

their togas exchanged together.

Don’t allow this sweet day to lack a white marker,

no end to the wine jars at hand,

no rest for our feet in the Salian fashion,

 

Don’t let wine-heavy Damalis

conquer our Bassus in downing the Thracian draughts.

Don’t let our feast lack for roses,

or the long-lasting parsley, or the brief lilies:

 

we’ll all cast our decadent eyes

on Damalis, but Damalis won’t be parted

from that new lover of hers she’s

clasping, more tightly than the wandering ivy.



Edited by Don Quixote - 27-Mar-2012 at 01:24
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Mar-2012 at 23:12
Horace:

BkI:XXXV To Fortune

 

O goddess, who rules our lovely Antium,

always ready to lift up our mortal selves,

from humble position, or alter

proud triumphs to funeral processions,

 

the poor farmer, in the fields, courts your favour

with anxious prayers: you, mistress of ocean,

the sailor who cuts the Carpathian

Sea, in a Bithynian sailing boat:

 

you, the fierce Dacian, wandering Scythian,

cities, and peoples, and warlike Latium,

mothers of barbarous kings, tyrants,

clothed in their royal purple, all fear you,

 

in case you demolish the standing pillar

with a careless foot, or the tumultuous crowd

incite the peaceful: ‘To arms, to arms’,

and shatter the supreme authority.

 

Grim Necessity always treads before you,

and she’s carrying the spikes and the wedges

in her bronze hand, and the harsh irons

and the molten lead aren’t absent either.

 

Hope cultivates you, and rarest Loyalty,

her hands bound in sacred white, will not refuse

her friendship when you, their enemy,

desert the great houses plunged in mourning.

 

But the disloyal mob, and the perjured whores

vanish, and friends scatter when they’ve drunk our wine

to the lees, unequal to bearing

the heavy yoke of all our misfortunes.


 

Guard our Caesar who’s soon setting off again

against the earth’s far-off Britons, and guard

the fresh young levies, who’ll scare the East

in those regions along the Red Sea’s shores.

 

Alas, the shame of our scars and wickedness,

and our dead brothers. What has our harsh age spared?

What sinfulness have we left untried?

What have the young men held their hands back from,

 

in fear of the gods? Where are the altars they’ve left

alone? O may you remake our blunt weapons

on fresh anvils so we can turn them

against the Scythians and the Arabs.



Edited by Don Quixote - 25-Mar-2012 at 23:16
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Mar-2012 at 13:27
Horace:

BkI:XXXIV Fortune’s Changes

 

Once I wandered, an expert in crazy wisdom,

a scant and infrequent adorer of gods,

now I’m forced to set sail and return,

to go back to the paths I abandoned.

 

For Jupiter, Father of all of the gods,

who generally splits the clouds with his lightning,

flashing away, drove thundering horses,

and his swift chariot, through the clear sky,

 

till the dull earth, and the wandering rivers,

and Styx, and dread Taenarus’ hateful headland,

and Atlas’s mountain-summits shook.

The god has the power to replace the highest

 

with the lowest, bring down the famous, and raise

the obscure to the heights. And greedy Fortune

with her shrill whirring, carries away

the crown and delights in setting it, there.



Edited by Don Quixote - 24-Mar-2012 at 13:31
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Mar-2012 at 11:02
Horace:

BkI:XXXIII Tibullus, Don’t Grieve

 

Tibullus, don’t grieve too much, when you remember

your cruel Glycera, and don’t keep on singing

those wretched elegies, or ask why, trust broken,

you’re outshone by a younger man.

 

Lovely Lycoris, the narrow-browed one, is on fire

with love for Cyrus, Cyrus leans towards bitter

Pholoë, but does in the wood are more likely

to mate with Apulian wolves,

 

than Pholoë to sin with some low-down lover.

So Venus has it, who delights in the cruel

game of mating unsuitable bodies and minds,

under her heavy yoke of bronze.

 

I, myself, when a nobler passion was called for,

was held in the charming bonds of Myrtale,

that freed slave, more bitter than Hadria’s waves

that break in Calabria’s bay.



Edited by Don Quixote - 23-Mar-2012 at 11:03
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Mar-2012 at 17:14
Horace

BkI:XXXII To the Lyre

 

I’m called on. O Lyre, if I’ve ever played

idle things with you in the shade, that will live,

for a year or more, come and utter a song

now, of Italy:

 

you were first tuned by Alcaeus of Lesbos,

a man daring in war, yet still, amongst arms,

or after he’d moored his storm-driven boat

on a watery shore,

 

he sang of the Muses, Bacchus, and Venus

that boy of hers, Cupid, that hangs around her,

and that beautiful Lycus, with his dark eyes

and lovely dark hair.

 

O tortoiseshell, Phoebus’s glory, welcome

at the feasts of Jupiter, the almighty,

O sweet comfort and balm of our troubles, heal,

if I call you true!



Edited by Don Quixote - 22-Mar-2012 at 17:15
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Mar-2012 at 04:09
Horace:

BkI:XXXI A Prayer to Apollo

 

What is the poet’s request to Apollo?

What does he pray for as he pours out the wine

from the bowl? Not for the rich harvests

of fertile Sardinia, nor the herds,

 

(they’re delightful), of sunlit Calabria,

not for India’s gold or its ivory,

nor fields our silent Liris’s stream

carries away in the calm of its flow.

 

Let those that Fortune allows prune the vines,

with a Calenian knife, so rich merchants

can drink their wine from a golden cup,

wine they’ve purchased with Syrian goods,

 

who, dear to the gods, three or four times yearly,

revisit the briny Atlantic, unscathed.

I browse on olives, and chicory

and simple mallow. Apollo, the son

 

of Latona, let me enjoy what I have,

and, healthy in body and mind, as I ask,

live an old age not without honour,

and one not lacking the art of the lyre.



Edited by Don Quixote - 22-Mar-2012 at 04:09
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Mar-2012 at 17:57
Horace:

BkI:XXX Ode To Venus

 

O Venus, the queen of Cnidos and Paphos,

spurn your beloved Cyprus, and summoned

by copious incense, come to the lovely shrine

of my Glycera.

 

And let that passionate boy of yours, Cupid,

and the Graces with loosened zones, and the Nymphs,

and Youth, less lovely without you, hasten here,

and Mercury too.



Edited by Don Quixote - 20-Mar-2012 at 17:57
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Mar-2012 at 19:59
Horace:

BkI:XXIX Off To The Wars

 

Iccius, are you gazing with envy, now,

at Arabian riches, and preparing

for bitter war on unbeaten kings

of Saba, weaving bonds for those dreadful

Medes? What barbaric virgin

will be your slave, when you’ve murdered her lover?

What boy, from the palace, with scented

hair, will handle your wine-cups, one taught

by his father’s bow how to manage eastern

arrows? Who’ll deny, now, that rivers can flow

backwards, to the summits of mountains,

and Tiber reverse the course of his streams,

when you, who gave promise of much better things,

are intent on changing Panaetius’s

noble books, the school of Socrates,

for a suit of Iberian armour?



Edited by Don Quixote - 19-Mar-2012 at 20:00
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Mar-2012 at 21:57
Horace:

BkI:XXVIII Three Handfuls of Earth

 

You, my Archytas, philosopher, and measurer of land,

of the sea, of wide sands, are entombed 

in a small mound of meagre earth near the Matinian shore,

and it’s of no use to you in the least,

 

that you, born to die, have explored the celestial houses

crossed, in spirit, the rounds of the sky.

Tantalus, Pelop’s father, died too, a guest of the gods,

and Tithonus took off to the heavens,

 

Minos gained entry to great Jupiter’s secrets, Tartarus

holds Euphorbus, twice sent to Orcus,

though he bore witness, carrying his shield there, to Trojan times,

and left nothing more behind, for black Death,

 

but his skin and his bones, and that certainly made him, Archytas,

to your mind, no trivial example

of Nature and truth. But there’s still one night that awaits us all,

and each, in turn, makes the journey of death.

 

The Furies deliver some as a spectacle for cruel Mars,

the greedy sea’s the sailor’s ruin:

the funerals of the old, and the young, close ranks together,

and no one’s spared by cruel Proserpine.

 

Me too, the south wind, Notus, swift friend of setting Orion,

drowned deep in Illyrian waters.

O, sailor, don’t hesitate, from spite, to grant a little treacherous

sand, to my unburied bones and skull.

 

So that, however the east wind might threaten the Italian

waves, thrashing the Venusian woods,

you’ll be safe, yourself, and rich rewards will flow from the source,

from even-handed Jupiter, and from


 

Neptune, who is the protector of holy Tarentum. Are you

indifferent to committing a wrong

that will harm your innocent children hereafter? Perhaps

a need for justice, and arrogant

 

disdain, await you, too: don’t let me be abandoned here

my prayers unanswered: no offering

will absolve you. Though you hurry away, it’s a brief delay:

three scattered handfuls of earth will free you.



Edited by Don Quixote - 18-Mar-2012 at 21:58
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