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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Translation

I'm up at FSU this weekend or an open house with the Classics Dept. So, I thought it would be appropriate to post not one of my poems, but my translation of one of Horace's.

Horace, Odes I.IV



Sharp winter is thawed by the welcome change of spring and the West Wind,
And rollers draw down the dry ships.
And now neither flocks enjoy the stables nor the ploughman his fire,
Nor are the meadows white with hoary frost.
Now Cythrean Venus leads the dances with the moon overhead,
And the comely Graces hand-in-hand with the Nymphs
Shake the ground with one foot after the other, while gravely fiery Vulcan
Visits the workshops of the Cyclopes.
Now it is befitting to entangle the shining head with green Myrtle
Or flowers, which the thawed earth bring forth.
And now it is fitting to sacrifice to Faunus in the shady sacred groves,
Whether he may demand it with a ewe lamb or prefers a young goat.
Pale Death knocks against the huts of the poor and the towers of kings
With equal foot. O happy Sestius,
The short sum of life forbids us to begin long hopes.
Soon night will press upon you and the Spirits of myth
And the sparse house of Pluto. If you were to go there at the same time
You would neither cast lots with knucklebones for mastery of the wine
Nor wonder at soft Lycidias, for whom all the youths
Now burn and soon the virgins will burn for. 

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