Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Vitas Inuleo Me Similis I:23

What a different poem this is from the others I have read!  A doe of a girl named Chloe seems shy and skitterish when confronted by the poet who doesn't want her to think he is an animal. No, he just wants to tell her that she is ready—tempestiva—for a man.

What Horace's intentions are, I don't know. What I do know is that he has left us with this tantalizing vignette, a snapshot perhaps of a passing flirtation, a record of a momentary fantasy.

There are lots of technical problems with this poem grammar-wise—at least, that is what scholarly books tell me.  I won't go into the details except to say that no one seems to know how to deal with the advent of spring adventus veris, the moving leaves follii mobiles and the green lizards lacertae virides.  My take on the poem is that all of these things make the doe-like girl Chloe even more jumpy.

"Go away, you old man!" are the whispers I hear coming from between the lines.

But then, that is twenty centuries after the fact. Perhaps this Lolita of a Chloe is just that: having her own fun teasing fifty-year old Horace.

Here is my prose rendition of poem 23 in Book I:

Me vitas, Chloe, inuleo similis, matrem pavidam quaerenti, montibus aviis non sine metu vano aurarum et siluae. 
Nam seu adventus veris folliis mobilibus inhorruit. Seu lacertae virides rubum dimovere, et corde et genibus tremit. Atqui non ego, ut tigris aspera leove Gaetulus, persequor te frangere. 
Tandem, viro tempestiva, desine matrem sequi!

[revised March 27, 2015]

inuleo / hinnuleo:  cervo parvo
aviis: sine viis multis
aurarum: ventorum
pavidam: timidam
rubum: veprem, plantas spinosas

Below what you see between brackets and in superscript are textual variants.

Vītās īnuleō mē similis, Chloē,
quaerentī pavidam montibus āviīs
   mātrem nōn sine vānō
        aurārum et siluae metū.
nam seu mōbilibus vēris [vepris] inhorruit
adventūs [ad ventum] folliīs, seu viridēs rubum
   dīmōvēre lacertae,
        et corde et genibus tremit.
atquī nōn ego tē, tīgris ut aspera
Gaetūlusve leō, frangere persequor:
   tandem dēsine mātrem
        tempestīva sequī virō.

Yesterday, I discovered three interesting blogs about Horace. A Portuguese blog offers translations.  One in Catalan is interested in using Horace's poetry to find out more about Roman life. A French blog breaks each poem up into sense groups that follow a simple translation in French. 

:: Latin books by James Rumford ::

For all 102 odes purchase Carpe Diem, Horace De-Poetizedfor $11.50 at 

For a Latin translation of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer at $12, click here: 

To find out more about Carpe Diem go to the blog of March 26, 2015; 
for more about Pericla Thomae Sawyer, go to the blog of November 22, 2016.

No comments:

Post a Comment