Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Right Back at You :: AVDIVERE LYCE :: IV:13

This ode, although in Book IV, is thought to be a continuation of the ode in the last posting, where the poet suffers the cruelty of Lyce. Now the poet is happy to tell all who will hear how Lyce has succumbed to another cruelty—the cruelty of time. She now has to contend with a beauty named Chia. (Lyce must look ghastly in her jewels and purple-dyed clothes from the island of Cos.) Besides everyone knows how old she is: it's all in the official registers, the fasti. She must have hated the gorgeous Cinara, but when the fates cut short her thread of life, Lyce must have rejoiced.

This poem is a good place to pause and take note of an oddity of grammar: audivere "they have heard" instead of the usual "audierunt." Audivere is just a footnote in the primers, nothing to worry about, except the form does pop up now and then, as it does in this ode. That's the thing about learning a language:  everything is important. There are no footnotes, really. Being competent means knowing it all. I am always surprised at people who say, for example, that Spanish is easy while French is hard. It's all hard. Sure, Spanish might be more welcoming than say, Chinese, but after a while, the playing field evens out; the goal of competency is just as difficult to reach in one language as it is in another. People always ask me how many languages I know. The best, most honest way I can answer is to say: I've studied x languages and leave it at that.

My translation:  

they've heard! 
the gods have heard my prayers, Lyce—
you've turned old—yet you want to play around
and look pretty, but you drink shamelessly, 
and drunk, do harass with quavering songs, 
cold Cupid, watching from the lovely eyes 
of the blossoming, the lyre-skilled Chia.
cruelly, he flies over the arid oaks, 
fleeing you, for foul are your lurid teeth, 
your wrinkles and your hoary head. neither
purple from Cos nor precious stones will return
the years that winged time once locked in the fasti.
where's her love or color, or elegance
what do you have of her who once breathed love, 
and swept me away. glad you were to be 
a star, after Cinara, whom the fates 
gave little time, but Lyce, the old crow, 
they've kept so long that the ardent young men 
can see, laughing, a torch reduced to 

[copyright 2009 James Rumford]


[O] Lyce, di mea vota audiver[unt], [o] Lyce, di audiver[unt]! Anus fis et tamen vis formosa videri, [tu] que ludis et impudens bibis et, [o] pota, Cupidinem lentum cantu tremulo sollicitas. 
Ille [Cupido] in genis pulchris Chiae ‹virentis et doctae psallere› excubat. Importunus enim quercus aridas transvolat et te refugit quia dentes luridi, quia rugae et nives capitis te turpant. 
Nec iam tibi purpurae Coae nec lapides cari referunt tempora, quae, semel [in] fastis notis condita, dies volucres inclusit. Quo Venus fugit, heu, quove color, quo motus decens? 
Quid illius, illius habes, quae amores spirabat, quae me surpuerat mihi, [quae erat] felix post Cinaram, notaque facies et artium gratarum? 
Sed fata annos breves Cinarae dederunt, servatura diu Lycen ‹cornicis vetulae temporibus parem›, ut iuvenes fervidi—non sine risu multo—facem in cineres dilapsam visere possent.   [revised March 28, 2015]

Horatii verba:

Audīvēre, Lycē, dī mea vōta, dī
audīvēre, Lycē: fīs anus, et tamen
   vīs formōsa vidērī
       lūdisque et bibis impudēns
et cantū tremulō pōta Cupīdinem
lentum sollicitās. Ille virentis et
   doctae psallere Chīae
       pulchrīs excubat in genīs.
importūnus enim transvolat āridās
quercus et refugit tē quia lūridī
   dentēs, tē quia rūgae
       turpant et capitis nivēs.
nec Cōae referunt iam tibi purpurae
nec cārī lapidēs tempora, quae semel
   nōtīs condita fastīs
        inclūsit volucrıs diēs.
quō fūgit Venus, hēu, quōve color, decēns
quō mōtus? quid habēs illius, illius,
   quae spīrābat amōrēs,
       quae mē surpuerat mihi,
fēlix post Cinaram nōtaque et artium
grātārum facies? sed Cinarae brevıs
   annōs fāta dedērunt,
       servatūra diū parem
cornīcis vetulae temporibus Lycen,
possent ut iuvenēs vīsere fervidī
   multō nōn sine rīsū
       dīlapsam in cinerēs facem.  

:: 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.

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