Friday, April 30, 2010

Eating Little Fish :: Septimi :: II:6

This poem was not all that hard to disentangle, but it took some effort to put the nouns with their adjectives, the subjects with their verbs, and to realize that lasso in line 6 meant 'to tired me.'  I am reminded of the poem Su Dongpo 苏东坡wrote after struggling all night to read a bit of the poet Meng Jiao孟郊:


At first it's like eating little fish
Not worth all the effort
Then after a bit more of a struggle dealing with really difficult Chinese characters, Su Dongpo gives up, saying:


What bitterness to my two ears!
Listening to this cold insect's chirp
So I'll put [his poems] aside
And drink my jade-colored wine


Septimus, come with me to Cadiz,
to the Cantabers who haven't been taught 
to bear our yoke, to barbarous Sidra, 
where ever seethe the Moorish waves.

What if Tibur, founded by a farmer 
from Argos, were my place when I am old
big enough for this soul tired of the sea 
and the roads and the soldiering?

But, if the Fates unfairly block me, I
would seek out the sweet Galaesi River
for the skin-covered sheep and the fields once
ruled by the Spartan Phalanthus.

That corner of the earth does smile to me 
above all others, where the honey is 
not less than that from Hymettus and the 
olives match those of green Venafro.

A long spring time, where Juppiter offers 
warm winters and where Mount Aulon, friend of 
fertile Bacchus, doesn't envy the grapes 
from Falernus, not in the least.

That place and its mountain top so favored
calls to you and me; there you will sprinkle 
the still warm ashes of your poet friend 
with tears natural and fitting.
translation ©2010 by James Rumford


Cantaber: rebellious tribe of northwestern Spain
Syrtis [Σύρτις]: the Gulf of Sidra [خلیج سرت ].
Tibur: modern Tivoli near Rome
Argive [ργαιός]: of Argos, a Greek.
Parcae: the Fates
Galaesus [Γαλαῖσος]: the Galeso River near Tarento.
skin-covered sheep: apparently they covered the sheep with skins to protect their wool.
Phalant[h]us [Φάλαντος]: a Spartan who founded Tarentum; Phalanthum: Tarento.
Venafrum: modern Venafro, celebrated for its olive oil
Hymettus [Ὑμηττός], a mountain near Athens famed for its thyme honey, even today.
Aulon: a mountain in Calabria where grapes are grown 
Falernus: wine country in Campania.

in prose:

[O] Septimi, [o] aditure mecum Gades et Cantabrum ‹iuga nostra ferre indoctum› et Syrtes barbaras, ‹ubi unda Maura semper aestuat›, utinam Tibur ‹colono Argeo positum› sedes senectae meae sit! Modus maris et viarum militiaeque lasso sit! 
Unde, si Parcae iniquae prohibent, flumen dulce Galaesi ‹ovibus pellitis› et ‹rura Phalantho Laconi regnata› petam. Ille angulus terrarum mihi praeter omnes ridet, ubi mella Hymetto non decedunt, bacaque Venafro viridi certat, ubi Iuppiter ver longum brumasque tepidas praebet et Aulon, ‹Baccho amicus›, uvis Falernis minimum invidet. Ille locus et arces beatae te (Septimium) mecum postulant. Ibi tu favillam calentem ‹vatis amici› lacrima debita sparges.   [revised March 27, 2015]


Septimī, Gādıs aditūre mēcum et
Cantabrum indoctum iuga ferre nostra et
barbarās Syrtıs, ubi Maura semper
   aestuat unda,
Tībur Argēō positum colōnō
sit meae sēdēs utinam senectae,
sit modus lassō maris et viārum
unde sī Parcae prohibent inīquae,
dulce pellītīs ovibus Galaesī
flūmen et regnāta petam Lacōnī
   rūra Phalanthō.
ille terrārum mihi praeter omnıs
angulus rīdēt, ubi nōn Hymettō
mella dēcēdunt viridīque certat
   bāca Venafrō,
vēr ubī longum tepidāsque praebet
Iuppiter brūmās et amīcus Aulon
fertilī Bacchō minimum Falernīs
   invidet ūvīs.
ille tē mēcum locus et beātae
postulant arcēs; ibi tū calentem
dēbitā spargēs lacrimā favillam

   vātis amīcī.

:: 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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