Monday, April 26, 2010

Just Relax :: Quid Bellicosus Cantaber :: II:11

This ode is addressed to Hirpinus Quinctus, about whom nothing is known.
It tells him to stop worrying about the Cantabers, a rebellious people on the Iberian peninsula, and the Scyths, northern neighbors of the Persians. Instead, he should give himself over to Euhius (Bacchus) and drink wine.

In my translation, I have gone against the meanings scholars usually give to some words and passages:  

Scholars usually translate temere in line 14 as 'without purpose, heedlessly, rashly,' but I thought  'alone,' another of temere's many meanings, fit better.

Quis puer (line 18) and quis (line 21) are both ways of addressing underlings: you who, boy! and you who! Most commentators and translators take these last lines to be just that: Horace addressing his houseboy, or Horace addressing Hirpinus Quinctus.  Even so, I thought that there might be another meaning, perhaps a double meaning; so I wrote:

What boy will be the first 
to put out the cup of fiery Falernian 
with the water flowing by? 
Who will entice Lyda,
the retired whore, 
from the house? 
Come, play the ivory lyre. 
She'll hurry, 
tying up her uncombed hair 
into a Spartan knot.

Perhaps Horace wants to contrast youth, symbolized by puer with himself, a middle-aged man. Perhaps extinguishing a cup of ardentis Falerni (ardent Falernian wine) with praetereunte lympha (flowing water) has a sexual connotation. 

Then there is the command to get the devium scortum (discreet hooker) to come out. I have gone against the earliest commentator, Porphyrio, who says that devium means 'not on the street,' (which, in effect, turns devium scortum into an oxymoron: a non-street streetwalker). My take is to translate devium as 'retired,' thus reinforcing the theme of this ode: the passing of days and the loss of youth. To me, Horace is asking: Who [in their right mind] would entice the retired hooker Lyda from her house? To me, this interpretation reinforces line 7: pellente lascivos amores (repelling lascivious loves).

Of course, after only nine months studying Horace, all I have to say is: how reckless of me to go against two thousand years of scholarship!

Hirpinus Quinctus, 
put off wondering 
what the warring Cantabers and Scyths 
beyond the Adriatic think, 
and don't fret over life,
for it demands little. 
Beardless youth and beauty 
are driven back 
with the dried grey hair 
that repulses 
naughty love 
and easy sleep.
Not forever do flowers 
have spring's beauty
nor does the ruddy moon 
shine with the same face. 
Why tire little minds 
with eternal thoughts? 
Why don't we lie alone, 
while we still can,
under a tall plane tree 
or that pine there,  
smeared with Assyrian nard, 
white hair smelling of roses,
and drink? 
Euhius drives off gnawing cares. 
What boy will be the first 
to put out the cup of fiery Falernian 
with the water flowing by? 
Who will entice Lyda,
the retired whore, 
from the house? 
Come, play the ivory lyre. 
She'll hurry 
tying up her uncombed hair 
into a Spartan knot.
translation © 2010 by James Rumford

Now compare what Hafiz has to say on the subject of time passing as he jumps from image to image, symbol to symbol  in this ghazzal.

[A few notes before reading: Jamshid, Bahman, Qobad, Kavus and Kai were all Persian kings. Shireen and Farhad were lovers in the epic poem Khosraw and Shireen. Mossalla is a garden and the Roknabad is a river in Shiraz, where Hafiz lived and, some say, never left.]

What's the use of hiding wine and pleasure? 
I'm with the bums; so che sarà sarà
Don't think of fate; untie the heart-knot 
Which no engineer's thinking can undo.
Don't be surprised at fortune's reversals. 
It knows a thousand thousand such stories.
Take the cup with due respect for it's made
From Jamshid's skull and Bahman's and Qobad's.
Who's aware of where Kavus and Kai went, 
How Persepolis was scattered in the wind?
I still see the desire for Shireen's lips,
When tulips grow from grieving Farhad's eyes.
Perhaps the tulip knew time's perfidy;
It blooms, it dies, ne'er putting down the cup.
Come! Come! Let's get wasted on wine a while.
Perhaps we'll find some treasure in this hell.
They won't let me leave—the Mossalla
breezes and the waters of Roknabad.
Drink like Hafiz but to the harp's lament
Its silk glad-binding the joys of the heart.
translation©2010 by James Rumford

شـراب و عیــــش نهان چیست کار بــی بنیاد  *  زدیم بر صف رندان و هر چــه بــادا باد
گـــــره ز دل بگــــشا وز سپهر یاد مکــــن  *  که فکر هیچ مهنـــدس چنیــن گـــره نگــشاد
ز انـــقلاب زمـــانــــه عجب مدار کـه چـــرخ  *  از این فــــســـانه هزاران هــــزار دارد یاد
قدح بــه شرط ادب گیر زان که ترکیبش  *  زکاســه ی سر جمشیـــد و بهمن است و قــباد
که آگه است که کاووس و کی کجا رفتند  *  که واقف است که چون رفت تخت جم بر باد
ز حسرت لــب شیریـــن هــنــوز می بـــینم  *  کــــه لاله می دمــــد از خــون دیده ی فــرهاد
مگر کـــه لالـــه بـــدانـــست بی وفای دهر  *  کـــه تا بزاد و بـــشد جام می ز کــف نـــنهاد
بیــا بیــا کـــه زمانی ز مـــی خــراب شویم  *  مــگـــر رسیم به گــنجی در این خـــراب آباد
نـــمـــی دهنـــد اجـــازات مـــرا بـه سیر و سفر  *  نـــسیم بـــاد مـــصلا و آب رکـــن آبــاد
قدخ مگیر چو حافظ مگر به نالـــه ی چـــنگ  *  کـــه بستـــه اند بر ابریشم طـــرب دل شـاد 

in prose:

[O] Hirpine Quincti, remittas quaerere quid Cantaber bellicosus et Scythes, objecto Hadria divisus, cogitet, nec in usum aevi ‹pauca poscentis› trepides. 
Iuventas levis et decor retro fugi[un]t, canitie arida amores lascivos somnumque facilem pellente. Honor idem non est semper floribus vernis neque luna rubens uno vultu nitet. 
Quid animum minorem consiliis aeternis fatigas? Cur non, vel sub platano alta vel hac pinu, [nos], sic temere iacentes et capillos canos rosa odorati nardoque Assyria uncti, dum licet, potamus? 

Euhius curas edaces dissipat. Quis puer ocius pocula Falerni ardentis lympha praetereunte restinguet? Quis scortum devium, Lyden, domo eliciet? Dic [Lydi], “Age,” [ut] cum lyra eburna maturet, comam incomptam in nodo more Lacaenae religata.

[revised March 27, 2015]

original ode:

Quid bellicōsus Cantaber et Scythēs,
Hirpīne Quīnctī, cogitet Hādriā
   dīvīsus obiectō, remittās
        quaerere nec trepidēs in ūsum
poscentis aevī pauca: fugit retrō
lēvis iuventās et decor, āridā
   pellente lascīvōs amōrēs
        cānitiē facilemque somnum.
nōn semper īdem flōribus est honor
vernīs neque ūnō lūna rubēns nitet
   vultū: quid aeternīs minōrem
        consiliīs animum fatīgās?
cūr nōn sub altā vel platanō vel hāc
pīnū iacentēs sīc temere et rosā
   cānōs odōrātī capillōs,
        dum licet, Assyriāque nardō
pōtāmus unctī? dissipat Euhius
cūrās edācıs. quis puer ōcius
   restinguet ardentis Falernī
        pōcula praetereunte lymphā?
quis dēvium scortum ēliciet domō
Lȳden? eburnā dīc, age, cum lyrā
   mātūret, in comptum[incomptam] Lacaenae

        mōre comam[comās] religāta nōdō[nōdum].

:: 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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