Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Femme Fatale :: Ulla Si Iuris :: II:8

There is a lot of energy in this poem addressed to some femme fatale  named Bariné. The words Horace uses are a bit like the quick, juicy brush strokes of a master like Frans Hals: they sweep you up and carry you along. 

Just look at the five-syllables at the end of each stanza: 

turpior ungui  — more vile by a fingernail
publica cura — a public darling
morte carentis — from death free
cote cruenta  —  with a bloody whetstone
saepe minati —  often warned
aura maritos —  a wind the married ones

Each one of these carries so much vitality. Each one placed to emphasize exactly what Horace wants to say.

I'd believe you, my Barine, 
if any punishment for lying 
harmed you, if you started
looking disgusting because 
of some black tooth 
or fingernail.
But you, at the same time you lay 
your lying head on the line, 
you shine even more beautifully 
than anyone; you become every
boy's sweetheart. 
It serves you, doesn't it, to be false 
to the buried ashes of your mother
to everything: the silent signs 
of night, of Heaven,  of the gods 
exempt from icy death?
They say, Venus herself laughs at this,
the simple nymphs, wild Cupid, too, 
always sharpening his hot arrows 
on a bloody whetstone.
Add to that all the young men
growing up, the new slaves growing up
and all the ones before, 
who were often threatened into quiting 
the house of the "impious lady."
You mothers fear for their young bulls,
You the miserly old men 
and the sad virgin brides fear, 
lest one breeze from you 
waylay their men.
translation © 2010 by James Rumford
In Prose:

[O] Barine, [tibi] crederem, si ulla poena iuris peierati tibi nocuisset, si dente nigro vel uno ungui turpior fieres, sed tu simul caput perfidum votis obliga[vi]sti, pulchrior multo enitescis, ‹[tu] curaque publica iuvenum› prodis. 
Expedit ‹cineres opertos matris› et ‹signa taciturna noctis›, cum caelo toto, ‹divosque morte gelida carentes› fallere. 
Inquam, Venus ipsa hoc ridet. ‹Nymphae simplices› ‹Cupidoque ferus›, ‹semper sagittas ardentes cote cruenta acuens›, rident. 

Adde quod, pubes omnis tibi [Barini] crescit. Servitus nova crescit. Nec priores—saepe minati sunt—tectum impiae dominae [Barines] reliquunt. Matres te suis iuvencis metuunt, senes te parci [metuunt] virginesque nuptae miserae nuper [metuunt] ne aura tua maritos retardet.

[revised March 27, 2015]

Original Ode:

Ūlla sī iuris tibi pēierātī
poena, Bārīnē, nocuisset umquam,
dente sī nigrō fierēs vel ūnō
   turpior unguī,
crēderem; sed tū simul obligāstī
perfidum vōtīs caput, ēnitescis
pulchrior multō iuvenumque prōdis
   publica cūra.
expedit mātris cinerēs opertōs
fallere et totō taciturna noctis
signa cum caelō gelidāque dīvōs
   morte carentıs.
rīdet hōc, inquam, Venus ipsa, rīdent
simplicēs Nymphae, ferus et Cupīdo
semper ardentıs acuēns sagittās
   cōte cruentā.
adde quod pūbes tibi crescit omnis,
servǐtūs crescit nova nec priōrēs
impiae tectum dominae relinquunt
   saepe minātī.
tē sǔīs mātrēs metuunt iuvencīs,
tē senēs parcī miseraeque nūper
virginēs nuptae, tua nē retardet
   aura marītōs.

:: 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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