Sunday, December 18, 2011

Where East Meets West :: III:3

A few weeks ago, I realized that word order in Latin poetry is not as crazy as I had thought it was. It is very similar to Chinese word order. Take the first line from today’s ode:

iustum et tenacem propositi virum
[the] just and firm of purpose man

A Chinese translation might go something like this:

[the] just purpose-resolved of man

The Chinese love to pile on modifiers before a noun. In fact, their grammar demands it. Latin grammar is not as constraining as Chinese grammar. A Roman could have said:

iustum virum et tenacem propositi
virum iustum et tenacem propositi

Even so, the way Horace ordered his words, is not something the Latin grammarians talk about. In fact, they fairly ignore the Chinese-like fronting of modifiers. 

But how Chinese-like is Latin? Take this sentence, which means ‘This is the house in which Horace lived’:


A literal translation in both Latin and English would be jibberish:

Hæc est Horatii habitabat domus.
This is Horace lived’s house.

Clearly Latin cannot mimic Chinese in all aspects. Nevertheless, we can approximate Latin to Chinese if we first translate the sentence with a relative clause:

Hæc est domus in qua Horatius habitabat.

Next we can front the relative clause:

Hæc est in qua Horatius habitabat domus.

Putting a relative clause before the noun it refers to may be odd to our ears, but not to a Roman’s. Here are further examples from Horace’s carmina:

vel quae loca fabulosus lambit Hydaspes [I:22:7-8] 
or which regions legendary washes Hydaspes
or the regions the legendary Hydaspes washes

sed quae Tibur aquae fertile praefluunt [IV:3:10] 
but which Tibur waters fertile flow by
but the waters which flow by the fertile Tibur 

et almum quae rapit hora diem [IV:7:7-8]
and kind which takes [the] hour day
and the hour that takes away the kind day

So, where are the rules to account for putting a relative clause before the noun it modifies? The answer is: there aren’t any. Where are the rules to account for these phrases from today’s ode?—

nostrisque ductum seditionibus bellum
and [the] from our drawn-out quarrels war
and the drawn-out war because of our quarrels

Troiæ renascens alite lugubri fortuna
Troy’s being reborn by a bird lugubrious fortune
The fortune of Troy being revived by a lugubrious bird

It is not enough to say that an adjective can come before or after the noun it modifies. It is wrong to give the impression that a relative clause always follows the noun it modifies. It would be better to prepare the student for sentences that look a bit more Chinese than they do schoolbook Latin. 

Human beings have varied and, I would say, amazing ways of stringing words together. Chinese reveals one of the ways, and so does Japanese. Here is a sentence from Kawabata’s Snow Country 雪国. I don’t think that even Horace could match Kawabata’s word order. 

The sentence comes after a long description of Mr. Shimamura aboard a train. As evening approaches, the window becomes a mirror of the interior of the train. He is able to observe, in the reflection, a beautiful woman caring for a sick man.
As for [the] in [the] evening scene’s mirror by Yoko being cared for sick man, 
[the] Shimamura for a meeting having come woman’s houses’s son he was.

If you let your mind relax, you can almost understand what Kawabata is trying to say:

The sick man being cared for by Yoko, in the mirror of the evening scene, 
was the son in the house of the woman Shimamura had come to meet.

Dare I contort Latin to mimic Japanese word order? Why not? For the fun of it, I’ll change Yoko to Iuno and Shimamura to Cincinnatus and give it a try. I wonder if a Roman would have understood my translation or whether he would have thought it was even correct.

In vesperālis prospectūs speculō Iūnōne servatus aeger 
quam Cincinnātus vīsitāre vēnit mulieris domūs fīlius erat.


The just man, firm of purpose, solid of mind, 
the flame of citizens prescribing wrongs, 
does not shake, neither does a tyrannt’s 
threatening face, neither the South wind,

wild commander of the restless Adriatic,
neither the great hand of thundering Jove:
even if, fractured, the world caved in,
its ruins would strike this man unafraid.

This is how Pollux and Hercules on the move,
having struggled, reached the castles of fire;
where with them recumbent, Augustus
will drink nectar, his mouth a violet red;

how worthy you, Father Bacchus, your
tigers carried, dragging the yoke with 
stubborn necks, how Quirinus on the
steeds of Mars put Acheron to flight,

a welcome thing Juno speaking up 
at the council of the divine: “Troy, Troy 
the impure judge of fate, the foreign 
woman too, has turned

to dust, damned to me and to chaste
Minerva with the people and the faudulent
leader, the day Laomedon defrauded
the gods of an agreed upon reward. 
No more does the well-known host 
of the Spartan adulteress shine nor does 
Priam’s house of lies shatter the warlike 
Achaeans with Hector’s might,

and a drawn-out war by our discord
he settled. And after this, the terrible 
anger and the hated grandson,
whom the Trojan priestess bore,

to Mars I shall return; I shall have him enter 
the shining houses, come to know the taste 
of nectar and be appointed
to the peaceful ranks of the gods.  

As long as the sea vast between Troy 
and Rome rages, let the blessed exiles 
rule wherever, as long as horses 
trample the tumulus of Paris and Priam 

and wild animals there conceal their litters 
unharmed, let the Capitolium stand 
shining, let warlike Rome mete out 
justice to the conquered Medes.

Let her who bristles extend her name broadly 
to the final shores, where the middle 
sea separates Europe from Africa,
where swollen the Nile waters the fields.

Undiscovered gold?—better left that way, 
as the earth hides it—braver to spurn than 
to snatch all the sacred stuff up
for man’s use with the right hand.[1]

whatever limit confines the world, 
she will get to by force, eager to see 
the part where fires rage out of control, 
the part of rains and misty dews.

But I have foretold and by this rule to the
warring Romans say, let not those too pious
and faithful to the country wish to 
repair the roofs of ancestral Troy.

The fortune of Troy, revived by some 
gruesome bird-omen, will be repeated 
in sad slaughter, when I, Jove’s wife and 
sister, lead the victorious troops.

If thrice the bronze wall rises from 
Apollo’s doing, thrice the ruins will by 
my Greeks perish, thrice the captured 
wife will weep for husband and sons.’

This does not suit the joyous lyre. Where, 
Muse, are you headed? Stop being stubborn 
and carrying on about the gods and lessening 
the magnificent with small measures.[2] 

translation © 2011 by James Rumford


1  There is a lot of discussion about the true meaning of these lines, indeed whether the word cum was not a scribal error for quo. Whatever has been said, I prefer to translate the lines just as they are and let them speak for themselves. Here are some translations in three of the daughter languages of Latin:

Spanish ¡Que sea más grande despreciando en oro que ocultaba la tierra, dentro de la cual estaría mejor que no empleándo para usos profanos y sacrílegos!

Italian   L’oro non anco scoverto (oh, il celino sempre le terre!) anzi che torcerlo a umani usi con man rapace fin tra l’are, più forte ella spregi. [Trad. di Mario Rapisardi, 1883]

French  qu’elle soit plus grande en méprisant l’or enfoui que cachait la terre, et où il était mieux, qu’en l’amassant pour l’usage de l’homme. après l’avoir, de sa main rapace, enlevé aux choses sacrées; [Trad: Ch.-M. Leconte de Lisle, Horace, traduction nouvelle, Paris, A. Lemerre, 1911]

2  ‘Small measures’ modis parvis refers also to the ‘mode of music,’ that is, Horace’s own poetry.

In Prose:

Non ardor civium prava iubentium, non vultus tyranni instantis, virum iustum et propositi tenacem, mente solida, quatit neque Auster, dux turbidus Hadriae inquieti, nec manus magna Iovis fulminantis. Si orbis fractus illabatur, ruinae impavidum ferient. 
Hac arte, Pollux et Hercules vagus enisus arces igneas attigit, inter quos Augustus recumbens nectar ore purpureo bibet. 
Hac [arte], [o] Bacche pater, tigres tuae, iugum collo indocili trahentes, te merentem vexer[unt]. 
Hac [arte], Quirinus Acheronta [in] equis Martis fugit, Iunone divis consiliantibus gratum elocuta: 
“Iudex fatalis incestusque et mulier peregrina Ilion in pulverem vertit—Ilion damnatum mihi Minervaeque castae cum populo et duce fraudulento, ex quo [tempore] Laomedon mercede pacta deos destituit. 
“Iam nec hospes famosus adulterae Lacaenae splendet. Nec domus periura Priami Achivos pugnaces opibus Hectoreis refringit. 
“Bellumque, seditionibus nostris ductum, resedit. Et protinus, iras graves et nepotem invisum, quem sacerdos Troica peperit, Marti redonabo. Ego patiar illum sedes lucidas inire, sucos nectaris discere et ordinibus quietis deorum adscribi. 
“Dum pontus longus inter Ilion Romamque saeviat, in qualibet parte exsules beati regnanto. Dum armentum busto Priami Paridisque insultet et ferae inultae catulos celent, Capitolium fulgens stet. Romaque ferox possit iura Medis triumphatis dare. [Roma] late horrenda, nomen in oras ultimas extendat, qua liquor medius Europen ab Afro secernit, qua Nilus tumidus arva rigat. 
“Aurum irrepertum? Et [Romae] melius sic situm cum terra [id] celat. Fortior [id] spernere quam cogere dextra rapiente sacrum omne in usus humanos. 
“Quicumque terminus mundo obstitit, [Roma] hunc armis tanget, gestiens visere qua parte ignes, qua [parte] rores nebulae pluviique debacchentur. 
“Sed, hac lege, fata Quiritibus bellicosis dico, ne velint nimium pii rebusque fidentes tecta Troiae avitae reparare. Fortuna Troiae, alite lugubri renascens, clade tristi iterabitur, me coniuge et sorore Iovis catervas victrices ducente. Si ter murus aeneus, Phoebo auctore, resurgat, [murus], ter Argivis meis excisus, pereat, ter uxor [Troiana] capta virum puerosque ploret.”
Hoc lyrae iocosae non conveniet. Quo, musa, tendis? Desine, [o] pervicax, sermones deorum referre et magna modis parvis tenuare.   [revised March 27, 2015]

Delphin Ordo:

Virum integrum et in sententià constantem de firmo propositio non dimovet vehementia civium improba præscribentium, nec facies tyranni urgentis, neque Notus turbator Adriatici maris procellosi, nec potens dextra Jovis fulmen vibrantis. Si ruat mundi soluta compages, intrepidum opprimet casus. Istâ pollens virtute Pollux, et errabundus Hercules, ædes ad ignitas ascendit : inter quos Augustus sedens ore roseo nectar potat. Istâ clarum te, Liber pater, traxere tuæ tigres indomitâ cervice jugum ferentes. Per istam Romulus Martis equis effugit inferos ; Junone apud Deos concilium habentes dicente rem jucundam : Funestus (dixit) et flagitiosus arbiter, et barbara fœ[æ?]mina in favillas redegit Trojam, mihi et pudicæ Palladi cum plebe et rege fallaci addictam, ex quo tempore Laomedon numina defraudavit promisso stipendio. Non ampliùs mœchæ Lacedæmoniæ fulget hospes infamis ; neque Priami gens fraudulenta Græcos feroces expugnat viribus Hectoris ; quievitque bellum nostris discordiis protractum. Ergo etiam deinceps grandes inimicitias, et nepotem odiosum, quem genuit sacrificula Trojana, Marti remittam. Hung ego sinam ingredi domicilium splendens, bibere nectaris liquores, atque numinum felici numero accenseri. Dummodo Trojam inter et Romam ingens mare fremat, quâcumque in regione imperent fortunati extorres. Modò super sepulchrum Priami et Paridis greges lasciviant, et belluæ illæsæ fœtus suos abscondant, stabile floreat Capitolium, et Roma bellicosa leges imponat victis Medis. Illa formidabilis procul ad extremas orbis partes famam propaget ; sive ubi mare interfusum separat Europam ab Africâ ; sive ubi Nilus intumescens agros perfundit : generosior contemnendo aurum nondum inventum, atque ita convenientiùs positum, dum terra contegit ; quàm addicendo illud usui hominum, manu quodlibet sanctum deprædante. Quisquis mundi finis impedivit, hunc bello obtineat, cupiens investigare, quo loco æstus, quo nubilia et imbres sæviant. Verùm fata sancio Romanis militiâ inclytis, eâ conditione, ut non plùs quàm fas est pii, neve opibus innixi, stagant antiquæ Trojæ domos instaurare. Namque sors Trojæ resurgens infaustis auspiciis repetetur casu iterum luctuoso, triumphantis exercitûs ductrice me Jovis uxore et sorore. Si ter ex ære mœnia reparentur favente Apolline, ter quoque diruta prosternantur à Græcis mihi dilectis : ter captiva conjux plangat maritum ac filios. At ludenti citharæ ista minimè congruunt. Quò pergis, ô Musa? Cessa audax Deorum verba narrare, atque humili carmine diminuere grandia.

Original Ode:

Iustum et tenācem prōpositī virum
nōn cīvium ardor prāva iubentium,
  nōn vultus instantis tyranni
      mente quatit solidā neque Auster,
dux inquiētī turbidus Hādriae,
nec fulminantis magna manus Iovis:
  sī fractus illābātur orbis,
      impavidum ferient ruīnae.
hāc arte Pollux et vagus Hercules
ēnīsus arcıs attigit igneās,
  quōs inter Augustus recumbēns
      purpureō bibet ōre nectar,
hāc tē merentem, Bacche pater, tuae
vexēre tīgrēs indocilī iugum 
  collō trahentēs, hāc Quirīnus
      Martis equīs Acheronta fūgit,
grātum ēlocūtā consiliantibus
Iunōne dīvīs: īlion, īlion
  fātālis incestusque iūdex
      et mulier peregrīna vertit
in pulverem, ex quō destituit deōs
mercēde pactā Lāǒmedon, mihi
  castaeque damnātum Minervae
      cum populō et duce fraudulentō.
iam nec Lacaenae splendet adulterae
fāmōsus hospēs nec Priamī domūs
  periūra pugnācēs Achīvōs
      Hectoreīs opibus refringit,
nostrīsque ductum seditiōnibus
bellum resēdit. prōtinus et gravıs
  īrās et invīsum nepōtem,
      Trōica quem peperit sacerdōs,
Martī redōnābo; illum ego lūcidās
inīre sēdēs, discere nectaris
  sūcōs et adscrībī quiētīs
      ordinibus patiar deōrum.
dum longus inter saeviat īlion
Rōmamque pontus, quālibet exsulēs
  in parte regnantō beātī
      dum Priamī Paridisque bustō
insultet armentum et catulōs ferae
cēlent inultae, stet Capitōlium
  fulgēns triumphātīsque possit
      Rōma ferox dare iūra Mēdīs.
horrenda lātē nōmen in ultimās
extendat orās, quā medius liquor
  sēcernit Eurōpēn ab āfrō,
      quā tumidus rigat arva Nīlus.
aurum irrepertum et sīc melius situm,
cum terra cēlat, spernere fortior
  quam cogere hūmānōs in ūsūs
      omne sǎcrum rapiente dextrā.
quīcumque mundō terminus obstitit,
hunc tanget armīs, vīsere gestiēns,
  quā parte dēbacchentur ignēs,
      quā nebulae pluviīque rōrēs.
sed bellicōsīs fāta Quirītibus
hāc lēge dīcō, nē nimium piī
  rēbusque fīdentēs avītae
      tecta velint reparāre Trōiae.
Trōiae renascēns ālite lūgubrī
fortūna tristī clāde iterābitur,
  dūcente victrīcēs catervās
      coniuge mē Iovis et sorōre.
ter sī resurgat mūrus aeneus
auctōre Phoebō, ter pereat meīs
  excīsus Argīvīs, ter uxor
      capta virum puerōsque plōret.’
nōn hōc iocōsae conveniet lyrae.
quō, Mūsa, tendis? dēsine pervicax
  referre sermōnēs deōrum et
      magna modīs tenuāre parvīs.

:: 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.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Simple Honesty :: Faune Nympharum :: III:18

To someone used to reading Chinese poetry with its fluid, almost cinematographic descriptions of rural life, I find this poem a bit boring. But then, why make such a comparison? Horace was Roman not Chinese. Besides, who am I to say such a thing? Scholars over the centuries have praised these few lines for their beauty. One scholar compared them to a painting by Breughel.   

Another [Eduard Fraenkel 1880-1970] thought them “a little masterpiece of refined simplicity.”

But like all that is “simple” in art, this poem is extremely complex. Horace addresses this ode to Faunus, a kind of Roman Pan. 
He talks about sex (Nymphs and Venus), getting drunk, and just vegging out during this country holiday held on the nonae of December, i.e., December fifth.  Also implied in this ode is how the Romans viewed their relationship with the gods. It was one of do ut des (I give so that you give), as pointed out by Daniel Garrison in his Horace: Epodes and Odes. Horace will have plenty of wine and incense ready for the Faunus so that, when he comes barreling? flitting? rolling? through his fields (I really don’t know how Faunus got about), he’ll leave as nicely as he came.

All of this is complex enough, but the real complexity lies in the last four lines: Faunus’ presence will make it so that the lambs aren’t afraid [audacis] of the wolves. The forest (even though it is fall, I might add) will drop [spargit] its leaves for him, and the field hand will do a jig—actually the tripudium (the three step, a dance related to the measured stamping done in religious ceremonies)—upon the land he hates so much.  This god Faunus obviously has real power, transformative power. 

It is a foolish thing on my part to pivot an entire poem on one word, but I will. The word? Invisam.

gaudet invisam pepulisse fossor
ter pede terram.

glad is the field hand having pounded the
hated ground thrice with his feet.

What an honest look at the life of the farm laborer who grudgingly gets up at dawn and toils until sunset, day after day! This is no bucolic nonsense.  My emotions, too, are aroused by these lines. I feel compassion for the laborer. I transfer that compassion to the towns people lying in the fields. They now become alive. The cattle seem to move, too, and the old, tumble-down shrine begins to fill the air with an indescribable fragrance. 

I will end with another painting—not by Breughel but done by Jules Bastien-Lepage in 1878 entitled “Les Foins.” Here is the honesty and emotion that I believe Horace captured in his “little masterpiece of refined simplicity.”

Translation ::

Faunus, you lover of fleeing nymphs,
through my confines and sun-lit lands,
soft you will enter and kind you will leave
with the little lambs, as long 

as a tender goat, a yearling is offered,
and ample wine is not lacking in that 
friend of Venus, the krater, and the old shrine 
smokes with much incense.

The cattle all play in the grassy field, 
when the nonae of December come round;
Country folk on holiday rest in the fields 
with lazing cows,

a wolf roams amongst bold lambs,
for you the country woods scatters leaves,
glad is the field hand having pounded 
the hated ground thrice with his feet.
[translation © 2011 by James Rumford]

a Greek krater, a wine mixing bowl

In Prose ::

[O] faune, amator Nympharum fugientum, lenis per fines meos et rura aprica incedas aequusque alumnis parvis abeas, si haedus tener anno pleno cadit, nec vina larga craterae (sodali Veneris) desunt, ara vetus multo odore fumat. 
Pecus omne campos herboso ludit, cum nonae Decembres tibi redeunt, pagus festus in pratis cum bove otioso vacat. Lupus inter agnos audaces errat. Silva frondes agrestes tibi spargit. Fossor gaudet terram invisam ter pede pepulisse.   [revised March 28, 2015]

Delphin Ordo ::

Faune amnas Nymphas fugients, 
transi benignus per meos limites 
agrosque soli expositos, ac discede 
propitius tenellis fœtibus; 
siquidem tibi maetatur capreolus 
anno completo, additurque vinum 
copiosum in paterâ Veneri amicâ, 
atque ara antiqua plurimo thure inceditur. 
Quoties nonæ Decembres tibi sacræ 
recurrunt, pecudes cunctæ lasciviunt 
in pratis; vicus festum celebrans herboso 
campo requiescit cum bobus non laborantibus. 
Lupus vagatur inter agnos nihil timentes: 
nemus sternit folia in tuum honorem: 
agricola humum molestam ter plantâ 
ferire lætatur.

Original Ode ::

Faune, Nymphārum fugientum amātor,
per meōs fīnıs et aprīca rūra
lēnis incēdās abeāsque parvīs
   aequus alumnīs,
sī tener plēnō cadit haedus annō
larga nec dēsunt Veneris sodālī
vīna crātērae, vetus āra multō
   fūmat odōre.
lūdit herbōsō pecus omne campō,
cum tibī nōnae redeunt Decembrēs,
festus in prātīs vacat ōtiōsō
   cum bove pāgus,
inter audācıs lupus errat agnōs,
spargit agrestıs tibi silva frondıs,
gaudet invīsam pepulisse fossor

   ter pede terram.

:: 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.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

It Isn't Worth It :: Tyrrhena Regum Progenies :: III:29

The day-to-day worry, the stress of having things, too many things, isn't worth it. Better to relax once in a while and enjoy the simple pleasures of life. And should fate deal you a bad hand, don't fight it. Don't hang on to what you have. Give it all up and let the winds carry you to calmer seas.

I wonder how many harried businessmen or besieged politicians over the last two thousand years have found wisdom and solace in today's ode. I wonder what the rich man Maecenas, to whom this poem is addressed, thought of Horace's philosophy of life. And I wonder how many over the centuries, knowing this poem, have ignored its message and have refused to let go of what is actually holding them down. How many like the actress Allison Doody in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" go to their doom stubbornly reaching for the Holy Grail?

Horace describes his philosophy of life well: If there is a sudden storm arising from North Africa, instead of going down with the ship laden with all his goods, he jumps aboard the life boat and lets the winds and the stars carry him where they will. It's a fine line Horace paints between cowardice and prudence. 

This fine line, I think, lies in Horace's understanding of the role of fate in human affairs. When fortune is with you, great. When it is not, there is little you can do. Horace says: when Fortune spreads her wings to leave me, I give back to her what she has given. I wrap myself in my worth as a human being [meā virtute] and accept my honest poverty [probam pauperiem]. 

What courage and self-presence it would take to follow Horace's example. How many of us will take those minutes meant for escape to hose down our roof before the on-coming fire, to board up one more window before the impending hurricane?

As in my last posting, I have used footnotes to explain difficult passages. I have also highlighted in red certain words or phrases so that you can easily locate them in the prose rendition, the Delphin ordo, and in the original ode.

Translation ::

Etruscan offspring of kings, for you
mild wine from a jar not yet opened, 
Maecenas, with roses and for your 
hair pressed balsam already at my 

house. Tear yourself away for a while! 
Don’t keep looking at damp Tibur or 
Aefula’s sloping fields or the hills 
of Telegonus the Parricide.

Leave behind the sickening cliques and 
that rock pile close to towering clouds.
Let it go—looking at the smoke and 
the wealth and the noise of blessèd Rome.

Very often a welcome change for 
the rich and a nice meal before a 
poorman’s little hearth without carpets 
and purple have smoothed a worried brow.

Andromeda’s bright father has just 
shown his hidden fire; now Procyon 
rages—and the insane lion star, 
as the sun brings back the days of thirst.[1]

Now the tired shepherd looks for shade and 
stream with his listless flock and the thick
bushes of rough Silvanus with no 
quiet river bank, no errant winds.

You care what form suits the city-state 
and, worried, you fear for Rome: what the 
Chinese are hatching and Balkh once Cyrus-
ruled and the dissident Tanaïs. [2]
The knowing God hides in the fog of night 
what the future may bring and laughs, if 
a mortal becomes stressed beyond what 
is right. Remember what is present:
be calm and even-tempered. The rest 
is carried off like a river, now in 
mid-channel peacefully slipping down 
to the Etruscan Sea, now worn rocks

and roots snatched away and cattle and 
houses churning together, with the 
noise of the mountains and nearby woods, 
as that untamed flood stirs to anger 

quiet streams. Master over himself and
happy, he makes out, who for a day 
can have said “I’ve lived. Tomorrow, Jove, 
whether by a black cloud or a sky

filled with pure sun [3], will in no way void  
whatever's past nor will he undo 
and give another shade of color 
to what the fleeting hour has once brought.”

Joyful Fortune in her wild dealings, 
determined to play a brazen game, 
shifts around her uncertain honors,
now kind to me, now to another. 

I praise her for staying[4]; if she 
shakes her swift feathers, I return what 
she gave, wrap myself in my virtue,
and undowered seek clean poverty.

It is not my thing—if the mast roars 
from African storms—to resort to sad 
little prayers and bargain with God that 
the goods from Cyprus and Tyre not 

add wealth to the avaricious sea.
That’s when the breeze, the twin Pollux too, 
will carry me through the Aegean 
turmoil safely in a two-oared skiff.

Translation © 2011 by James Rumford
Notes ::

1  All stars during the summer months: Andromedae pater: Cepheus, which rises about July 15; the star Procyon, which rises July 15, eleven days before the Dog Star; stella vesani Leonis, Leo or its main star Regulus.

2  Tanais: people living along the River Don.

3 Vel atrā nube polum pater occupatō vel sole purō was too telegraphic for me to figure out. The translations and explanations were of little help. Literally this is:

Either with a black cloud the sky the father
by filling or with pure sun 

What we have here are two intertwined ablative absolutes:

Either by the father's filling the sky with a black cloud
or by the father's filling the sky with pure sun.

4 Laudo manentem, literally "I praise the staying one" refers to Fortune. Latin let me down here. In spite of its insistence on gender, there are just some constructions and declensions which show no gender. Hence I didn't know what this phrase meant until I looked at a few translations.

In Prose ::

[O] Maecenas, progenies Tyrrhena regum, iamdudum apud me est tibi merum lene, [ex] cado ante non verso, cum flore rosarum et balanus capillis tuis pressa.
Morae te eripe. Nec semper Tibur udum et arvum declive Aefulae et iuga Telegoni parricidae contempleris. Copiam fastidiosam et molem propinquam nubibus arduis desere. Omitte fumum et opes strepitumque Romae beatae mirari.
Plerumque ‹vices divitibus gratae cenaeque mundae› sub lare parvo pauperum sine aulaeis et ostro frontem sollicitam explicuer[unt].
Iam pater clarus Andromedae ignem occultum ostendit. Iam Procyon furit et stella Leonis vesani, sole dies siccos referente.
Iam pastor fessus umbras rivumque cum grege languido quaerit et dumeta Silvani horridi, ripaque taciturna ventis vagis caret.
Tu curas quis status civitatem deceat, et, sollictus, urbi times: quid Seres et Bactra, Cyro regnata, Tanaisque discors parent. 
Deus, prudens, exitum temporis futuri nocte calignosa premit ridetque, si mortalis ultra fas trepidat. 
Quod adest memento aequos componere. 
Cetera ritu fluminis ferunter, nunc medio alveo cum pace in mare Etruscum delabentis, nunc ‹lapides adesos› stirpesque raptas et pecus et domos una volventis, non sine clamore montium silvaeque vicinae, cum diluvies fera amnes quietos irritat. 
Ille potens sui laetusque deget cui licet in diem dixisse “Vixi.” 
Cras pater, polum vel nube atra vel sole puro occupato. Quodcumque tamen retro est, irritum non efficiet neque infectum diffinget. Quodque hora fugiens semel vexit [non] reddet. 
Fortuna laeta negotio saevo et ludum insolentem ludere pertinax honores incertos transmutat, nunc mihi nunc alii benigna. [Illam] manentem [mecum] laudo. Si pennas celeres quatit, quae dedit resigno et [cum] virtute mea me involvo pauperiemque probam sine dote quaero.
Meum non est, si malus procellis Africis mugiat, ad preces miseras decurrere et votis pacisci ‹ne merces Cypriae Tyriaeque divitias mari avaro addant›. Tunc, aura geminusque Pollux me tutum per tumultus Aegaeos [in] praesidio scaphae biremis feret.   [revised March 28, 2015]

Delphin Ordo ::

O Mæcenas, proles Hetrusca Regum, jam pridem apud me tibi est dulce vinum in amphorâ non hactnus inversâ, cum floribus rosarum, et balanus expressa tuis crinibus. Subtrahe te cunctationi; ne continuè spectes humidum Tibur, et pronos argros Æsulæ, collesque Telegoni parricidae. Relinque abundantiam fastidium afferentem, et ædes excelsis nubibus proximas. Intermitte admirari fumum, et potentiam, tumultusque Romæ felicis. Non rarò jucunda opulentis varietas, et nitidæ cœnæ in exiguiâ domo pauperum, sine tapetibus et purpurâ, vultum anxium porrexerunt. Jam lucidus parens Andromedæ promit ardorem absconditum. Jam sævit Anticanis, ac sidus Leonis furiosi, Sole reducente dies aridos. Nunc pastor æstu fatigatus cum grege languente petit umbras, et amnes, atque densa nemora Silvani hirsuti; et littus silens leves non habet aurasTu laboras quis urbi status conveniat, ac mentis anxius quid adversùs  Rempublicam moliantur Seres, et Bactriani Cyro subjecti, atque Tanais seditiosus. Dii sapientes obscuris tenebris involvunt venturi ævi sortem : deridentque si homo plus quàm decet angatur. Satage bene moderari præsentia. Reliqua dilabuntur instar fluvii Tiberis, modò intra ripas quietè defluentis in mare Thuscum, modò saxa corrosa evulsasque stirpes, et greges, atque ædificia simul abripientis, haud sine sonitu montium et silvæ proximæ; quando immanis eluvies solicitat fluvios tranquillos. Is compos sui est, vivetque hilaris, qui diebus singulis dicere potest, Vixi: crastinâ die Jupiter cœlo producat vel obscura nubila vel serenam diem; at nequaquam rescindet quicquid actum est, neque mutabit ac destruet quod semel attulit fluxum tempus. Fors gaudens rebus adversis, et obstinata ludere ludum petulantem, subvertit dignitates caducas, jam mihi, mox alteri propitia. Laudo stantem. Quòd si leves alas movet, reddo quæ donavit, et meâ me virtute protego; atque honestam paupertatem indotatam peto. Si navis gemat Africis tempestatibus, non ad me attinet confugere ad vota luctuosa, et precibus obtinere, ne Cypriæ vel Tyriæ merces mari avido opes adjungant. Tum etiam me securum ventus lenis ac geminus Pollux per fluctus Ægæos vehet ope naviculæ duos remos habentis.

Original Ode ::

Tyrrhēna rēgum prōgenies, tibi
nōn ante versō lēne merum cadō
   cum flōre, Maecēnās, rosārum et
       pressa tuīs balanus capillīs
iamdūdum apud mē est: ēripe tē morae,
nec semper ūdum Tībur et Aefulae
   dēclīve contemplēris arvum et
       Tēlegonī iuga parricidae.
fastīdiōsam dēsere cōpiam et
mōlem propinquam nūbibus arduīs:
   ǒmitte mīrārī beātae
        fūmum et opēs strepitumque Rōmae.
plērumque grātae dīvitibus vicēs
mundaeque parvō sub lare pauperum
   cēnae sine aulaeīs et ostrō
       sollicitam explicuēre frontem. 
iam clārus occultum Andromedae pater
ostendit ignem, iam Procyon furit
   et stella vēsānī Leōnis,
       sōle diēs referente siccos;
iam pastor umbrās cum grege languidō
rīvumque fessus quaerit et horridi
   dūmēta Silvānī, caretque
       rīpa vagīs taciturna ventīs.
tū cīvitātem quis deceat status
cūrās et urbī sollicitus timēs
   quid Sēres et regnāta Cȳ
       Bactra parent Tanaīsque discors.
prūdēns futūrī temporis exitum
cālignōsā nocte premit deus
   rīdetque, sī mortālis ultrā
       fās trepidat. quod adest mementō
compōnere aequos; cētera flūminis
rītū feruntur, nunc mediō alveō
   cum pace dēlābentis ētruscum
       in mare, nunc lapidēs adēsōs
stirpısque raptās et pecus et domōs
volventis unā, nōn sine montium
   clāmōre vīcīnaeque silvae,
       cum fera dīluviēs quiētōs
irrītat amnıs. ille potēns suī
laetusque dēget cuī licet in diem
   dixisse “vixī”: crās vel atrā
       nūbe polum pater occupatō
vel sōle pūrō; nōn tamen irritum
quodcumque retrō est efficiet neque
   diffinget infectumque reddet
       quod fugiēns semel hōra vexit.
Fortūna saevō laeta negōtiō et
lūdum insolentem lūdere pertinax
   transmūtat incertōs honōrēs,
       nunc mihi nunc aliī benigna.
laudō manentem; sī celerıs quatit
pennās, resignō quae dedit et meā
   virtūte mē involvō probamque
       pauperiem sine dōte quaerō.
nōn est meum, sī mūgiat Africīs
mālus procellīs, ad miserās precēs
   dēcurrere et vōtīs pacīscī
       nē Cypriae Tyriaeque mercēs
addant avārō dīvitiās marī:
tunc mē birēmis praesidiō scaphae
   tūtum per Aegaeōs tumultūs

       aura feret geminusque Pollux.

:: Latin books by James Rumford ::

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