Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Money :: Inclusam Danaen Turris :: III:16

The ancient commentator Porphyrio says this about today’s ode:

ut ostendatur nihil non posse pecunia atque auro expugnari
to show that nothing cannot be expunged with money or gold

Later in the poem, Horace warns his audience not to be too greedy. It isn’t so much that money can’t buy happiness. It is that greed leads to unhappiness. One must realize when one has had enough. One must learn to count one’s blessings. As you might imagine, this poem has oft been quoted. Certain lines have made their way into the usual compendia of quotations.  I ran across some website which stated that this poem is found in 170 books from 1793–2006. In fact, one line 

crescentem sequitur cura pecuniam maiorumque fames
care—and hunger for more—follows growing money

can be found in websites from all over the world. The most interesting is one from Japan with this transliteration

which, because of the nature of the Japanese syllabary, sounds like:

kurusutentemu · sekuuitouru ·kuura · pakuuniamu

and is translated as:

In ode III:16, we meet Acrisius, the king of Argos, who so feared his daughter would bear a child that, according to an oracle, would one day murder him, that he locked her in a tower, only to have Zeus/Jupiter turn himself into a shower of gold and, I suppose, bribe his way into the tower to accomplish the deed. Such is the power of money.

Next we hear of Amphiraraus, the soothsayer form Argos, who died in the siege of Thebes. Why had he gone to Thebes? Because Polyneices had bribed his wife so that she would coax Amphiraraus into going. We also hear of the Man from Macedonia, Philip, father of Alexander the Great, who used money in dealing with his enemies. Finally, we hear of the rich king of Lydia in Asia Minor named Alyattes and the plains of King Mygon, I suppose another rich monarch. 

Grammatically, this ode has, like all of the others, its pitfalls. Fore, line 7, is an old future infinite used for futurum esse. Fore causes problems because it implies that someone said something or thought something so that what seems to to be missing from lines 7 and 8 is:

risissent, [quia Jupiter Venusque intellegebant] iter tutum fore [futurum esse] . . . .
laughed because Jupiter and Venus thought there’d be a safe way . . . .

As for me, I almost think that fore was a way for Horace to interject himself into the poem, a sarcastic aside, something like: of course, there would be a way in, once a god turns himself into money.

Another pitfall for me were lines 22–24:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . nil cupientium
nudus castra peto et transfuga divitum
partis linquere gestio.

The keys are the words: nudus for ‘stripped [of money]’,  peto ‘ask [for]’, transfuga ‘a deserter’ and gestio ‘I am eager to.’ In wordy Latin, this gives us:

ego sum nudus (sine pecunia) et 
castra virorum [qui nil cupiunt] peto;
ego etiam sum transfuga et ego gestio 
illas partis virorum divitum linquere.

Horace, as always, is compact. Deconstructing him is, as always, difficult. 

Finally, there is fallit in line 32. What is missing here is the idea that fallit means mihi fallit  or ‘I don’t know whether.’ Also missing is a verb like esse. 
Horace, as usual, is almost telegraphic. But what do you want? He’s a poet. His messages come via unusual channels from unusual places in his mind.

translation ::

A coppered tower, gates of oak, and a mournful 
patrol of vigilant dogs would have been quite enough 
to wall off the imprisoned girl Danaë from
the adulterers of the night, 

if Jupiter and Venus hadn’t laughed at 
Acrisium, the fearful guardian of that 
sequestered virgin with “there’ll be a sure way in,
with a god turned into money.”

Gold likes going among the attendant guards and, 
more powerful than a stroke of lightning, breaking 
apart rocks—the house of the Argive soothsayer 
did collapse because of money 
sinking into ruin. He split apart the gates 
of cities—the man from Macedonia—and 
dragged under rivaling kings with gifts; gifts ensnared 
the barbarous captains of ships.

Care attends money that increases and so does 
hunger for more. I have rightly abhorred to raise, 
my own head proudly for everyone to admire,   
Maecenas, glory of the knights.

And the more one denies himself, the more one will 
get from the gods; I, stripped, ask for the camps of those 
who covet nothing and I, deserter, long to 
leave behind the ranks of the rich,

I, a holder of hated things more splendid than 
were I said to hide within my barns whatever 
hardworking Apulus tilled—great treasures amongst 
those without.

A river of pure water and a woods of few 
acres and a sure faith in my crop—it’s not known 
if the one agleam with the command of fertile 
Africa is more blessed by fate.

Although the bees don’t bring Calabrian honey 
nor does a Laestrygonian Bacchus languish 
in an amphora for me, nor do wooly sheep  
grow in the pasture lands of Gaul,

but grievous poverty is far away, and, were 
I to want more, you would not deny giving it. 
Better, my desires pulled back, and that 
I have laid out my little spread

than if I joined the kingdom of the Mygdoni 
to the fields of Alyattes. Much is lacking 
those who ask much. Well, God gives what is sufficient 
to the one with a frugal hand.  
translation copyright 2011 by James Rumford

in prose ::

Turris aenea foresque robustae et excubiae tristes canum vigilum Danaen inclusam ab adulteris nocturnis satis munierant, si ‹Jupiter et Venus› Acrisium, custodem pavidum virginis abditae, non risissent, [sciverunt] enim, deo in pretium converso, iter tutum et patens fore. 
Aurum amat per medios satellites ire et saxa ictu fulmineo potentius perrumpere. Domus auguris Argivi, exitio demersa, ob lucrum concidit. Vir Macedo portas urbium diffidit et reges aemulos muneribus subruit. Munera duces saevos navium illaqueant. 
Cura famesque maiorum pecuniam crescentem sequitur. 
Iure perhorrui, ‹[o] Maecenas, decus equitum›, verticem conspicuum late tollere. Quisque sibi quanto plura negaverit, ab dis plura feret. [Ego] nudus, castra-nil-cupientium peto, et, [ego] transfuga, gestio partes divitum linquere. 
[Ego poeta sum] dominus rei contemptae, splendidior quam si [ego] dicerer [me in] meis horreis ‹quidquid Apulus impiger arat› occultare—inops inter opes magnas. 
Rivus aquae purae silvaque iugerum paucorum et fides certa segetis meae fulgentem imperio Africae fertilis fall[un]t. Sorte beatior [sum], quamquam nec apes mella Calabrae ferunt, nec Bacchus in amphora Laestrygonia mihi languescit, nec vellera pinguia pascuis Gallicis crescunt. 
Pauperies tamen importuna abest; nec tu [Maecenas] deneges dare, si plura velim. 
Melius vectigalia parva cupidine contracto porrigam quam si regnum Alyattei campis Mygdoniis continuem. 

Multa ‹multa petentibus› desunt. Bene est cui deus manu parca obtulit quod satis est.
[revised March 28, 2015]

Delphin ordo ::

Turris ex ære, et validæ januæ, necnon vigilantium canum mæsta custodia clausam Danaën abundè tuebantur noctu à mœchis, nisi Jupiter et Venus irrissent Acrisium inclusæ puellæ meticulosum observatorem: quippe viam fore securam opertamque numini in aurum mutato.Aurum solet pervadere medios custodes, ac rupes frangere, vi fulminis validius. Vatis Argolici familia teriit propter quæstum.Vir Macedonius portas civitatum perrupit, ac Reges invidos profligavit donis.Dona irretiunt feroces navarchos. Augescentes opes comitatur solicitudo, et cupiditas ampliorum.O Mæcenas, equitum gloria, non sine causâ timui caput erigere valdè splendidum.Quò majora sibi quisque ademerit, eò ampliora consequetur à Numinibus. Pauper transeo ad partes nihil appetentium, atque opulentiorum castra fugitivus deserere aveo; bonorum spretorum possessor magis illustris, quàm si meis granariis conderem id omne quod colit Appulus laboriosus, ego interim egens summis in divitiis.Rivus aquæ liquidæ et silva paucorum jugerum, messis[f. harvest]que  meæ spes secura, est ignota illi qui fœcundæ Libyæ dominatur.Ejusque fortunta melior est meâ, licèt mihi neque apes Calabricæ mel producant, neque vinum apud me senescat in cado Formiano, neque lanæ pretiosæ crescant in Galliæ pascuis; at gravis egestas non adest : sique majora cuperem, tu donare minimè recusares. Exigua trivuta solvam faciliùs refrænatâ cupiditate, quàm si Lydiæ ditionem agris Phrygiis adjungam.Plurima cupientes egent plurimis.Felix est is cui manu contractâ Diì dederunt quantum sufficit.

original ode ::

Inclūsam Danaen turris aēnea
rōbustaeque forēs et vigilum canum
tristēs excubiae mūnierant satis
   nocturnīs ab adulterīs,
sī nōn Acrisium, virginis abditae
custōdem pavidum, Iuppiter et Venus
rīsissent: fore enim tūtum iter et patēns
   conversō in pretium deō.
aurum per mediōs īre satellitēs
et perrumpere amat saxa potentius
ictū fulmineō; concidit auguris
   Argīvī domus ob lucrum
dēmersa exitiō; diffidit urbium
portās vir Macedo et subruit aemulōs
rēgēs mūneribus; mūnera navium
   saevōs illaqueant ducēs.
crescentem sequitur cūra pecūniam
maiōrumque famēs. iūre perhorruī
lātē conspicuum tollere verticem,
   Maecēnās, equitum decus.
quantō quisque sibī plūra negāverit,
ab dīs plūra feret; nīl cupientium
nūdus castra petō et transfuga dīvitum
   partıs linquere gestio,
contemptae dominus splendidior reī,
quam sī quidquid arat impiger āpulus
occultāre meīs dīcerer horreīs,
   magnās inter opēs inops.
pūrae rīvus aquae silvaque iūgerum
paucōrum et segetis certa fidēs meae
fulgentem imperiō fertilis Āfricae
   fallit sorte beātior.
quamquam nec Calabrae mella ferunt apēs
nec Laestrȳgoniā Bacchus in amphorā
languescit mihi nec pinguia Gallicīs
   crescunt vellera pascǔīs,
importūna tamen pauperiēs abest,
nec, sī plūra velim, tū dare dēnegēs.
contractō melius parva cupīdine
   vectīgālia porrigam
quam sī Mygdoniīs regnum Alyatteī
campīs continuem. multa petentibus
dēsunt multa; bene est cui deus obtulit
   parcā quod satis est manū.

:: 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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