Sunday, August 3, 2014

Spectaculum! Epode V

Shakespeare’s ‘double, double toil and trouble’ doesn’t even come close to the horror of this poem. No, this is Hollywood horror.

We have evil women, witches, who have captured a pre-pubescent little rich kid, whom they torture to death in the most gruesome manner. Why? So that the main witch, the focus of Horace’s abuse, Canidia, can make a love potion from select parts of the dead boy’s body.

Horace divides the poem up into four parts. In the first part, the boy speaks with the usual ‘what’s haaaaappening to meeee?” In the second, Horace tells us what’s going on and directs our attention to the witch Canidia. In part three, Canidia speaks and tells us her troubles. Finally, Horace allows the boy to speak, heaping Thyestean curses on Canidia. (Thyestean? Yes, Thyestes got his brother’s wife to go to bed with him. His brother got his revenge by killing Thyestes’ young sons, cooking them up, and serving them to Thyestes to eat. I guess Thyestes’ reaction, when he found out, was to heap…well…Thyestean curses on his brother.)

The entire poem is quite a spectaculum, which seems to have all of the same connotations in Latin as ‘spectacle’ has in English. Horace even gives the word pride of place by putting it at the very end of the poem. Because of this, I have not followed other translators who make spectaculum the object. I have kept spectaculum the subject. The spectacle rules all. The show is everything, and Horace does his best to provide the best.

In this long poem, there is an overabundance of grammatical points to discuss, but I will limit myself to just one: the lack of a word in Latin for our word ‘as,’ as in:

As a poet, Horace wrote…

With no word like ‘as,’ the Romans instead used the appositive. They said:

Poeta Horatius scripsit…

With no ‘as’ I often have trouble understanding long passages, especially if the appositive is separated from the noun it goes to. Check out the use of the appositive in today’s poem:

line 14:  corpus impube
line 93:  nocturnus occurram Furor
line 94: petamque vultus umbra
line 97: vos…obscenas anus

Not having a word for ‘as’ was probably part of Latin high-class speech, for Roman street talk must have begun using quomodo as we use ‘as,’ for all the daughter languages have an ‘as’: come, como, comme, com, ca. Even so, some of the daughter languages resemble their parent more and prefer a circumlocution in elevated speech when it comes to translating the phrase ‘as a poet, Horace wrote.’

French: [comme], en qualité de / en tant que poète, Horace écrivit
Italian: come poeta, Orazo scrisse
Rumanian: ca un poet / în calitate de poet, Horațiu scris
Portuguese: como um poeta, escreveu Horácio
Spanish: como poeta, escribió Horacio
Catalan: com a poeta, va escriure Horaci

Translation ::

“But, uh, what on earth is that uproar for?
Uh, what are you just scowling at me for?
By your kids, you—if Lucina were there
at a real birth—I call—by this inane
purple stripe, by Jove, ready to damn you—
why like a stepmother do you watch me,
uh, like a beast set upon by a knife?”

As the boy, mouth trembling, pleading thus, stood,
emblem-stripped, his body hairless, something
to melt the hearts of wicked Thracians,
Canidia, hair entwined with short snakes
and uncombed, orders fig trees ripped from tombs,
orders graveyard cypress trees and eggs smeared
with vile frog blood and a night-owl feather
and plants that poison-rich Iolcos and
Iberia send and bones taken from
a starving bitch’s mouth to be burned with
Colchican flames. But Sagana was set,
dowsing the whole house with Avern’ water,
hair bristling like a prickly sea urchin
or a boar running. Veia, moved by no
conscience whatever, with a hard pickaxe
was digging a hole, groaning from the work,
where the boy, buried the whole day long, might die
at the sight of a feast changed twice or thrice,
with his mouth sticking out—as a body
would be hanging by the chin in water—
then the marrow’d be cut out, the liver dried,
for a love potion, once the pupils fixed
on the forbidden meal had dissolved.
She was there, Folia from Rimini,
so believed lazy Naples—all the towns
nearby too—she rips stars, charmed with her voice
of Thessaly, from the sky and the moon!
Now what did Canidia, wild, gnawing
with her bluish teeth on her untrimmed thumb,
say or not say?

                     “O Night, of my actions
no faithless arbitor, and Diana,
who rules the silence when sacred secrets
are done, now, now, come, now toward the houses
of my foes turn your anger and power!
In fearful forests as wild animals
tired hide in soft sleep, Subura bitches
bark at an old lecher, laughed at by all,
overgreased with nard-oil, the kind my own hands
couldn’t have more exquisitely prepared.
What happened? Why are brutish Medea’s
dire drugs less potent—with these she got back
at the stuck up whore, great Creon’s daughter,
then fled, when the cloak, a gift steeped in filth,
did away with the new bride in a fire.
But no herb, no root hiding in any
hard to get places has escaped from me.
He sleeps in ‘grease-smeared’ beds so that he is
oblivious to all the prostitutes.
Hmmm. Curses! He’s walking around, freed by
the spell of a witch more savvy than I!
With these not-your-everyday potions,
Varus, o [fountain] head that will weep much,
you will run back to me and—not called by
Marsian voices—your mind will return:
A bigger cup I will prepare; I will
pour you out more because you scorned me, and
before the sky sinks lower than the sea
with the earth stretched over, you will so burn
for my love—like bitumen—with black flames.”

With these words, the boy now, not like before,
trying to mollify the wicked hags
with soft words but, hesitant, as he breaks
silence and sends Thyestean curses:

“Magic poisons—they can’t change good and bad,
can’t redirect the human condition;
I shall chase you with dire words, let no
sacrifice avert these dire curses;
but that, when I, so fated to perish,
shall have expired, I, the Night Fury,
shall attack, and I'll get your faces
with my curved nails, I, a shade-ghost who
is the power of the spirit gods, and,
sitting on restless hearts, shall with terror
take sleep away: multitudes, attacking
from town to town, from here to there, with stones
will crush you obscene hags; later wolves will
carry the unburied body parts away,
the winged things of Esquiline Hill as well.
Such a spectacle won’t escape the notice
of my parents, alas, who’ll outlive me.”

translation © 2014 James Rumford 

The Poem ::

  • Red indicates the original words.
  • A light pink indicates that the syllable is not spoken.
  • The macron ¯ indicates a long vowel.
  • The acute accent ´ indicates a stressed vowel.
  • A superscript letter indicates a w or y sound (intueris, Cānidia) 
  • The meter is Iambic Strophe.
  • There are 12 syllables in the first line, 8 in the second. 
  • Black italics indicate the prose version of the epode. 
  • Dindicates the Delphin Ordo of the 1670s.
  • Beneath the Ordo are notes in italics. 

1“At, o deorum quidquid in caelo regit
     terras et hūmānum genus,
       At, o quidquid deorum in caelo 
       terras et genus humanum regit,
   DSed, ô Numina, quotquot in cœlo 
         gubernatis hunc orbem atque homines,

quid iste fert tumultus? aut quid omnium
     vultūs in unum me truces?
       quid iste tumultus fert? aut quid 
       vultūs truces omnium in me unum [ferunt]? 
           Dquid sibi vult ille strepitus! Vel quorsum [cur] facies 
           omnium istarum apparent terribiles adversus me solum!

5 per liberos te, si vocata partubus
     Lucina verīs adfuit,
       [ego] per liberos te, si ‹Lucina
       vocata› partubus verīs adfuit,
           DTe oro per filios, si Diana adfuit veris 
           partubus invocata; 

per hoc inane purpurae decus precor,
     per improbaturum haec Iovem,
       per ‹hoc decus inane purpurae› precor,
       per Iovem haec improbaturum,
        Dper vanum istud insigne purpuræ: 
           per Jovem talia condemnaturum:

        per Iovem qui haec quae tu facis vituperabit

quid ut noverca me intueris aut uti
10     petita ferrō belua?”
       quid ut noverca me intueris aut
       uti belua ferrō petita?”
            Dquare me aspicis quasi noverca, vel ut
            fera telo confixa?
         noverca : nova uxor patris; e.g.noverca mala in Hansel et Gretel 
            petita : aggressa

ut haec trementi questūs ore constitit
     insignibus raptis puer,
       ut puer ore trementi haec questūs
       constitit, insignibus raptis,
            DPostquam puer ore trepidanti has fudit querelas, 
            ornamentis exutus est. 

         insignibus : i.e., toga et bulla

impube corpus, quale posset impia
     mollire Thracum pectora,
       corpus impube—quale [corpus]
       pectora impia Thracum mollire posset,
         DCorpus erat sine pube, quod posset 
            flectere corda Thracum ferocia.

15 Cānídi|a, brevi|bus || ímplicāta vīperīs
     crīnis et incomptum caput.
       Canidia, ‹crīnis vīperīs brevibus 
       ímplicāta› et caput incomptum.
            DTum Canidia exiguis viperis implexos habens 
            capillos, et incompositum caput, 
         Crīnis in hac ode est in genere feminino 
            quamvis saepissime de genere masculino.

iubet sepúlcrīs caprīficōs ērutās,
     iubet cū/cupressōs fūnebrıs
         caprīficōs sepulcrīs ērutās iubet,
         cupressōs fūnebrıs [ērutās] iubet
            Dmandat caprificos evulsas tumulis, 
            mandat ferales cupressos, 

           caprificos: fīcōs silvestrēs; fīcus etiam est 
           fructus fīcī saepe purpureus 

et uncta turpīs ova rānae sánguine
20     plūmamque nócturnae strigīs
       et ‹ova sanguine rānae turpīs uncta›
       plūmamque strigīs nocturnae
         Det fœdæ rubetæ cruore aspersa ova, 
            plumasque strigis nocturnæ,

herbāsque, quās Iolcos atque Hibēria
     mittit venēnorum ferax,
       herbāsque, quās Iolcos mittit atque
       Hibēria, venēnorum ferax,
         Det herbas quas producit Iolchos 
            atque Iberia venenis fertiles,

             Iolcos: portus in Thessalia
             Hiberia: Hiberes, Spain

et ossa ab ore rapta iēiūnae canis
     flammīs adūrī Colchicīs.
       et ossa ab ore canis iēiūnae rapta
       flammis Colchicis adūrī.
         Det ossa erepta ex ore canis famelicæ, 
            cremari ignibus Colchicis.

             Colchicis: Colchis, regio in latere orientali Ponti

25 at expedīta Sagana per tōtam domum
     spargēns Avernalıs aquās
       at Sagana, expedita, per tōtam domum
       aquās Avernalıs spargēns,
        DMox Sagana succincta per totas ædes 
          inspersit Avernales aquas,

            Sagana: nomen quaedem sagae aut venēficae
            expedita: parata
            Avernalıs aquas: aqua ex lacu Averno. In Campania 
                est crater in quo pestifer est lacus. Crater autem est,
               dicitur, aditus inferni.

horret capillīs ut marīnus ásperīs
     echīnus aut currrēns aper.
      capillīs asperīs ‹ut echīnus marīnus
      aut aper currēns› horret.
            Dhabens crines rigidos velut echinus 
            marinus aut aper currens.

abacta nullā Veia conscientiā
30     ligōnibus dūrīs humum
       Veia nullā conscientiā abacta 
        humum ligōnibus dūrīs 
            DInde Veïa nullis consicentiæ stimulis absterrita
            labore ingemiscens, duro bipalio effodiebat terram, 

             Veia: quaedam striga, venēfica

exhauriēbat ingemēns laboribus,
     quo posset infossus puer
       exhauriēbat, laboribus ingemēns, 
       quo puer infossus 
             Din quà puer immissus diuturno tempore 
             mori posset, aspectu ciborum 

           exhauriebat: excavabat
           ingemens: suspirens cum difficultate
           infossus: sepultus, in terram positus

longō diē bis terque mūtātae dapis
     inēmorī spectāculō,
       ‹diē longō› ‹bis terque› ‹spectāculō 
       dapis mūtātae› inēmorī,
         Dbis aut ter immutatorum, 

           inemori: mori 

35 cum prōmīneret ore, quantum exstant aquā
     suspensa mentō corpora,
       cum ore prōmīneret, quantum 
       corpora aquā mentā suspensa exstant,
           Dsi quidem capite extaba quantum corpora 
           mento suspensa eminent super aquam,

            promineret: exstaret, emineret
           quantum: aeque 

exsecta uti medulla || et āridum iecur
     amōris esset pōculum,
       [cum] medulla exsecta esset (et iecur 
       āridum [esset]) uti pōculum amōris,

          Dut arescens medulla et hepar exsiccatum 
          fieret armoris pharmacum, 

interminātō cum semel fixae cibō
40     intābuissent pūpulae.
       cum semel ‹pūpulae cibō intermināto 
       fixae› intābuissent.

           Dpostquam contabuissent pupilæ 
           semel infixæ cibo interdicto.

            interminato: vetito, prohibito
            intabuissent: dissolutae essent

non dēfuisse másculae libīdinis
     Arīminénsem Fōliam
       ‹Fōliam Arīminénsem libīdinis
       másculae› non dēfuisse
        DPorrò et otiosa Neapolis et urbes vicinæ 
           omnes crediderunt istis veneficiis adfuisse 

            Foliam Ariminensem: Folia est nomen strigae, 
               quae ex Arimino urbe, hodie Rimini

et ōtiōsa crēdidit Neāpolis
    et omne vīcīnum óppidum,
       et Neāpolis ōtiōsa (et omne
       óppidum vīcīnum) crēdidit.
         DFoliam Ariminensem nefandâ 
            libidine famosam,

45 quae sīdera éxcantāta vōce Théssalā
     lūnámque caelō dēripit.
       Quae ‹sīdera vōce Théssalā éxcantāta›
       lūnámque caelō dēripit.
         Dquæ verbis Thessalicis incantata astra et 
            Lunam cœlo detrahit.

            quae: et ea, et illa, et haec
hic irresectum saeva dente lividō
     Cānidia rōdēns pollicem
        Hic, Cānidia, saeva pollicem
        irresectum dente lividō rōdēns,
         DTum verò ferox Canidia dente livido rodens 
            unguem pollicis non amputatum 
               hic: tum

quid dīxit aut quid tacuit? “o rebus meīs
50     nōn infidēlis árbitra
        quid dīxit aut quid tacuit? “O
        Nox, arbitra nōn infidēlis rebus meīs,
          Dquid locuta est? vel quid non dixit? O, 
          rebus meis, inquit, testes favente, 

Nox, et Diāna, quae silentium regis
     arcana cum fiunt sacra,
       et Diāna, quae silentium regis 
       cum arcana sacra fiunt,
         Dnox et diana silentium faciens 
            quando secreta peraguntur mysteria,
nunc, nunc adeste, nunc in hostilıs domōs
     īram atque nūmen vértite!
      nunc, nunc adeste, nunc in domōs hostilıs
      īram atque nūmen vértite!
       Djam, jam adjuvate: jam in ædes inimicorum 
         convertite iram et potestatem divinam.

           numen: postestatem divinam

55 formīdulōsīs cum latent silvīs ferae
     dulci sopōre languidae,
       Cum ferae [in] silvīs formīdulōsīs 
       sopōre dulci languidae latent,
        DInterim dum bellvæ absconduntur silvis 
           formidinem creantibus pacato somno vacantes,

senem, quod omnēs rīdeant, adulterum
      latrant Subūranae canēs
       canēs Subūranae senem adulterum,
       (quod omnēs rīdeant)
        Dcanes Suburanæ allatrent mœchum senem 
          (quod cunctis ludibrio sit)

             Suburanae: regio sordida media Romae
             meretricum vel fornicatricum

nardō perunctum, quāle nōn perfectius
60     meae labōrārint manūs.
       nardō perunctum, quāle [unguentum]
       manūs meae perfectius nōn labōrā[ve]rint.
         Dperfusum unguento, quo præstantius 
            nullum elaboràrunt meæ manus.

             nardō: < nardus, ī, f., unguentō ex Syriā vel Assyriā
             quāle: et hoc genus [unguenti]

quid accidit? cūr dīra barbarae minus
     venēna Mēdēae valent,
       Quid accidit? Cūr venēna dīra Mēdēae
       barbarae minus valent,
         DVerum quid evenit? Quare acria hæc pharmaca 
            minùs pollent venenis barbaræ Medeæ,  
 quibus superba[m] fūgit ulta paelicem,
     magnī Creontis fīliam,
       quibus [venēnīs], [haec] ‹paelicem superba[m], 
       fīliam Creontis magnī, ulta› fūgit,
         Dquibus superbiens aufugit, sumptâ ultione
            de pellice, magni Creontis filia; 

          Creontis: Creo rex cuius filiam Medea 
          pallā venenā imbutā interfecit. 

65 cum palla, tabō mūnus imbūtum, novam
     incendiō nuptam abstulit?
       cum palla (mūnus tabō imbūtum) 
       incendiō nuptam novam abstulit?
        Dquando chlamys, donum toxico infectum, 
           novam sponsam incendio extinxit?

atqui nec herba nec latēns in asperīs
     radix fefellit me locīs.
       Atqui nec herba nec ‹radix in locīs
       asperīs latēns› me fefellit.
        DAt nec herba nec radix crescens in
          arduis locis me effugit.

indormit unctīs omnium cubīlibus
70      oblivione paelicum.
        [in] cubīlibus ‹omnium paelicum
        oblivione unctīs›, indormit.
          DNimirùm Varus cubat in lectis cunctarum 
              pellicum inunctis oblivione. 

a! a! solūtus ambulat venēficae
     scientioris carmine.
        A! A! Solūtus carmine venēficae
        scientioris ambulat.
           DAh, ah, liber ille incedit per pharmaca 
               veneficæ cujuspiam me doctioris.

nōn ūsitātīs, Vāre, pōtionibus,
     o multa fleturum caput,
         [O] Vāre, o caput multa fleturum,
         pōtionibus nōn ūsitātīs
           DAtqui per insolita medicamenta faciam ut ad me 
               redeas, ô Vare, homo plurima perpessure [afflictate]:

75 ad mē recurrēs, nec vocāta mens tua
     Marsis redibit vocibus:
         ad mē recurrēs, nec mens tua vocibus
         Marsis vocāta redibit:
            Dneque animus tuus Marsis incantamentis 
                restituetur aut curabitur.

                 Marsis: gentibus Marsis Latii, notissimis 
maius parābō, maius infundam tibi 
     fastidienti pōculum,
       maius parābō, maius pōculum ‹tibi
       fastidienti› infundam,
        DScilicet parabo pharmacum potentius, 
         quod tibi me aspernanti adhibebo.

            fastidienti: repudienti

priusque caelum sīdet inferius mari,
80     tellure porrecta super,
       caelumque mari inferius sīdet,
       tellure porrecta super,
         DEt certè infra mare cadet cœlum 
            terrâ superjectâ,

quam nōn amōre sīc meō flagrēs uti
     bitūmen ātrīs ignibus.”
       priusquam amōre meō sīc nōn flagrēs uti
       bitūmen ignibus ātrīs.”
         Dpotiùs quàm non exardescas amore meo, 
            sicuti bitumen nigris ignibus.
sub haec puer iam nōn, ut ante, mollibus
     lēnire verbīs impiās,
        Sub haec, puer iam impiās [mulieres] verbīs
        mollibus nōn, ut ante, lēni[vit],
          DPost hæc puer, nequaquam, ut priùs, blandimentis 
             mollire sceleratas mulieres tentat,

           sub haec: deinde, denique, igitur, inde

85 sed dubius unde rumperet silentium
     mīsit Thyestēās precēs:
       sed, dubius, unde silentium rumperet,
       precēs Thyestēās mīsit:
           Dsed, anceps quid primùm diceret, 
              emisit execrationes Thyestis.

                dubius: incertus
                preces Thyesteas: diras et pessimas execrationes, 
                    imprecationes. Atreus filios fratris sui Thyestis 
                    iugulavit et eos coquit et dedit Thyesti edere.

“venēna maga nōn fas nefasque, nōn valent
     convertere hūmānam vicem;
       “Maga venēna nōn fas nefasque, vicem
        hūmānum convertere nōn valent;
         DVeneficia inquit, magnum fas ac nefas confundant licet, 
            at nequeunt immutare sortem mortalium.

               maga non: sunt hi qui hoc legunt: magnum
               humanam vicem: fortunam humanam, conditionem 
                    humanam vel gratiam, talionem, reciprocationem
               convertere: transmutare vel circumversare

dīrīs agam vōs; dīra dētestātio
90     nullā expiātur víctimā;
       vōs dīrīs agam; dēstestātio dīra
       nullā victimā expiātur;
          DPersequar vos execrationibus; dira
             destatio nullo sacrificio purgatur.

quīn, úbi per|īre || iussus | exspirāverō,
     noctúrnus oc|currám Furor
       quīn, ubi [ego], perīre iussus, exspirāverō,
       [ut] Furor nocturnus occurram
         DImò, postquam à vobis coactus interiero, 
            adero furor nocturanus,

              quin: praeteria
              Furor: deus furiosus, socius Marti

petamque vultūs umbra curvīs unguibus,
     quae vīs deōrum est Mānium,
       umbraque vultūs unguibus curvīs petam,
       quae vīs deōrum Mānium est,
         Datque umbra facies vestras  curvis unguibus invadam 
           (nam hæc potestas est Deorum Manium)

              deorum Manium: spirituum (animarum) mortuorum

95 et inquietīs adsīdēns praecordiīs
     pavore somnōs auferam:
       et [in] praecordiīs inquietīs adsīdēns,
       somnōs pavore auferam:
         Datque præcordiis inhærens minimè quiescentibus, 
            formidine eripiam somnum.

vōs turba vīcātim hinc et hinc saxīs petēns
     contundet obscenās anūs;
       turba vōs vīcātim hinc et hinc saxīs petēns
       anūs obscenās contundet;
         DDeinde plebs per singulos vicos undique lapidibus
            vos incessens, execrabiles vetulas obruet.

              vicatim: de vico ad vicum

post insépulta membra differént lupī
100    et Esquilīnae ālitēs;
       post, lupī et ālites Esquilīnae 
       membra insepulta different;
         DDenique membra vestra insepulta discerpent 
            lupi et volucres Esquilinæ;

             Esquilīnae: montis Esquilīnae
                septem montium Romae

nequé hoc paréntēs || héu mīhi | supérstitēs
     effūgerít | spectāculum.”
       neque hoc spectāculum parentēs mihi 
           Dillud verò spectaculum videbunt parentes
           mei (heu!)post me viventes. 

:: 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.

No comments:

Post a Comment