Wednesday, May 13, 2020

M/M: A Little Cygnet: Cupavo, Vergil, Aen. 10.185-195


Non ego te, Ligurum ductor fortissime bello,               185

transierim, Cynare, et paucis comitate Cupavo,

cuius olorinae surgunt de vertice pennae

(crimen, Amor, vestrum) formaeque insigne paternae.

namque ferunt luctu Cycnum Phaethontis amati,

populeas inter frondes umbramque sororum               190

dum canit et maestum Musa solatur amorem,

canentem molli pluma duxisse senectam

linquentem terras et sidera voce sequentem.

filius aequalis comitatus classe catervas

ingentem remis Centaurum promovet:                    195

---Vergil, Aeneid X.185-195



And I won’t fail to mention you, 
brave leader of the Ligures, Cynaris,

or you, Cupavo, with your small band of warriors.

Cupavo, whose helmet crest had swan feathers

In defiance of Love, and to honor his father.

For they say his father Cygnus, out of love for his beloved Phaethon

While singing in the leafy shade of his lover’s sisters*

And consoling himself for his lost love (maestum amorem) with music

His gray hairs turned to soft feathers

And leaving behind the earth as a singing swan

He sought the stars.

His son Cupavo, accompanied by a troop of his peers

Steers the huge ship Centaur with its oars…

* According to myth, Phaethon's sisters, the Heliades, grieved so much that they were transformed into poplar trees; their tears became amber.

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