Sunday, June 19, 2022

I'm Getting To Old For This: Horace, Carm. IV.1

 Intermissa, Venus, diu

rursus bella moves? Parce precor, precor.

     Non sum qualis eram bonae

sub regno Cinarae. Desine, dulcium

     mater saeva Cupidinum,              

circa lustra decem flectere mollibus

     iam durum imperiis: abi,

quo blandae iuvenum te revocant preces.

     Tempestiuius in domum

Pauli purpureis ales oloribus               

     comissabere Maximi,

si torrere iecur quaeris idoneum;

     namque et nobilis et decens

et pro sollicitis non tacitus reis

     et centum puer artium               

late signa feret militiae tuae,

     et, quandoque potentior

largi muneribus riserit aemuli,

     Albanos prope te lacus

ponet marmoream sub trabe citrea.               

     Illic plurima naribus

duces tura, lyraque et Berecyntia

     delectabere tibia

mixtis carminibus non sine fistula;

     illic bis pueri die

numen cum teneris virginibus tuum               

     laudantes pede candido

in morem Salium ter quatient humum.

     Me nec femina nec puer

iam nec spes animi credula mutui               

     nec certare iuvat mero

nec vincire novis tempora floribus.

     Sed cur heu, Ligurine, cur

manat rara meas lacrima per genas?

     Cur facunda parva decoro               

inter verba cadit lingua silentio?

     Nocturnis ego somniis

iam captum teneo, iam volucrem sequor

     te per gramina Martii

campi, te per aquas, dure, volubilis.         

--Horace, Carm. IV.1

Venus, after all this time,

are you starting up love within me again?

Cut it out, I beg you!

I’m not the same person I was

Under beautiful Cinara’s thumb.

Cruel mother of sweet desires,

I'm fifty years old! Stop pestering 

A man who holds up under your enticing sway:

Begone! Go instead to where the sweet youths call you in supplication.

If you’re looking for a perfect victim to sacrifice to love,

It’s be better for you 

To flit yourself down to Paulus Maximus’ home

Gliding on the wings of your mauve swans.* 

He’s the perfect candidate:

He’s a gentleman and proper, very active in court,

A true jack of all trades.

He will be your standard bearer 

And he’ll give you a charming smile

When he beats the competition;

He’ll dedicate a marble statue of you

In a nifty shrine 

Beside the Alban lake.

Your delicate nostrils

Will catch the scent of incense from him often;

You’ll be delighted by the music dedicated to you there.

Twice a day, young men, hand in hand with tender young ladies

Will celebrate your divinity; 

stomping the ground three times with their delicate feet

the way that Salian dancers dance.

 Neither a girlfriend

Or a boyfriend

Can tempt me now,

Nor does the hope of a mutual affection thrill me.

I’m no longer in the mood for heavy drinking

I’m too old to put springtime flowers on this old forehead of mine.

But why, Ligurinus, --tell me why

I’m crying right now?

Why is my tongue tied suddenly?

At night, 

in my dreams, I hold you next to me

I follow you through the fields of Mars

I follow you through the waters,

As you fly from me, you cruel bird.

* Horace is using imagery found in Sappho fr.1 (Aphrodite travelling by a swan-led chariot)



Name:  Quintus Horatius Flaccus

Date:  65 BCE – 8 BCE

Works:  Odes




Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans



 The Latin poet Horace is known for his famous line, “Carpe Diem.” He was an Italian-born poet who lived during the rise and reign of Rome’s first emperor, Augustus. Although his life began with civil unrest and uncertainty (his father was enslaved and later freed during the civil wars of the 1st century BCE), Horace became friends with the influential entrepreneur Maecenas and earned the position in Augustus’ literary circle.  His poetry provides valuable insight into the so-called “Golden Age” of Augustan literature.  


Early Roman Lit: through 2nd c BCE: Republican Rome: through 1st c. BCE; Golden Age: 70 BCE to 18 CE; Silver Age: 18 CE to 150 CE; Age of Conflict: 150 CE - 410 CE; Byzantine and Late Latin: after 410 CE

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