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Poems anyone?

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Poems anyone?

Postby paulusnb » Wed Feb 18, 2009 6:56 pm

I was wondering if anyone would be interested in taking a break from providing translations for tattoos :D and doing some poetry or other selections. I think it might be fun to have users occasionally post lessons/translations/comments on Horace, Catullus, etc and then hear everyone chime in.

Part of the reason I like this forum is that it allows me to stay engaged in more complicated Latin than my current teaching position allows. I thought maybe others would like to do the same. Perhaps those learning Latin could benefit from being introduced to the Latin canon.

We can lay down ground rules and format if we want. I was thinking poems should generally be under 30 lines so as to get as many people involved as possible.

What does everyone think?
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby Rhodopeius » Wed Feb 18, 2009 7:43 pm

I love the six poems attributed to Sulpicia, the sixth in particular:

Ne tibi sim, mea lux, aeque iam fervida cura
ac videor paucos ante fuisse dies,
si quicquam tota conmisi stulta iuventa,
cuius me fatear paenituisse magis,
hesterna quam te solum quod nocte reliqui,
ardorem cupiens dissimulare meum.

I love the sentiment and the ethos behind this one; she tells her lover not to value her if she has done anything that she regrets more than leaving him alone last night.
I find it such a pure, beautiful expression of passion. It also strikes me as a bold statement: my passion is just as powerful as yours, she says.

What it makes me wonder, though, is where does she leave him. In bed? At a party? When I first read the poem, the night setting seemed to make it implicitly sexual but maybe her feelings are more purely emotional.

Any ideas?
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby paulusnb » Wed Feb 18, 2009 8:25 pm

That was fast. I do not have time to comment right now. I will later on tonight. As far as the emotional vs. sexual, I have always thought many many poems work on both levels. I have seen people go red in the face trying to argue either for or against the sparrow=penis in Catullus' poem. To me, it is obviously sexual, but it also works on other levels.

Thanks for introducing me to this poem.

Is there anything that you find especially striking about the Latin? Also, why do you think her expression "bold" rather than typical?

I am not really sure where in the Forum we should put these threads?


I was also thinking that the original poem poster should be responsible for providing some grammar notation (subjunctives, gerundives, etc) and notes on the Latin (any synchysis for example).
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby paulusnb » Thu Feb 19, 2009 1:49 am

I have had time to look at the poem a little more. It kind of speaks for itself. The one grammar point that kind of tripped me up was the case of "cuius" in line 4, but then I looked up paeniteo and I found it takes accusative with persons and genitive with things. My dictionary also noted that paeniteo often appears with quod (I guess meaning "that").


I do like the end line where Sulpicia is desirous to hide her desires "ardorem cupiens dissimulare meum." Is there anything more to all of this besides playing hard to get?

My personal take on the sexual stuff is that it cheapens it a little to think she left her lover in bed. It could be the Puritan in me. Granted, sexual desire is obviously present and the bed is clearly in the background, but I hate to cheapen it by thinking of blue balls.


I notice that this poem is not present in my PHI Latin texts. I have also read that there is some question about Sulpicia. Anyone know anything about this? My OCD from 1969 claims that there are two Sulpicias: one is praised by Martial as a delightful muse of marriage, the other is included in the Tibullus corpus, for whatever reason. I think the controversy might be over the Martial Sulpicia. Apparently, a work was ascribed to her that was written later. The Sulpicia of this poem is the Tibullus Sulpicia.
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby paulusnb » Thu Feb 19, 2009 3:55 am

I will offer an easy and famous Horace poem. Ode 1.23

XXIII

Vitas inuleo me similis, Chloe,
quaerenti pauidam montibus auiis
matrem non sine uano
aurarum et silua metu.

Nam seu mobilibus ueris inhorruit 5
aduentus folliis, seu uirides rubum
dimouere lacertae,
et corde et genibus tremit.

Atqui non ego te, tigris ut aspera
Gaetulusue leo, frangere persequor: 10
tandem desine matrem
tempestiua sequi uiro.


I have often translated this poem with my latin III class. As it is on the AP syllabus and fairly easy, it is a good choice for Latin students. As I was teaching at an all girl's school at the time, however, the poem was awkward.

Anyway, besides the main idea here, which is that Chloe should accept Horace's apparently aggressive advances, there are a few Horatian practices that make it interesting.
First, Horace will often use names with special meanings that complement the message of his poem. The name Chloe, according to my Horace book, comes from a Greek word χλοη, meaning "green plant or shoot." Chloe is also a title for Demeter, the keeper of the seeds. I do not know if the Romans used the word green to refer to someone that was new or fresh. It is a moot point here because the plant idea definitely brings home the idea of freshness. Horace is also not the only one to use this name for a young lover.


As usual, there are some very moving and convincing imagery in this poem. You have the scared fawn searching for its mother. Deer always seem to be very fearful. You have the arrival of spring and the quivering foliage.

The creepy part comes at the end when he says that he will not "maul, crush" her like a tiger or a lion. This reminds me of the mugger that ran after me one night screaming " I am not going to hurt you." He then tells her it is time for a man. I do not think this the best pickup line. Also, he has already named his prey "twig." She will be crushed.

Notice the Symmetry in these lines

Vitas inuleo me similis, Chloe,

Atqui non ego te, tigris ut aspera.

In both lines, I or you come in the middle. They are connected theoretically. If she is justified in fleeing, then he is dangerous. If he is dangerous, she is justified in fleeing. Notice how te falls in between ego and tigris. The Horactian tiger is literally surrounding this poor girl. This literary device, the "word picture," is common in Horace.

My theory...Horace is preying on this poor girl. He is doing what he says he is not, and she is correctly doing what he says is incorrect.

PS. I have heard it argued that the names in Horace are sometimes codes for poetic genres. I have never pursued this.
pps here is a cheat sheet for Latin newbies. http://polyaplatinlit07-08.wikispaces.com/Odes+1.23
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby Rhodopeius » Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:10 pm

Hi. I was disappointed that the thread sank so fast under the weight of all those kids asking for help with Lingua Latina but anyway I'm happy to participate. I'm more than happy to provide my own translation, an alternate translation, scansion, notes on meter, grammar, etc. I need practice too.

I'll start be responding to your response to Sulpicia VI:

Is there anything that you find especially striking about the Latin? Also, why do you think her expression "bold" rather than typical?

Well, when I first read the poem and the five others, the syntax had sort of a labyrinth effect on me. The six lines seem to express one singular, if complex, thought that is only fully revealed at the last line. Maybe it gives it some kind of effect of unity, since the lines are bound so tightly with respect to thought. Looking back over it, the syntax of the lines themselves aren't really complicated, but the lines are somewhat complicated in relation to eachother.

Maybe what struck me about her ethos is that it seems to be about honesty. Ardorem cupiens dissimulare meum makes up an entire line, so I think it is just as weighty a thought as hesterna quam te solum quod nocte reliqui. The fact that she wished to hide her passion for her lover is worse than anything she may have done as a stupid youth. In the first poem of the series, she declares that she would rather her love for him be known openly instead of hiding it because of shame, so she will be seen as worthy of a worthy lover. I guess what strikes me is her insistence on the purity of her love, and hiding it from him or the world is distasteful to her.

I'll respond to your Horace poem below because it's one of my favorites. In the meantime, I think this forum is appropriate for this kind of thread. If not, someone will surely let us know.
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby paulusnb » Fri Feb 20, 2009 12:18 am

Rhodopeius wrote:Hi. I was disappointed that the thread sank so fast under the weight of all those kids asking for help with Lingua Latina but anyway I'm happy to participate.


Hey, as they say in church, wherever two or more gather.....

Rhodopeius wrote:the syntax had sort of a labyrinth effect on me. The six lines seem to express one singular, if complex, thought that is only fully revealed at the last line. Maybe it gives it some kind of effect of unity, since the lines are bound so tightly with respect to thought. Looking back over it, the syntax of the lines themselves aren't really complicated, but the lines are somewhat complicated in relation to each other.


I think this is a good explanation of the poem. My mind revolted against its putting together at first. Even the English translation I read kept me running in circles.

Rhodopeius wrote:In the first poem of the series, she declares that she would rather her love for him be known openly instead of hiding it because of shame, so she will be seen as worthy of a worthy lover. I guess what strikes me is her insistence on the purity of her love, and hiding it from him or the world is distasteful to her.


The poet does seem to value authenticity. I can see Ethan Hawke singing this poem in Reality Bites. :D Joking aside, there is something about love that demands the partner shout it from the rooftops. Good poem; good reading.
Last edited by paulusnb on Sun Feb 22, 2009 5:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby Rhodopeius » Fri Feb 20, 2009 1:18 am

Thanks. So now on to Horace, Odes 1.23.

I love your take on the predatory aspect of it. Horace certainly was a man of his time and I remember reading somewhere something to the effect that he had some kind of glass put on the walls of his room so he could watch himself having sex with his slaves. Not that Romans didn't have something that correlates to our modern sense of amorous or romantic love, but to me it's like Horace and other men of his age saw casual sex as like wine or the other simple, uncomplicated pleasures in life.

An interesting point is that Horace paints this comical portrait of the young fawn, shaking in fear of overexaggerated danger. I think we'd like to believe we live in a sexually enlightened society but this sort of attitude is still pretty pervasive.: "Stop clinging to your female protectors, it's time to be a woman." In popular Spanish music, for example, one phrase or a variation of it comes up time and time again, quiero hacerte mujer," I want to make you a woman," as if womanhood can only be achieved through intercourse with a man. I'm sure it's not always meant in a predatory way but I find that implicit pretense limiting, chauvinist, and outdated.

What I do like about the poem, though, is his use of imagery, syntax, and humor to woo the girl. While it's definitely not a great pickup line by today's standards, to me it has a kind of lullaby quality.

But your theory is really interesting. Do you take the whole poem as sort of ironic, then, since he's actually saying, "Be afraid. Be very afraid."?
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby paulusnb » Fri Feb 20, 2009 1:36 am

Suetonius writes,

"In person he was short and fat, as he is described with his own pen in his satires and by Augustus in the following letter: "Onysius has brought me your little volume, and I accept it, small as it is, in good part, as an apology. But you seem to me to be afraid that your books may be bigger than you are yourself; but it is only stature that you lack, not girth. So you may write on a pint pot, that the circumference of your volume may be well rounded out, like that of your own belly."

It is said that he was immoderately lustful; for it is reported that in a room lined with mirrors he had harlots so arranged that whichever way he looked, he saw a reflection of venery. He lived for the most part in the country on his Sabine or Tiburtine estate, and his house is pointed out near the little grove of Tiburnus. "

Rhodopeius wrote:Do you take the whole poem as sort of ironic, then, since he's actually saying, "Be afraid. Be very afraid."?


I guess it depends if you think his audience is the girl or other males or everyone at all times. Some like to dwell on the combative nature of some of the Roman poetry, putting it in the context of competitive performances at parties. My old prof, Brian Kristenko at Notre Dame stresses this.

Often I am uncomfortable nailing down single interpretations on poems, for I feel they often work on many levels. For example, I believe that simply reading Catullus' sparrow as a penis cheapens the poem a little, but he is clearly using the sparrow to mean his penis. It is like a Platonic dialogue which is, on the surface, about rhetors, but is deep down about religion. It works on both levels.

Now, Horace claims that her fear of him is vain. However, he calls her "little green twig," and he never names himself, only saying he is not a tiger or a lion. But what distinguishes him from a tiger? He says she is ready for a man, but he is clearly not talking marriage. So, he will deflower her, but oh so softly? I guess the idea is that men might be predators, but they are not that bad, and the "hunting" is kind of fun. To conclude...the idea is, I think, don't fear the hunter.

All of this fits with Horace's general Epicurean attitude. Life is short, so drink good wine in good company.

Shall you add the next poem? If you pass, I might do Eheu Fugaces.
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby Kasper » Fri Feb 20, 2009 4:26 am

ATTENTION Rochester 7th grade: avert your eyes from the following discussion!

paulusnb wrote: I believe that simply reading Catullus' sparrow as a penis cheapens the poem a little, but he is clearly using the sparrow to mean his penis.


Woh! hold on, where did this come from? I am aware that the sparrow had some sexual symbolism to attached to it in back in the day, but that's not the same as saying it is a straightforward metaphor for his penis.

E.g., in number II:

Passer, deliciae meae puellae,
quicum ludere, quem in sinu tenere,
cui primum digitum dare appetenti
et acris solet incitare morsus,
cum desiderio meo nitenti
carum nescio quid lubet iocari
et solaciolum sui doloris,
credo ut tum grauis acquiescat ardor:
tecum ludere sicut ipsa possem
et tristis animi leuare curas.

Surely if the Catullus' 'passer', accordingly to your interpretation was 'in sinu', Catullus would have had no cause for jealousy? And afterall, Mr C had little hesitation about writing about his 'sparrow' or that of others, e.g. no. XVI and LVIII.
“Cum ego verbo utar,” Humpty Dumpty dixit voce contempta, “indicat illud quod optem – nec plus nec minus.”
“Est tamen rogatio” dixit Alice, “an efficere verba tot res indicare possis.”
“Rogatio est, “Humpty Dumpty responsit, “quae fiat magister – id cunctum est.”
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby paulusnb » Fri Feb 20, 2009 5:07 am

I forgot 7th graders were around. :oops:

Kasper wrote:Woh! hold on, where did this come from?


This is an argument that has been raging for 500 years. The interpretation was first offered by some Italian. I used to have all of the papers on this. but this was all I could come up with on short notice./
Read the comment on Catullus 2
http://books.google.com/books?id=guvZPT ... &ct=result


Basically, Martial tells someone in a poem that he will give them the "Catullan sparrow." A dirty Italian picks up on this 1500 years later, which is not hard to do -pardon the pun-, and then indiscreetly publishes his perverted view.


If memory serves, Passero, or something close to it, is equivalent to the F-word. Don't quote me on this. I will have to look up my info.


It does make the last line- tecum ludere sicut ipsa possem/ et tristis animi leuare curas- a little different, no. :wink:

Oh, and then the poor little sparrow dies.

Here is another: http://www.powells.com/review/2005_12_22.html

And another: http://books.google.com/books?id=kmmjg7 ... &ct=result


Here is a big old list of sources. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia: ... Catullus_2

It's Poliziano. That is the dirty Italian's name. Hah. http://www.jstor.org/pss/642440
Last edited by paulusnb on Wed Feb 25, 2009 11:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby Rhodopeius » Fri Feb 20, 2009 6:22 pm

hos tibi, Phoebe, uouet totos a uertice crines
Encolpos, domini centurionis amor,
grata Pudens meriti tulerit cum praemia pili. synchisis
quam primum longas, Phoebe, recide comas,
dum nulla teneri sordent lanugine uoltus synchisis
dumque decent fusae lactea colla iubae: chiasmus
utque tuis longum dominusque puerque fruantur
muneribus, tonsum fac cito, sero uirum. asyndeton

This is Martial 1.31. I selected it at random last night. In future I'll probably select poems based on my overall interest and familiarity with them, but for now I thought I'd challenge myself.

My literal prose translation:

Encolpos, the love of his centurion master, promises you all these hairs from his head, Pheobus, when Pudens carries off the pleasing rewards of the deserved javelin. Lop off the long hair as soon as possible, Phoebus, while his tender face is not unpleasing with a soft fuzz and while his strewn locks suit his milky neck. And so that the master and his boy may long enjoy your beneficence, make him shaved soon, make him a man later.

Here's a more informed translation by a blogger named Nick at http://martialis.blogspot.com/2004_07_01_archive.html:

Phoebus, to you does Encolpos, the love of his centurion master, vow all these hairs of his head when Pudens carries off the rewards of his deserved primipilate. As soon as possible, Phoebus, cut off his long hair, while his tender face is darkened by no down, and while a flowing mane adorns his milk-white neck: and so that both master and boy may long enjoy your gifts, make him quickly shorn, slowly a man.

I actually just spent about an hour an a long post, only to have my logged in status time out and losing the entire post. So now I'm going to try to condense my analysis.

Very difficult to translate; culture specific. Interesting imagery: likens facial hair, which the boy hasn't developed yet, to the "down" of a ripe plant or fruit.

Questions: Why addressed to Apollo? What exactly is meant by munera?
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby paulusnb » Sat Feb 21, 2009 4:49 am

Interesting selection. I must admit I am not familiar with this one. Martial wrote so much, and so much of it is impenetrable (no pun intended). Not to be the perpetual perv, but something is afoot here...right? Or do I have problems?

So, I know that boys would cut their beard and dedicate it to the household Lares and Penates, but I have never heard of boys cutting their long hair. I found this other poem by Martial where he is actually speaking to his hair.

Go, I pray you, hair. Race across calm seas;
travel as you rest softly upon the gold surrounding you.
Go, for gentle Venus will give you smooth sailing
and make the winds mild. Maybe she'll pluck you from the perilous
ship, and convey you over the water on her own seashell!<9> 5
O Asclepius, grown son of Apollo, gladly accept this hair,
well-praised, which Caesar's best boy gives you. Display it
before your full-tressed father. Let him consider the sweet
sheen, and long be fooled into thinking it his brother Bacchus'.
Perhaps he'll clip strands from his own immortal hair 10
and encase them within gold - another gift for you!"



Anyway, obviously Encolpos is young and feminine. I could not find out anything about personifying Pudens, and I shudder to think what the rewards of the javelin are. Pudens does become pudenda!!!!!!

Pilus is a pun, I think, on hair and javelin. But to what end I do not know. And, I might add, I do not want to know.



Pudens means shame, but again, I cannot make anything of it, other than to vaguely connect it to the transition from boy to man via amor virile.

As far as the fuzz goes, I understand that ancient pederasts preferred pueros right before they started growing a beard. If you think about the Greek nude statues, they all have that Orlando Bloom face. Apollo is often pictured as a young boy right before the beard. I never see him bearded. Quoque amat pueros, e.g. Hyacinth. (I am trying to be discreet. Sheesh.) So I guess that the gifts of Apollo are acta amoris?


If tonsum fac cito, sero uirum weren't so creepy, I would think it a clever line.

Rhodopeius wrote:dum nulla teneri sordent lanugine uoltus synchisis


This line gave me a lot of trouble. I guess nulla is modifying lanugine. Vultus is the subject of sordent, because sordent is intransitive. But then it is plural!!!!! So.. while soft faces seem dirty on account of no down. There is an odd plural in the next line as well.

Rhodopeius wrote:Very difficult to translate; culture specific.


This dooms many a Roman poem for me. Often, I don't get the joke or don't appreciate it.

I did find this poem especially rich in word play. My favorite Martial poem is Martial X.47 Vitam quae faciant beatiorem.....

I will take a page out of your book and try a Horace poem I am not too familiar with. Maybe the Roman/ Stoic Odes (Book 3 I think).
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby paulusnb » Sun Feb 22, 2009 5:12 am

Alright, here is a long one. Horace 3.2

II

Angustam amice pauperiem pati
robustus acri militia puer
condiscat et Parthos ferocis
uexet eques metuendus hasta

uitamque sub diuo et trepidis agat 5
in rebus. Illum ex moenibus hosticis
matrona bellantis tyranni
prospiciens et adulta uirgo


suspiret, eheu, ne rudis agminum
sponsus lacessat regius asperum 10
tactu leonem, quem cruenta
per medias rapit ira caedes.

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori:
mors et fugacem persequitur uirum
nec parcit inbellis iuuentae
poplitibus timidoue tergo. 15

Virtus, repulsae nescia sordidae,
intaminatis fulget honoribus
nec sumit aut ponit securis
arbitrio popularis aurae. 20

Virtus, recludens inmeritis mori
caelum, negata temptat iter uia
coetusque uolgaris et udam
spernit humum fugiente pinna.

Est et fideli tuta silentio 25
merces: uetabo, qui Cereris sacrum
uolgarit arcanae, sub isdem
sit trabibus fragilemque mecum

soluat phaselon; saepe Diespiter
neglectus incesto addidit integrum, 30
raro antecedentem scelestum
deseruit pede Poena claudo.


My translation is a little rough.

Let the boy who is hardened by harsh military service
learn to endure pinching poverty easily,
and let him vex ferocious Parthians,
a cavalryman to be feared with his spear, and
let him lead his life under the open sky and in hazardous situations.

The consort of a bellicose tyrant
looking out at him from hostile walls
,as well as a maiden,
sigh: "Alas, let not my royal spouse,
unaccustomed to the battle line, provoke
the fierce lion with a touch,
whom a rage for blood sweeps along
through the middle of the slaughter."

It is a sweet and glorious thing to die for one's country

Death pursues the fleeing man,
and it does not spare peaceful youth
afraid in the knee and back.


Virtue, ignorant of foul defeat,
shines with untainted honors,
nor does it take or put down the axes
according to the will of the breezy people.

Virtue, opening heaven to those undeserving of death,
tries the journey by an untried road,
and, by spreading wings, spurns the
wet earth and the crowds of the vulgar.


There is a safe reward for loyal silence:
I will forbid he who divulges the sacred rites of the secret Ceres
to be under the same roof with me and to unfasten the fragile boat with me:
Often, Jupiter, outraged by an impurityy, adds the guilty to the righteous,
and rarely does Punishment, even with a lame foot, desert the criminal,
even though he has a head start.

A note on the latin. I found 29-32 tricky to translate, though I think I get the gist. Also, this gave me trouble: poplitibus timidoue tergo. I know what the words mean and the cases but I cannot figure out what, exactly, to do with them.

Can this cruenta per medias rapit ira caedes be considered a golden line, or is the rule stricter than AAVBB? Though, if you follow case, it is ABVAB



On to the comment....

This poem is split into two parts.

The first part, lines 1-16, focuses on the military, and lines 17-32 seem to focus on virtue in the public arena.

Interesting to note that Horace does not introduce Virtue until line 17? Why? Surely the puer in lines 1-16 is the man in 17-32. And I refuse to believe that Horace thought Virtue only possible in the city, amidst the corruption of leisure and politics. Surely, martial virtue is a possibility.

There is so much to like in the first part: the boy sleeping under open sky and the woman on the enemy's wall fearing for her loved one's life. I also like the statement about fate not sparing the "peaceful boy."

This poem gets a bad rap, and everyone likes to talk about the Wilfred Owen poem calling Horace's line a lie( I have included it at the bottom). However, how is it not a good thing to die for one's country? We praise these acts to give meaning to them. People who are breathing need others to die for them. Every piece of property is gained/protected through blood. Poor Wilfred saw some bad stuff and suddenly it is a lie? Is it more glorious to get stuck with a pike or a javelin than to be gassed?

Anyway, I think the meaning of the poem is straightforward except for a few parts. What is up with that Ceres thing? And what is Jupiter doing at the end? My mind is mush; I cannot think things through.

My edition, Bender's AP reader, claims that Horace is writing poems for the new Augustan man. Maybe. But I like to think that Horace was writing about things more lasting than bronze. Unless he thought Augustus' new era was just that good.

DULCE ET DECORUM EST1

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares2 we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest3 began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots4
Of tired, outstripped5 Five-Nines6 that dropped behind.

Gas!7 Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets8 just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime9 . . .
Dim, through the misty panes10 and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering,11 choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud12
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest13
To children ardent14 for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.15
Last edited by paulusnb on Mon Feb 23, 2009 1:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby cantator » Sun Feb 22, 2009 10:31 am

paulusnb wrote:Alright, here is a long one. Horace 3.2...


The famous phrase ("dulce et decorum est ...") is also employed as the rubric to Dalton Trumbo's movie "Johnny Got His Gun". In that film the phrase is ironic to the greatest degree.
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby Rhodopeius » Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:48 pm

paulusnb wrote:
A note on the latin. I found 29-32 tricky to translate, though I think I get the gist. Also, this gave me trouble: poplitibus timidoue tergo. I know what the words mean and the cases but I cannot figure out what, exactly, to do with them.


I think poplitibus and timidove tergo are the object of parcit ; "and it does not spare the knees or cowardly back of a peaceful youth."
paulsnb wrote:Can this cruenta per medias rapit ira caedes be considered a golden line, or is the rule stricter than AAVBB? Though, if you follow case, it is ABVAB

I wish I remembered off the top of my head what exactly constitutes a golden line, but when I came across this line in Vergil's second Eclogue last night I thought I had found one:

mollia luteola pingit vaccinia caltha. ABVAB

paulusnb wrote:This poem gets a bad rap, and everyone likes to talk about the Wilfred Owen poem calling Horace's line a lie( I have included it at the bottom). However, how is it not a good thing to die for one's country? We praise these acts to give meaning to them. People who are breathing need others to die for them. Every piece of property is gained/protected through blood. Poor Wilfred saw some bad stuff and suddenly it is a lie? Is it more glorious to get stuck with a pike or a javelin than to be gassed?


I think that goes to the heart of the divide between late first century BC and modern/post modern sensibilities.

However, I'd say that while death for one's country in war may be an ethical glory, and I stress may, the end that people on the battlefield on in the streets of an occupied city meet is usually horrific and undignified. And as the friend of several returning veterans, none of them yet aged 22, I can say none of them come back talking of glory. When they have anything to say on the subject it is usually of horrors.

So while Wilfred's poem may not even be excluding the metaphysical possibility of the glory of death on the battlefield, I would have to agree that through the eyes of humanity it is never sweet or becoming.
paulsnb wrote:Anyway, I think the meaning of the poem is straightforward except for a few parts. What is up with that Ceres thing? And what is Jupiter doing at the end? My mind is mush; I cannot think things through.


If Horace is trying to establish the model for the new Augustan man, this could be in relation to the religious aspect of his behavior. Anyway, it's an interesting way of saying that impiety is so dangerous that even innocents can get caught in the crosshairs of the gods.

paulusnb wrote:My edition, Bender's AP reader, claims that Horace is writing poems for the new Augustan man. Maybe. But I like to think that Horace was writing about things more lasting than bronze. Unless he thought Augustus' new era was just that good.


Have you heard Bender's Vergil podcast? It's a great supplement when you're reading through the Aeneid. I get impatient sometimes with the students stumbling over line after line, but overall it's good review.

Well I'm off to find a sufficiently short selection and hopefully get it posted by later tonight. Farewell for now.
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby paulusnb » Mon Feb 23, 2009 5:54 am

Rhodopeius wrote:I think poplitibus and timidove tergo are the object of parcit ; "and it does not spare the knees or cowardly back of a peaceful youth."


Ahhhh. I remembered it takes the dative, but I was taking parcit with iuventae. I Should have known iuventae was genitive from inbellis.

Rhodopeius wrote:I wish I remembered off the top of my head what exactly constitutes a golden line, but when I came across this line in Vergil's second Eclogue last night I thought I had found one:

mollia luteola pingit vaccinia caltha. ABVAB


I think there are variants of this. Dryden says the following: "that Verse commonly which they call golden,or two Substantives and two Adjectives with a Verb betwixt them to keep the peace." (thank you Wikipedia). I think Adj A Adj B Verb Noun 1 A Noun 2 B is the traditional golden line. Some people consider a chiasmus with a verb in the middle a golden line as well. I tend to go with the more inclusive definition. Obviously something is going on....



Rhodopeius wrote:So while Wilfred's poem may not even be excluding the metaphysical possibility of the glory of death on the battlefield, I would have to agree that through the eyes of humanity it is never sweet or becoming.


I actually agree with you about Owen's poem. I do not think it denies the possibility of the Horatian ideal (not that we can call it Horace's necessarily). I think it is told from the point of view of a random grunt seeing his buddies die. Or, if random grunt is too much to presume, it is told from the point of view of someone on the battlefield.

Being blown to bits is never becoming. Yet, something unbecoming can be honorable.

I brought up the Wilfred's poem not to rip on Willie, but to rip on my High School teacher's (i.e. oi polloi) opinion of Owen's poem. Appealing ever so slightly to this view, the editor of my Horace book- Bender- calls Horace's description of the warrior "rather romantic."

Rhodopeius wrote:Have you heard Bender's Vergil podcast? It's a great supplement when you're reading through the Aeneid. I get impatient sometimes with the students stumbling over line after line, but overall it's good review.


I have heard a minute of the one on I-tunes. I sat through a two day lecture of Dr. Bender's on a NEH seminar. He was trying to argue that he could pinpoint the very buildings that are in the background of Horace III.30, even though the buildings he theorized the poem was about were not built until Horace was dead. When I asked him what the interpretive payoff was for making this leap, he told me "Awareness." Anyway, my very reasonable question made the doctor angry, and I was told he threatened to leave the seminar. :D I like his AP Horace book.
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby thesaurus » Mon Feb 23, 2009 4:03 pm

I'm enjoying these discussions of poetry you're conducting, so thank you! Sorry I haven't joined in yet, but my knowledge of poetry is weak compared to prose.

I'm endeavoring to read the entire Metamorphoses, so I could post passages for discussion that I find striking or something like that.

paulusnb wrote: I actually agree with you about Owen's poem. I do not think it denies the possibility of the Horatian ideal (not that we can call it Horace's necessarily). I think it is told from the point of view of a random grunt seeing his buddies die. Or, if random grunt is too much to presume, it is told from the point of view of someone on the battlefield.

Being blown to bits is never becoming. Yet, something unbecoming can be honorable.

I brought up the Wilfred's poem not to rip on Willie, but to rip on my High School teacher's (i.e. oi polloi) opinion of Owen's poem. Appealing ever so slightly to this view, Bender calls Horace's description of the warrior "rather romantic."


I think there have always been contrasting arguments about the glory of war, from Homer's day to our own, although the grimness is easier to highlight now that we're better than ever at slaughtering one another en mass.

You might be interested to read Erasmus' take on the nature of war, from his perspective in the 16th century. Here is a Latin dialogue he wrote called "Militis Confessio" in his "Colloquia Familiara." http://www.stoa.org/hopper/text.jsp?doc ... lloquium=7

Some snippets:
Ha.
Quid igitur in mentem venit istis, qui nummo conducti, nonnulli gratis, currunt ad bellum, non aliter quam ad convivium?
Th.
Ego nihil aliud coniectare possim, quam illos agi malis furiis, seseque totos malo daemoni ac miseriae devovisse, nec aliud, quam hic manes suos anticipare.
Ha.
Ita quidem videtur. Nam ad res honestas vix ullo pretio conduci queant. Sed expone nobis, quomodo gestum sit praelium, et utro sese inclinarit victoria.
Th.
Tantus erat strepitus, tumultus, tubarum bombi, cornuum tonitrua, hinnitus equorum, clamor virorum, ut neque videre potuerim, quid gereretur, adeo ut vix scirem ubi essem ipse.
....
Ha.
Praeclara ars, incendere domos, diripere templa, violare sacras virgines, spoliare miseros, occidere innoxios.
Th.
Lanii conducuntur ad mactandum bovem; cur nostra ars reprehenditur, quod conducimur ad mactandos homines?


Another exerpt from a dialogue, "Militis et Carthusiani":
Mi.
Fas est occidere hostem.

Ca.
Fortassis est, si impetat patriam tuam. Tum pium videri potest, pugnare pro liberis et uxore, pro parentibus et amicis, pro aris et focis, pro tranquillitate publica. Quid istuc ad tuam militiam mercenariam? Ego, si perisses in hoc bello, non redemissem animam tuam vitiosa nuce.
Horae quidem cedunt et dies et menses et anni, nec praeteritum tempus umquam revertitur nec quid sequatur sciri potest. Quod cuique temporis ad vivendum datur, eo debet esse contentus. --Cicero, De Senectute
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby paulusnb » Mon Feb 23, 2009 6:16 pm

Thesaurus,

Thanks for the Erasmus links.

thesaurus wrote:I'm endeavoring to read the entire Metamorphoses, so I could post passages for discussion that I find striking or something like that.


Please do. My familiarity with Ovid's Latin consists of the beginning of the first book and Pyramus and Thisbe. I did sign up for an Ovid class for grad school, but switched to Cicero when I heard horror stories about the teacher and grad students (she was young and threatened). Good move on my part in that I switched to the best teacher I have ever had (Brian Kristenko).


"I think there have always been contrasting arguments about the glory of war, from Homer's day to our own, although the grimness is easier to highlight now that we're better than ever at slaughtering one another en mass."

I know, bombs. WWII was the deadliest conflict ever, and the numbers don't compare, but what about the downfall of Constantinople? Was it a walk in the park?

In many ways, we are more sheltered from carnage than the Romans, which, I think, adds to our "awareness" of the horrors of war. I personally have never seen a person/ large animal killed in front of me. Do you think many Romans circa 100 AD could say the same? So for a Roman in the army, it was easier to see the grimness than for me. Think about Iraq. American soldiers in Iraq do not see a lot of the destruction first hand. What I mean is that the main conflict is fought behind a computer screen. Soldiers come in later. God bless our boys, and they are doing one hell of a job, but they are not seeing wholesale slaughter over there. Would you rather be in a platoon in Iraq or a grunt in Caesar's army? I say this not to minimize what our soldiers are doing or to set up a peeing contest between ancient and modern warfare, but to get our 20th century heads out of our butts. Look, I have read Hemingway and Eliot and Wiesel, but the fact is that dying violently has always sucked. But this does not mean that it is not sweet and noble to die for one's country. One could be drowned in pig stercus and still die nobly. In fact, there was a philosopher that died in dung.
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby Rhodopeius » Mon Feb 23, 2009 9:04 pm

Hey there. Haven't been able to locate a good selection yet; got a bit caught up in Vergil's Eclogues last night, among other things. Hopefully by early this evening I'll have something up.

I was thinking a little about the discussion above and thought that maybe there's a huge distinction to be found between H's actual take on war and his extoling of bravery. I think the poem is much less a tribute to any actual soldiers or their deed but more to the disembodied concept of virtus. After all, H even poked fun at himself and his friend for fleeing the battle of Phillipi. Especially as someone in the mid-late first century BC, I don't think he could have taken war that seriously. I mean, Sulla, Marius, Pompeius, Caesar, Brutus, Sextus Pompeius, Antony, Augustus. So many civil conflicts, so many once glorious armies reduced to chasing Italian farmers off their land.

Oh also Chris Francese from Dickinson College does a Latin Poetry Podcast. Not updated very often, but it's still going.
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby paulusnb » Mon Feb 23, 2009 10:41 pm

Rhodopeius wrote:I was thinking a little about the discussion above and thought that maybe there's a huge distinction to be found between H's actual take on war and his extoling of bravery.


Ahh, but what is his actual take on war? Therein lies the rub.

Rhodopeius wrote:Especially as someone in the mid-late first century BC, I don't think he could have taken war that seriously.


Presuming for a second that Horace shared your opinion of the historical figures mentioned (and I share your opinion to an extent), it does not mean he did not take war seriously. What I mean to say is, 99 incompetent or corrupt wars do not mean that the 100th will be something to laugh at or is not worth fighting. Let's transfer this to something else. When was the last time Somalia had a really good leader? Does that mean that a Somalian cannot take politics seriously or that a good Somalian leader is impossible? How many people did Machiavelli have respect for in Christian Europe? Yet, he was serious about politics.


Rhodopeius wrote:Especially as someone in the mid-late first century BC,


I am a bit of an elitist on this; Horace is not someone, he is Horace. As he says..."Odi profanum vulgus."


Rhodopeius wrote:After all, H even poked fun at himself and his friend for fleeing the battle of Phillipi.


Again, this is not evidence of Horace's true opinion of war in and of itself. I poke fun of my attempts to play football, but I can still acknowledge the glory and virtue of Football and worship Drew Brees, the best quarterback in the NFL. (the Mannings may be from the N.O. but they don't play for them :D ).

Rhodopeius wrote:I was thinking a little about the discussion above and thought that maybe there's a huge distinction to be found between H's actual take on war and his extoling of bravery


You are right that simply because he praises bravery does not mean that he believes that war, or bravery for that matter, are really the cat's meow. This is a poem, after all, and poems give voice to beauty/ideas that are not exactly the author's. What I mean is that poems praise the praiseworthy or sometimes just what other people find to be praiseworthy. I could write a poem on the virtues of democracy but still know that philosopher kings are the best rulers.
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby Rhodopeius » Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:08 am

Well, since I was working on it anyway I thought I'd post some short excerpts from Eclogue II. The entire eclogue is beautiful, but these two passages struck me in particular.

Context: the shepherd Corydon is in love with (guess who?) a handsome boy named Alexis. Spurred by
unrequited love, he comes over and over to brood in the shade of thick beech-trees. He addresses
Alexis, who is not there.

Huc ades, o formose puer, tibi lilia plenis 45
ecce ferunt Nymphae calathis; tibi candida Nais,
pallentis violas et summa papavera carpens,
narcissum et florem iungit bene olentis anethi;
tum casia atque aliis intexens suavibus herbis
mollia luteola pingit vaccinia caltha. 50
ipse ego cana legam tenera lanugine mala
castaneasque nuces, mea quas Amaryllis amabat;
addam cerea pruna—honos erit huic quoque pomo—
et vos, o lauri, carpam et te, proxime myrte,
sic positae quoniam suavis miscetis odores. 55

________________________________________

Aspice, aratra iugo referunt suspensa iuvenci
et sol crescentis decedens duplicat umbras.
me tamen urit amor; quis enim modus adsit amori?
a, Corydon, Corydon, quae te dementia cepit!
semiputata tibi frondosa vitis in ulmo. 70
quin tu aliquid saltem potius, quorum indiget usus,
viminibus mollique paras detexere iunco?
invenies alium, si te hic fastidit, Alexin.'


Rough translation (prose):

Come you hither, O beautiful boy, behold! Nymphs bear you lillies
in full baskets;

Fair Nais, plucking pale violets and highest poppies, also joins
the narcissus flower of sweet smelling anise;

Then she paints soft blackberries with yellow marigold, weaving
around with sweet mezereon and other soft herbs.

I myself pick grey fruit, tender with down and chestnuts which
my Amaryllis loved;

I'll add on waxlike plumbs-this fruit too will be given a place of honor-
and I shall pluck you, nearby myrtle, and you, o laurels, since placed
thus you mix sweet scents.

Look here: oxen are carrying plows supported by their yokes and
the setting sun doubles growing shades.

But love still pains me; what heed would love have? Ah Corydon,
Corydon! What madness has seized you? You have a half-pruned
vine on a leafy elm tree. Why don't you rather, at least, set about
plaiting it with twigs and rush, which need calls for? You'll find
another Alexis, if this one spurns you.


Comments to follow...
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby Rhodopeius » Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:30 am

First of all my translation of the last few lines up until "invenies..." may be a little off. Here's an older translation from somebody else:

Nay but rather at least something of all that daily work needs, set thou to weave of osiers or soft rushes...

That's from a really good if dated translation.

Anyway, what i love about the Latin is simply the beauty of the language. The botanical language even in my terrible Eng. rendering is dense but lovely, but the Latin is amazing. I already mentioned that chiastic line above: "mollia luteola pingit vaccinia caltha."

I've always found material set in nature to be particularly challenging to read and translate, probably because my life is so far removed from nature and it's so rich in symbolism that I'm just not familiar with. Anyway, I've set about reading and translating all the Eclogues, hoping that will ground me in Roman nature poetics.
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby cantator » Tue Feb 24, 2009 11:14 am

thesaurus wrote:I'm endeavoring to read the entire Metamorphoses, so I could post passages for discussion that I find striking or something like that.


Amice, you won't have any problem there. Ovid displays more devices in one page than other poets manage in ten. :)

Btw, for anyone interested in reading Ovid I recommend Charles Dunmore's Selections From Ovid. It contains a good selection of passages from the Metamorphoses along with pieces from the Fasti, the Tristia, the Amores, and the Heroides. Includes a vocabulary and brief but helpful notes.

I'm enjoying this thread too. Sorry I can't join in, my time is rather absorbed elsewhere right now. However, I have been reading a lot of Catullus lately, particularly the epithalamia.
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby cantator » Tue Feb 24, 2009 11:55 am

Rhodopeius wrote:Well, since I was working on it anyway I thought I'd post some short excerpts from Eclogue II. The entire eclogue is beautiful, but these two passages struck me in particular.


Lovely passages. Interesting to note the Vergilian resonance in the famous Copa Syrisca:

Sunt et caseoli quos iuncea fiscina siccat.
Sunt autumnali cerea pruna die.
Castaneaeque nuces et suave rubentia mala,
Est hic munda Ceres, est Amor, est Bromius.


The Copa is sometimes attributed to Vergil.
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby paulusnb » Tue Feb 24, 2009 3:52 pm

Rhodopeius wrote:I've always found material set in nature to be particularly challenging to read and translate, probably because my life is so far removed from nature and it's so rich in symbolism that I'm just not familiar with. Anyway, I've set about reading and translating all the Eclogues, hoping that will ground me in Roman nature poetics.


I have the same problem. For me, it is also a vocab issue with the nature poems. I do not have time to think about it right now....kids are afoot, and if I plop down at the computer for longer than 20 minutes while the kids are up, my wife freaks. I sneak five minutes here and there.

Since I am not familiar with the Eclogues and you are working through them, why don't you always post your Eclogues findings. Between you and thesaurus, I can really plug some holes in my Latin Lit.

Comment on Eclogues and new poem to come......
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby paulusnb » Tue Feb 24, 2009 4:19 pm

Kids are napping.

paulusnb wrote:Huc ades, o formose puer, tibi lilia plenis 45
ecce ferunt Nymphae calathis; tibi candida Nais,
pallentis violas et summa papavera carpens,
narcissum et florem iungit bene olentis anethi;
tum casia atque aliis intexens suavibus herbis
mollia luteola pingit vaccinia caltha. 50
ipse ego cana legam tenera lanugine mala
castaneasque nuces, mea quas Amaryllis amabat;
addam cerea pruna—honos erit huic quoque pomo—
et vos, o lauri, carpam et te, proxime myrte,
sic positae quoniam suavis miscetis odores. 55




Come here, O beautiful boy. Look, the nymphs bring
lilies in full containers; to you does the shining water nymph, plucking the pale violets and the highest poppyseeds,
join well the narcissus and flower of odorous dill.
Then, weaving soft blueberries and yellow marigolds with
cinnamon and other sweet smelling herbs
I myself shall gather (pun on reading?) white fruit with the tender down and chestnuts. (what is it with that tender down?)
I will add the soft plums-for this fruit there will also be honor-
and you, o laurels, I will seize and you, the nearest myrtle, since placed here you mix the sweet odors.


Thoughts so far, talk of the hair on the cheek is a constant in homoerotic poetry. But here it is hairy fruit! :shock:

Aspice, aratra iugo referunt suspensa iuvenci
et sol crescentis decedens duplicat umbras.
me tamen urit amor; quis enim modus adsit amori?
a, Corydon, Corydon, quae te dementia cepit!
semiputata tibi frondosa vitis in ulmo. 70


But look, young bulls (or young men) are carrying the plow
hanging from the yoke,and the sun descending doubles the growing shadows.
But love still burns me; what measure will there be for love?
AH! Corydon, Corydon, what madness has seized you?
Your leafy vine is but half-pruned in the elm tree.

As far as those last few lines go, I am taking your translation for now. They are a beast.

Likes: et sol crescentis decedens duplicat umbras.- wonderful line. Setting sun doubles the growing shadow
mollia luteola pingit vaccinia caltha- Golden, man, golden.

Question, do shepherds always sit around pitching woo at other shepherds? I guess it beats the sheep.

Why are there always singing shepherds? The stereotype of the singing shepherd is everywhere. Look at David in the Old Testament and Hesiod. What is it about herding sheep that leads to revelation? Is it the same reason aliens land in cornfields? :D

But seriously, why do shepherds enjoy revelation? Don't the angels sing in front of shepherds at the birth of Jesus? I had always assumed this was a Christian/Jewish idea in praise of the nomadic life which depends on God. But it is with the Greeks and Romans as well. Curious.

According to wikipedia, Corydon is a stock name for shepherds in pastorals. There is a Corydon Indiana. http://www.thisisindiana.org/ I wonder if farmers in Corydon pine for their fellow farmers, singing of downy fruit and dangling white plums?


Joking aside, this is a really nice poem. I was wondering if anyone can trace some of the herbal creations or confections being made here. What is with the twisting of cinnamon marigolds and blueberries?
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby paulusnb » Wed Feb 25, 2009 6:07 am

I shall cheat a little a do one of my favorite Horace poems. It is II. XIV. I will post a translation first and a comment later.


XIV

Eheu fugaces, Postume, Postume,
labuntur anni nec pietas moram
rugis et instanti senectae
adferet indomitaeque morti,

non, si trecenis quotquot eunt dies, 5
amice, places inlacrimabilem
Plutona tauris, qui ter amplum
Geryonen Tityonque tristi

compescit unda, scilicet omnibus
quicumque terrae munere uescimur 10
enauiganda, siue reges
siue inopes erimus coloni.

Frustra cruento Marte carebimus
fractisque rauci fluctibus Hadriae,
frustra per autumnos nocentem 15
corporibus metuemus Austrum:

uisendus ater flumine languido
Cocytos errans et Danai genus
infame damnatusque longi
Sisyphus Aeolides laboris. 20

Linquenda tellus et domus et placens
uxor, neque harum quas colis arborum
te praeter inuisas cupressos
ulla breuem dominum sequetur;

absumet heres Caecuba dignior 25
seruata centum clauibus et mero
tinguet pauimentum superbo,
pontificum potiore cenis.



Alas, Postume, Postume,
the fleeting years slip by
and piety cannot bring delay to wrinkles
or approaching old age or unconquerable death.
not even with 300 bulls for however many days there are,
friend, can you appease the pitiless Pluto, who restrains the thrice ample Geryon andTityon
with the stream that certainly is to be navigated by everyone
who feeds on the gifts of the earth, whether they are kings
or poor farmers.

In vain do we flee from cruel Mars
and the crashing waves of the raucous Hadriatic
In vain do we fear the South Wind harming our bodies.

We must see it all, The black Cocytus
wandering in its sluggish flow
and the Infamous Danai clan and Sysiphus
damned to long toil.

The soil and the home and the pleasing wife are to be left behind,
nor will any of the trees you care for, except for the hated cypress,
follow their brief master:

And the heir, more worthy (for sure), will consume the Caecuban wine
which was guarded by a thousand keys.
And he will stain the pavement with the proud wine, a wine better than that used at the dinners of the priests.


Here is help for the discipuli. http://polyaplatinlit07-08.wikispaces.c ... +Odes+2.14
Last edited by paulusnb on Wed Feb 25, 2009 11:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby paulusnb » Wed Feb 25, 2009 6:26 am

On to the comment.

I said earlier that Horace likes to play with the names of the people he is addressing his poem to. This poem is no different. The name Postume is related to the word Posthumous, which means after death. This is a poem about death and it is no accident that Horace names the addressee this. I think that Postume is a guy that has lived responsibly, saving up for treasures in the afterlife. I will give my arguments for this later.


The first line has some cool things in it. It starts off with one of my favorite latin words, eheu. Eheu is equivalent to Boohoo in English. It is onomatopoeia because it is imitating weeping. Anyway, notice how the "u" in Postume and fugaces have the same "oo" sound. Eheu,fugaces Postume Postume...... I imagine someone crying in a corner.

Confession time. I took this "oo" stuff from an excellent Latin teacher in New York named Tom Virginia. He led the discussion of this poem at an NEH institute I attended. Thanks Tom.


On a very simple level, this poem is typical Horace. Live for the moment; drink it up; etc. However, if you dig deeper, it is much richer than it originally seems.

The poem is stocked with religious imagery and ideas, though it is not always obvious. The first thing that Horace says is that piety, the original religious idea, cannot stop death. Blasphemy, for piety is grounded in respect for Father, and, as Yahweh says, Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother," which is the first commandment with promise:"that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth."

Notice that the poem ends with the odd mention of a priest. Why? Well, the heir is drinking wine more powerful than priest wine. Priests ate well in ancient Rome, so Horace is just making a comparison right? Maybe not. If treatment of wine is a metaphor for the way one lives life, and it definitely is for Horace, then perhaps priestly "wine" is not simply "wine" but the priestly life and the ideas that support it.

What are these ideas? I believe the "priestly" message is this: give what is due to the gods, live moderately, cultivate piety. Postume has been doing this. Horace tells him, however, that piety and sacrifices are useless, for we all go to Hades. Postume has been cultivating his fields, the ONLY Roman occupation, and Horace tells him all of it will remain for his heir to eat through.

So, following this to its conclusion, Horace is trying to free Postume from his attachment to the priest ways and teach him the Horatian life.

Now what to do with all of these figures in Hades? Random? Maybe not. Sysiphus is in Hades for tricking the gods. The Danai slew their husbands on their wedding night. Tityos is in Hades for insulting Latona, the mother of Apollo and Artemis. I do not know what to do with Geryon. He is slain by Herakles. Anyway, most of these figures are in Hell because of impiety. Presumably, they are the priestly examples of life lived without piety. They are what Postume has been told not to be, the priestly wine.

Sadly, I do not know how successful Horace is in making Postume less afraid of death or more loving of life. I do not know about you, but comforting sad people by telling them their religious belief is a lie is a little silly. "Don't worry about being a bad person and going to Hell, mate, God is not real."

Anyway, here is the poem and my interpretation. The poem is amazing.
When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against him. ~Swift
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby spiphany » Wed Feb 25, 2009 4:50 pm

Man, you guys are making me want to take up Latin again...

I love this stuff, I just wish I had the time to give this thread the attention it deserves.
IPHIGENIE: Kann uns zum Vaterland die Fremde werden?
ARKAS: Und dir ist fremd das Vaterland geworden.
IPHIGENIE: Das ist's, warum mein blutend Herz nicht heilt.
(Goethe, Iphigenie auf Tauris)
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby Superavi » Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:09 pm

I haven't been able to start translating poetry yet. The poems you guys have been posting is still a bit too advanced for me. I've taken a few cracks at them, but I end up pretty lost after the first couple lines. Are there any poets/poems that are easier to translate, so that I can ease myself into poetry not cannonball?
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby Rhodopeius » Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:26 pm

paulsnb wrote:I shall cheat a little a do one of my favorite Horace poems. It is II. XIV. I will post a translation first and a comment later.


Actually, even though I've gone through Bender's Horace for AP, I'm still in need of much review for the plump Epicurean. This is mostly because when I first read these poems I was far more concerned with ploughing through the lines than appreciating them as art. Now, if only someone who knew about the satirirsts would chime in, we'd be set....

paulusnb wrote:The poem is stocked with religious imagery and ideas, though it is not always obvious. The first thing that Horace says is that piety, the original religious idea, cannot stop death. Blasphemy, for piety is grounded in respect for Father, and, as Yahweh says, Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother," which is the first commandment with promise:"that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth."


Yeah, I can't imagine that this one would be popular during the Christian era, maybe until the Renaissance.
paulusnb wrote:Now what to do with all of these figures in Hades? Random? Maybe not. Sysiphus is in Hades for tricking the gods. The Danai slew their husbands on their wedding night. Tityos is in Hades for insulting Latona, the mother of Apollo and Artemis. I do not know what to do with Geryon. He is slain by Herakles. Anyway, most of these figures are in Hell because of impiety. Presumably, they are the priestly examples of life lived without piety. They are what Postume has been told not to be, the priestly wine.


Very interesting. Contrasts distinctly from the ode quoted above. To paraphrase: "I forbid any impious person to travel in the same boat with me. Jupiter often struck an innocent in pursuit of an unholy." Perhaps, once again, it's all a question of audience.
paulsnb wrote:Sadly, I do not know how successful Horace is in making Postume less afraid of death or more loving of life. I do not know about you, but comforting sad people by telling them their religious belief is a lie is a little silly. "Don't worry about being a bad person and going to Hell, mate, God is not real."


I suppose it depends on the disposition of the person. I didn't question my religious beliefs at all until my mid-teens. Around that time, my grandfather started conversing with me about his agnostic leanings. He was the first person of many I would come across who feel more fettered by religion's ideas about the afterlife than comforted. I personally never had trouble with the idea of some kind of atonement after death, but I did eventually find a much different religious grounding and rationale.
paulusnb wrote:Anyway, here is the poem and my interpretation. The poem is amazing.


Absolutely. Like I said, I wish I had taken the time to think about this one when I first read it, rather than merely storming the walls of syntax.
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby paulusnb » Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:29 pm

Superavi wrote:Are there any poets/poems that are easier to translate, so that I can ease myself into poetry not cannonball?


These poems are fairly short, fairly easy, and absurdly famous.

Catullus 1, 2, 3, 5, 13, 51, 70, 72, 75, 85, 87, 109

Horace 1.5, 1.11, 1.13, 1.23, 3.9, 3.30

I will give you an assignment. Do Catullus 72. Post translation and comment. :D

I will try to do more manageable poems. Martial, here we come.
Last edited by paulusnb on Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby paulusnb » Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:36 pm

Rhodopeius wrote:"I forbid any impious person to travel in the same boat with me. Jupiter often struck an innocent in pursuit of an unholy."


I guess it depends upon how one defines impiety. Is it impious to simply not believe in the gods, or is impiety shouting out one's lack of belief in the gods? It is one thing to know your dad is dumb and fat, it is quite another thing to tell him this to his face.

On a side note, Socrates always made sure to fulfill his earthly duties, except, perhaps, feeding his wife. Even when he dies, he tells someone to give a cock to Asclepius.
paulusnb wrote:Actually, even though I've gone through Bender's Horace for AP, I'm still in need of much review for the plump Epicurean.


So you took Latin AP? How was it? I am under the impression that Latin instruction in High School is often more demanding than that offered in college. Of course, I am a Latin teacher, so I would say that.
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby Rhodopeius » Wed Feb 25, 2009 6:01 pm

Superavi wrote:I haven't been able to start translating poetry yet. The poems you guys have been posting is still a bit too advanced for me. I've taken a few cracks at them, but I end up pretty lost after the first couple lines. Are there any poets/poems that are easier to translate, so that I can ease myself into poetry not cannonball?


If you find syntax too difficult, you might try, like I did when I started practicing with translation, doing short poems or excerpts and parsing every word, or at least every word that isn't extremely obvious. This means writing out each word, in its dictionary form (Nom. & gen. for nouns, principal parts for verbs), its form in the text, then its function. It's time-consuming, but it will help you think things out clearly and make sense out of complex material. Very soon, you won't need to do it anymore, but you'll still have that skill of precisely analyzing syntax. Don't think you'll get stuck doing it forever; it's merely a crutch you'll be able to toss away when you no longer need it.

I think there are some authors easier to read than others. Ovid, I found, was a good place to start for epic. Someone mentioned the Dunbar edition of Selections from Ovid above. This is a good place to start. If you work through it, you'll have no trouble following long narratives written in dactylic hexameter. The same for Catullus and short poetry; the poems you come across in student readers designed for the AP, for example, are generally easier. I'll list some good student readers that helped me below. "Easing yourself" is fine if you don't have much free time, but without intensive effort you can only expect your progress to be slower.

The trick is, I think, to study one author intensively for a little while using a good student reader with extensive notes and introductions. I would recommend, in order of difficulty level:

Beginning Latin Poetry-A great compilation with short excerpts and extensive notes and other fantastic features for intermediate level readers.

Wheelock's Latin Reader-My first reader.

Selections from Ovid

Writing Passion, A Catullus Reader

Pharr's Aeneid, Books I-VI
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby Rhodopeius » Wed Feb 25, 2009 6:10 pm

paulsnb wrote:So you took Latin AP? How was it? I am under the impression that Latin instruction in High School is often more demanding than that offered in college. Of course, I am a Latin teacher, so I would say that.


No, I've never taken an AP Latin course. I did take AP Spanish in high school though, and did quite well on the exam (5). I've been out of high school for about three years and haven't gone to college yet. I do Latin on my own, starting shortly after high school.

You teach Latin in high school? I imagine that would be pretty damn hard, seeing the difficulty my Spanish teachers had with most of their students.
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby paulusnb » Wed Feb 25, 2009 6:57 pm

Rhodopeius wrote:You teach Latin in high school? I imagine that would be pretty damn hard, seeing the difficulty my Spanish teachers had with most of their students.


I taught Latin in an excellent High School for the past few years. My students were all Honors only. This year, I switched to a Middle School (family/friends ties, money, etc.). I have started Latin in this Middle School, though I am only teaching Latin I and the students, except for a few, are not that good. I do not think that it takes an intelligent person to learn a language, but it does take someone who is willing to do homework. My top students are pretty good, but my failing ones are really bad, as in have not done homework all year and have a 31 in the class. Latin is mandatory at this school, and I do not think that parents are on board yet.

Anyway, I am impressed you have taught yourself this much Latin in just a few years. :D

On to the next poem, what is next?
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby paulusnb » Wed Feb 25, 2009 7:31 pm

Superavi, this is for you......

Hopefully this is not confusing. Underlined = verb. Adjective and Noun pairs have italics or bold. If an adjective agrees with a noun from another line, I used the asterisk.
V

Quis multa gracilis te puer in rosa
perfusus liquidis urget odoribus (perfusus modifies boy)
grato, Pyrrha, sub antro?
cui flauam religas comam, (cui= dat. "to or for whom")

simplex munditiis? Heu quotiens fidem 5
mutatosque deos flebit et aspera*
nigris aequora* uentis
emirabitur insolens,

qui nunc te* fruitur credulus aurea,
qui semper uacuam*, semper amabilem* 10
sperat, nescius aurae*
fallacis*. Miseri, quibus

intemptata nites. Me tabula sacer (tabula votiva sacer paries-interlocking word order)
uotiua paries indicat uuida* (with vestimenta)
suspendisse potenti*
uestimenta* maris deo*.

1-5 Vocab

antrum-cave or grotto
religas-religo-tie back
comam-hair

simplex munditiis- I have always liked to translate this "simple in your complexities"

6-16
miseri- I used to think this was an infinitive passive. I think misereri would be the inf. pass, though poets do what they want with verbs. (there was a conversation about this the other day). But then, I would have to explain the use of the infinitive, and I am not thinking of anything right now. It can also be nom pl. Regardless, it means the same thing. "They are pitiable (or they are pitied), whom you dazzle....."

suspendisse-perfect infinitive. Indirect Speech with indicat.

This link has so much more than I provide. http://polyaplatinlit07-08.wikispaces.c ... e+Odes+1.5
Last edited by paulusnb on Wed Feb 25, 2009 11:32 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby paulusnb » Wed Feb 25, 2009 7:50 pm

translation and Comment on 1.5

Pyrrha, what slender boy is pressing against you now,
In the many flowers, steeped in odorous perfumes,
under the pleasing grotto?

For whom do you knot your blond hair, simple in your complexities?

Alas, how often will he bemoan faith and the changing gods,and, unaccustomed,
he will be overwhelmed at the seas fierce with dark winds!

He who now enjoys you, believing you to be golden-
who hopes you to be always lovable, who is always empty!-
is ignorant of the false breeze.

They are to be pitied whom you, untried, dazzle.

The sacred wall indicates, with its votive tablet, that I have suspended my wet clothes to the powerful god of the sea.



Comment:

The slutty Pyrrha is with a new "puer." I think the question Horace asks is great. Who is it now, implying whoreishness and faithlessness.

Notice the word picture in line 1. Quis multa gracilis te puer in rosa. The boy and the flowers are literally surrounding Pyrrha. Again, this occurs in line 3 where the word Pyrrha is located in between "pleasing" and "cave."

I think we can see the rationale behind Horace's attraction to Pyrrha when he calls her simply elegant. This is a pretty good summation of Horaces' philosophy.

In line 6 Horaces begins the very important sea image. The new puer will be overwhelmed by the seas stormy with black winds that is Pyrrha's love. Horace picks up on this at the end when he mentions his votice tablet and Neptune. It was customary for sailors who survived a shipwreck to hang a votive picture and their clothes on the walls of the temple of Neptune. The meaning here...Horace has survived the storm that is Pyrrha. Horace adds to the image, though. He seems to be "hanging it up," giving up on Pyrrha.

I have heard it argued that this poem is Horace indicating that he is giving up a certain form of poetry. However, this goes too far into meter and Classical poetry for me to keep up.

Anyway, one odd thing to note here is that Horace throws in that this puer and others like him will be dazzled by Pyrrha, who is untried. Does this mean they are only dazzled by Pyrrha until they "gain" her, or does it mean that Pyrrha will only be around until she "gains" them, or is Horace simply trying to brag about bagging her?
Last edited by paulusnb on Wed Feb 25, 2009 11:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Poems anyone?

Postby Superavi » Wed Feb 25, 2009 7:58 pm

So I just attempted to translate Catullus 72. I say attempted because I butchered the entire thing horribly. It made absolutely no sense by the time I finished with it. But I asked for help, and you've taken the time out of your day to help me, so it is only fair for me to hold up my end of the bargain and display what I came up with.

I read through another translation afterward so I get the sense of it now. From the translation I produced (however poorly it may be) I was getting a sense of Catullus being pursued by a lover that he did not want. It seemed to me that he was trying to let her down so that he could get away.

Lesbia, at one time you were speaking to have known Catullus alone
But not to be willing to hold Jupiter in front of me
At that time I didn't like you so much as an acquaintance
but your father __ likes appropriate son-in-laws
Now that I have known you: even if, how strong I burn
You are, however, cheaper and easier to me
What can it do? You say. Because such injury brings together
to love, but to not wish well at all

Dicebas quondam solum te nosse Catullum
Lesbia, nec prae me velle tenere Iovem.
dilexi tum te non tantum ut vulgus amicam,
sed pater ut gnatos diligit et generos.
nunc te cognovi: quare etsi impensius uror,
multo mi tamen es vilior et levior.
qui potis est? inquis. quod amantem iniuria talis
cogit amare magis, sed bene velle minus.


I will have to take a shot at 1.5 later tonight. I have class tonight, and should focus again on what I need to do for that. Thanks for taking the time to help!
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