Some epigrams

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cclaudian
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Some epigrams

Post by cclaudian » Sun Sep 29, 2019 10:18 am

Is anyone here familiar with the 'Ruthless rhymes' of Harry Graham? If not, be prepared for a laugh, for I have translated two into Latin below - and am looking for a couple of critiques from anyone who can spare the time!

'Tender Heartedness'
Billy, in one of his nice new sashes,
Fell in the fire and was burnt to ashes;
Now, although the room grows chilly,
I haven't the heart to poke poor Billy.

Caecilius nitido circumuelatus amictu
decidit in calidos, igne cremante, focos.
nunc, quamuis thalamus coepit frigescere, nolo
cum baculo miserum pungere Caecilium.

1. How does pungere sound for 'poke'? I struggled to work in 'fodio' or 'scrutari', which appear to be the best ways of translating the Greek πῦρ σκαλεύειν/English 'poke a fire'.
2. Has anyone a convenient expression for 'Haven't the heart'? I feel this is where the best part of the joke lies, and try as I might to work in 'non ego sustineo', two choriambs feels a bit too much.

'Calculating Clara'
O'er the rugged mountain's brow
Clara threw the twins she nursed,
And remarked, "I wonder now
Which will reach the bottom first?"

Servia visa modo est geminas e vertice montis
mittere, quas tepido foverat ante sinu.
tum sic orsa loqui: ‘nunc miror, culmine iacta
montis utra attinget filia prima solum?’

3. I'm struggling a little with the punctation and moods after 'nunc miror'. Does 'miror, ... utra attinget' read better or worse than 'miror... utra attingat'? I'm only conscious that 'culmine iacta' could be mistakenly read with 'miror', and im loathe to introduce this sort of ambiguity into my latin

Other observations and criticisms are very welcome

cclaudian
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 37
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2018 7:14 pm
Location: Cambridge UK / Auckland NZ

Re: Some epigrams

Post by cclaudian » Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:57 am

Thinking over my problem a little further, I wonder if the following verses are an improvement, even if they depart from the sense quite a bit?

nunc, quamuis thalamus friget, non pluscula ligna (vel fortasse 'arida')
sustineo in miserum ponere Caecilium.

Now, although the room grows chilly,
I haven't the heart to put a little more firewood on poor Caecilius.

cb
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Re: Some epigrams

Post by cb » Sat Oct 05, 2019 11:50 am

Hi, it's been a very long time since I practised Latin verse comp, however just looking at your first question, I think it would be better to avoid using the proper noun exception to the usual rule of a disyllable at the end of the pentameter.

What about something simple like Caecilii cineres nolo movere tamen? (I am using the licence of shortening -o in nolo however).

Or maybe change the form to a vocative address, starting with an acc. of exclamation, which might bring out the "heartfelt" aspect? Something like te miserum! cineres nolo movere tuos! You'd need to check through Ovid whether the common me miserum! could be put in the second person like this though, I haven't checked.

(Now I'm getting distracted...) Since you would be moving nolo out of the hexameter, you'd need to re-write that verse: perhaps Nunc mihi frigidior casa fit, minuente camino (with dat. of disadvantage mihi)?

Cheers, Chad

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