Saturday, March 5, 2011

Petronius, Satryicon Book I


Gaius Petronius Arbiter
22-66 AD
Trans RMBullard
Latin (Imperial Era)

Nec fonte labra prolui caballino
[I neither washed my lips from in the spring, upon my little packhorse]

nec in bicipiti somniasse Parnaso
[nor do I remember to have taken a nap upon double-headed Parnassus]

 ut repente sic poeta prodirem.
[to suddenly become a poet like this.]

Heliconidasque pallidamque Pirenen
illis remitto
[I now send back the Heliconian girls and Greek-cloaked Pirenes to those]

quorum imagines lambunt            5
hederae sequaces;
[whose statues the pursuing ivy stalks lick.]

ipse semipaganus
ad sacra uatum carmen adfero nostrum.
[I myself, a half-bumpkin, now bring forth a song to the sacred ceremonies of my bards.]

quis expediuit psittaco suum 'chaere'
[Who ever blurted out his own "Welcome/χαιρε" from a parrot,]

picamque docuit nostra uerba conari?
[and taught his beak how to try to speak our language?]

magister artis ingenique largitor            10
[The belly is the teacher of art, and the bestower of ingenuity]

negatas artifex sequi uoces.
[as artist, I followed voices that were refused.]

[I] "Num alio genere Furiarum declamatores inquietantur, qui clamant:
['So don't, in some strange fashion, the prosecutors of the Furiari, grow worried when they shout:]

'Haec vulnera pro libertate publica excepi;
['I have received these wounds for the welfare of the people's freedom;]

hunc oculum pro vobis impendi:
[I have devoted this eye of mine for your sake:]

date mihi ducem, qui me ducat ad liberos meos, nam succisi poplites membra non sustinent'?
[give me a leader who will lead me to my children, you see, my calves, as they have now been sliced up, cannot support my body'?]

Haec ipsa tolerabilia essent, si ad eloquentiam ituris viam facerent.
[These very same words would appear to be acceptable, if only they would make the goal of their mission eloquence!]

Nunc et rerum tumore et sententiarum vanissimo strepitu hoc tantum proficiunt ut, cum in forum venerint, putent se in alium orbem terrarum delatos.
[Nowadays, they carry on with this nonsense, with a glob of subject-matters and only in the stupidest shouting of thoughts, and what is the result? That, whenever they come into the forum, people think these folks have been body-snatched to an alien world!]

Et ideo ego adulescentulos existimo in scholis stultissimos fieri, quia nihil ex his, quae in usu habemus, aut audiunt aut vident,
[And so, for my part, I think that youngsters will grew as stupid as possible in school, because there is nothing to be gained from them that we can use, either through hearing or seeing,]

 sed piratas cum catenis in litore stantes,
[except for pirates standing in chains on the beach,]

sed tyrannos edicta scribentes quibus imperent filiis ut patrum suorum capita praecidant,
[except for tyrants inscribing edicts whereby they order their sons to lop off the heads of their own uncles,]

sed responsa in pestilentiam data, ut virgines tres aut plures immolentur,
[except for prescriptions for the plague to have three or more virgins ritually killed,]

sed mellitos verborum globulos, et omnia dicta factaque quasi papavere et sesamo sparsa.
[except for the honey-dipped globules of rhetorical expressions, and all the sayings and deeds sprinkled like poppy and sesame seed.]

[II] "Qui inter haec nutriuntur, non magis sapere possunt quam bene olere qui in culina habitant.
["Whoever grows fat on these things like these cannot know any more than those who dwell in the kitchen know how to smell nice.]

 Pace vestra liceat dixisse, primi omnium eloquentiam perdidistis.
[You can only claim to have enjoyed own your peace and quiet, when you are the first of all to have ditched the practice of eloquence.]

 Levibus enim atque inanibus sonis ludibria quaedam excitando,
[you see, there are also certain shows of comedy for the man excited by light-hearted and inane sounds,]

 effecistis ut corpus orationis enervaretur et caderet.
[you made it possible that your body of speeches could be stimulated and then die down.]

Nondum iuvenes declamationibus continebantur,
[Not yet were our young men closed in by the art of making arguments,]

cum Sophocles aut Euripides invenerunt verba quibus deberent loqui.
[when Sophocles, or Euripides, found the words they needed to speak.]

 Nondum umbraticus doctor ingenia deleverat,
[Not yet, had the shaded scholar erased his mind,]

cum Pindarus novemque lyrici Homericis versibus canere timuerunt.
[when Pindar and nine poets feared to sing against the verses of Homer.]

Et ne poetas quidem ad testimonium citem,
[And really, so that I not stir poets to the act of bearing witness,]