Friday, March 11, 2011
Ovid, Deucalion and Pyrrha (Metamorphoses)
Deucalion and Pyrrha from a 1562 version of Ovid's Metamorphoses. [Wikipedia, Deucalion]
Publius Ovidius Naso
8 CE (over 2,000 years ago)
Latin (Augustan Age)
Separat Aonios Oetaeis Phocis ab arvis, terra ferax, dum terra fuit, sed tempore in illo pars maris et latus subitarum campus aquarum.
(He separated the Oetaen Boeotians from the Phrygian fields, a fierce land, when it was land, but at the moment, part of the sea and the wide surface of sudden water;)
mons ibi verticibus petit arduus astra duobus, nomine Parnasos, superantque cacumina nubes.
(There, a steep mountain surges to the stars with twin peaks, by the name Parnassus, and its mountaintops surpasses the clouds;)
hic ubi Deucalion (nam cetera texerat aequor) cum consorte tori parva rate vectus adhaesit, Corycidas nymphas et numina montis adorant fatidicamque Themin, quae tunc oracla tenebat:
(Here is where Deucalion clings with his bedfellow wife, for the sea had buried everything else, carried along in a small raft, and they prayed to the Corycean nymphs and the divine powers of the mountain and faithful Justice, who used to hold her oracles there:)
non illo melior quisquam nec amantior aequi vir fuit aut illa metuentior ulla deorum.
(There was not a better or more justice-loving man, or any woman more fearful of the gods than she;)
Iuppiter ut liquidis stagnare paludibus orbem et superesse virum de tot modo milibus unum, et superesse vidit de tot modo milibus unam, innocuos ambo, cultores numinis ambo, nubila disiecit nimbisque aquilone remotis et caelo terras ostendit et aethera terris.
(And as Jupiter saw that the world stagnating from the watery flood, and that a single man survives from so many thousands, and that a single woman survives from so many thousands, both innocent, both worshippers of the divinities, he cast the clouds back, while the showers were removed from the south wind, and he showed the lands to the sky and the skies to the lands;)
nec maris ira manet, positoque tricuspide telo mulcet aquas rector pelagi supraque profundum exstantem atque umeros innato murice tectum caeruleum Tritona vocat conchaeque sonanti inspirare iubet fluctusque et flumina signo iam revocare dato:
(And the rage of the sea no longer remains, and the ruler of the ocean soothes the waters with his three-pronged spear placed over the deep; he calls sea-blue Triton, standing over the surface and covering his shoulders with his natural shell-dye, and he orders him to blow upon his resounding conk shell and, giving the signal, to recall the swell and the waves;)
cava bucina sumitur illi, tortilis in latum quae turbine crescit ab imo,
bucina, quae medio concepit ubi aera ponto, litora voce replet sub utroque iacentia Phoebo;
(The empty horn, fashioned from tortoise shell, is taken up by him, which rises from below to his flank; with the horn, where he fixes bronze in the middle of the bridge, he fills the shores lying everywhere under shining Phoebus with sound;)
tum quoque, ut ora dei madida rorantia barba contigit et cecinit iussos inflata receptus, omnibus audita est telluris et aequoris undis,
et quibus est undis audita, coercuit omnes.
(And then, as his dripping beard brushed his moist face and he blew orders in repeated exhalations, he was heard by all the land-rushing and sea-borne waves, and whichever waves heard him, he subjugated them all;)
iam mare litus habet, plenos capit alveus amnes, flumina subsidunt collesque exire videntur;
(Now the sea has a shore; the wash takes on full streams; the waves subside, and the hills seem to pop out;)
surgit humus, crescunt sola decrescentibus undis, postque diem longam nudata cacumina silvae ostendunt limumque tenent in fronde relictum;
(The soil rises up, the earths grow from decreasing waves, and after a long day, the forests show their treetops stripped, and they hold the mud left on their foliage;)
Redditus orbis erat; quem postquam vidit inanem et desolatas agere alta silentia terras, Deucalion lacrimis ita Pyrrham adfatur obortis:
(The world had been restored; after he sees it empty and that the desolate lands keep a deep silence, so Deucalion says to Pyrrha, his tears welling up:)
'o soror, o coniunx, o femina sola superstes, quam commune mihi genus et patruelis origo, deinde torus iunxit, nunc ipsa pericula iungunt, terrarum, quascumque vident occasus et ortus, nos duo turba sumus; possedit cetera pontus.
(‘O sister, o wife, o woman, you alone survive, to whom common lineage and relation by uncle joined our bed, now these dangers join us; we two are the population of the lands, whichever ones behold the rise and fall of the sun; the sea clings to the rest;)
haec quoque adhuc vitae non est fiducia nostrae certa satis; terrent etiamnum nubila mentem.
(Yet even this assurance of life is not secure enough for us; even now, showery rains terrify my mind;)
quis tibi, si sine me fatis erepta fuisses, nunc animus, miseranda, foret? quo sola timorem ferre modo posses? quo consolante doleres!
(What rational mind would belong to you, my miserable lady, if you had been snatched away from me by the fates? How could you alone then endure you fear? How you would grieve for your partner!)
namque ego (crede mihi), si te quoque pontus haberet, te sequerer, coniunx, et me quoque pontus haberet.
(And I, believe me, would follow you, even if the sea held you captive, my wife, so the sea would hold me too;)
o utinam possem populos reparare paternis artibus atque animas formatae infundere terrae!
(O, would that I could restore the populations with my paternal limbs and pour living spirits upon the land formed!)
nunc genus in nobis restat mortale duobus. sic visum superis hominumque exempla manemus.'
(Now the mortal race survives in the two of us; so you preserve your appearance, and we remain the originals of human beings’)
Dixerat, et flebant: placuit caeleste precari numen et auxilium per sacras quaerere sortes.
(He had finished speaking, and they began to cry: it pleased them to pray to the heavenly power and to seek help from the holy prophecies;)
nulla mora est: adeunt pariter Cephesidas undas, ut nondum liquidas, sic iam vada nota secantes.
(Delay there is not: likewise, they cross over the Cephissian waves; as they are not yet clear, so they cut through the paths familiar to them;)
inde ubi libatos inroravere liquores vestibus et capiti, flectunt vestigia sanctae ad delubra deae, quorum fastigia turpi pallebant musco stabantque sine ignibus arae.
(Then, when they poured out the soaking water from their clothes and hair, they turn their tracks to the temple of the sacred goddess, whose sacred chambers were stained with filthy moss and stood with their altar fires;)
ut templi tetigere gradus, procumbit uterque pronus humi gelidoque pavens dedit oscula saxo atque ita 'si precibus' dixerunt 'numina iustis victa remollescunt, si flectitur ira deorum, dic, Themi, qua generis damnum reparabile nostri arte sit, et mersis fer opem, mitissima, rebus!'
(As they reached the steps of the temple, both lay forth, stretched upon the ground, and they fearfully gave kisses to the chilly stone, and they said, 'If your divine powers can be swayed and influenced by our righteous prayers, if the anger of the gods can be diverted, speak, Themis, how, in our ability, the damage to our race might be repaired, and, most generous one, bring the deed out into the open!')
mota dea est sortemque dedit: 'discedite templo et velate caput cinctasque resolvite vestes ossaque post tergum magnae iactate parentis!'
(The goddess was moved, and she issued a prophecy: 'Come down from the temple and cover your head and rebind your clothes and throw the bones of your great parent behind your backs!')
Obstupuere diu, rumpitque silentia voce Pyrrha prior iussisque deae parere recusat,
detque sibi veniam pavido rogat ore pavetque laedere iactatis maternas ossibus umbras.
(They stood amazed for a long time, then Pyrrha breaks the silence with an utter and refuses to obey the prior orders of the goddess, and she asks her to grant forgiveness and grows pales with fear to disturb her mother's shade from her buried bones;)
interea repetunt caecis obscura latebris verba datae sortis secum, inter seque volutant.
(Meanwhile, they try to understand the obscure words of the prophecy given in dark lairs, and they hesistate from one meaning to another;)
Inde Promethides placidis Epimethida dictis mulcet et 'aut fallax' ait 'est sollertia nobis, aut (pia sunt nullumque nefas oracula suadent!)
magna parens terra est: lapides in corpore terrae ossa reor dici; iacere hos post terga iubemur.'
(Then, the son of Prometheus, Deucalion, soothes the daughter of Epimetheus, Pyrrha, and says 'Either this prophecy is unclear to us, or the great parent means the earth [pious are the oracles, and they never encourage any wicked deed!]: I bet that stones can be claimed as the bones in the body of the earth; let's agree to throw them behind our backs')
Coniugis augurio quamquam Titania mota est, spes tamen in dubio est: adeo caelestibus ambo diffidunt monitis; sed quid temptare nocebit?
(Although Pyrrha was moved by the skilled interpretation of her husband, still her hope is in doubt: to such an extent do they disagree on heavenly advice; but why should it hurt to try?)
descendunt: velantque caput tunicasque recingunt et iussos lapides sua post vestigia mittunt.
(They come down: then they cover their head and rebind their tunics and throw the stones behind their backs as ordered;)
saxa (quis hoc credat, nisi sit pro teste vetustas?) ponere duritiem coepere suumque rigorem mollirique mora mollitaque ducere formam.
(The stones began to loss their hardness and stiffness and to become soft after a while, and finally to take on a delicate shape: who would believe this, except that antiquity serves as its witness?)
mox ubi creverunt naturaque mitior illis contigit, ut quaedam, sic non manifesta videri forma potest hominis, sed uti de marmore coepta non exacta satis rudibusque simillima signis, quae tamen ex illis aliquo pars umida suco et terrena fuit, versa est in corporis usum;
(Soon, as they began to grow and a more defined nature joined to them, as before they could be seen to manifest in the form of man, still more like things began from marble that have not been measured out perfectly and most similar to rough sketches, now part of them was made out of some kind of sap and moist earth, converted into a system of the body;)
quod solidum est flectique nequit, mutatur in ossa quae modo vena fuit, sub eodem nomine mansit,inque brevi spatio superorum numine saxa missa viri manibus faciem traxere virorum et de femineo reparata est femina iactu.
(Whatever is solid and cannot be bent, now is changed into bones, which had just been cracks, under which name it still remained, and then in a brief amount of time, the stones, cast from the hands of the man, take on the appearance of men, thanks to the power of the heavenly gods, and women are restored from the female's throw.)
inde genus durum sumus experiensque laborum et documenta damus qua simus origine nati.
(Hence, we are a hard race of men, tested in labor, and we prove how we are the descendents of this origin.)