Friday, March 11, 2011
Ovid, The Flood (Metamorphoses Book I)
Publius Ovidius Naso
8 CE (over 2,000 years ago)
Trans. RMBullard Latin (Augustan Age)
Iamque erat in totas sparsurus fulmina terras;
(And now lightning was scattered over the lands;)
sed timuit, ne forte sacer tot ab ignibus aether conciperet flammas longusque ardesceret axis:
(But he feared that, accidentally, the sacred heavenly sky would catch flames from the streaks of fire and that the long axis would burn:)
esse quoque in fatis reminiscitur, adfore tempus, quo mare, quo tellus correptaque regia caeli ardeat et mundi moles operosa laboret.
(Also he’s mindful what situation might happen in Fate, by which sea and the earth and the dominion of the sky, snatched away, might combust, and the complex mass of the world would suffer;)
tela reponuntur manibus fabricata cyclopum;
(He set his spears, fashioned by the hands of the Cyclops, back down again;)
poena placet diversa, genus mortale sub undis perdere et ex omni nimbos demittere caelo.
(Various types of punishments sound good, to destroy the human race below the sea and to send down storm clouds across the entire sky;)
Protinus Aeoliis Aquilonem claudit in antris et quaecumque fugant inductas flamina nubes emittitque Notum.
(Immediately, he closed the wind Aquilo into its Aeloian prison, and each and every breeze flees the gathered clouds, and he sends out the wind Notus;)
madidis Notus evolat alis, terribilem picea tectus caligine vultum;
(Notus flies out with its soaking wings, covering his disgusting face with gloomy mist;)
barba gravis nimbis, canis fluit unda capillis;
(His beard is heavy with rainy clouds; a wave flows about his gray hair;)
fronte sedent nebulae, rorant pennaeque sinusque.
(Fog sits upon his brow; his feathers and arms drip;)
utque manu lata pendentia nubila pressit, fit fragor: hinc densi funduntur ab aethere nimbi;
(And as he pressed down the hanging clouds his broad hand, a crash rings out: then, the dense showers are poured down from the sky;)
nuntia Iunonis varios induta colores concipit Iris aquas alimentaque nubibus adfert.
(Iris, Juno’s messenger dressed in her different colors, brings forth water and feed for the clouds;)
sternuntur segetes et deplorata coloni vota iacent, longique perit labor inritus anni.
(The cornfields are flattened, and the farmer’s offerings lie flooded up, and the uncertain labor of the long year perishes;)
Nec caelo contenta suo est Iovis ira, sed illum caeruleus frater iuvat auxiliaribus undis.
(And the wrath of Jove is not held back from his own portion of the sky, but his sea-blue brother aids him with a second line of waves;)
convocat hic amnes: qui postquam tecta tyranni intravere sui, 'non est hortamine longo nunc' ait 'utendum; vires effundite vestras: sic opus est!
(Now, he calls the rivers together: these entered the walls of their master; he says, ‘Now a pause must not be made for long; pour out your strengths: you must!)
aperite domos ac mole remota fluminibus vestris totas inmittite habenas!' iusserat;
(Open your doors and attach all reins upon your waters along the stirred-up mass!’; so he had ordered;)
hi redeunt ac fontibus ora relaxant et defrenato volvuntur in aequora cursu.
(They return and resettle their faces into the waters and swim about in the deep in their rushed path;)
Ipse tridente suo terram percussit, at illa intremuit motuque vias patefecit aquarum.
(The leader strikes the earth with his trident, and it trembles and takes on the rush of water in its quaking;)
exspatiata ruunt per apertos flumina campos cumque satis arbusta simul pecudesque virosque tectaque cumque suis rapiunt penetralia sacris.
(The spreading streams rush over the open fields, and just as they seize the vineyards and cattle and men and houses, so much do they seize the shrines with its sacred offerings;)
si qua domus mansit potuitque resistere tanto indeiecta malo, culmen tamen altior huius unda tegit, pressaeque latent sub gurgite turres.
(If any home survived and was able to stand against the flood and such great chaos, an even higher wave covered its roof, and the towers lay pressed under the gurgling water;)
iamque mare et tellus nullum discrimen habebant: omnia pontus erat, derant quoque litora ponto.
(And already the sea and earth began to have no distinction: everything was sea; even the shores began to flee from the coast;)
Occupat hic collem, cumba sedet alter adunca et ducit remos illic, ubi nuper arabat:
(Here it seizes a hill; there another hooked swell takes seat and leads away the branches of trees, where the earth was just tilled:)
ille supra segetes aut mersae culmina villae navigat, hic summa piscem deprendit in ulmo.
(A man sails atop the cornfields and the roofs of submerged villae; over there, he catches a fish upon an elm tree;)
figitur in viridi, si fors tulit, ancora prato, aut subiecta terunt curvae vineta carinae;
(If by chance a ship carries one, the anchor gets caught in the green meadow, and the curved keels brush the vineyards below;)
et, modo qua graciles gramen carpsere capellae, nunc ibi deformes ponunt sua corpora phocae.
(And, where the graceful she-goats had just plucked the grass, now deformed squids settled their own bodies there;)
mirantur sub aqua lucos urbesque domosque Nereides, silvasque tenent delphines et altis incursant ramis agitataque robora pulsant.
(From beneath the water, Nereids gaze at the forest groves, the cities and their houses, and dolphins take hold of the forests, run about the tall branches, and strike the beaten oak;)
nat lupus inter oves, fulvos vehit unda leones, unda vehit tigres;
(The wolfs swims among sheep; the wave carries the tawny lions; the wave carries tigers;)
nec vires fulminis apro, crura nec ablato prosunt velocia cervo, quaesitisque diu terris, ubi sistere possit, in mare lassatis volucris vaga decidit alis.
(And the boar has no more strength to charge, nor do his legs rush forward for the swept-away deer, and scanning the earth for so long for a place he might land, the wandering bird drops into the sea with his exhausted wings;)
obruerat tumulos inmensa licentia ponti, pulsabantque novi montana cacumina fluctus.
(The immense freedom of the sea buries the mounds, and the strange swell pound against the mountain peaks;)
maxima pars unda rapitur; quibus unda pepercit, illos longa domant inopi ieiunia victu.
(A majority of people are taken by the wave; whoever the water spares, endless hunger overpowers them, deprived of the nourishment;)
Image: PEETERS, Bonaventura the Elder. The Great Flood-Oil. on oak panel, 19 x 34 cm, Private collection