Friday, March 11, 2011

Ovid, Genesis and Ages of Men (Metamorphoses 1)

Publius Ovidius Naso
8 CE (over 2,000 years ago)
Trans RMBullard

 Latin (Golden Age)

nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas/corpora-
(My mind carries me to speak of forms changed into new bodies;)

di, coeptis (nam vos mutastis et illa) adspirate meis primaque ab origine mundi/ad mea perpetuum deducite tempora carmen-
(You gods, for you too have changed them, breathe life into my undertakings and lead down a poem from the beginning of the world to my own times;)

Ante mare et terras et, quod tegit omnia, caelum/unus erat toto naturae vultus in orbe/quem dixere Chaos, rudis indigestaque moles/nec quicquam nisi pondus iners congestaque eodem/non bene iunctarum discordia semina rerum-
(Before the sea and the lands and the sky, there was only one appearance of nature in the whole world, that covered everything, which they called Chaos, and it was a raw and unfinished mass, nor was there anything except an inactive weight and the accumulated, disorganized seeds of things, not yet well joined together;)

nullus adhuc mundo praebebat lumina Titan/nec nova crescendo reparabat cornua Phoebe, nec circumfuso pendebat in aere tellus/ponderibus librata suis, nec bracchia longo/margine terrarum porrexerat Amphitrite/utque erat et tellus illic et pontus et aer, sic erat instabilis tellus, innabilis unda, lucis egens aer-
(Not yet did the Titan provide light to the world, nor did Phoebe replenish new horns in her rising, nor did the earth hang in the air poured around, balanced by its own weights, nor did Amphitrite stretch her arms around the long margin of the lands, as there was earth and sea and air over there, thus the earth was not sturdy, the wave not navigable, the air lacking light;)

nulli sua forma manebat/obstabatque aliis aliud, quia corpore in uno/frigida pugnabant calidis, umentia siccis/mollia cum duris, sine pondere habentia pondus-
(no nothing in form existed, and each thing stood against the others, since the frozen things fought with hot things in the single body, moist things with dry things, soft things with hard things, things having weight with those without weight;)

Hanc deus et melior litem natura diremit-
(A god and a better nature divided it;)

nam caelo terras et terris abscidit undas/et liquidum spisso secrevit ab aere caelum-
(For he cut away the lands from the sky and the waves from the lands, and he separated the pure sky from the thick air;)

quae postquam evolvit caecoque exemit acervo/dissociata locis concordi pace ligavit- (Afterwards, he rolled out these things and divided them from the invisible mass, and he bound those disjointed things to places with in a peace of harmony;)

ignea convexi vis et sine pondere caeli/emicuit summaque locum sibi fecit in arce;
(And the fiery force of the curved sky, without weight, shined out, and he fashioned a spot for it in the highest sky;)

proximus est aer illi levitate locoque/densior his tellus elementaque grandia traxit/et pressa est gravitate sua;
(The air is closest to it in lightness and location, and the heavier earth dragged grand elements from these and was pressed by its own weight;)

circumfluus umor/ultima possedit solidumque coercuit orbem.
(The moisture flowing around possessed and surrounded the solid sphere.)

Sic ubi dispositam, quisquis fuit ille deorum/congeriem secuit sectamque in membra redegit/principio terram, ne non aequalis ab omni/parte foret, magni speciem glomeravit in orbis;
(Thus, whoever he was of the gods, he divided the settled down accumulation and first carved out the cut land, lest it should not have been equal in every part, he rounded it into the appearance of a great globe;)

tum freta* diffudit rapidisque tumescere ventis/iussit et ambitae circumdare litora terrae.
(Then he poured the air downward and ordered it to grow thick with rapid winds and to encircle the shores of the wandering lands;)

addidit et fontes et stagna immensa lacusque/fluminaque obliquis cinxit declivia ripis/quae diversa locis partim sorbentur ab ipsa/in mare perveniunt partim campoque recepta/liberioris aquae pro ripis litora pulsant.
(He added both springs and huge pools and lakes, and he bound the down-sloping rivers with slanting banks, rolling down from the themselves in one part, they are soaked in places, in another part, they travel into the sea, and received in the plain, their waters beat the shores along freer banks;)

iussit et extendi campos, subsidere valles/fronde tegi silvas, lapidosos surgere montes;
(And he ordered the plains to be stretched, the valleys to sink, the forests to be covered in foliage, the stony mountains to rise;)

utque duae dextra caelum totidemque sinistra/parte secant zonae, quinta est ardentior illis/sic onus inclusum numero distinxit eodem/cura dei, totidemque plagae tellure premuntur;
(And as two regions cut the sky in the right section, and likewise in the left, the fifth is more fiery than these, thus, by the same number, he partitioned the enclosed load with the care of the god, and likewise were the regions pressed into the earth;)

quarum quae media est, non est habitabilis aestu; nix tegit alta duas;
(the part of them that is in the middle is not suitable for heat; deep snow covers the two regions;)

totidem inter utrumque locavit/temperiemque dedit mixta cum frigore flamma.
(Likewise did he settle each one, and he gave climate, while heat was mixed with the chill;)

imminet his aer; qui quanto est pondere terrae/pondere aquae levior, tanto est onerosior igni. (The air hangs over these; however much it is in weight to the earth, it is lighter in weight to water, just as much be it heavier than fire;)

illic et nebulas, illic consistere nubes/iussit et humanas motura tonitrua mentes/et cum fulminibus facientes fulgora ventos;
(And he ordered to come gather around the mists up there, the clouds up there, thunder to upset human minds, and thunderclouds with their thunderbolts that make winds;)

his quoque non passim mundi fabricator habendum/aera permisit;
(Nor did the Craftsman of the world allow the air to be held immediately by these;)

vix nunc obsistitur illis/cum sua quisque regant diverso flamina tractu/quin lanient mundum: tanta est discordia fratrum.
(Scarcely now was he opposed by these, since each one rules his own blasts on a different path, that they not rend the world: so great is the discord among brothers;)

Eurus ad Auroram Nabataeque regna recessit Persidaque et radiis iuga subdita matutinis; (Eurus recedes to the Dawn and Nabataea and the Persian kingdoms and the mountain ranges stricken by the morning lights;)

vesper et occiduo quae litora sole tepescunt proxima sunt Zephyro;
(The evening and those shores that are closest to falling Zephyr grow warm in the sun;)

Scythiam Septemque triones horrifer invasit Boreas;
(Shivering Borreas invades Scythia and the northern regions *Septemtriones*;)

contraria tellus/nubibus adsiduis pluviaque madescit ab Austro.
(The land grows wet from the constant clouds and rain falling from Austrus;)

haec super imposuit liquidum et gravitate carentem/aethera nec quicquam terrenae faecis habentum.
(He placed above these an ethereal sky, pure and lacking weight, nor possessing anything of earthly quality.)

Vix ita limitibus dissaepserat omnia certis/cum, quae pressa diu fuerant caligine caeca/sidera coeperunt toto effervescere caelo;
(Thus scarcely did he dissolve all things from their fixed boundaries, when, those things which had been pressed by invisible heat, the stars began to glow hot in the entire sky;)

neu regio foret ulla suis animalibus orba/astra tenent caeleste solum formaeque deorum/cesserunt nitidis habitandae piscibus undae/terra feras cepit, volucres agitabilis aer. (That no region be a sphere with its own animals, the stars and the forms of the gods hold the celestial ground; the waves proceed to be held by shiny fish; the earth seized the wild beasts; the stirring air birds.)

Sanctius his animal mentisque capacius altae/deerat adhuc et quod dominari in cetera posset: (An animal, more holy than these and more capable of a lofty mind, yet came down, and he was able to dominate over the others;)

natus homo est, sive hunc divino semine fecit/ille opifex rerum, mundi melioris origo/sive recens tellus seductaque nuper ab alto/aethere cognati retinebat semina caeli;
(Man was born, whether this Craftsman of things made him from divine seed, the creation of a better world, or whether the fresh earth retained the familial sky's seeds, newly led down from the high ether;)

quam satus Iapeto mixtam pluvialibus undis/finxit in effigiem moderantum cuncta deorum/pronaque cum spectent animalia cetera terram/os homini sublime dedit caelumque videre/iussit et erectos ad sidera tollere vultus;
(Which, the son of Iapus *Prometheus* fashioned it, mixed with watery waves, into the appearance of the ideal gods, and after he reviews the other animals lying upon the earth, he gave a lofty face to men and ordered them to behold the sky and lift their upturned faces to the stars;)

sic, modo quae fuerat rudis et sine imagine, tellus/induit ignotas hominum conversa figuras. (Thus, the rolled-out earth, which had just been raw and without any appearance, poured in the unknown figures of human beings.)

Aurea prima sata est aetas, quae vindice nullo,
sponte sua, sine lege fidem rectumque colebat.
[First a golden age was born, which brought the trustworthy and upstanding man by its own accord: no use for any avenger or legal system.]

poena metusque aberant, nec verba minantia fixo
aere legebantur, nec supplex turba timebat
iudicis ora sui, sed erant sine vindice tuti.
[There were no punishments or fears thereof, nor were any menacing proclamations read upon some affixed bronze tablet, nor did the crowd grow afraid of their own judge's face, like a supplicant: instead they were secure even without an avenger.]

nondum caesa suis, peregrinum ut viseret orbem,
montibus in liquidas pinus descenderat undas,               95
nullaque mortales praeter sua litora norant;
[Not yet had the pine, later cut down, descended from their mountain peaks upon the clear waves, so that it would catch a peek at some foreign land, and these humans knew no shores other than their own.]