Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ovid, Heroides I (Letter from Penelope to Ulysses)

Publius Ovidius Naso [Ovid]
43 BC-17 AD
Trans RMBullard
Latin (Golden Age of Literature/Imperial Era)

I. Penelope Vlixi

Haec tua Penelope lento tibi mittit, Ulixe
     nil mihi rescribas attinet: ipse veni!
[Hail slow-moving Ulysses, your wife Penelope send you these letters to you--don't write anything back to me: only come yourself!]

Troia iacet certe, Danais invisa puellis;
[Troy surely lies in ruin, but it is still despised by the maidens of Greece;]

 vix Priamus tanti totaque Troia fuit.
[Barely was Priam and all of the Troy worth the effort.]

o utinam tum, cum Lacedaemona classe petebat,               5
     obrutus insanis esset adulter aquis!
[O, would that that adulterer had been drowned by raging waters before he could reach Sparta in his ship!]

non ego deserto iacuissem frigida lecto,
     nec quererer tardos ire relicta dies;
[It is I who would then not have to had laid upon my lonely bad, cold, nor would I be complaining how the long days are growing late in my bereavement.]  

nec mihi quaerenti spatiosam fallere noctem
     lassaret viduas pendula tela manus.
[Nor should the hanging cloth wear out my widow's hands--I who seek to deceive the lengthy night.]

Quando ego non timui graviora pericula veris?
[When have I, for my part, not feared dangers less serious than imagined?]

   res est solliciti plena timoris amor.
[Love is a matter full of anxious fear.]

in te fingebam violentos Troas ituros;
[I once imagined violent Trojans looming upon you;]

  nomine in Hectoreo pallida semper eram.
[My skin always turned white with fear at the sound of Hector's name.]

sive quis Antilochum narrabat ab hoste revictum,               15
     Antilochus nostri causa timoris erat;
[Or if someone described how Antilochus was beaten back by the enemy, Antilochus would be the cause of my fright;]

sive Menoetiaden falsis cecidisse sub armis,
     flebam successu posse carere dolos.
[Or when Menetiades had fallen dead under false arms, I would begin to envy the fact I still had a matter to grieve about later.]

sanguine Tlepolemus Lyciam tepefecerat hastam;
[Before that, Tlepolemus had made his Lycian spear hot with bloodshed.]

    Tlepolemi leto cura novata mea est.
[But when Tlepolemus died, my worry was then restored.]

denique, quisquis erat castris iugulatus Achivis,
     frigidius glacie pectus amantis erat.
[And finally, no matter which Greek had his throat cut nearby his camp, the heart of his lover grow more and more frozen with ice.]

Sed bene consuluit casto deus aequus amori.

[But a fair god assessed my chaste love well.]

     versa est in cineres sospite Troia viro.
[ Troy fell to ashes thanks to the help of my husband.]

Argolici rediere duces, altaria fumant;
[The generals of Argos have returned, and their altars now smoke;]

    ponitur ad patrios barbara praeda deos.
[The barbarians' plunder is now dedicated to the gods of their nation.]

grata ferunt nymphae pro salvis dona maritis;
[Brides bring pleasing gifts for the spared lives of their husbands;]

    illi victa suis Troica fata canunt.
[Everyone we now sings their own song of how Troy came to be conquered.]

mirantur iustique senes trepidaeque puellae;
[Fair-minded elders and trepid maidens stand amazed;]

    narrantis coniunx pendet ab ore viri. 
[The wife hangs from her husband's neck as he tells his story.]

atque aliquis posita monstrat fera proelia mensa,
     pingit et exiguo Pergama tota mero:
[on top of that, everyone shows off their fierce spoils of battle upon set tables, and paints all of Pergamum with wine running scant:]

'hac ibat Simois; haec est Sigeia tellus;
["On this painting flows the Simois; this painting is of the Sigeian countryside;"]

     hic steterat Priami regia celsa senis.
["Here stood the high old queen of Priam."]

 illic Aeacides, illic tendebat Ulixes;    
["Over here is the son of Aeacis, over there is Ulysses;"

hic lacer admissos terruit Hector equos.'
["And over here, Hector, torn to pieces, terrifies the horses to which he is tied."]

Omnia namque tuo senior te quaerere misso
     rettulerat nato Nestor, at ille mihi.
[And thus, when I sent our son to search for you, the old man Nestor brought all the news back to me: HE did it!]

rettulit et ferro Rhesumque Dolonaque caesos,
     utque sit hic somno proditus, ille dolo. 
[And he told me how Rhesus and Dolon had been slain by the sword, and how this succeeded in the time of sleep, in a raid, HE did!]

ausus es—o nimium nimiumque oblite tuorum!—
     Thracia nocturno tangere castra dolo
totque simul mactare viros, adiutus ab uno!
[You dared--o you are too forgetful, too forgetful of your own family!--- to reach the camps of the Thracians in a night raid, and to kill so many men too, aided only by a single man!]

at bene cautus eras et memor ante mei!
[But you were so cautious and mindful of me before!]

usque metu micuere sinus, dum victor amicum               45
     dictus es Ismariis isse per agmen equis.
[So greatly did my chest heave in fear, until you were reported to have escaped, victorious through the enemy throng upon your steeds.]

Sed mihi quid prodest vestris disiecta lacertis
[But what good is Troy to me when I am ripped from your arms]

et, murus quod fuit, esse solum,
si maneo, qualis Troia durante manebam,
[and our house, what was of it, lonely, if I remain, just as I was waiting when Troy was still holding out]

 virque mihi dempto fine carendus abest?  
[and why should my husband be missing, destined to be separated from his home?]

diruta sunt aliis, uni mihi Pergama restant,
     incola captivo quae bove victor arat.
[While Pergamum is destroyed for others, it remains standing for me alone, the city plowed over by the victor with it own captive cattle.]

iam seges est, ubi Troia fuit, resecandaque falce
     luxuriat Phrygio sanguine pinguis humus;

[There are already cornfields, where there was once Troy, soon to be cut back by the blade, and the rich soil languishes from Phrygian blood.]

semisepulta virum curvis feriuntur aratris               55
     ossa, ruinosas occulit herba domos.

[Half-covered bones of men are upturned by the curved plows, and the grass covers their doomed shelters.]

victor abes, nec scire mihi, quae causa morandi,
     aut in quo lateas ferreus orbe, licet!

[You went away the victor, but let me not know what the cause of your delay, or where in the world you, you iron-hearted man, hide away!]

Quisquis ad haec vertit peregrinam litora puppim,
     ille mihi de te multa rogatus abit,      

[Whoever turns his foreign ship to these shores, he will go away bombarded from by me with questions,]

quamque tibi reddat, si te modo viderit usquam,
     traditur huic digitis charta notata meis.

[and as soon as he returns to you, if ever he should see you again, he will carry the letters written by my hands there.] 

nos Pylon, antiqui Neleia Nestoris arva,
     misimus; incerta est fama remissa Pylo.
[I sent him to Pylos, Neleius' fields now ruled over by old Nestor;]

misimus et Sparten;
[and I sent him to Sparta.]

 Sparte quoque nescia veri.               65
[Sparta as well did not know the truth about you.]

     quas habitas terras, aut ubi lentus abes?
[What lands do you now reside in, or...why do you come travel so slowly?]

utilius starent etiamnunc moenia Phoebi—
[even now would Apollo's walls stand more usefully,]

     irascor votis, heu, levis ipsa meis!
[how furious do I grow when I do not take my prayers seriously!]

scirem ubi pugnares,
[I could know where you've fought,]

et tantum bella timerem,
[and so greatly would I fear war,]

     et mea cum multis iuncta querela foret.                70
[and then my own complain could have been linked to many others.]

quid timeam, ignoro
[The reason why I might be afraid, I know not]

—timeo tamen omnia demens,
[still, I am afraid, I've lost all of my wits]

     et patet in curas area lata meas.
[and the sand lies open to my worries.]

quaecumque aequor habet,
[Whatever dangers the sea holds]

quaecumque pericula tellus,
[whatever dangers the earth possesses,]

     tam longae causas suspicor esse morae.
[were exactly the causes I suspected for so long of a delay.]

haec ego dum stulte metuo,
[For my part, while I stupidly grew terrible for these things,]

quae vestra libido est,               75
[especially that lust of yours,]

     esse peregrino captus amore potes.
[it's possible that you might have fallen in love with a foreigner.]

forsitan et narres,
[and perhaps you might tell]

quam sit tibi rustica coniunx,
[how you have a wife from the country,]

     quae tantum lanas non sinat esse rudes.
[who only forbids her wool to be crude.]

fallar, et hoc crimen tenues vanescat in auras,
[Let me be wrong, and let this crime disappear into the thin breezes,]

     neve, revertendi liber, abesse velis!
[and never let yourself wish to be away from me, a man seek to be free from the one he intended to return to!]

Me pater Icarius viduo discedere lecto
[My father Ikarios is now forcing me to abandon my widowed marriage bed,]

et immensas increpat usque moras.
[and he shouts furiously at so tremendous a period of delay.]

increpet usque licet—tua sum, tua dicar oportet;
[and let him shout furiously--I am YOUR wife, I need to be called YOURS;]

     Penelope coniunx semper Ulixis ero.
[I Penelope will also be the lawful-wedded wife of Ulysses.]

ille tamen pietate mea precibusque pudicis               85
[He, on the other hand, is broken by my obligation to family, and my chaste prayers,]

et vires temperat ipse suas.
[and he himself keeps the force of his complaints measured.]

Dulichii Samiique et quos tulit alta Zacynthos,
     turba ruunt in me luxuriosa proci,
[The Dolicheans, and Samians, and men lofty Zacynthos has borne, rush over to me as suitors, in a luxurious crowd,]

inque tua regnant nullis prohibentibus aula;
[and with nobody to prevent it, they rule over your house,]

     viscera nostra, tuae dilacerantur opes.               90
[they gobble down our food, and your wealth.]

quid tibi Pisandrum Polybumque Medontaque dirum
     Eurymachique avidas Antinoique manus
atque alios referam,
[What good would it do to name to you Pisander, Polybos, Mendon, and gloomy Eurymachos, and the greedy hands of Antinous, and others,]

quos omnis turpiter absens
     ipse tuo partis sanguine rebus alis?
[men whom, like pigs, you yourself feed from all the efforts you worked for with your own blood?]

Irus egens pecorisque Melanthius actor edendi               95
     ultimus accedunt in tua damna pudor.
[For godsake, a beggar named Iros and an actor, Melanthios, the very last person who should be fed, now enter your cursed home.]

Tres sumus inbelles numero, sine viribus uxor
     Laertesque senex Telemachusque puer.
[Absent any men, we are three defenseless people in number, a wife, your old father Laertes, and your boy Telemachos.]

ille per insidias paene est mihi nuper ademptus,
[I recently saved the latter from treachery,]

     dum parat invitis omnibus ire Pylon.
[so long as he now prepares to go to Pylos to the displeasure of all.]

di, precor, hoc iubeant,
[I pray that the gods order this done:]

 ut euntibus ordine fatis
     ille meos oculos conprimat, ille tuos!
[that he can close my eyes shut, that he can shut yours, when our deaths come in sequence!]

hac faciunt custosque boum longaevaque nutrix,
[Here do the cow herder and long-lived nurse act,]

     Tertius inmundae cura fidelis harae;
[faithful care of a third ally belongs the keeper of the pigsty;]

sed neque Laertes, ut qui sit inutilis armis,               105
     hostibus in mediis regna tenere potest—
[but Laertes, who is useless in battle now, cannot hold power in the midst of our enemies--]

Telemacho veniet, vivat modo, fortior aetas;
[and a stronger age needs to come to Telemachus, only needs he to live so long;]

     nunc erat auxiliis illa tuenda patris—
[now you fatherland--that one--is in need of help]

nec mihi sunt vires inimicos pellere tectis.
[and I have not the strength to kick our foes out of our house.]

     tu citius venias, portus et ara tuis!               110
[for you part, please come more quickly, and pray for you family!]

est tibi sitque, precor, natus,
[You have, and I pray you will still have, a son,]

 qui mollibus annis
     in patrias artes erudiendus erat.
[one who was just beginning to receive instruction in his father's skills during his younger years.]

respice Laerten;
[Think back to Laertes;]

ut tu sua lumina condas,
[so that it might be YOU who close his eyes]

     extremum fati sustinet ille diem.
[he approaches the very last part of his life.]

Certe ego, quae fueram te discedente puella,               115
     protinus ut venias, facta videbor anus.
[I, certainly, for my part, a woman had beforehand been just a girl when you left, unless you come sooner, will seem to have aged into an old woman.]