Friday, March 11, 2011

Ovid, Lycaon (Metamorphoses)

Publius Ovidius Naso
8 CE (over 2,000 years ago)
Trans. RMBullard
Latin (Augustan Age)

Quae pater ut summa vidit Saturnius arce/ingemit et facto nondum vulgata recenti/foeda Lycaoniae referens convivia mensae/ingentes animo et dignas Iove concipit iras/conciliumque vocat;
(As the Saturnian father saw these things from the highest citadel, he groaned, and remembering the filthy banquets of Lycaon’s tables, not yet made known from the new deed, and, in his mind, he conceived enormous angers, worthy of Jove and he summoned an assembly;)

tenuit mora nulla vocatos.
(No delay held those summoned;)

est via sublimis caelo manifesta sereno:
(There is a lofty path made clear in the calm side;)

lactea nomen habet candore notabilis ipso;
(It has the name “milky”, well-known for its whiteness;)

hac iter est superis ad magni tecta Tonantis/regalemque domum:
(By this way, there is a highway to the roofs of the great Thunderer and his royal domicile;)

dextra laevaque deorum/atria nobilium valvis celebrantur apertis/plebs habitat diversa locis:
(On the left and on the right, the atria of the noble gods are filled, when the chamber-doors are opened, the plebs occupied different atria in other spots;)

hac parte potentes/caelicolae clarique suos posuere penates;
(In this place, the powerful and bright sky-dwellers have set their own Penates;)

hic locus est, quem, si verbis audacia detur/haud timeam magni dixisse Palatia caeli.
(This is the place, which, if audacity might be given to my words, I would not fear to have called the Palatine of the great sky;)

ergo ubi marmoreo superi sedere recessu/celsior ipse loco sceptroque innixus eburno/terrificam capitis concussit terque quaterque/caesariem, cum qua terram, mare, sidera movit;
(Therefore, when the lofty beings sat down in the marble recess, the famous one himself, higher in his place and leaning on an ivory scepter, shook tremendously the shuddering mane of his head, three times, four times, with which he moved the earth, the sea, the stars;)

talibus inde modis ora indignantia solvit:
(Thence, with such manners, he opened his indignant mouth:)

“Non ego pro mundi regno magis anxius illa/tempestate fui, qua centum quisque parabat/inicere anguipedum captivo bracchia caelo.
“I was not more worried for the kingdom of the world than that time when someone of snakely-foot was preparing to throw his hundred arms upon the captive world;)

nam quamquam ferus hostis erat, tamen illud ab uno/corpore et ex una pendebat origine bellum;
(For although he was a fierce enemy, still this war threatened from a single body and from a single origin;)

nunc mihi, qua totum Nereus circumsonat orbem/perdendum est mortale genus:
(Now, I must destroy the mortal race, anywhere Nereus sounds around the world;)

per flumina iuro/infera sub terras Stygio labentia luco/cuncta prius temptata , sed immedicabile corpus/ense recidendum est, ne pars sincera trahatur.
(I swear on the infernal rivers gliding under the earths in the Stygian forest, all things have been tried, but the incurable body must cut back by the sword, lest the pure part be dragged away;)

sunt mihi semidei, sunt, rustica numina, Nymphae/Faunique Satyrique et monticolae Silvani/quos, quoniam caeli nondum dignamur honore/quas dedimus certe terras habitare sinamus.
(There belong to me demigods, there belong to me rustic deities, Nymphs and Fauns and Satyrs and mountain-dwelling Silvans, who, since I do not yet deem worthy of the honor of heaven, so I gave them lands which I allow them to occupy;)

an satis, o superi, tutos fore creditis illos/cum mihi, qui fulmen, qui vos habeoque regoque/struxerit insidias notus feritate Lycaon?”
(And, o high beings, do you really believe that they will be secure, when for me, who hold and rule the lightning bolt, who hold and rule you all, Lycaon, well-known for his ferocity, crafted deceits?”)

Confremuere omnes studiisque ardentibus ausum talia deposcunt:
(All groaned together and demanded with passionate zeal for the one who dared such things;)

sic, cum manus inpia saevit/sanguine Caesareo Romanum extinguere nomen/attonitum tanto subitae terrore ruinae/humanum genus est totusque perhorruit orbis/nec tibi grata minus pietas, Auguste, tuorum est/quam fuit illa Iovi.
(Thus, when the impious hand raged to wipe out the Roman name with Caesarian blood, the human race was thunderstruck by such great terror of sudden destruction, and the whole world shuddered greatly, nor was duty of your own people less favorable to you, Augustus, than it was for Jove;)

qui postquam voce manuque/murmura conpressit, tenuere silentia cuncti.
(And afterward, he pressed down the murmuring with his voice and hand, and all held their silence;)

substitit ut clamor pressus gravitate regentis/Iuppiter hoc iterum sermone silentia rupit:
(As the uproar subsided, pressed down by the gravitas of royal Jupiter, he again broke the silence with this speech;)

“Ille quidem poenas (curam hanc dimittite) solvit; quod tamen admissum, quae sit vindicta, docebo;
(He indeed paid the penalties, dismiss this care; but still I shall reveal the trespass, the thing that was punished;)

contigerat nostras infamia temporis aures; quam cupiens falsam summo delabor Olympo/et deus humana lustro sub imagine terras.
(The infamy of the times had touched my own ears; desiring for it to be false, I glide down from highest Olympus, and I, a god, wander the earths in a human disguise;)

longa mora est, quantum noxae sit ubique repertum/enumerare: minor fuit ipsa infamia vero.
(The duration is too long to enumerate, so much on all sides were their discoveries of the corruption: the rumor was truly less than itself.)

Maenala transieram latebris horrenda ferarum et cum Cyllene gelidi pineta Lycaei:
(I had crossed over Maenala, bristling with the dens of wild beasts and pines of icy Lycaon with Cyllene;)

Arcades hinc sedes et inhospita tecta tyranni ingredior, traherent cum sera crepuscula noctem.
(Here I approached upon the Arcadian seats and the hostile walls of the tyrant, when the late dusk began to drag forth night;)

signa dedi venisse deum, vulgusque precari coeperat:
(I gave the signs that a god had come, and the crowd began to pray;)

inridet primo pia vota Lycaon, mox ait 'experiar, deus hic, discrimine aperto, an sit mortalis; nec erit dubitabile verum.'
(First Lycaon scoffed at the pious prayers; soon he says, 'I shall test in an open trial whether this one be a god or a mortal; and the truth shall not be subject to death.')

nocte gravem somno necopina perdere morte me parat: haec illi placet experientia veri.
(At night, he prepares to destroy me by murder in my sleep with a drug: these experiments truly pleases him.)

nec contentus eo est: missi de gente Molossa obsidis unius iugulum mucrone resolvit atque ita semineces partim ferventibus artus mollit aquis, partim subiecto torruit igni.
(And even still is not content: He loosened the throat of one of his hostages sent from the Molossan race with a blade, and thus he softens his half-dead limbs one by one in boiling water, and one by one he roasts them in the fire placed below.)

quod simul inposuit mensis, ego vindice flamma in domino dignos everti tecta penates;
(But as soon as he placed it on the tables, I spared the walls and its worthy Penates from a vengeful flame upon its master;)

territus ipse fugit nactusque silentia ruris exululat frustraque loqui conatur;
(He terrified flees, and hiding in the silence of the countryside, he howls out, and he tries in vain to speak;)

ab ipso colligit os rabiem solitaeque cupidine caedis utitur in pecudes et nunc quoque sanguine gaudet.
(His face gathers fury by its own accord and he is driven by his lust for his accustomed bloodshed and even now does he rejoice in blood.)

in villos abeunt vestes, in crura lacerti: fit lupus et veteris servat vestigia formae;
(His clothes flee in place of wool and fur upon his legs: he becomes a wolf and he perserves the traces of his formal self;)

canities eadem est, eadem violentia vultus, idem oculi lucent, eadem feritatis imago est.
(There is the same greediness, the same violence of his face; and likewise his eyes shine, the same appearance of wildness;)

occidit una domus, sed non domus una perire digna fuit; qua terra patet, fera regnat Erinys.
(Only his house falls, but one house alone does not deserve to perish; wherever land stretch, let savage Erinys the Avenger reign.)

in facinus iurasse putes; dent ocius omnes quas mereure pati, sic stat sententia, poenas."
(You may think I have decided upon the matter; let them all serve out punishment which they all have earned to suffer, so my decision stands.)

Dicta Iovis pars voce probant stimulosque frementi
adiciunt, alii partes adsensibus inplent.               245
[When Jove finished his speech, the other gods sounded their approval, building up a loud collective groan, while others wept emotionally.]

est tamen humani generis iactura dolori
[Nevertheless, the arrogance of the human race was a cause of grief for all,]

et quae sit terrae mortalibus orbae
forma futura rogant,
[and they inquired what the appearance of the world would look like, once bereaved of humans,]

 quis sit laturus in aras
, and who would place incense on the altars,]

 ferisne paret populandas tradere terras.
[and whether he would give the earth, once destroyed, over to the wild animals.]

talia quaerentes (sibi enim fore cetera curae)               250
rex superum trepidare vetat subolemque priori
dissimilem populo promittit origine mira.
[The king of the gods--since there would be other things for him to worry about--forbade those asking such questions to worry, and he promised that the next generation would be unlike the prior folk: they would be wonderfully created.]

Image: OUDRY, Jean-Baptiste. Dead Wolf. 1721Oil on canvas, 193 x 260 cmWallace Collection, London