Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ovid, Amores 1.1


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

Epigramma Ipsius
  Qui modo Nasonis fueramus quinque libelli,
tres sumus;

[One's Own Poem:
Although we were once five little books written by Naso, now we only three;]

hoc illi praetulit auctor opus.
[The author has preferred this style over the previous one.]

ut iam nulla tibi nos sit legisse voluptas,
at levior demptis poena duobus erit.
[And the result? That you can no longer take pleasure in reading us; so now, his punishment will be easier, now that these two have been taken away.]

Arma gravi numero violentaque bella parabam
edere, materia conveniente modis.

[I was just about to prepare, in a serious meter, to describe warfare and violent battles--matters suitable to this presentation.]

par erat inferior versus—risisse Cupido
dicitur atque unum surripuisse pedem.
[The second verse was shorter--and they tell me that it was because Cupid had laughed and stolen one of the beats from my meter!]

'Quis tibi, saeve puer, dedit hoc in carmina iuris? 5
[Cruel lad, who allowed you this power over songs?]

Pieridum vates, non tua turba sumus.
[O bards of the Pierides, we do not belong with your crowd.]

quid, si praeripiat flavae Venus arma Minervae,

ventilet accensas flava Minerva faces?
[What has the world come to, if Venus can take for herself the arms of auburn-haired Minerva, and auburn-haired Minerva blow out torches that have lit?]

quis probet in silvis Cererem regnare iugosis,
    lege pharetratae Virginis arva coli?         
[Who can think it proper for Ceres to reign in mountain forests, and for the fields to be tilled by the power of the bowed Virgin?]

crinibus insignem quis acuta cuspide Phoebum
    instruat, Aoniam Marte movente lyram?
[Who can teach lessons to Phoebus Apollo, renowned for his locks, in the sharp point of the arrow, and his Aonian lyre in how to incite battle?]

sunt tibi magna, puer, nimiumque potentia regna;
[My boy, these powers and domains are much too powerful for you;]

    cur opus adfectas, ambitiose, novum?
[You ambitious boy, why do you attempt such an awkward endeavor?]

an, quod ubique, tuum est? tua sunt Heliconia tempe?
[Come on, do you think you own everything? Are Helicon's temples yours?]

    vix etiam Phoebo iam lyra tuta sua est?
[Is even Apollo's own lyre is only barely safe for himself?]

cum bene surrexit versu nova pagina primo,
[when the new page arose well, starting from its first verse]

    attenuat nervos proximus ille meos;
[he thinned my nerves;]

nec mihi materia est numeris levioribus apta,
[nor is my subject-matter suitable to light-hearted meters,]

    aut puer aut longas compta puella comas.'               20
[or either a boy or a girl who has arranged their locks to be long."

Questus eram, 
[I had finished my complaint,]

pharetra cum protinus ille soluta
    legit in exitium spicula facta meum,
[when the other straightaway chose an arrow, fashioned for my destruction, from his loosened quiver,]

lunavitque genu sinuosum fortiter arcum,
[and he curved his stringy bow bravely across his knee,]

    'quod' que 'canas, vates, accipe' dixit 'opus!'
[and he said, "Whatever, bard, you sing, receive as your finished product!"]

Me miserum! 
[Poor me!]

certas habuit puer ille sagittas.               25
[That boy has unerring arrows.]

    uror, et in vacuo pectore regnat Amor.
[I'm burned, and Love rules supreme in my hollowed-out chest.]

Sex mihi surgat opus numeris,
[Let my work rise with a total of six,]

in quinque residat:
[and top off with five ones:]

    ferrea cum vestris bella valete modis!
[fare you well, you iron-clad rhythms of war, along with your meters!]

cingere litorea flaventia tempora myrto, Musa, per undenos emodulanda pedes!  30
[Bind my shorely temples with golden myrrh, my Muse, as they are now bequeathed to take measure along eleven feet!]