Thursday, April 7, 2011

Avienus, A Song for Flavianus

Postumius Rufius Festus Avienus[Avienus]
4th c. AD
Trans RMBullard
Latin (Late Imperial/Early Christian Era)

Carmen ad Flavianum   

Qua venit Ausonias austro duce Poenus ad oras,
si iam forte tuus Libyca rate misit agellus
Punica mala tibi Tyrrhenum vecta per aequor,
quaeso aliquid nostris gustatibus inde relaxes.
[From wherever came the Carthaginian, with his eastern general, to Ausonian shores, if the little hoard has already sent, upon a sturdy Libyan galley, Punic fruit carried across the Tyrrhenian Sea to you--I request that you bring something back from this same place to satisfy my passions.]

sic tua cuncta ratis plenis secet aequora velis,
spumanti cum longa trahit vestigia sulco,
Romuleique Phari fauces illaesa relinquat:
[So let every single ship of yours cut the sea with full sails, while it drags long trails with its foaming furrow, and let pass unscathed the straits of Romuleus and Pharos.]

sit licet illa ratis, quam miserit alta Corinthos,
Adriacos surgente noto qua prospicit aestus,
quamve suis opibus cumularit Hiberia dives,
solverit aut Libyco quam laetus navita portu.
[Let it be like that well-known ship, which lofty Corinth sent, where swell of the Adriatic Sea looks out upon the gathering southerly winds, or the one that rich Hiberia loaded with its treasures, or the one which that happy sailor set forth from a Libyan port.]

Sed forsan, quae sint, quae poscam, mala, requiras.
[But perhaps, you might ask whatever may be the fruit that I request.]

illa precor mittas,
[I pray that you send those aforesaid things]

spisso quibus arta cohaeret
Granorum fetura situ,
[through which one can pick the fertile designs of their seeds from their thick arrangement]

 castrisque sedentes,
[and those sitting in camps]

ut quaedam turmae, socio latus agmine quadrant
[and the result? That there are certain groups, and that they box their sides through similar array,]

multiplicemque trahunt per mutua vellera pallam,
[and drag a multi-layered cloak through mutual fleeces]

unde ligant teneros examina flammea casses.
[from whence their flaming swarms tie together tender snares.]