Friday, April 29, 2011

Catullus, Poem 39

 Gaius Valerius Catullus
84-54 BCE (over 2,000 years ago)
Trans RMBullard
Latin (Golden Age/Republican Era)

EGNATIVS, quod candidos habet dentes,
[Egnatius, because he has shining white teeth,]

renidet usque quaque.
[reflects light right back to whatever place there is.]

si ad rei uentum est
[if one comes down the lower seats of a play,]

cum orator excitat fletum,
[when the orator has stirred the crowd to weeping,]

renidet ille;
[this fella smiles;]

 si ad pii rogum fili
[If you're mourning at the funeral pyre of a dutiful son,]

 orba cum flet unicum mater,
[when his bereaved mother weeps for her only son,]

renidet ille.
[this guy is smiling.]

 quidquid est,
[Whatever the case is,]

ubicumque est,
[no matter where you are,]

quodcumque agit,
[whatever he's doing,]

[he's smiling:]

hunc habet morbum,
[a disease possesses him,]

neque elegantem, ut arbitror, neque urbanum.
[and not an elegant one, in my opinion, nor a sophisticated one.]

quare monendum est te mihi, bone Egnati.
[That's why I must warn you, by good man, Egnatius.]

si urbanus esses
[If you were a man from the city]

 aut Sabinus aut Tiburs
[or a Sabine, or from Tivoli]

aut pinguis Vmber
[or a fat Umbrian]

 aut obesus Etruscus
[or a chunky Tuscan]

aut Lanuuinus ater
[or a dark-skinned fellow from Lanuvium]

atque dentatus
aut Transpadanus,
[who happened to have big-ass teeth, or a man from across the Po,]

 ut meos quoque attingam,
[as I too claim my folks to be from,]

aut quilubet, qui puriter lauit dentes,
[or whoever washed his teeth to the point of purity,]

tamen renidere usque quaque te nollem:
[And yet, I would not wish for you to smile back at every single place you find:]

nam risu inepto res ineptior nulla est.
[you see, nothing is more idiotic than an idiotic laugh.]

nunc Celtiber es:
[Now consider, you are a Celt-Iberian:]

 Celtiberia in terra,
[in the land of Celtiberia,]

quod quisque minxit,
[whatever thing a person pissed on,]

 hoc sibi solet mane
dentem atque russam defricare gingiuam,
[his habit is to brush his teeth, early in the morning, with it, as well as his ruddy gums,]

ut quo iste uester expolitior dens est,
[and what then? For the very reason your teeth seem to be more thoroughly clean,]

hoc te amplius bibisse praedicet loti.
[a man can predict that you've drunk this pot of piss all the more.]