Claudius Claudianus [Claudian]
4th-5th c. AD
Latin (Late Imperial/Christian Era)
DE RAPTU PROSERPINAE LIBER PRIMUS
Inventa secuit primus qui nave profundum,
[Whoever first cut apart the deep sea, after he crafted a ship,]
et rudibus remis sollicitavit aquas,
[and troubled the waters of the ruddy oars,]
qui dubiis ausus committere flatibus alnum,
[and whoever dared to set his bark to the uncertain winds,]
quas natura negat, praebuit arte vias.
[whichever paths the universe denies, so he provided through technique.]
Tranquillis primum trepidus se credidit undis, 5
litora securo tramite summa legens:
[in the beginning, he nervously entrusted himself to tranquil waves,]
mox longos temptare sinus et linquere terras
[and soon he dared upon the long bays, to leave behind the sight of land,]
et leni coepit pandere vela Noto.
[and began to spread his sails upon the gentle southernly wind.]
Ast ubi paulatim praeceps audacia crevit
[but when gradually his originial boldness began to grow,]
cordaque languentem dedidicere metum, 10
[and his heart began to overcome his fading fear,]
iam vagus irrumpit pelagus caelumque secutus
[and now he crashes upon the wandering sea, following the stars,]
Aegaeas hiemes Ioniumque domat.
[he beats back the winter storms of the Aegean and Ionian seas.]
Inferni raptoris equos afflataque curru
sidera Taenario caligantesque profundae
Iunonis thalamos audaci promere cantu
mens congesta iubet.
[My crowded mind bids me to set going in a bold song the steeds of the Inferno's kidnapper, and the stars blown upon by Taenarus' chariot, and the dusky marriage chambers of the Underworld's version of Juno.]
Gressus removete, profani.
[Move back your path, you uninitiated people.]
Iam furor humanos nostro de pectore sensus 5
[Already madness has pushed out the human feelings of my heart;]
et solum spirant praecordia Phoebum.
[and now my mind breathes only the words of Apollo.]
Iam mihi cernuntur trepidis delubra moveri
[Already do I perceive the shrines trembling in their houses]
et claram dispergere limina lucem
adventum testata Dei.
[and the doors of the god scattering bright light from his arrival.]
Iam magnus ab imis
auditur fremitus terris
[Already can I hear the tremendous groaning cmoing from deep down in the earth]
templumque remugit 10
[Cecrop's temples moaning in response]
sanctasque faces extollit Eleusis.
[and Eleusis carrying out her sacred torches.]
Angues Triptolemi strident
[Triptolemus' snakes begin to shriek]
et squamea curvis
colla levant attrita iugis
[and raised the scaly necks, worn down upon their curved crests,]
erecti roseas tendunt ad carmina cristas.
[and once they've stiffened from their calm fall, they stretch their rosy plumes toward song.]
Ecce procul ternis Hecate variata figuris 15
[And look, far in the distance, Hecate, shifting in her triple forms, arises,]
laetusque simul procedit Iacchus
crinali florens hedera,
[and at the same time, happy Bacchus walks forth, blooming with ivy upon his brow,]
quem Parthica velat
[whom a Parthian tiger veils]
et auratos in nodum colligit ungues.
[and the binds gilded serpents into a knot.]
Ebria Maeonius firmat vestigia thyrsus.
[The Maeonian thysus declares their drunken tracks.]
Di, quibus innumerum vacui famulantur Averni 20
[You gods, for whom the empty Averni served a countless and inactive rabble of folks,]
opibus quorum donatur avaris
quidquid in orbe perit,
[and for whose resouces whatever that is granted to greedy men, so perishes on earth,]
quos Styx liventibus ambit
[whom the Styx crosses, poured in between with darkened shoals,]
et quos fumantia torquens
aequora gurgitibus Phlegethon perlustrat anhelis;
[and whom Phlegethon, twistings its smoking waves, passes through in winding whirlpools.]
vos mihi sacrarum penetralia pandite rerum 25
et vestri secreta poli
[Now you, reveal the inner chambers of your sacred rites to me, and the secrets of your heavens.]
: qua lampade Ditem
[by which lamp Love bent Death,]
quo ducta ferox Proserpina raptu
possedit dotale Chaos,
[whereby fierce Chaos took possession of his dowry after leading Persephone upon a kidnapping,]
quantasque per oras
sollicito genetrix erraverit anxia cursu:
[and the number of shores her worried mother wandered along a panicked path:]
unde datae populis fruges et glande relicta 30
cesserit inventis Dodonia quercus aristis.
[and where the Dodonian oak yielded its fruit to be granted to the people, and left behind its acorns, after fields of corn had been found.]
Dux Erebi quondam tumidas exarsit in iras
proelia moturus superis,
[So once upon a time, the leader of Erebus <the Underworld> burned up in swelling anger, almost the point of declaring war against the gods of heaven]
quod solus egeret
[because he alone had no bride]
sterilesque diu consumeret annos,
[and for so long did he pass away the infertile years]
impatiens nescire torum nullasque mariti 35
[and he could not suffer to ever not see a marriage bed and the bedly pleasures enjoyed by a husband]
nec dulce patris cognoscere nomen.
[nor ever to the hear the sweet name 'father']
Iam quaecumque latent ferali monstra barathro
[Already whatever monstrosities that lay hidden in that beastly abyss]
in turmas aciemque ruunt
[rushed out in swarms, and in array]
[and against the wishes of the Thunderer, the Furies now assemble together]
crinitaque sontibus hydris
Tisiphone, quatiens infausto lumine pinum, 40
[and Tisiphone, her hair made of hissing serpents, now brandishes her pine torch with its foreboding glow,]
armatos ad castra vocat pallentia Manes.
[and she calles the armed Ghosts of the dead to her shining camps.]
Paene reluctatis iterum pugnantia rebus
rupissent elementa fidem
[The universe's elements, once again fighting against scarcely resisting forces, had broken their original constitution]
carcere laxatis pubes Titania vinclis
vidisset caeleste iubar
[and with their chains looseneed from their deeply remote prison, the offspring of Titan had seen the radiance of the sky,
rursusque cruentus 45 Aegaeon positis aucto de corpore nodis
obvia centeno vexasset fulmina motu.
[and again had Aegaeon, with knobs placed along his bloated body, began to stir up lightning bolts outward in a hundred motions.
Sed Parcae vetuere minas
[But the Fates forbade his threats,]
ante pedes soliumque ducis fudere severam
[and grew afraid as the feet and soles of their leader poured out their harsh grayness]
genibusque suas cum supplice fletu 50
[and he began to move his hands from his cheeks, with their obedient stream of tears]
quarum sub iure tenentur
[under whose law all things are held in place,]
quae seriem fatorum pollice ducunt,
[things which lead the sequence of fates in their promise,]
longaque ferratis evolvunt saecula fusis.
[and the long centuires that roll along from their iron-spun woofs.]
Prima fero Lachesis clamabat talia regi
incultas dispersa comas:
[Bearly did the Lachesis, the first one, begin to should such things to her king, with her unruly hair disheveled]
"O maxime noctis 55
arbiter umbrarumque potens,
["Hail you, who are the greatest judge of night, and ruler of the shadows]
cui nostra laborant
[for whose sake our threads toil,]
qui finem cunctis et semina praebes
[you who provide the final end to all things, and their beginnings,]
nascendique vices alterna morte rependis,
[and re-expand the fates of a soul on the verge of birth with yet another death]
qui vitam letumque regis
[you who rule life and death]
(nam quidquid ubique
[you see, whatever and wherever matter is born]
hoc te donante creatur
[it is created because you gave it]
[and it owes you its gratitude]
certis ambagibus aevi
rursus corporeos animae mittuntur in artus),
[when souls are sent back into the limbs of their bodies after the fixed course of their lifetime]
ne pete firmatas pacis dissolvere leges,
[I beg you not to try to break asunder the fixed laws of peace]
[the ones we gave]
[which our yarn spun]
neu foedera fratrum
civili converte tuba.
[and do not turn over the pact held by brothers with the blare of civil strife.]
Cur impia tollis 65
[Why dod you raise up unholy calls to war?]
Quid incestis aperis Titanibus auras?
[Why shall've you opened the airs to the filthy Titans?]
Posce Iovem: dabitur coniunx."
[Just ask Jove, and a wife will be granted."]
Vix ille pepercit
[Only scarely did he obey]
[their entreaty made him blush]
animusque relanguit atrox,
[and his fierce heart relaxed again,]
quamvis indocilis flecti:
[however intractable it was to bend:]
ceu turbine rauco
cum gravis armatur Boreas
[or like the North Wind, with his noisy whirlpool,]
glacieque nivali 70
hispidus et Getica concretus grandine pennas
[and bristling with frost brine, and packed from Gaetian hail, he sheds off his feathers,]
pelagus, silvas camposque sonoro
[when he is about to rake the sea, forests, and the forests with his sonorous blasts,]
si forte adversus aenos
Aeolus obiciat postes,
[if by chance Aeolus clash against the bronze posts,]
[and his idle force loses strength]
et fractae redeunt in claustra procellae. 75
[and his gusts, after they've been broken, return to their enclosures.]
Tum Maia genitum, qui fervida dicta reportet,
[And then, Maia, who brings back burning words, orders her son to be summoned.]
Cyllenius astitit ales
somniferam quatiens virgam tectusque galero.
[Cyllenius <Hades> unfurls his wings, while shaking his loud rod, and shielded in a helmet.]
Ipse rudi fultus solio nigraque verendus
[This same one sits, propped upon his crude throne, and frightful with his black aura.]
Squalent immania foedo 80
[His enormous scepters sparkle in their foul site;]
sublime caput maestissima nubes
[The most mournful clouds made his lofty brow stern]
et dirae riget inclementia formae.
[and the unforgiving nature of his gloomy shape stiffened.]
Terrorem dolor augebat.
[Grief began to increase the terror he caused.]
Tunc talia celso
[And then he thunders the following out of his lofty visage]
(tremefacta silent dicente tyranno
[his hallways, trembling at the fact that their tyrant was speaking, grow silent]
latratum triplicem compescuit ingens 85
[the giant doorman put to silence his three-headed hound]
et presso lacrimarum fonte resedit
[and Cocytos sat back down, with the fount of her tears repressed]
tacitisque Acheron obmutuit undis
[and Acheron with its taciturn waves flowed mutely]
et Phlegethonteae requierunt murmura ripae):
[and the rumbling of Phlegethon's bank hushed:]
"Atlantis Tegeaee nepos,
["Grandson of Tegaean Atlantis,]
et superis numen,
[you divine authority common to the gods of the highest and lowest realms]
qui fas per limen utrumque 90
[you who alone have the divine will over both thresholds]
geminoque facis commercia mundo,
[you perform your functions via two worlds,]
i celer et proscinde Notos
[go quickly, and cut through the South Winds,]
et iussa superbo
[and return my precepts to haughty Jove:]
tantumne tibi, saevissime frater,
in me iuris erit?
[say, "will, most heartiless brother of all, I be so beholden to legal obligation?]
Sic nobis noxia vires
cum caelo Fortuna tulit?
[Does hateful Fortune bear such force over me, in accompaniment with the heaven?]
Num robur et arma 95
perdidimus, si rapta dies?
[Did we lose our strength and arms, if the day has been snatched away?]
An forte iacentes
[or perhaps you think that we will simply lie down, and be lazy]
quod non Cyclopia tela
[because we did not pull back the weapons forged by the Cyclopes]
aut vanas tonitru deludimus auras?
[or that we do not please our vain ears from thunder?]
Nonne satis visum,
[Sure it should seem enough,]
quod grati luminis expers
tertia supremae patior dispendia sortis 100
[that I be deprived of light that brings pleasure and have to endure the third lot of our supreme destiny, as well as its hideous blows,]
cum te laetissimus ornet
signifer et vario cingant splendore Triones?
[while the happiest astrological fate of all can adorn you, and the northern stars can wrap you in all kinds of splendor?]
Sed thalamos etiam prohibes?
[But you won't even allow me access to marriage chambers?]
Neptunum gremio complectitur Amphitrite.
[The Nereid, Amphitrite, was embraced Neptune in her sea-green lap.]
Te consanguineo recipit post fulmina fessum 105
[Juno welcomed you, in the bosom of your own sister, after you had tired yourself out throwing lightning bolts.]
Quid enim narrem Latonia furta?
[And why should I even talk about how you raped Leto?]
Quid Cererem magnamque Themin?
[What, should I mention Ceres, and great Themis too?]
Tibi tanta creandi
copia, te felix natorum turba coronat.
[You enjoy such a copious ambundance to proceate with, and a happy crowd of children rings around you.]
Ast ego deserta maerens inglorius aula
implacidas nullo solabor pignore curas? 110
[But no, really, shall, the inglorious gloomy god, I never find solace for the raging concerns I find in my deserted palace?]
Non adeo toleranda quies.
[So much peace and quiet should not have to be endured.]
[I call upon the very essence of the night,]
et horrendae stagna intemerata paludis,
[and the stagnant lakes of my shuddering swamps,]
si dictis parere negas,
[if you refuse to agree to my demands]
[I will open up and crash through Tartarus,]
Saturni veteres laxabo catenas,
[I will loosen Saturn's old chains,]
obducam tenebris solem,
[I will block out the sun with shadows,]
compage soluta 115
lucidus umbroso miscebitur axis Averno."
[and, its shining arc, released from passage, will be stained by the dusky Avernus."]
Vix ea fatus erat, iam nuntius astra tenebat.
[He had scarcely finishing speaking these things, when a messenger began to take to the stars.]
Audierat mandata pater
[The Father had already heard his demands,]
diversos ducens animos,
[and he pondered about thinking various schemes in his mind,]
quae tale sequatur
[including how to arrange such a marriage]
Stygiosque velit pro sole recessus. 120
[and who would be willing to give up sunlight for the Stygian's pits.]
Certa requirenti tandem sententia sedit.
[At last, a particular thought settled upon him as he sought it out.]
Hennaeae Cereri proles optata virebat
[The only daugther of Ceres, goddess of Hennaea, was sought after and coming of age,]
nec tribuit subolem Lucina secundam
[and Lucina did not bring her any subsequent children,]
fessaque post primos haeserunt viscera partus
[indeed, her womb, tired out after its first travail, had gone sterile;]
sed cunctis altior exstat 125
[but she stood out as the oldest and most dignified of all the mothers,]
et numeri damnum Proserpina pensat.
[and he considered Persephone to be a burden on her divine power.]
Hanc fovet, hanc sequitur:
[He liked this idea, so it was executed:]
vitulam non blandius ambit
[no more soothingly does a mother heifer lick its calf,]
pedibus quae nondum proterit arva
[which has yet to tear forth the clods of earth under its feet]
nec nova lunatae curvavit germina frontis.
[nor has it curved new twin horns upon its lunated brow.]
Iam matura toro plenis adoleverat annis 130
[As soon as one's maiden appearance, now ready for the marriage bed, comes to fruition, in its full years,]
tenerum iam pronuba flamma pudorem
[already does she begin to fear for her tender chastity, in her bridal veil,]
mixtaque tremit formidine votum.
[and her prayer trembles from the fear mixed inside her.]