Dante Alighieri [Dante]
1265-1321 AD Italy
Latin (Medieval Era)
Pieridum vox alma,
[Sweet voices of the muses]
novis qui cantibus orbem
[you who sooth the forgetful flowing world with strange song]
vitali tollere ramo
[while you desire to lift up from a living branch]
evolvens triplicis confinia sortis
indita pro meritis animarum, sontibus Orcum,
astripetis Lethen, epiphoebia Regna beatis;
[with tripartite sorts do you roll out, renowned for the merits of living souls, and the innocent ones down in the Underworld,]
tanta quid heu semper iactabis seria vulgo,
[alas, why will you cast out such great and serious things in public,]
et nos pallentes nihil ex te vate legemus?
[and for our part, shall we read from the bard, while we shuddering not on your account?]
ante quidem cythara pandum delphina movebit
[indeed, before Davus shall stir his Cytharian dolphins]
et ambiguae Sphingos problemata solvet,
[and shall solve the riddles of the devious Sphinx,]
Tartareum praeceps quam gens idiota figuret,
[as might the private clan form the dropoff of Tartaros,]
et segreta Poli vix experata Platoni:
[and the Polus' mysteries, almost not accessible to Plato:]
quae tamen in triviis nunquam digesta coaxat
comicomus nebulo, qui Flaccum pelleret orbe.
[these same things did the hairy-browed fellow bellow upon his cloud, that is, the one who pushed Flaccus off the globe, and these things have never been divulged on the street corners.]
non loquor his, immo studio callentibus, inquis;
[I won't speak in this manner, that is, with a passion of those on the street, as you say;]
carmine sed laico.
[but rather in the song of the church.]
clerus vulgaria temnit,
[The clergy despises the language of the common folk]
etsi non varient,
[and even though it changes not,]
quum sint idiomata mille.
[whose expressions number up to a thousand.]
praeterea nullus quos inter es agmine sextus,
nec quem consequeris Coelo, sermone forensi
[and besides, no one ever written in the speech typical of the marketplace, not even a 6th of you is in row, no anyone whom you've inquired of God,]
quare, censor liberrime vatum,
[wherefore, one most easily becomes a critic of bards,]
fabor, si fandi paulum concedis habenas.
[I say, even if you somewhat yield the reins in your way of speaking.]
nec margaritas profliga prodigus apris,
[and do not wastefully thow pearls before swine <lit. boars>]
nec preme castalias indigna veste Sorores.
[nor press the Sisters of the Castalian spring with an unworthy robe.]
at precor ora cie, quae te distinguere possint,
[Instead, I pray for these faces that can give you distinction,]
[in a song with bard's tune]
sorti communis utrique:
[and in any event, of the common type]
et iam multa tuis lucem narratibus orant.
[and already do many things pray for the light than comes from your fables.]
dic age quo petiit Iovis armiger astra volatu:
[come, tell how armored Jove sought the stars in his flight:]
dic age quos Flores, quae Lilia fregit Arator:
[do tell the Flowers and the Lilies that the Plowman shattered]
dic Phrygias damas laceratas dente molosso:
[tell how the Phrygian deer were torn to pieces by the teeth of hound]
dic Ligurum montes,
[Speak of the peaks of Liguria]
et classes Parthenopaeas
[and the Parthenopaean galleys]
carmine, quo possis Alcidae tangere Gades,
[in a song in which you might be able to touch Alcida's hometown of Cadiz]
et quo te refluus relegens mirabitur Ister,
[and by which the Ister, as it flows back and leaves you behind, will become an object of wonder,]
et quondam regnum te noscet Elissae.
[and that kingdom of Elissa that, once upon a time, knew you.]
si te fama iuvat,
[If fame pleases you]
parvo te limite septum
non contentus eris,
[You will not content yourself with the small limit of fences]
nec vulgo iudice tolli.
[nor in public to be raised by the judge.]
en ego iam primus, si dignum duxeris esse,
[behold it is I who now am first, if you should take me as a worthy person,]
[the cleric of the Aones,]
vocalis verna Maronis,
[the common houseslave of sonorous Maro,]
promere gymnasiis te delectabor ovantum
inclita Peneis redolentem tempora sertis;
[I will surely be delighted to publish you in the palaestrae of men who give ovation, as you make blossom the renowned ages with Peneian garlands;]
ut praevectus equo sibi plaudit praeco sonorus
[such that, the sonorous criar, carried forth upon his steed, now applauds,]
festa trophaea ducis populo praetendere laeto.
[announcing that the festive trophies of his commanders to the happy folk.]
iam mihi bellisonis horrent clangoribus aures.
[already do my ears shudder at the crash that war causes.]
quid pater Apenninus hiat?
[Why does Father Apennine gape?]
quid concitat aequor
[Why does Nereus stir up the Tyrrhenian Sea?]
quid Mars infrendet utroque?
[Why does Mars smash together on both sides?]
[Touch the swallow,]
tantos hominum compesce labores.
[gather such great labors of men.]
ni canis haec,
[Lest you sing these things,]
alios ad te pendendo poetas,
omnibus ut solus dicas,
[as you alone say to all men, there will remain obligations for you to rely upon other poets,]
si tamen Eridani mihi spem mediane dedisti,
[if however you gave me the hope of Eridanus]
quod visare, notis me dignareris amicis,
[since you thought it me worthy to be seen by distinguished friends,]