Sunday, May 15, 2011

Seneca the Younger, Apocolocyntosis (Pumpkinification of Divine Claudius)

Lucius Annaeus Seneca  [Seneca the Younger]
1BC-65 AD *executed by Emperor Nero
Trans RMBullard
Latin (Imperial Period)

[1] Quid actum sit in caelo ante diem III idus Octobris anno novo,initio saeculi felicissimi, volo memoriae tradere.
[I wish to related to you, from memory, what I think took place in heaven, the day before the 3rd Ides of October, in a strange year, and at the start of a most happily-starred age in time.]

 Nihil nec offensae nec gratiae dabitur.
[Nothing will be the cause of offense, or favor.]

 Haec ita vera si quis quaesiverit unde sciam,
[If someone shall've ask me how I know the following things are thusly true,]

primum, si noluero, non respondebo.
[I will not give a reply, at least if I shall not've wished in the beginning.]

Quis coacturus est?
[Who should be forced to do anything?]

Ego scio me liberum factum, ex quo suum diem obiit ille,
[I know that I was born a free man, from the very time that our protagonist died that day,]

 qui verum proverbium fecerat,
[who had once made the saying true,]

 aut regem aut fatuum nasci oportere.
["that either one is born a king, or a fool."]

 Si libuerit respondere,
[If I feel like responding,]

dicam quod mihi in buccam venerit.
[I'll say whatever shall come to my mouth.]

 Quis unquam ab historico iuratores exegit?
[What jurors ever demanded penalties from a historical writer?]

Tamen si necesse fuerit auctorem producere,
[Still, if it shall've become necessary to bring out the author,]

 quaerito ab eo qui Drusillam euntem in caelum vidit:
[let him be sought from that man who once saw Drusilla flying up to heaven:]

 idem Claudium vidisse se dicet iter facientem "non passibus aequis."
[and likewise, I hope he says he had seen Claudius making his way "upon no even gait".]

Velit nolit,
[Whether he wants it or not,]

necesse est illi omnia videre,
[it's not necessary for him to see everything,]

 quae in caelo aguntur:
[that goes on in heaven:]

 Appiae viae curator est,
[he is the caretaker of the Appian Way,]

 qua scis et divum Augustum et Tiberium Caesarem ad deos isse.
[the place you know where Divine Augustus, and Tiberius Caesar had left to join the gods.]

 Hunc si interrogaveris,
[If you shall asked him:]

 soli narrabit:
[he will tell only a single person:]

 coram pluribus nunquam verbum faciet.
[he will never speak in the presence of more than one person.]

 Nam ex quo in senatu iuravit se Drusillam vidisse caelum ascendentem
[You see, from the very moment he swore, in the Senate, that he had witnissed Drusilla ascending to heaven,]

 et illi pro tam bono nuntio nemo credidit,
[and not a man believed him to be so faithful a messenger,]

quod viderit,
[whatever he shall've witnessed,]

verbis conceptis affirmavit se non indicaturum,
[he asserted that he would not prove with any words he could conceive,]

etiam si in medio foro hominem occisum vidisset.
[not even if he had been witnessing a man murdered in the middle of the Forum.]

 Ab hoc ego quae tum audivi, 
[I can say that the things I heard from him,]

certa clara affero, 
[I assert to be clear and certain,]

ita illum salvum et felicem habeam.
[and so let me consider that man blessed and fortunate.]

[2] Iam Phoebus breviore via contraxerat arcum
[Already now, Phoebus had drawn his bow of light upon a short path,]

et obscuri crescebant tempora somni,
[and the time when muddy dreams happen was beginning to arise,]

iamque suum victrix augebat Cynthia regnum,
[and already was victorious Cynthia beginning to expand her kingdom,]

et deformis hiemps gratos carpebat honores
divitis autumni, 
[and the winter beginning to seize the honors of a rich fall,]

iussoque senescere Baccho
carpebat raras serus vindemitor uvas.
[and the sluggish harvester seizing upon the scarce grapes, once Wine was allowed to reach old age.]

Puto magis intellegi, si dixero:
[I think one more easily understand, if I declare:]

 mensis erat October, dies III idus Octobris.
[It was the month of October; the day was the 3rd Ides of October.]

 Horam non possum certam tibi dicere,
[I cannot tell you the exact hour,]

 facilius inter philosophos quam inter horologia conveniet,
[it would be an easier matter to solve among philosophers than among chronologists,]

 tamen inter sextam et septimam erat.
[but in any event, was between the 6th and 7th one.]

Nimis rustice!
[O, how uncouth of me!]

 <Adeo his> adquiescunt omnes poetae,
[All our poets grow silent when they reach this point in the story,]

 non contenti ortus et occasus describere ut etiam medium diem inquietent,
[they unhappily find it difficult to describe the time of the sunrise, and sunsets, why even noontime as well,]

 tu sic transibis horam tam bonam?
[so why is it you who will trespass such a fine hour of the day?]

Iam medium curru Phoebus diviserat orbem:
[Phoebus Apollo had already cut the middle of the world through upon his chariot:]

et propior nocti fessas quatiebat habenas
obliquo flexam deducens tramite lucem:
[and now close to nightfall, he began to rattle his wearisome reins, as he led down his light from its slanting path:]

Claudius animam agere coepit nec invenire exitum poterat.
[Claudius began to give up the ghost, yet he could not find his way out.]

[3] Tum Mercurius, qui semper ingenio eius delectatus esset, unam e tribus Parcis seducit et ait:
[Then Mercury, who ever had delighted in the genius of this man, led away one of the Three Fates, and declared:]

 "Quid, femina crudelissima, hominem miserum torqueri pateris?
["How, you most cruel woman, can you stand a poor fellow being tortured?]

 Nec unquam tam diu cruciatus cesset?
[Will he ever cease to be racked for so long a time?]

Annus sexagesimus [et] quartus est,
[This is his 64th year,]

ex quo cum anima luctatur.
[from the time he was burdened with a living soul.]

 Quid huic et rei publicae invides?
[Why do you cast an evil eye upon him, and his republic?]

 Patere mathematicos aliquando verum dicere,
[At least allow men of wisdom to speak the truth,]

 qui illum, ex quo princeps factus est, omnibus annis, omnibus mensibus efferunt.
[I mean those men who borne that man up out all the years and months, since the time he was declared emperor.]

 Et tamen non est mirum si errant
[And yet, it's no surprise if they rove around,]

et horam eius nemo novit;
[and no one knows the hour of this man;]

 nemo enim unquam illum natum putavit.
[you see, no one ever considered that that man was born.]

 Fac quod faciendum est:
[Do whatever must be done:]

'Dede neci, melior vacua sine regnet in aula.'"
[Allow him to be killed, grant that he might rule better in an empty court."]

Sed Clotho "ego mehercules "inquit" pusillum temporis adicere illi volebam,
[But Clotho said, "Well jeez, for my own sake, I just wanted to slap on a tiny bit of extra time for the fellow,]

dum hos pauculos, qui supersunt, civitate donaret
[until such time that he could bequeath these tiny folk, I mean the living ones, with a city,]

 (constituerat enim omnes Graecos, Gallos, Hispanos, Britannos togatos videre),
[(you see, he had previously decided to behold all men, Greeks, Gauls, Spaniards, and Brits, clad in togas,]

 sed quoniam placet aliquos peregrinos in semen relinqui
[but since the idea of only pilgrims being left to the grain is a good one,]

et tu ita iubes fieri, fiat."
[and it is you who orders that it come to pass thusly, let it be so."]

 Aperit tum capsulam et tres fusos profert:
[She then opened her box and pulled out three spools:]

 unus erat Augurini, alter Babae, tertius Claudii.
[the first belong to Augurinus, the second, Baba's, and the third was Claudius'.]

 "Hos" inquit "tres uno anno exiguis intervallis temporum divisos mori iubebo,
[She said, "I will now order that these three, as they are separated by no important spans of time, will die in a single year,]

nec illum incomitatum dimittam.
[and so I will not send that man away unaccompanied.]

Non oportet enim eum, qui modo se tot milia hominum sequentia videbat, tot praecedentia, tot circumfusa, subito solum destitui.
[I mean, it's not right for him, a man who saw so many thousands of people following after him, and so many preceding him, and so many surrounding him, just a moment ago, to suddenly be abandoned all by his lonesome.]

 Contentus erit his interim convictoribus."
[In the meantime, he will be content in the presence of his fellow comrades in arms."]

[4] Haec ait
[She spoke]

et turpi convolvens stamina fuso
abrupit stolidae regalia tempora vitae.
[and rolling the threat around its grimy bobbin, she cut off the regal span of his clumsy life.]

At Lachesis redimita comas, ornata capillos,
Pieria crinem lauro frontemque coronans,
candida de niveo subtemina vellere sumit
felici moderanda manu,
[But Lachesis, whose full head of hair reflected light, each strand ornately decorated, as she crowned her locks and brow with the laurel leaves of Pieria, began to pluck pure-white threads, holding the ones she intending to use in her happy hand,]

 quae ducta colorem
assumpsere novum.
[I mean those that, once lead out, assumed a new color.]

Mirantur pensa sorores:
[The sisters wonder amazed at their tasks:]

mutatur vilis pretioso lana metallo,
[their worthless wool transforms into precious metal,]

aurea formoso descendunt saecula filo.
[and golden centuries descend upon wondrous thread.]

Nec modus est illis,
[There is no pause for those women,]

 felicia vellera ducunt
[they lead away their blessed fleeces,]

et gaudent implere manus,
[and grow excited to fill their hands,]

 sunt dulcia pensa.
[their tasks are sweet ones.]

Sponte sua festinat opus
[The endeavor speeds along by its own will,]

 nulloque labore
mollia contorto descendunt stamina fuso.
[and with no struggle, the soft thread falls down from its wound-up spindle.]

Vincunt Tithoni, vincunt et Nestoris annos.
[They surpass all the years lived by Tithon, they surpass even those of Nestor.]

Phoebus adest
[Apollo attends them]

cantuque iuvat gaudetque futuris,
[and he spurs them on with songs, and grows joyful for the future,]

et laetus nunc plectra movet,
[and now thrilled, he strums his harp,]

 nunc pensa ministrat.
[and now he begins to the oversee their task.]