Lucius Annaeus Seneca [Seneca the Younger]
1BC-65 AD *executed by Emperor Nero
Latin (Imperial Period)
L. ANNAEI SENECAE OEDIPVS
Oedipvs Iam nocte Titan dubius expulsa redit
[This is Oedipus, already the titanic Sun returns more doubtfully, as the night has been cast away,]
et nube maestum squalida exoritur iubar,
[and its gloomy pyre arises from a squalid cloud,]
lumenque flamma triste luctifica gerens
[and carrying a sad light from its mournful flame,]
prospiciet auida peste solatas domos,
[let him gaze upon the halls of his home that have grown accustomed to a virulent plague,]
stragemque quam nox fecit ostendet dies. 5
[and let daylight show the destruction that the night has wrought.]
Quisquamne regno gaudet?
[Whoever finds happiness in his own reign?]
o fallax bonum,
[O you deceitful blessing,]
quantum malorum fronte quam blanda tegis!
[how many evils have you covered with a charming veneer!]
ut alta uentos semper excipiunt iuga
[As the lofty peaks of mountains snatch the winds,]
rupemque saxis uasta dirimentem freta
quamuis quieti uerberat fluctus maris, 10
[and so long as the waves of the quiet sea beat the shore cliff that breaks the vast swells upon its rocks]
imperia sic excelsa Fortunae obiacent.
[the Goddesses of Fortune shall thusly engage in their heavenly-bethrothed powers.]
Quam bene parentis sceptra Polybi fugeram!
[How well had I done to flee the scepter of my father Polybius!]
curis solutus exul,
[As an exile, I was free from worries,]
[a bold and fearless wanderer]
(caelum deosque testor)
[I swear to the heavens and gods!]
in regnum incidi;
[then I fell upon a kingdom;]
[I fear to speak things that must not be uttered:]
ne mea genitor manu 15
[lest my father should be slaughtered by my own hand;]
hoc me Delphicae laurus monent,
[the laurel branches of Delphi warned me about this,]
aliudque nobis maius indicunt scelus.
[and they informed me of another, even greater crime.]
est maius aliquod patre mactato nefas?
[What is more unspeakable than to have murdered one's father?]
pro misera pietas (eloqui fatum pudet),
[Mercy, for my woe, for it brings me shame to reveal in destiny in speech,]
thalamos parentis Phoebus et diros toros 20
gnato minatur impia incestos face.
[Apollo set to threaten the wedding chamber of my father, and the gloomy marriage bed that lay sullied by a son's impious torchlight.]
hic me paternis expulit regnis timor,
[And at that point, fear cast me right out of my father's kingdom,]
hoc ego penates profugus excessi meos:
[and it is I who, as a fugitive, destroyed my own family's gods, by this action:]
parum ipse fidens mihimet in tuto tua,
natura, posui iura.
[I, yes I, entrusting so little of myself in what was assured by you, Nature, I accepted the oaths you swore.]
cum magna horreas, 25
[Then you shall shudder greatly,]
quod posse fieri non putes metuas tamen:
[and still you should fear whatever you suspect can never be able to, to come about:]
[I completely exhausted myself with panic]
meque non credo mihi.
[I could not believe that I was indeed who was I.]
Iam iam aliquid in nos fata moliri parant.
[And now already the Fates prepare something else for me to suffer.]