An original composition in the metre of Horace Odes 1.28 (with English verse translation)

Latin

aeternam referunt omnes, o Flacce, manere

noctem homines, nec funeris horam

fallere magnanimos reges; at te, puto, versu

non omnem iactas moriturum!

dic igitur, clari pars o quaecumque poetae

saevam vitasti Libitinam,

quid tua Musa velit, quae sit sententia doctis

carminibus, cur Pythagorea

somnia commemores; liceat cognoscere litus

quaeramus qua parte Matinum!

English

They say, dear Flaccus, that all men

Eternal night awaits;

That mighty kings cannot survive

Their own appointed dates.

Yet you once boasted in your poems

You would not die entire –

So say, whichever part of you

Escaped the infernal fire,

What do your verses mean? Why spout

Pythagorean lore?

And tell us, pray, where we can find

This unknown Matine shore!

Sarah Palin endorsing Donald Trump, rendered in Greek iambics

English

When asked why I would jump into a primary – kind of stirring it up a little bit maybe – and choose one over some friends who are running and I’ve endorsed a couple others in their races before they decided to run for president, I was told left and right, ‘you are going to get so clobbered in the press. You are just going to get beat up, and chewed up, and spit out.’ You know, I’m thinking, ‘and?’ You know, like you guys haven’t tried to do that every day since that night in ’08, when I was on stage nominated for VP, and I got to say, ‘yeah, I’ll go, send me, you betcha. I’ll serve.’

Greek

τί δ’ ἐμπλέκεσθαι τῇδε χρῆν ἀγωνίᾳ
ἅπαντα πράγματ’ ὧστε σείεσθαι μάλα;
πειρωμένων γὰρ πλεῖστα τῶν ἐμῶν φίλων,
ἐξειλόμεσθα τόνδε, τοῖς ἄλλοις πάρος
μάχης πρὸ ταύτης ἣ παραστάτης ἔφυν.
καὶ πάντοθέν μοι τούσδ’ ἐφώνησαν λόγους•
“γύναι ματαία, διαβολὰς κακὰς κακοί
βαλοῦσιν ἀστοὶ φλαῦρον ἐς τὸ σὸν κάρα,
πλῆξαι θέλοντες καὶ σ᾽ ἀποπτύσαι πάνυ”.
τί θαῦμα ταῦτα; τῶδε γὰρ καθ᾽ ἡμέραν
κακῶς λέγουσι μ᾽ ἐξ ὅτου γ’ ἔστην τότε
μεγάλην ἔχουσα τῆς πόλεως τίμην ἐγώ
καὶ ταῦθ’ ὑπεῖπον • “ὦ τανῦν με πέμψατε
ἐκεῖ, πολῖται, τοῖς ἑκοῦσ’ ὑπηρετῶ.”

An original Pindaric Ode written after the London 2012 Olympics (dactylo-epitrite)

 

The ode

Strophe

ὦ φλόξ ἀείζως ἅν ποτ᾽ ἔδωκε βροτοῖς

καὶ Διὸς οὐκ ἐθέλοντος Ἰαπέτοιο παΐς,

οὔκετ᾽ ἐν ἁμετέροις λάμπεις πολίταις

ἄρτι τάνδε νᾶσον εὔαθλον προλιποῖσα πάλιν ·

ἔκγονος μὲν πᾶς τις Ὑπερβορέων δερκόμενος γάθησε

θαυμαστοὺς ἀγῶνας,

οἱ δὲ νικάσαντες εὑρίσκοντο τιμάν

χρυσέαν ποινὰν ἀπενεγκόμενοι.

 

Antistrophe

εἰ γὰρ παρείης, Πίνδαρε σεμνοτάτοις

ᾧπερ ἄεθλα πάλαι πόνος κελαδεῖν μέλεσιν

ἔπλετ᾽, ἰοπλοκάμους τ᾽ ἀσκεῖν γε Μοῖσας.

νῦν δὲ χειρὶ χρυσέαν φόρμιγγα λαβεῖν καὶ ἐμέ

καίπερ ἀπείρῳ πρέπει ἁρμονίας Αἰολιδᾶν, δόξαν τε

σὰν αὐτὸν ματεύειν ·

καὶ γὰρ ἔν μέτροισι τοῖσδ᾽ αὔχημ᾽ ἀείδω

καινὸν ἀρχαίοισιν ἀγαλλόμενος,

 

Epode

ὅσσαι ἐς θεῶν νεόδματοι σταδίων κορυφαί,

ἄστεως δάμῳ πρὸς Ἀῶ,

ὄλβιον ἀθανάτων δῶμα τέτανται,

πλεῖστοι ὄθι δράκον ἢ θρῴσκοντας ἢ τρέχοντας

ἢ κραιπνοὺς ἐσιόντας ὕδωρ.

νῦν κενεοὶ­­­ θῶκοι θεατᾶν, ἀλλά τι λαῷ παρμένει

εὐφροσύνας ·

αἰεὶ δ᾽ ἁμιλλᾶν ἐξοπίσω μνάμα φερέτω

φιλᾷ πολυκλειτᾶν μέγα χάρμα πάτρᾳ.

 

 

 

Metrical analysis

 

[Metre: dactylo-epitrite]

 

d1   – U U –

D   – U U – U U –

e    – U –

E    – U – X – U –

E2  – U – X – U – X – U –

 

Strophe/Antistrophe:

 

– e – D

D U D

D – e –

E – D

e U D d1 – E

E2

e – D

 

Epode:

 

E – D

E –

D d1

D – E – D

d1 – d1 d1 – D

– e – d1 – d1

U e – D

 

 

 

 

Literal translation

 

O everlasting flame, which Iapetus’ son once gave to mortals, even against Zeus’ will, you no longer shine among our citizens, having recently departed this island once more: every descendant of the Hyperboreans rejoiced when they beheld the wondrous contests, while those who were victorious received honour, carrying off their golden reward.

 

If only you were by my side, Pindar whose labour it was to celebrate athletic games in most august songs, and to worship the dark-locked Muses. Now it is time for me too to take up the golden lyre in my hand, though it is unused to Aeolic music, and to seek your glory for myself: for I sing, glorifying a modern achievement in these ancient measures,

 

Of what great stadia with newly built rooves, in the eastern district of our city, stretch up to the blessed abode of the immortal gods, where so many people watched either jumpers or runners or men diving swiftly into the water. Now the seats are devoid of spectators, but among the people some festive happiness remains: in the future may the memory of these far-famed contests always be a source of great joy for our dear fatherland.

 

 

 

 

John Donne,’The Good-Morrow’ (Latin elegiacs)

English

I wonder, by my troth, what thou and I

Did, till we loved? Were we not weaned till then?

But sucked on country pleasures, childishly?

Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers’ den?

’Twas so; but this, all pleasures fancies be.

If ever any beauty I did see,

Which I desired, and got, ’twas but a dream of thee.

 

And now good-morrow to our waking souls,

Which watch not one another out of fear;

For love, all love of other sights controls,

And makes one little room an everywhere.

Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone,

Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown,

Let us possess one world, each hath one, and is one.

 

My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,

And true plain hearts do in the faces rest;

Where can we find two better hemispheres,

Without sharp north, without declining west?

Whatever dies, was not mixed equally;

If our two loves be one, or, thou and I

Love so alike, that none do slacken, none can die.

Latin

dic age, quid pepulit, quid nos exercuit ante

quam mihi quamque tibi pectora fixit amor?

nos velut infantes fructus nutribat agrestis

materno suetos munere lactis ali?

membra vel aeterno iacuere inhumata sopore?

quidquid erat laeti motus inanis erat.

nam mihi si prius est visa et comperta venustas

somnia tunc formae sunt modo visa tuae.

iam salvete animi: vigiles se mane tuentur

horribili nullo nos agitante metu;

non cupit ullus amans externos quaerere visus:

vertitur in vastam parvula cella plagam.

trans fluctus aliis incognita terra petatur

ac tabulis tellus sit patefacta nova.

hoc tantum satis est, unum contingere mundum:

tu mihi sis mundus; sim tibi mundus ego.

en tuus in nostris apparet vultus ocellis;

en facies oculo nostra videnda tuo est;

alterius species dum ardescit uterque tuendo

concordes animi pectore utrique manent.

quae regio in terris meliorem continet axem?

a valeant Boreas occiduusque dies!

vitam si quando mortalia corpora linquunt

haec, puto, non aequo mixta fuere modo;

nos age coniuncto socio cogamur amore:*

iam neque divelli nec licet usque mori.

*sugg. Kwasi Kwarteng (cf. Prop. 1.5.29)

Tennyson,’In Memoriam’ (Latin hexameters)

English

Fair ship that from the Italian shore
Sailest the placid ocean-plains
With my lost Arthur’s loved remains,
Spread thy full wings, and waft him o’er.

So draw him home to those that mourn
In vain; a favourable speed
Ruffle thy mirror’d mast, and lead
Thro’ prosperous floods his holy urn.

All night no ruder air perplex
Thy sliding keel, till Phosphor, bright
As our pure love, thro’ early light
Shall glimmer on the dewy decks.

Sphere all your lights around, above;
Sleep gentle heavens, before the prow;
Sleep, gentle winds, as he sleeps now,
My friend, the brother of my love;

My Arthur, whom I shall not see
Till all my widow’d race be run;
Dear as the mother to the son,
More than my brothers are to me.

Latin

tu quae semotis properas, bona navis, ab oris
Italiae vasti tranquilla per aequora ponti,
hunc mihi, vela deo ventis implente secundis,
advehe et amissi dilectum corpus amici –
heu! – referens, leni duc nostra ad litora cursu.
redde ad nos igitur, tristis quos cura fatigat,
vana tamen, malique tui turbetur imago
reddita Neptuno, barcam quoniam impiger urget
impetus atque urnam fert per vada prospera sanctam.
aspera nulla tuam labentem flabra carinam
nocte premant tota, primo dum Lucifer albus
(qui, puto, par puro nostrum fulgebit amori)
protinus umentes perfundet lumine puppes.
undique in orbe poli spargentes sidera, caeli
dormite o placidi, dormite Eurique Notique
ante ratem, ritu comitis qui dormiet usque,
quemque ego dilexi* fraterno semper amore.
ei mihi, non ego te fatis dum fungar ademptum
conspiciam, vitae metas dum denique tangam.
care mihi, qualis genetrix carissima nato,
tu consanguineis germanis carior ipsis.

 

*Emended (see comments)

Shakespeare, ‘Macbeth’ (Greek trimeters)

English

We have scorched the snake, not killed it.

She’ll close and be herself whilst our poor malice

Remains in danger of her former tooth.

But let the frame of things disjoint, both the worlds suffer,
Ere we will eat our meal in fear, and sleep

In the affliction of these terrible dreams

That shake us nightly.

Greek

τρώσαντες ὕδραν οὔ τί πω καθείλομεν.

κείνῃ μέν ἐστι τοῦ μεταστάσῃ βλάβους

αὑτῆς γενέσθαι, νῷν δε κίνδυνος βαρύς

ἐχθροῖν ἐτ᾽ ὄντοιν τοῖς ὀδοῦσιν ἐμμενεῖ.

πρὶν δ᾽αὖ θέλοιμ᾽ ἂν ἡλίου περιπτυχὰς

διαφθαρῆναι, παντελῶς δὲ τούς τ᾽ἄνω

καὶ τοὺς κάτωθεν ἐξαλείφεσθαι θεούς,

ἢ νὼ τρέμοντε σχετλίῳ δειπνεῖν ὄκνῳ

καὶ συγκαθεύδειν τοῖς κακοῖς ὀνείρασιν

τοῖς νυκτιφάντοις, οἷσιν ἀγριούμεθα.

Tennyson, ‘To Virgil’ (Latin hexameters)

English

Roman Virgil, thou that singest

Ilion’s lofty temples robed in fire,

Ilion falling, Rome arising,

wars, and filial faith, and Dido’s pyre;

Landscape-lover, lord of language

more than he that sang the ‘Works and Days’,

All the chosen coin of fancy

flashing out from many a golden phrase;

Thou that singest wheat and woodland,

tilth and vineyard, hive and horse and herd;

All the charm of all the Muses

often flowering in a lonely word.

Latin

o qui templa canis, Romanae gloria gentis,

ardua Dardanidum flamma velata furente;

Troiani occasum generis, nascentia Romae

saecula qui memoras; versu cui triste refertur

Martis opus, pietas, rogus infelicis Elissae:

montibus et terris laetare, disertior illo

quem dulcis docuere modos Helicone Camenae

haud secus ac fictae signato ex aere figurae

praelustres radiant, tanto tua lumine fulgent

ingenia eque tuis splendet facundia dictis.

tu segetes, silvas, vites, tu carmine cultus

agrorum pandis; quae apium biiugumque boumque

cura sit enarras; saepe et decus omne dearum

Pieridum verbo florens tibi constat in uno.