Saturday, October 31, 2009

Kali & Shiva Bhairava in Union

SATYRICON - a translation project

SATYRICON lines 83.1-83.11 October 31, 2009 Happy Halloween!

83.1 In pinacothecam perveni vario genere tabularum

LXD I walked into a gallery displaying a variety of wonderful paintings.

83.2 Nam et Zeuxidos manus vidi nondum vetustatis iniuria
victas, et Protogenis rudimenta cum ipsius naturae veritate
certantia non sine quodam horrore tractavi.

LXD There I saw the work of Zeuxis not yet marred by the wounds of time, and also handled (not without some measure of awe) Protogenes' cartoons, which rivaled the Truth of Nature herself.

83.3 Jam vero Apellis quam Graeci mon(kthmon appellant, etiam adoravi.

LXD But when I saw Apelles', he whom the Greeks call 'peg-leg' ( μονοκνημον ), I even kowtowed.

83.4 Tanta enim subtilitate extremitates imaginum erant ad
similitudinem praecisae, ut crederes etiam animorum esse

LXD For his figures were limned with such subtlety that you would believe the picture to be of their souls as well.

83.5 Hinc aquila ferebat caelo sublimis Idaeum, illinc
candidus Hylas repellebat improbam Naida.

LXD In this one, the eagle was carrying the boy [Catamitus] from Mt. Ida up to the sublimity of heaven; in that, the candidly chaste Hylas was resisting the wicked Naiad.

83.6 Damnabat Apollo noxias manus lyramque resolutam modo
nato flore honorabat.

LXD Apollo was damning his noxious hands and decorating his harp, just now unstrung, with the new-born flower, Hyacinth.

83.7 Inter quos etiam pictorum amantium vultus tanquam in
solitudine exclamavi: "Ergo amor etiam deos tangit.

LXD Lost among which visions from beloved pictures, as though in a desert solitude, I yelled out,"So Love moves even the gods.!"

83.8 Iuppiter in caelo suo non invenit quod diligeret, sed
peccaturus in terris nemini tamen iniuriam fecit.

LXD Jupiter didn't get to find somebody in his heaven that he could love, so he was going to sow his wild oats on Earth, but wronged nobody.

83.9 Hylan Nympha praedata temperasset amori suo, si venturum
ad interdictum Herculem credidisset.

LXD The Nymph who ravished [deponent ppl.] Hylas would have had [plpf. subjunct. imperasset & credidisset] her longing under control, had she believed Hercules would be coming to debar her.

83.10 Apollo pueri umbram revocavit in florem, et omnes
fabulae quoque sine aemulo habuerunt complexus.

LXD Apollo brought back the shade of his beloved boy transformed into the Hyacinth flower. And they (of similar myths) all enjoyed unrivaled Love's embrace.

83.11 At ego in societatem recepi hospitem Lycurgo crudeliorem."

LXD But myself, I have attracted an elective affinity [] more harrowing than with that Spartan lawgiver, Lycurgus, himself.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Catullus : Lesbia Nostra

Catullus 58 :
Caeli, Lesbia nostra, Lesbia illa,
illa Lesbia, quam Catullus unam
plus quam se atque suos amavit omnes,
nunc in quadriviis et angiportis
glubit magnanimi Remi nepotes.

My translation :
Caelius, our own dear Lesbia, that very Lesbia,
our adored Lesbia, her whom alone Catullus
loved more than himself, more than his all,
down the crossroads and dark alleys she is
cleaning the bongs of great Remus' godsons.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Belfort of Brugge (aka Belfry of Bruges)

"Drinking Song" from 'Belfry of Bruges & Other Poems'

"Come, old friend! Sit down and listen!
From the pitcher, placed between us,
How the waters laugh and glisten
In the head of old Silenus!

Old Silenus, bloated, drunken,
Led by his inebriate Satyrs;
On his breast his head is sunken,
Vacantly he leers and chatters.

Fauns with youthful Bacchus follow;
Ivy crowns that brow supernal
As the forehead of Apollo'
And possessing youth eternal.

Round about him, fair Bacchantes,
Bearing cymbals, flutes, and thyrses,
Wild from Naxian groves,of Zante's
Vineyards, sing delirious verses.

Thus he won, through all the nations,
Bloodless victories, and the farmer
Bore, as trophies and oblations,
Vines for banners, ploughs for armor.

Judged by no o'erzealous rigor,
Much this mystic throng expresses:
Bacchus was the type of vigor,
And Silenus of excesses.

These are ancient ethnic revels,
Of a faith long since forsaken;
Now the Satyrs, changed to Devils,
Frighten mortals wine-o'ertaken.

Now to rivulets from the mountains
Point the rods of fortune-dowsers;
Youth perpetual dwells in fountains,---
Not in flasks, and casks, and cellars.

Claudius, though he sang of flagons
And huge tankards filled with Rhenish,
From that fiery blood of dragons
Never would his own replenish.

Even Redi, though he chaunted
Bacchus in the Tuscan valleys,
Never drank the wine he vaunted
In his dithyrambic sallies.

Then with water fill the pitcher
Wreathed about with classic fables;
Ne'er Falernian threw a richer
Light upon Lucullus' tables.

Come, old friend, sit down and listen!
As it passes thus between us,
How its wavelets laugh and glisten
In the head of old Silenus!"

Nota Bene the prudent New England temperance the poet works into this 'drinking song'.

Here's another diamond from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's same book:

Sunday, October 25, 2009


What did ΑΡΕΤΗ (VIRTUS) actually mean to the Ancients?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

President Teddy Roosevelt with his family

President Theodore Roosevelt

Seems President Roosevelt is suddenly controversial.

I see some pundits claiming recently that Teddy Roosevelt was too this or that. Here's a pretty representative rundown on their opining:

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat." T. Roosevelt

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cicero Denouncing Catiline in the Roman Senate (ed.2)

A Caricature by John Leech (1817-1864)
{Left clique will show more character in the caricature.)

My first translation from Sallustius : Bellum Catilinae

Here's my translation of a section of Gaius Sallustlus' The Catiline Conspiracy, from around 65 B.C. when the Roman Republic was on its last legs, about to succumb to tyranny. I was quite impressed with the contemporaneousness of this text which was written circa 2,070 years ago.

"Is cum se diceret indicaturum de coniuratione, si fides publica data esset, iussus a consule quae sciret edicere, eadem fere quae Volturcius de paratis incendiis, de caede bonorum, de itinere hostium senatum docet; praeterea se missum a M. Crasso, qui Catilinae nuntiaret ne eum Lentulus et Cethegus aliique ex coniuratione deprehensi terrerent, eoque magis properaret ad urbem accedere, quo et ceterorum animos reficeret et illi facilius e periculo eriperentur."

That fellow [L. Tarquinius] was declaring that he was ready to give information about the conspiracy if immunity (security of public faith) was granted him. Ordered by the consul to tell what he knew, he told the senate nearly the same things as [the previous witness] Volturcius about the preparations made for incendiary raids, about the slaughter of patriotic citizens, about the enemies' itinerary. Furthermore, that he had been sent by M. Crassus, who was wanting [optative subjunctive] to alert Catiline lest Lentulus and Cethegus and others from the conspiracy, having been taken into custody, might deter him, rather should he continue hastening toward the City to gain access, by which he may restore the courage of the others and they may be more easily snatched away from legal action.

"Sed ubi Tarquinius Crassum nominavit, hominem nobilem maxumis divitiis, summa potentia, alii rem incredibilem rati, pars tametsi verum existumabant, tamen quia in tali tempore tanta vis hominis magis leniunda quam exagitanda videbatur, plerique Crasso ex negotiis privatis obnoxii, conclamant indicem falsum esse, deque ea re postulant uti referatur."

And when Tarqinius denounced Crassus, an aristocrat with very great wealth and maximum political influence, some reckoned the denunciation untrustworthy, a portion of senators, even though considering the testimony true, yet, because the power of the man, was so great at such a time, glossing over the affair seemed better than stirring up trouble. Also a good many senators in their private affairs being corrupted by Crassus, all of a sudden the senators are wailing in coyote chorus that the informer is mistaken; and concerning that indictment, they beg that the legal processing be withdrawn.