Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Spirited: Horace Epode III

Bennett titles this epode "Oh that Guilty Garlic." As it had such an amusing title, Propertius and I decided to read it and I mentioned that I would translate it in a recent blogpost. Here it is.
Parentis olim siquis impia manu
   Senile guttur fregerit,
Edit cicutis allium nocentius.
   Oh dura messorum ilia!
Num viperinus his cruor
   Incoctus herbis me fefellit? an malas
Canidia tractavit dapes?
   Ut Argonautas praeter omnis candidum
Medea Mirata est ducem,
   Ignota tauris inligaturum iuga
Perunxit hoc Iasonem;
   Serpente fugit alite.
Nec tantus umquam siderum insedit vapor
   Siticulosae Apuliae,
Nec munus umeris efficacis Herculis
   Inarsit aestuosius
At siquit umquam tale concupiveris,
   Iocos Maecenas, precor,
Manum puella savio opponat tuo,
   Extrema et in sponda cubet.
If ever any man breaks
the old neck of his father,let him eat garlic, 
which induces more injury than hemlock.
O tough intestines of harvesters!
What poison rages furiously in my heart?
Surely no viper's blood has been boiled
with these herbs to decieve me? Or did
Canidia serve bad dishes?
When Medea was amazed at the leader,
shining beyond the other Argonauts,
she anointed Jason, going to bind the bulls\
with unknown yokes, with [garlic];
Having steeped the gifts in [garlic]
for his concubine, she flees in her dragon chariot.
And not at any time so great a heat
of the stars sat over arid Apulia,
nor did such a glowing gift burn
the shoulders of powerful Hercules.
But if anyone ever will have desired
such a thing, jocular Maecenas, oh heart,
may your girl place a hand opposite your kiss
and may she lie on the far-side of the bed.

I used Bennett's commentary and text and discussed the text with Propertius II. I took some liberties-- especially with tense-- to attempt to make this into decent English.

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