Saturday, May 21, 2011

Spirited: Translation of Sulpicia 2 (Tibullus 3.14)

Long ago, when I first started this blog, I mentioned that I was going to translate the 6 poem cycle of Sulpicia. My favorite of the poems is Sulpicia 1, which I translated a long time ago. However, I had a little time today so i thought I woudl translate the second installment.

As always, I am happy for any translation suggestions. I used the version of the text from Minor Authors of the Corpus Tibullianum (e.d. John Yardley):
"Invisus natalis adest, qui rure molesto
et sine Cerintho tristis agendus erit.
dulcius urbe quid est? an villa sit apta puellae
atque Arrentino frigidus amnis agro?
iam, nimium Messalla mei studiose, quiescas;
non tempestivae saepe, propinque, viae.
hic animum sensusque meos abducta relinquo
arbitrio quam vis non sinit esse meo."

"My hated birthday is here, which must be miserably spent
In the troublesome countryside without Cerinthus.
What is sweeter than the city? But would a villa
In the Arrentine fields or the cold river be fitting for a girl?
Now, relax! Messalla is too eager on my behalf;
Frequently the journeys are not opportune.
Having been taken, I leave my mind and feeling here,
it is not permitted that she (i.e. Sulpicia) lives according to my own judgment"

I am a huge fan of Sulpicia's work. Enjoy!

Note 06/20/11: on second thought, I might retranslate the last two lines thus (in an attempt to keep word order and more elegantly translate the ablative absolute): "I leave my mind and feeling here, as I have been taken / it is not permitted that I may be my own master."


  1. Here's the inscrutable birthday, which in molested deserts
    Sans Cerinthus will be sadly spent.
    What's sweeter than the city? Or is a villa apt
    For girls, the frigid river by
    Arrentine fields? Oh Messala you who study me
    Exceedingly, be still: not often neighbor are they seasoned
    Roads. Here I leave my mind and senses whence my will
    Is led away: no further does my wish

  2. "No more does my wish prevail." -- that maybe is better.

  3. I leave my free will behind