Monday, June 20, 2011

Spirited: Horace 1.30

A while ago, Propertius II and I read 25 poems of Horace. My goal was to read 30 (based on a sample reading list from Berkeley which I mentioned in a previous blogpost), but after 25 poems I was pretty tired of Horace. As I have been reading Greek lately, I decided I would try to translate five more Horace poems that I selected a while ago. The translations of these subsequent poems may be a little shakier because I am doing them completely on my own, but hopefully they will be reasonably decent. I am still using the Bennett edition for commentary. I started with Horace 1.30.

"O Venus regina Cnidi Paphique,
sperne dilectam Cypron et vocantis
ture te multo Glycerae decoram
transfer in aedem.

fervidus tecum puer et solutis
Gratiae zonis properentque Nymphae
et parum comis sine te Iuventas
 "O Venus, queen at Cnidos and Paphos,
Put aside beloved Cyprus and bring yourself

to the fetching temple calling you
with much incense.

The fiery boy and the Graces with unfastened girdles
hasten and the nymphs too, but Youth
is not sufficiently charming without you
and Mercury."

It's a funny little poem but I rather like it. The conceit of the poem (if you're not up on your Roman geography) is that Horace is asking Venus to come from the famous seats of her worship (Cnidos, a Doric city of Caria and Paphos, a city on Cyprus which was considered Venus' homeland) to, presumably, a little tiny temple with not much to recommend it except that is is well-adorned and is burning incense to try to tempt her.

More soon. I have a lot of Greek (and German) to read.

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