Monday, February 28, 2011

Horace, Epode 17

Now, now I give my hands over to your effective knowledge,
and, kneeling, I beg on the power of Proserpina,
and the unshakeable godheads of Diana,
and having unfixed and called down the
stars from heaven by books of powerful songs,
Canidia, at last hold back your sacred words
and release back your fast turbo.
Telephus moved the grandson of Nereus
against whom the haughty one arranged the Mysons
and against whom he had hurled the sharpened spears.
The Trojan mothers anointed homicidal Hector
doomed to the wild birds and wild dogs,
after which the king having abandon the walls fell
alas to the feet of stubborn Achilles.
The oarsmen of long-suffering Ulysses laid bare
their briefly limbs from the hard hides with Circe willing
then the mind and speech returned and even
familiar horror to their faces.
I gave enough and more punishment to you,
beloved by many sailors and peddlers.
Youth flees and modest color abandons the
bones having been clothed with sallow skin,
your hair is white from your perfume,
no leisure frees me from labor;
night presses on day, and day presses on night,
it is not possible to alleviate my chest stretched with sighing.
I, wretched, am compelled to believe what I once denied,
Sabine songs strike my chest and
Marsian incantations split my head.
What more do oyou want? Oh sea and earth,
I burn as much as Hercules smeared
with the black blood of Nessus didn't burn,
glowing Sicilian flames green in Etna,
You, until the dry ashes are carried off by wrongful wind,
burn hot as a forge from Colchian poison.
Which end or which tax remains with me?
Speak! I will faithfully suffer punishment you ordered,
prepared to atone, whether you will demand one hundred
young bulls, or if you wish to be sung of on a lying lyre:
"You chaste, you honest girl will walk about in
the stars as a constellation of gold."
Castor and the brother of great Castor
having been offended by the exchange of infamous Helen having been conquered by prayer,
returned the withdrawn lights to the prophet:
And you - for you are able - release me from madness,
oh neither fall into disuse from parents
nor int he grave of a pauper does a prudent
old woman scatter dust on the ninth day.
For in you is a hospitable heart and pure hands
and Pactumeius is your belly
and the midwife washes the red cloths in your blood,
and just as you sprang up a strong childbearer,
"Why do you pour prayers into fastened ears?
Wintery Neptune did not pound with deep sea rocks more deaf than bare sailors.
So that unpunished you could mock the Cotyttian rites, more sacred than Cupid,
and a priest of Esquiline fills the town with talk of me, and go unpunished?

What use would it have been enriching all those old

Paelignian hags, to concoct swifter poisons?

But a slower fate awaits you than you pray for:

Wretch, you must suffer a wearisome life for this,

And be available always for fresh torment.

Tantalus, faithless Pelop’s father, yearns for rest,

Forever longing to reach the plenteous feast:

Prometheus yearns, chained fast to the bird of prey:

Sisyphus yearns to roll his rock to the mountain

Summit: but the laws of Jupiter restrain them.

You’ll be eager to leap from the highest tower,

To pierce your breast perhaps with an Alpine blade,

In vain you’ll go winding the noose about your throat,

Melancholy, with a wearisome mind-sickness.

Then saddled-up I’ll ride across your vile shoulders,

And the earth will open wide at my excesses.

Shall I who can bring to life waxen images,

As you know yourself from prying, I who can,

By incantations, snatch the moon out of the sky,

I who can raise again the ashes of the dead,

And mix together subtly the cup of desire,

Shall I weep, shall my art fail to work on you alone?

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