Sunday, February 27, 2011

Horace, Ode 1.3

Sic te diva potens Cypri,
sic fratres Helenae, lucida sidera,
ventorumque regat pater
obstrictis aliis praeter Iapyga,

navis, quae tibi creditum
debes Vergilium; finibus Atticis
reddas incolumem, precor,
et serves animae dimidium meae.

Illi robur et aes triplex
circa pectus erat, qui fragilem truci
commisit pelago ratem
primus, nec timuit praecipitem Africum

decertantem Aquilonibus
nec tristis Hyadas nec rabiem Noti,
quo non arbiter Hadriae
maior, tollere seu ponere vult freta.

Quem mortis timuit gradum
qui siccis oculis monstra natantia,
qui vidit mare turbidum et
infamis scopulos, Acroceraunia?

Nequiquam deus abscidit
prudens Oceano dissociabili
terras, si tamen impiae
non tangenda rates transiliunt vada.

Audax omnia perpeti
gens humana ruit per vetitum nefas.
Audax Iapeti genus
ignem fraude mala gentibus intulit.

Post ignem aetheria domo
subductum macies et nova befrium
terris incubuit cohors,
semotique prius tarda necessitas

leti corripuit gradum.
Expertus vacuum Daedalus aera
pinnis non homini datis;
perrupit Acheronta Herculeus labor.

Nil mortalibus ardui est;
caelum ipsum petimus stultitia, neque
per nostrum patimur scelus
iracunda Iovem ponere fulmina.

Thus the powerful goddess of Cyprus,
thus the brothers of Helen, bright stars,
and the father of winds guide you,
with others confined except for Iapyx,

ships, which you are keeping Vergil as
a loan to you; may you return him
unharmed to Attic territories, I pray,
and may you guard half of my soul.

Oak and triple copper
was placed around my heart, which first joined
the fragile raft to the wild
sea, neither fears tempestuous Africus

fighting with the north winds
nor the gloomy Hyades nor the rage of Notus,
than whom there is no greater overseer
of the Adriatic, whether he wishes to raise or calm the seas.

What step of death does he fear,
he who saw with dry eyes monsters swimming,
he who saw the wild sea and
infamous rocks, Acroceraunia?

In vain, a prudent god separated
the lands from the incompatible Ocean,
if nevertheless the impious ships
dash across the untouchable depths.

The human race, bold
to suffer all things, rushes to forbidden sins.
The bold son of Iapetus
brought fire to the people by wicked deceit.

After the fire carried off from
it's heavenly home, decay and a new friend of
fever settled on the lands,
and slow fate first quickened the approach

of slow death.
Daedalus tried the empty air with
wings non given to humans;
the labor of Hercules broke through Acheron.

There is nothing steep for mortals;
we attack heaven itself with stupidity, and
we do not suffer for our crime
to put aside angry lightening for Jove.


  1. Errors in translation! First and worst, diva potens Cypri means the goddess who rules Cyprus. Then, navis is singular, not plural.