Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Horace, Ode 2.12

Nolis longa ferae bella Numantiae
nec durum Hannibalem nec Siculum mare
Poeno purpureeum sanguine mollibus
aptari citharae modis,

nec saevos Lapithas et nimium mero
Hylaeum domitosque Herculea manu
Telluris iuvenes, unde periculum
fulgens contremuit domus

Saturni veteris; tuque pedestribus
dices historiis proelia Caesaris,
Maecenas, melius ductaque per vias
regum colla minacium.

Me dulcis dominae Musa Licymniae
cantus, me voluit dicere lucidum
fulgentis oculos et bene mutuis
fidum pectus amoribus;

quam nec ferre pedem dedecuit choris
nec certare ioco nec dare bracchia
ludentem nitidis virginibus sacro
Dianae celebris die.

Num tu quae tenuit dives Achaemenes
aut pinguis Phyrgiae Mygdonias opes
permutare velis crine Licymniae,
plenas aut Arabum domos,

cum flagrantia detorquet ad oscula
cervicem, aut facili saevitia negat,
quae poscente magis gaudeat eripi,
interdum rapere occupet?

You would not want the long wars of wild Numantia
nor hard Hannibal nor the Sicilian sea
to be made purple by Punic blood
by a lyre with sweet measures,

nor the savage Lapiths and Hylaeus with too much
wine and the sons of Earth conquered by
Herculean hand, whence the house
of ancient Saturn trembles at

the flashing danger; and you, Maecenas, can better
tell the battles of Caesar in historical prose,
and the necks of threatening kings led
through the streets.

The Muse wished me to say the sweet songs
to mistress Licymnia, to speak (of/about) her eyes brightly
shining and her heart well faithful
to mutual loves;

she who had not been unsuited to bear her foot with the choruses
nor to fight with a joke nor to give her arms,
playing with the shining maidens on the sacred
day of festive Diana.

For would you wish to exchange the riches which
Achaemenes holds or the Mygdonian wealth of
fertile Phrygia for a hair of Licymnia,
or the full Arabic homes,

when she bends her neck to your burning
kisses, or she refuses, with easy rage,
the kisses which, more than a woman demanding,
she rejoices to be snatched, and sometimes she attacks to snatch?

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