The OF Blog: Aeneid translation notes, Book I, lines 657-756

Monday, March 10, 2014

Aeneid translation notes, Book I, lines 657-756

Now to post my translation of the final 100 lines of Book I.  In these lines, Venus, as if she were in an old Folger's cofee commercial, has secretly replaced Ascanius, Aenea's son (and her grandson), with her son Cupid, in order to make Dido fall in love with Aeneas.  Yes, this is one of the earliest soap opera angles still extant, but the payoff perhaps is a bit different than typical soap opera fare.  The concluding lines set up Aeneas' recounting of the previous seven years, between the Fall of Troy and his arrival in Carthage, in Books II and III.  Speaking of said books, outside of a stray passage on an exam, I did not translate anything from those books for my 1994 intermediate Latin course, so I am likely going to engage in a years-long translation of those books and others not covered (we did translate about half of Book IV and a couple excerpts from Book VI), just to say that I did so.  And now for the rest of Book I:
At Cytherea novas artes, nova pectore versat
Consilia, ut faciem mutatus et ora Cupido
pro dulci Ascanio veniat, donisque furentem
incendat reginam, atque ossibus implicet ignem;
quippe domum timet ambiguam Tyriosque bilinguis;
urit atrox Iuno, et sub noctem cura recursat.
Ergo his aligerum dictis adfatur Amorem:
'Nate, meae vires, mea magna potentia solus,
nate, patris summi qui tela Typhoia temnis,
ad te confugio et supplex tua numina posco.
Frater ut Aeneas pelago tuus omnia circum
litora iactetur odiis Iunonis iniquae,
nota tibi, et nostro doluisti saepe dolore.
Hunc Phoenissa tenet Dido blandisque moratur 
vocibus; et vereor, quo se Iunonia vertant
hospitia; haud tanto cessabit cardine rerum.
Quocirca capere ante dolis et cingere flamma
reginam meditor, ne quo se numine mutet,
sed magno Aeneae mecum teneatur amore.
Qua facere id possis, nostram nunc accipe mentem.
Regius accitu cari genitoris ad urbem
Sidoniam puer ire parat, mea maxima cura,
dona ferens, pelago et flammis restantia Troiae:
hunc ego sopitum somno super alta Cythera
aut super Idalium sacrata sede recondam,
ne qua scire dolos mediusve occurrere possit.
Tu faciem illius noctem non amplius unam
falle dolo, et notos pueri puer indue voltus,
ut, cum te gremio accipiet laetissima Dido
regalis inter mensas laticemque Lyaeum,
cum dabit amplexus atque oscula dulcia figet,
occultum inspires ignem fallasque veneno.'
Paret Amor dictis carae genetricis, et alas
exuit, et gressu gaudens incedit Iuli.
At Venus Ascanio placidam per membra quietem
inrigat, et fotum gremio dea tollit in altos
Idaliae lucos, ubi mollis amaracus illum
floribus et dulci adspirans complectitur umbra. 
All the while Cytherean Venus keeps turning new plans, new artifices in her heart, so that Cupid's face and mouth may arrive in place of dear Ascanius, may inflame the queen's bones to madness.  Truly the goddess fears the deceitful, double-tongued Tyrians, the thought of fierce Juno keeps vexing her at night.  Therefore these words she addressed to winged Love:  "Son, my strength, my great power, you alone disdain the Typhoean weapons of Jupiter.  I flee to you and as a suppliant I seek your divine power.  That your brother Aeneas is being tossed about all the seas because of the fierce hatred of Juno, this you know, and you have often grieved with me.  Now Phoenician Dido has him and is delaying him with her blandishments and I fear what may come of her Junoian hospitality:  by no means will she cease at such a crisis.  For this reason, I am considering capturing her with wiles and encircling her with passion, so that she will not be changed by another divinity, so that she herself may be held by me with a great love for Aeneas.  Now accept my thought on how we will do this:  the royal son, beloved by his father, has been called to the city of the Phoenicians and he is preparing to go, whom I care about the most, bringing gifts of Troy remaining from fire and sea; I will hide him drugged into sleep upon high Cythera or upon Idalium in a temple sacred to me, whereby he will not be able to know my deceit or to interfere in the midst of them.  You shall for one night, no longer, by cunning assume his appearance and don the boy's face, since it is well known to you, in order that, when Dido takes you in her royal lap amid the table and the Lyaean wine, when she gives you and embrace and plants a fragrant kiss, you shall breathe into her the invisible fire and poison of love and she will not know."  Cupid obeyed the words of his beloved mother and he doffed his wings and laughing he strode the walk of Iulus.  But Venus diffused quiet and rest into Ascanius' limbs, and taking him to her bosom the goddess bore him to the groves of high Idalia, where the soft, sweet marjoram flowered and breathed its sweet shade, embracing him.  
And now for Cupid to have his fun...along with more feast descriptions that would make an epic fantasy author weep for the ability to describe the feast so:
Iamque ibat dicto parens et dona Cupido
regia portabat Tyriis, duce laetus Achate.
Cum venit, aulaeis iam se regina superbis
aurea composuit sponda mediamque locavit.
Iam pater Aeneas et iam Troiana iuventus
conveniunt, stratoque super discumbitur ostro.
Dant famuli manibus lymphas, Cereremque canistris
expediunt, tonsisque ferunt mantelia villis.
Quinquaginta intus famulae, quibus ordine longam
cura penum struere, et flammis adolere Penatis;
centum aliae totidemque pares aetate ministri,
qui dapibus mensas onerent et pocula ponant.
Nec non et Tyrii per limina laeta frequentes
convenere, toris iussi discumbere pictis.
Mirantur dona Aeneae, mirantur Iulum
flagrantisque dei voltus simulataque verba,
[pallamque et pictum croceo velamen acantho.]
Praecipue infelix, pesti devota futurae,
expleri mentem nequit ardescitque tuendo
Phoenissa, et pariter puero donisque movetur.
Ille ubi complexu Aeneae colloque pependit
et magnum falsi implevit genitoris amorem,
reginam petit haec oculis, haec pectore toto
haeret et interdum gremio fovet, inscia Dido,
insidat quantus miserae deus; at memor ille
matris Acidaliae paulatim abolere Sychaeum
incipit, et vivo temptat praevertere amore
iam pridem resides animos desuetaque corda.

And now happy Cupid goes obeying his mother's words, bearing gifts to the Tyrians, happily following the lead of Achates.  When he arrives, the queen has placed herself on a couch in the middle with golden tapestries about her.  Now father Aeneas and the Trojan youths come together and recline upon a crimson tapestry.  Servants give them water for their hands, and baskets of bread and they brought out napkins with clipped tufts of hair.  Within there are fifty maidservants, in a long line, whose task it was to lay out the food and to worship the household gods with flames, one hundred other women servants and men servants of similar age, they are the ones who load the table with the feast and hand out the goblets.  Likewise also the Tyrians, crowding through the happy doors, come together, biddened they recline on the embroidered couch.  They admire Aeneas's gifts, Iulus, with the glowing face of the god and his feigned words, and the cloak and robe embroidered with yellow acanthus.  Especially unfortunate, plagued by future doom, her mind unable to be satisfied, Dido burned with gazing and by the boy and the gifts was equally moved.  When he embraces Aeneas he hung on his neck and satisfies the great love of his pretended father, he seeks the queen.  Dido's eyes and her heart hang wholly on him and sometimes fondling him on her lap, the unfortunate woman unaware how a great god sat there.  But mindful of his Acidalian mother, gradually he begins to remove the memory of Sychaeus from Dido and trying to surpass with a loving love for Aeneas a spirit for some time unstirred and a heart now having become unaccustomed to love.
And now that Love has struck Dido, the action falls toward the final scene of Book I, where she asks Aeneas to tell of his adventures from the Fall of Troy to his arrival here in Carthage.
Postquam prima quies epulis, mensaeque remotae,
crateras magnos statuunt et vina coronant.
Fit strepitus tectis, vocemque per ampla volutant
atria; dependent lychni laquearibus aureis
incensi, et noctem flammis funalia vincunt.
Hic regina gravem gemmis auroque poposcit
implevitque mero pateram, quam Belus et omnes
a Belo soliti; tum facta silentia tectis:
'Iuppiter, hospitibus nam te dare iura loquuntur,
hunc laetum Tyriisque diem Troiaque profectis
esse velis, nostrosque huius meminisse minores.
Adsit laetitiae Bacchus dator, et bona Iuno;
et vos, O, coetum, Tyrii, celebrate faventes.'
Dixit, et in mensam laticum libavit honorem,
primaque, libato, summo tenus attigit ore,
tum Bitiae dedit increpitans; ille impiger hausit
spumantem pateram, et pleno se proluit auro
post alii proceres. Cithara crinitus Iopas
personat aurata, docuit quem maximus Atlas.
Hic canit errantem lunam solisque labores;
unde hominum genus et pecudes; unde imber et ignes;
Arcturum pluviasque Hyadas geminosque Triones;
quid tantum Oceano properent se tinguere soles
hiberni, vel quae tardis mora noctibus obstet.
Ingeminant plausu Tyrii, Troesque sequuntur.
Nec non et vario noctem sermone trahebat
infelix Dido, longumque bibebat amorem,
multa super Priamo rogitans, super Hectore multa;
nunc quibus Aurorae venisset filius armis,
nunc quales Diomedis equi, nunc quantus Achilles.
'Immo age, et a prima dic, hospes, origine nobis
insidias,' inquit, 'Danaum, casusque tuorum,
erroresque tuos; nam te iam septima portat
omnibus errantem terris et fluctibus aestas.'

When the first lull in the feasting comes with the removal of the tables, they set up great bowls full of wine and they wreathe it with garlands.  Noise fills the palace and their voices roll in the spacious hall; they hand down lamps from the gold-paneled ceiling and being lit the lamp's flames conquer the night.  Dido demands the bowl heavy with gems and gold and fills it with unmixed wine, which Belus and all from Belus were accustomed to drink; then silence was made in the hall:  "Jupiter, for they say that you give the laws for hosts, may you wish this day to be happy for the Tyrians and those who had set out from Troy and may you want our children to remember this happy day.  May Bacchus the giver of joy and good Juno be present and may you, O Tyrians, celebrate this favorable union."  She speaks and she pours the sacrifical wine onto the table and then after the libation has been poured, she first touches it, just barely, with the top of her lip; then chiding she gives it to Bitius; he quickly guzzles it, splashing the frothing wine over himself, after which the other nobles follow suit.  Long-haired Iopas plays his gilded harp, which great Atlas taught him.  He sings of the wandering moon and the sun's eclipses, from what source the human race and animals came, causes of rain and lightning, of Arcturus and watery Hyades and the twin Triones; why the winter suns hasten so much to dip themselves into Ocean, or what delay hinders the lazy nights.  The Tyrians redouble their applause and the Trojans follow.  Likewise, unfortunate Dido was drawing out the night with varied conversation and she was drinking deep draughts of love, asking much about Priam, much about Hector, now what Aurora's son's armor was when he came, now about the type of Diomede's horses, about how great was Achilles.  "Rather that you come and from the first speak to us, guest, of the beginning of the treachery," she said, "of the Greeks and the cause of your wanderings; for this is now the seventh summer that has carried you on every land and sea."
And with this, my 1994 translation of Book I comes to a close.  I have come to enjoy editing and posting this 20 year-old translation more than I realize, and perhaps after a short break, I will test my rusty Latin translation skills and present a prose translation of the other books in the months and years to come.  Later, I'll post my thoughts on the overall story of Book I, more in the vein of an appreciation than anything else.

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