The OF Blog: Aeneid translation notes, Book I, lines 223-304

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Aeneid translation notes, Book I, lines 223-304

After the storm, feast, and lament, the action here shifts away from the Trojans and toward the gods and their machinations.  This passage is one of several scattered throughout the poem that is meant to tie together the mythological past (most of the allusions to the Trojans and Rome were established well before Vergil) and contemporary history.  Here Venus pleads with Jupiter on behalf of her son Aeneas and his Trojans.  Jupiter consoles her with the promise of empire for Aeneas' descendents, the Roman people.

Et iam finis erat, cum Iuppiter aethere summo
despiciens mare velivolum terrasque iacentis
litoraque et latos populos, sic vertice caeli
constitit, et Libyae defixit lumina regnis.
Atque illum talis iactantem pectore curas
tristior et lacrimis oculos suffusa nitentis
adloquitur Venus: 'O qui res hominumque deumque
aeternis regis imperiis, et fulmine terres,
quid meus Aeneas in te committere tantum,
quid Troes potuere, quibus, tot funera passis,
cunctus ob Italiam terrarum clauditur orbis?
Certe hinc Romanos olim, volventibus annis,
hinc fore ductores, revocato a sanguine Teucri,

 qui mare, qui terras omni dicione tenerent,
pollicitus, quae te, genitor, sententia vertit?
Hoc equidem occasum Troiae tristisque ruinas
solabar, fatis contraria fata rependens;
nunc eadem fortuna viros tot casibus actos
insequitur. Quem das finem, rex magne, laborum?
Antenor potuit, mediis elapsus Achivis,
Illyricos penetrare sinus, atque intima tutus
regna Liburnorum, et fontem superare Timavi,
unde per ora novem vasto cum murmure montis
it mare proruptum et pelago premit arva sonanti.
Hic tamen ille urbem Patavi sedesque locavit
Teucrorum, et genti nomen dedit, armaque fixit
Troia; nunc placida compostus pace quiescit:
nos, tua progenies, caeli quibus adnuis arcem,
navibus (infandum!) amissis, unius ob iram
prodimur atque Italis longe disiungimur oris.
Hic pietatis honos? Sic nos in sceptra reponis?' 

And now the end [of the feast], when Jupiter discerning from the highest sky the sea winged with sails and the outspread lands and coasts and widespread nations, there on heaven's summit he rested and on the Libyan kingdom he fixed his gaze.  And with such cares in his heart, Venus accosted him, sadder than was her wont, her bright eyes filled with tears:  "Oh you who rule the affairs of gods and men with eternal power and frightening thunder, what great offense has my Aeneas committed to you, what could the Trojans commit, who have endured so many disasters the world is closed to them on account of Italy?  Surely at some point that as the years rolled by that the Romans, from these men, from the restored blood of Teucer, on the sea and all lands they will hold sway, as you promised.  Father, what argument has turned you?  Because of this, indeed, I was consoling myself for the fall of Troy and the sad collapse, balancing contrary fates with other fates; now the same fortune follows them who have endured so much.  What end, great king, do you give for their ordeals?  Antenor, having escaped from the midst of the Greeks, was able to penetrate the Illyric gulf and reach in safety the inland kingdoms of the Liburnians and cross the Timavus, from which source through nine mouths it goes with a rumble from the mountains as a dashing sea and it overwhelms the fields with its noisy flood.  Here nevertheless that man founded the city of Patavium, gave homes to the Teucrians, gave them a name, hung up the Trojan arms, and now placid he rests at ease:  we, however, your own children, to whom you promise the heavens, lost our ships (unspeakable!) and are betrayed on account of someone's anger and we are separated a long way from the coast of Italy.  Is this the reward for loyalty?  In this way do you put us into royal power?"
There were a lot of gaps in my translation notes and as I noted in yesterday's post, I consulted two translation I had on hand as well as my Latin dictionary and the annotations in the edition I'm re-reading in order to fill them.  I also rewrote a few sentences that were erroneous in detail, but on the whole, the majority is left as I wrote it in 1994.  The next part, Jupiter's response, was a separate assignment back in February 1994 and I wrote most of it out in detail back then, so there shouldn't be as many gaps to fill.

 Olli subridens hominum sator atque deorum,
voltu, quo caelum tempestatesque serenat,
oscula libavit natae, dehinc talia fatur:
'Parce metu, Cytherea: manent immota tuorum
fata tibi; cernes urbem et promissa Lavini
moenia, sublimemque feres ad sidera caeli
magnanimum Aenean; neque me sententia vertit.
Hic tibi (fabor enim, quando haec te cura remordet,
longius et volvens fatorum arcana movebo)
bellum ingens geret Italia, populosque feroces
contundet, moresque viris et moenia ponet,
tertia dum Latio regnantem viderit aestas,
ternaque transierint Rutulis hiberna subactis.
At puer Ascanius, cui nunc cognomen Iulo
additur,—Ilus erat, dum res stetit Ilia regno,—
triginta magnos volvendis mensibus orbis
imperio explebit, regnumque ab sede Lavini
transferet, et longam multa vi muniet Albam.
Hic iam ter centum totos regnabitur annos
gente sub Hectorea, donec regina sacerdos,
Marte gravis, geminam partu dabit Ilia prolem.
Inde lupae fulvo nutricis tegmine laetus
Romulus excipiet gentem, et Mavortia condet
moenia, Romanosque suo de nomine dicet.
His ego nec metas rerum nec tempora pono;
imperium sine fine dedi. Quin aspera Iuno,
quae mare nunc terrasque metu caelumque fatigat,
consilia in melius referet, mecumque fovebit
Romanos rerum dominos gentemque togatam:
sic placitum. Veniet lustris labentibus aetas,
cum domus Assaraci Phthiam clarasque Mycenas
servitio premet, ac victis dominabitur Argis.
Nascetur pulchra Troianus origine Caesar,
imperium oceano, famam qui terminet astris,—
Iulius, a magno demissum nomen Iulo.
Hunc tu olim caelo, spoliis Orientis onustum,
accipies secura; vocabitur hic quoque votis.
Aspera tum positis mitescent saecula bellis;
cana Fides, et Vesta, Remo cum fratre Quirinus,
iura dabunt; dirae ferro et compagibus artis
claudentur Belli portae; Furor impius intus,
saeva sedens super arma, et centum vinctus aenis
post tergum nodis, fremet horridus ore cruento.'

The father of men and the gods, his face smiling, which clears the skies and storms, kissed his daughter, then he said the following:  "Spare yourself of fear, Cytherea, the fate of your own children remains unchanged; you perceive the city and the promis of the walls of Lavinium and carrying aloft great-soled Aeneas to the sky as a constellation; my purpose has not changed.  For you (indeed I will tell you, since this worry eats at you, unrolling the scroll of the fates farther), he will bring brutal war to Italy and he will crush fierce people and he will place walls and laws on these people, until a third summer shall see him ruling in Latium and three winters will pass after the Rutulians have been subdued.  But the boy Ascanius, to which the cognomen of Iulus is added (Ilus was his surname, when Troy stood), shall rule for thirty years with their swift passing months, and he will transfer the seat from Lavinium and will fortify Alba Longa.  Here now for three hundred years it will ruled by Hector's people, until a royal priestess pregnant by Mars shall produce in birth twin boys.  Afterwards, happy Romulus in the tawny hide of the she-wolf nurse shall take up the people and establish the Mavortian walls and he shall call them Romans from his own name.  To these I place neither limits of government nor of time:  imperium without end I have given them.  Yes, even fierce Juno, who soon shall weary of fear on sea and land and sky, will change her plans for the better, and with me shall cherish the Romans, the toga-wearing lords of the world and people.  It is thus decreed.  As the years go gliding by, a time will come when the house of Assaracus will subject Phthia and bright Mycenae in slavery and conquered Argos will be ruled over.  Caesar's illustrious line will be born of the Trojans, empire bounded by ocean, fame which reaches the stars, Julius, derived from the great name of Iulus.  You shall soon receive untroubled to the sky him burdened with Oriental  spoils he also will be envoked in prayers.  Then with war abandoned the harsh ages grow mild; hoary Fides and Vesta, Remus with his brother Quirinus will make laws, and the Gates of War, grim with iron and fastened with bars, are closed.  Within evil rage sitting tied up, bound by 100 knots of bronze, roars with his bloody mouth."
There are echoes here with other passages in the poem, particularly the shield images near the end of Book VI.  This is perhaps one of the more nationalistic passages in the poem, but it is interesting to contrast this rosy "future" with the travails that the Trojans have suffered thus far.  Not much was changed here, only a few lines near the end that I had left blank in 1994.  Now for the bridge between this section and the resumption of Aeneas' story:

Haec ait, et Maia genitum demittit ab alto,
ut terrae, utque novae pateant Karthaginis arces
hospitio Teucris, ne fati nescia Dido
finibus arceret: volat ille per aera magnum
remigio alarum, ac Libyae citus adstitit oris.
Et iam iussa facit, ponuntque ferocia Poeni
corda volente deo; in primis regina quietum
accipit in Teucros animum mentemque benignam.

This said, he sends down from on high the son of Maia, so that Carthage, the new town, might extend hospitality to the Teucrians, as Dido did not know their fate and might them keep away:  he flies through the air on great beating wings and swiftly he reached the Libyan shore.  He now does as commanded, and the fierce Phoenicians put aside their feelings in accordance with the god's will; among the first the queen adopts toward the Teucrians a peaceful mind and spirit.
This last part I didn't translate back in 1994, so I worked it out now in consultation with dictionaries and other translations, but the phrasing is mine alone.  Later in the week, I'll post, maybe in sections, Aeneas's exploration of the area and Venus's disguised visit to him, where she reveals to him the history of both Carthage and its queen Dido.

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