The OF Blog: Aeneid translation notes, Book I, lines 305-371

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Aeneid translation notes, Book I, lines 305-371

Outside of a large gap between lines 305-310, these notes are much more intact.  Whether that's a good or bad thing I'll leave up to the reader to decide.

At pius Aeneas, per noctem plurima volvens,
 ut primum lux alma data est, exire locosque
explorare novos, quas vento accesserit oras,
qui teneant, nam inculta videt, hominesne feraene,
quaerere constituit, sociisque exacta referre.
Classem in convexo nemorum sub rupe cavata
arboribus clausam circum atque horrentibus umbris
occulit; ipse uno graditur comitatus Achate,
bina manu lato crispans hastilia ferro. 

But pious Aeneas, many thoughts turning in his head during the night, as soon as the kindly dawn arrives, decides to go out and explore the new land, to which shores the winds had brought them, who possesses them (now he sees wilderness), whether man or beast, and he reports back to his companions.  He hides the ships in the secret grove under the hollowed out rock with trees hemming them round about with their trembling shadows; with his comrade Achates he marches on, brandishing a pair of broad-bladed spears.
Most of this I just wrote and it is a very early and rough draft, but I do like the imagery of the shadows trembling rather than the trees themselves.

Cui mater media sese tulit obvia silva,
virginis os habitumque gerens, et virginis arma
Spartanae, vel qualis equos Threissa fatigat
Harpalyce, volucremque fuga praevertitur Hebrum.
Namque umeris de more habilem suspenderat arcum
venatrix, dederatque comam diffundere ventis,
nuda genu, nodoque sinus collecta fluentis.
Ac prior, 'Heus' inquit 'iuvenes, monstrate mearum
vidistis si quam hic errantem forte sororum,
succinctam pharetra et maculosae tegmine lyncis,
aut spumantis apri cursum clamore prementem.'

To Aeneas his mother presents herself on the path in the midst of the woods, offering the appearance and clothing of a Spartan girl and the arms of a maid of Sparta, such as the Thracian Harpalyce, when she tries the horses in her swift course of the Hebrus.  For according to custom she had hung on her shoulders an easily handled bow as a huntress and had allowed the wind to scatter her hair, bare up to her knee, having collected the flowing folds in a knot.  Then at first she said, "Hello, young man, if you have seen any one of my sisters wandering here, girded with a quiver and a spotted lynx hide, or running behind a foaming board shouting, show me."
The allusions interest me; I have forgotten or have never learned about Harpalyce's tale.  Vergil's use of similes here deepens the encounter.

Sic Venus; et Veneris contra sic filius orsus: 
'Nulla tuarum audita mihi neque visa sororum—
O quam te memorem, virgo? Namque haud tibi voltus
mortalis, nec vox hominem sonat: O, dea certe—
an Phoebi soror? an nympharum sanguinis una?—
sis felix, nostrumque leves, quaecumque, laborem, 

et, quo sub caelo tandem, quibus orbis in oris
iactemur, doceas. Ignari hominumque locorumque
erramus, vento huc vastis et fluctibus acti:
multa tibi ante aras nostra cadet hostia dextra.'

Venus said this; and in turn her son replied, "I have neither heard nor seen any of your sisters, O how should I call you, maiden?  For by no means do you have a mortal countenance, nor does your voice sound human; Oh, certainly you are a goddess (are you the sister of Apollo?  Or are you of the blood of nympths?), be kind and light our labor, whoever you are, and tell me under what heaven, on what shore have we finally been tossed; we wander ignorant of the men and place, driven by wind and an enormous wave to this place:  many sacrifices will fall to you by my right hand before your altar."
The language here is elevated, yet in Latin it does not feel turgid or overly artificial.  Venus continues:

Tum Venus: 'Haud equidem tali me dignor honore;
virginibus Tyriis mos est gestare pharetram,
purpureoque alte suras vincire cothurno.
Punica regna vides, Tyrios et Agenoris urbem;
sed fines Libyci, genus intractabile bello.
Imperium Dido Tyria regit urbe profecta,
germanum fugiens. Longa est iniuria, longae
ambages; sed summa sequar fastigia rerum.

Then Venus said:  "Indeed I am not worthy of such an honor; it is the custom of Tyrian girls to wear quivers and to bind high scarlet boots to the calves.  You see the Carthaginian kingdom, the city of Tyre and Agenor; but bordered by Libya, an intractable people in war.  Dido rules this realm, having come from Tyre, fleeing her brother.  The story of her wrongs is a long one:  but I will attend to the main points of her story.
Most of the next part comes not from my first draft notes, but from my midterm exam (minus one later correction I made due to a singular mistake on the exam).

'Huic coniunx Sychaeus erat, ditissimus agri
Phoenicum, et magno miserae dilectus amore,
cui pater intactam dederat, primisque iugarat
ominibus. Sed regna Tyri germanus habebat
Pygmalion, scelere ante alios immanior omnes.
Quos inter medius venit furor. Ille Sychaeum
impius ante aras, atque auri caecus amore,
clam ferro incautum superat, securus amorum
germanae; factumque diu celavit, et aegram,
multa malus simulans, vana spe lusit amantem.
Ipsa sed in somnis inhumati venit imago
coniugis, ora modis attollens pallida miris,
crudeles aras traiectaque pectora ferro
nudavit, caecumque domus scelus omne retexit.

"She was the wife of Sychaeus, richest in the land of the Phoenicans, and he was cherished with love by this pitiable woman, whose father gave her to him untouched and during the first omens.  But the ruler of Tyre was her brother Pygmalion, an evil man before all, whose furor came between them.  That man came upon Sychaeus before the altar, seeking the place of his gold, and he killed him, heedless of the love of his sister; and for a long time he hid this deed and by many evil pretensions vainly kept up the hope of his sister.  But in her sleep her husband's ghost itself came, looking pale as the dead, with a bloody mouth; he bared his chest pierced cruelly by the sword at the altar, and he revealed all of the dark crime of the household.
And now for the second half of Dido's story, which will provide a convenient pausing place, even though there is still another 40 lines or so to the scene:

Tum celerare fugam patriaque excedere suadet,
auxiliumque viae veteres tellure recludit
thesauros, ignotum argenti pondus et auri.
His commota fugam Dido sociosque parabat:
conveniunt, quibus aut odium crudele tyranni
aut metus acer erat; navis, quae forte paratae,
corripiunt, onerantque auro: portantur avari
Pygmalionis opes pelago; dux femina facti.
Devenere locos, ubi nunc ingentia cernis
moenia surgentemque novae Karthaginis arcem,
mercatique solum, facti de nomine Byrsam,
taurino quantum possent circumdare tergo.
Sed vos qui tandem, quibus aut venistis ab oris,
quove tenetis iter? 'Quaerenti talibus ille
suspirans, imoque trahens a pectore vocem:

"He then persuaded her to hasten her flight and to leave her homeland and as help for the journey he disclosed the location of an ancient treasure in the earth and an incalculable weight of silver and gold.  These words by Sychaeus aroused Dido and she was preparing to escape with her comrades.  Those who either hated the cruelty of the tyrant or feared his harshness assembled; ships, which by chance were already prepared, they seized and loaded them with the gold.  The resources of greedy Pygmalion was carried off by the waves; the leader of the undertaking was a woman.  They arrived at the place where now you can see huge walls arising and the citadel of the new town of Carthage and the ground was bought, called Byrsa from the name of the deal, for as much land as they were able to surround with a bull's hide.  But what of you?  From what shore do you come?  What way are you going?"  To Venus who asked such things Aeneas, taking in a deep breath and drawing the words from deep with him, replied:
And you can find out Aeneas' response in a few days.  Almost exactly halfway through Book I.  Hope you are enjoying this as much as I am re-reading the poem and re-living memories twenty years gone.  Tempus fugit.

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