Horace Epode V

Matthaeus

Vemortuicida strenuus
Will you deign to look over my and Pacis Puella's prose translation of it? Any suggestions?

If someone once wickedly breaks his elderly parent's neck, may he eat garlic more harmful than hemlock. O the harsh groin of reapers!

What kind of poison is this raging in my vitals? Has snake blood boiled in these herbs deceived me? Or has Canidia prepared a noxious meal?

When Medea admired the fair leader of the Argonauts above them all, as he was about to attach the unknown yokes to the bulls, she besmeared Jason with this garlic, having avenged his concubine with gifts anointed with this, she fled on a snake-like bird.

Neither has so great a heat of the sky ever lied over thirsty Apulia nor any burden blazed with a fiercer heat on the shoulders of the powerful Hercules.


But should you ever covet something like that, cheerful Maecenas, I pray that your girlfriend may oppose your kiss with her hand, and may she lie on the furthest edge of the bed!
 

Christian Alexander

Active Member
Looks pretty good to me! but it was a while ago I translated this, I might have a few points to say with digging up the notes I made when doing this one..

I remember personally having trouble with the 2nd couplet for some reason and getting tore up over my indecision. I also originally had come to the conclusion of "farmers groin" but I figured out after much toil that the phrase was more likely as my above rendering, something like "adamant guts" because of the potential connotation of ilia meaning something like "entrails". I affirmed this idea when reading another's translation, David West's (a great book btw), being "peasants must have guts of brass" (dura...ilia).
But hey, maybe the duality was intended -- anythings possible with Horace. He could be saying that garlic tastes like farmer's crotch, or complaining that garlic is "peasant-food" and its obnoxious that they frequent it in meals: both are plausible to me, but I am inclined towards the latter because it seems more fitting in my opinion.

For the 3rd couplet, Horace wittily uses a word with the potential to mean straight up "poison/toxin", or even sorcery/magic; the fact that the infamous Canidia makes an appearance, and a scene of the herbs being witchily brewed in blood (not to mention dapis can also bear the rendering of "sacrifice/sacrificial meal" etc), and Medea also is brought into the picture later -
for those reasons I chose specifically sorcery for the line, and the rendering of praecordium into "breast/heart" compliments it. While "poison" might technically be more correct (?) we unfortunately lose the entire force of that magical connotation (but on the other hand yours has a much more aggressive tone), one of the challenges (and beauties) of translating Latin. So note my alternative alongside yours:

What kind of poison is this raging in my vitals?..
What is this sorcery wreaking havoc in my breast?..
Both are perfectly passable in my opinion, and both are entertaining: but, both give a very different vibe, and its up to the translator to choose. For a literal prose translation, your rendering might indeed be much more appropriate; but for poetry, one cannot deny the appeal of the alternate.

Quick question: how did you get "snake-like bird"? Really I am just curious if I'd missed something.
My notes have serpens (serpente), which in the context I believe rendering to dragon was fair and correct.

For the 2nd last couplet, I wrote on the side: "Yet if indeed you aspire to do this again, Maecenas.." (at siquid umquam tale concupiveris; rendering concupiv.. as "aspire", but got turned into conspire in the verse). I was taking the idea that Horace was threatening him if he ever slipped garlic into Horace's food again. But your rendering with covet bears somewhat different meaning than mine, seems either technically works for sense! And likely your's closer to literal
 

Matthaeus

Vemortuicida strenuus
What kind of poison is this raging in my vitals?..
What is this sorcery wreaking havoc in my breast?..
Both are perfectly passable in my opinion, and both are entertaining: but, both give a very different vibe, and its up to the translator to choose. For a literal prose translation, your rendering might indeed be much more appropriate; but for poetry, one cannot deny the appeal of the alternate.
Yes, great insight. When translating into verse, one can keep a metaphorical meaning. Mine was just more literal and down-to-earth.
Quick question: how did you get "snake-like bird"? Really I am just curious if I'd missed something.
My notes have serpens, which in the context I believe rendering to dragon was fair and correct.
We thought serpente goes with alite...
 

Christian Alexander

Active Member
Ah right, I see for ales as subs.
But unless I am incorrect, I would take serpens as the noun, and ales as the adj: winged serpent (thus, dragon for me). (serpente alite fugit: [as] she flies away on a winged serpent, is what I would go for.) Since serpens comes first in the line, that'd give it more weight as a subject too, I'd think! But West translates "on serpent wings"; is it thus possible to take either as subst./ or adj? It could go either way if that was the case
 

Matthaeus

Vemortuicida strenuus
Ah, "winged serpent" makes more sense! Or dragon as you say, I'm satisfied there.
 

LCF

a.k.a. Lucifer
Yes! I love that one, the last couplet is gold.

If anyone has raised his unjust hand to snap
His sorry old-man’s neck in spite —
I’d vote to force some garlic down the b*stard’s throat.
O, farmers must be indomitable!

Is this yours? Very pleasing. Though, I must admit it took me a few reads to find you :), for my natural inclination was:

If any | one has rais'd | his un | just hand| to snap

but you meant this right?

If a | ny one | has rais'd | his || un | just hand| to snap
 

Christian Alexander

Active Member
Indeed it is mine :) thank you! A love for Latin/Greek metres (and thus the poets), one of the reasons I got into Latin.

And yep that second is the scansion! As has been done far and few between by other English Latinists, I transpose the Greek/Latin qualitative metres into 90% quantitave/accentual metres (I say 90% because in rare occasions, but more frequently in my hexametres, I may let "unstressed" long-syllables qualify for some "stressed"(thus originally "long") positions; this is especially good for the hexametres so as not to hinder the flow, and turns out Ovid's and Horace's hexametres well while allowing wider vocabulary).

And so according with that idea, I also follow the variation rules as thoroughly as possible.. To make the iambic/trochaic metres more adapted to English, though, I allow trochaic-inversions and anapests for variation -- but of course always only allowed in the "first foot" of each metron as did the ancient authors. Hence, in that l.1, the 3rd-metron (5th foot) has a spondee. In l.10, I employ an anapest in the 2nd-metron (the Argonauts and his pretty face) etc. But I also try to keep unstressed-long syllables to the odd-metrons if I can (..If anyone has raised) though this is not always possible in translations.. Good fun!
 
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Christian Alexander

Active Member
Thanks! And yea I had to edit that comment like 4 times to get out the striking and replace several phrases that got chopped somehow ;) odd
 

Christian Alexander

Active Member
EDIT:
Silly, I'm sure anyone realized my slip :brickwall:. But I meant:
I transpose Latin/Greek quantitative metres to 90% qualitative, etc..
 
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