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Main  ::  Translations - all  ::  Poor translation (Carmen 37)

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Posted on Fri Apr 11, 2008 04:43:47  
This translation of such a simple poem is unconscionably poor. I am no great translator, but I offer my effort here in case someone seeks an intelligible version of this poem.

O salacious tavern and you comrades,
at the ninth pillar from the felt-capped brothers,
you think that you alone have penises,
that you alone are permitted to have sex with
however many girls there are and think the rest he-goats?
Or, because 100 (or 200?) of you stupids sit in a line,
you think that I would not dare to force you 200 sitters together
to perform oral sex on me?
But now think: I will draw dicks all over the front of your tavern.
For that girl, who fled from my lap,
who I loved as much as no one will love a girl,
on behalf of whom many battles were fought,
sits there. All the good and rich men are making love to this girl,
and, indeed, rather unsuitably, all you puny alley-way adulterers;
you love one beyond all, one of the hairy ones.
son of the cave-dwelling Celtiberians,
Egnatius, whose good is marked by a shady beard,
and who scours his Iberian teeth with piss.
Posted at Wed Sep 23, 2009 04:05:20  Quote
I think your translation is better than the one linked to by the site, but I have one nit to pick. In the last line, dens is masculine and therefore cannot agree with Hibera; the urina is Spanish, not the teeth.
Rudy Negenborn
Posted at Sun Sep 27, 2009 23:37:57  Quote
Ok, I have replaced the old translation by the one suggested above with the correction in the last line here.

The old translation by Dmitry Meyersson ( 20-4-1998 ) was:

The lewd tavern and you tentmates,
the ninth pillar from the capped brothers,
you think that you alone have mentulas, do you think
that it is permitteds for you alone to have sex with whatever
girls there are and that it is permitted to think that the others are goats?
or, in an unbroken mind, because you fools sit, and 100 or 200
don't you think that I will dare
to rape orally the 200 loungers at the same time?
Moreover think, for I shall write on the front of the
whole tavern with sopiones for you.
For my girl, who has fled from my embrace
loved as much as no other will be loved,
for whom great wars were fought by me,
has settled down there, all of you fine and well to do men
love her, and indeed, which is undeserved,
all the punks and alleyway sex maniacs;
son of the Geltiberia abounding in rabbits,
Ignatius, whom a dark beard makes good
and tooth scoured with Iberian urine.

Please, feel free to comment on the new translation posted here and suggest your own.

Site manager
Posted at Mon Sep 28, 2009 14:31:06  Quote

Here's how to translate it accurately in pentameters.

Salacious inn and you, its clientele,
nine pillars down from the felt-hatted brothers,
do you believe that only you have tools,
that you alone are allowed to $#$% with all
the girls and reckon the rest of us are goats?
Or, because you sit one or two hundred
in a row, you don’t consider I’d dare
to oral-$#$% two hundred sitters at once?
Well, think again, for I’ll scribble upon
the whole inn’s frontage giant phalluses!
You see, a girl of mine, who flees my heart –
loved as much as no girl will ever be loved,
for whom many great wars were fought by me –
resides herein. You good and blessed all love
this girl, and indeed (how shameful!) all you
petty, alley-loving adulterers –
and you, in front of them all, one of the hairies,
son of rabbit-rich Celtiberia,
Egnatius (whom a bushy beard enriches
and teeth rubbed away with Iberian urine).

From: "The Poems of Catullus" by John Lambert

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