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Main  ::  Translations - all  ::  Different Translation of 64 (Carmen 64)

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Posted on Wed Feb 11, 2009 00:04:46  
The Pelion range, vertical pine fir once descended,
it is said, whirled through Neptune’s weave of liquid rivers.
The Phasis flowed to the edge of Aeetes’ kingdom in Colchis
when the youth were bred hard on Grecian strength
wishing to come back with a golden fleece over the Black Sea.
Quick through a salt straight, a ship’s stern drags.
Oars of pinewood palm the flat cerulean sea.
A goddess observes from the highest arch of the city.
She makes wind run light. The flap of wing flutter
and pine mix in the bend and weave of ship cloth.
The first soaked from this rough rushing was Amphitrite.
The hull, full of wind, plowed the flats curling up,
and in the rowing, water grew gray foam.
Foam emerging from white glints on the straight, the swirl
of sea shadows, a sign that the Nereids are wondering.
And nowhere else had the eyes of a mortal nursed on
the naked bodies of Nymphs, than on the swirl
of silver light seen there in the sea.
And then King Peleus caught fire with love for Thetis,
and Thetis did not object to a human marriage,
and Thetis’ father understood, so he married her to Peleus.
O excessive wish! To be born when
heroes bred with gods. Hello, o soft lineage
of a mistress. Hello to soft wanderings.
I’d frequent your purity. I’d call you by song.
And I’d come carrying pine torches
to the heights of Thessaly for Peleus, whom Jupiter
allowed to love this goddess he created.
Did Nereus’ beautiful Thetis hold you?
Did Thetis let you draw her granddaughter together with
Oceanus? They curl around the sea everywhere in embrace.
At once, a wish arrives on the edge of light.
All came crowding the house
in Thessaly, fat from sweet royalty.
They brought gifts, their faces were clear expressions of joy.
They deserted Cieros. They left Tempe
and the homes of Crannon and the walls of Larissa.
They came to Pharsalus, crowding into Pharsalus.
Young necks soften—No one cultivates the land.
No curl of vine is purged with earth plows.
No sickle strips the shade of trees.
No bull plows its cock through a clump of dirt.
The deserted plow is covered with unkempt rust.
Peleus is in his home, reclining in the lavish
palace—bright flashes of gold and white metal.
His seat is a brilliant ivory. Goblets glow on the table.
The whole house enjoys the gorgeous treasures of royalty.
In fact, the bridal bed of the goddess is set
in the middle of his home draped with a rose tint—
polished Indian tusks painted with purple shells,
and an ancient tapestry filled with wonderful heroes,
varying shapes, the virtues of art.

Ariadna watches Theseus from the distant flowing
shores of Naxos. He moves with his quick fleet.
Her heart is wild now.
She still does not believe that she sees what she sees,
or the possibility that she may be waking, deceived by sleep,
or deserted, alone in her misery, sifting the sand
while that youth flees unaware. Oars push through
the shallows, leaving excited and full of wind.
From the seaweed, the sad eyes of Minos’ daughter, like a statue
of a bacchante, look out at that distant imitation,
She looks out with passion and the great waves curl and crash.
She does not keep the fine spun gold turban on her head,
and does not cover her naked chest with a loose wrap,
and does not bind her round milky breasts in a bodice.
All these slip under the feet of her fleshy body
as she played with the surging waves of salt.
She did not care for her turban then, or the flowing
wrap in the water, but for you Theseus, her whole heart,
whole spirit, and her whole desperate mind hung
miserably. She continued to wrestle with her desires.
Venus lined her heart with thorns
when Theseus set out from the curving
shores of Piraeus and that ferocious wind hit
the Gortynian temple of the unjust king.

At this time, they tell of an infectious epidemic
that coldly killed the king of Crete, Androgeos.
The Cercropian citadel was to give a banquet for the Minotaur,
with the best youths and equally brilliant maidens.
When these narrow walls shook with evil,
Theseus chose to rush forward, offering his body
for Athens, preferring a certain death
to the rising deaths in the Cercropia.
And so he came on the course of sleek light and slick wind
to the massive and tyrannical seat of Minos
As soon as the young daughter caught sight of him
in the palace, she exhaled a scent like virgin lust
in her bed, still nursed on her mother’s soft embrace,
like myrtle berry on the streams of Eurotas—
a distinct breath drawn out of green colors.
The sight of him before her burned.
It took hold of her entire body. A flame
dug at all of her innermost marrow.
O the miserable frenzy you excite with an unripe heart!
Sacred boy, you confuse happiness with human desire.
And you reign in Golgi and in the forests of Idalia.
On what waves did you hurl her flaring mind,
sighing for the stranger with yellow hair?
How much fear did she hold in her heart?
How often did she turn pale as great flashes of gold?
When raging with desire against the monster,
Theseus strode toward death or hard fought glory.
Not unlike little prayers offered to gods,
a useless promise set fire from her lips.
Just as tree branches shake as high as Taurus
or as cones drip off pine bark,
an untamed wind twists the whirling oak.
Roots thrust up in the distance, torn
and bent over, still twitching.
Theseus arches over the raging body,
arms raised in the vacant wind.
Then he retraced his untouched tracks,
roaming this thin thread,
unaffected by the twisting labyrinths.
He wanders on unnoticed.

But why should I digress from the first song? Should I
mention more? How the daughter in clear sight of her father,
her embracing sister, and finally her mother,
lost in misery weeping for her child,
chose Theseus’ sweet love over everything.
Or how the ship carried on to the foaming shores of Naxos,
or how he fled by lamplight while she slept, or how
he floated away unconcerned and severed her heart.
They say she burned furiously and her voice was often
heard clear, flying out of her heart and chest.
She would sadly climb steep mountains,
stretch her sharp eyes on the vacant sea surge,
then run down to the tremendous sea swells in front of her,
lifting the soft cover from her naked calf.
These last mournful complaints came
cold and damp from her sobbing lips:

“So I am carried far away from my father. Faithless!
Faithless! I’m deserted on the shore, Theseus.
So you leave for home neglecting the consent of gods?
Are you not concerned with your devotion to broken promises?
Is there nothing able to curve your cruel mind?
Was there no mercy present
in your unripe heart to pluck away this misery?
These were not the coaxing promises that your voice
once offered me. You did not excite me to search for misery,
but a happy marriage, a perfect wedding;
all that the wind shatters in vain.
Let no woman believe a man’s promise ever again.
No one look for faith in any man’s speech.
When their spirit eagerly desires to examine something,
they are not afraid to promise. They spare no act.
But as soon as the mind’s desire for lust is satisfied,
they remember nothing said. The liars run.
The truth? I snatched you from the spiraling whirl
of death and let my brother slip.
You rose from this with lies and soon failed me.
You tore me to pieces like prey, and then
cast my corpse on the earth without a burial.
What lioness gave birth to you under a lonely cliff?
What sea conceived you and spit you from the foaming waves?
What Syrtis? What ravaging Scylla? What waste of Charybdis?
Who returns this kind of reward for sweet life?
Your heart shivers with horror from our marriage.
And now my father is raging. Still,
you could have led me to your home
and I would have pleased you, serving you like a slave,
caressing your white feet with spring water,
covering your bed with a purple tapestry.
But why should I complain to an ignorant ear?
I wish his senses were made greater and strange,
unable to hear any message or return with any voice.
And let him toss about in the waves where no humans
appear on the vast ocean or in the seaweed.
So this excessive rage springs one last time—
So fortune will hear this lament again—
All powerful Jupiter, I wish that Cercropian ship
never touched the Cnosian shore,
or that this faithless wanderer never tied his cable
in Crete, bearing a tribute to the untamed bull,
or that this evil figure, cruelly sweet, came
to rest in our home as a guest.
Will I return? What devastated wish do I lean on?
Aim for the Idaean mountains? What bridge divides
the swirling abyss and the ferocious stretch of sea?
Wish for my father’s help? What is left of it?
I pursued my young brother’s murderer.
Perhaps I’ll trust in my husband’s love to console me?
He flees bending his oars in the swirling current.
Besides, the island is remote. The hills hide everything.
The sea is not open. Waves swell.
No means of flight. No hope. All is silent.
All is lost. It all points at death.
But my life will not hang limp before mortality.
And my senses will not leave my exhausted body.
I will beg for justice from the gods for this betrayal
and faithfully pray to the heavens in my final hour.
What payments are claimed for these deeds of men?
You Gracious Bacchantes, your snake hair coils
on your forehead. Bring wrath from your heaving chests.
Come here. Come here! And listen to my complaint,
which I— $#$% it. Misery deep in my bones—
helpless, burning, mad blind fury.
Since this truly comes from the depths of my heart,
do not let this lament disappear.
Just as the mind of Theseus left me alone, with a like mind,
goddesses, pollute him and his kind with death.”

After her voice poured out of her sad heart,
she anxiously begged that these cruel acts be punished.
The heavens nodded with approval.
Then the earth moved and the rough sea trembled.
The universe violently shook the stars out of order.
The vague mind of Theseus—a mist forms,
pressing violently on his heart,
which once held his mind still.
He forgot to raise the signal of his safety
for his father, whose eyes stretched on the Athenian harbor.
They say that when Aegeus
was trusting his son to the wind, leaving the walls
of the goddess, he embraced him, giving this order:

“My son, my only pleasure from this long life,
just returned to me at the end of my old age—
My son, who I send off toward dangerous places—
Since my fortune and your fiery virtue
have snatched you from me against my will, I’m weak.
I won’t be satisfied, my precious son, with just your image.
I will not let you go cheerfully from my heart,
nor let you bear marks of an inferior fate.
So keep these many warnings in mind.
I will pour earth and dust on my gray head.
Hang dyed linens on your roaming mast
until my sadness and my incensed mind
are covered in a red Spanish rust.
And if you leave the land of sacred Itonius,
who nods at all of us and our race, defended by the throne
of Erechtheus. Splash the blood of that bull on your right hand.
Make sure my commands thrive from your heart.
And polish your memory. Let no summer wind shatter you.
As the light visits our high hills,
lay down your uniform, polluted with death.
Raise up the sail cloth, white and twisted, on the creaking mast,
so that my happy mind will be able to watch
you return to stay here for a lifetime.”

At first, Theseus grasped this order with a firm mind
like blasts of wind that push clouds
from mountains of snow, melting away.
But when his father, anxious and constantly reduced
to tears, watched from the highest peak,
he cast himself from the top of a cliff,
after he caught sight of the swollen sail cloth,
believing Theseus slipped into an unripe fate.
So, entering his home, fierce Theseus, crushed
with his father’s death because of his forgetful mind,
suffered and mourned like Minos.
While she replays the ship’s wake fading in her mind,
her wounded spirit turns with so much pain.

In another part of the flowing tapestry, Bacchus is
searching for you, Ariadna, with the apish Satyrs
who have horses tails, and with his tutor Seleni.
Bacchus is incensed with love for you, Ariadna.
The wild bacchantes are raging frantically,
howling Evoe!, their big hair sways, howling Evoe!
Some shake thyrsi staffs and spears.
Some toss the torn limbs of cows.
Some wreathe themselves with twisting snakes.
Some crowd in a room for a secret orgy.
Others pound tambourines with their palms
and make the air thin with the round pierce
of brash horns, booming with strange
blows. A horrifying flute shrieks.
These figures are woven in the wonderful tapestry.
This wrap folds over the couch,
and the Thessalian youths look at it longingly,
before they bow to these sacred gods.

Here, a certain breath of west wind on the placid sea
incites rough sloping waves at dawn.
Aurora rises vague under the open Sun.
The pulse of gentle wind, sluggish at first,
rises lightly and cuts into a cackle.
As the wind grows and grows more
and purple light reflects in the distance,
they leave the royal vestibule—
Vague feet roaming in every direction.
After they left whirling Pelion, led by Chiron,
they arrived carrying gifts from the forest,
from the open plains, from Thessaly’s great
mountains creating borders, from the flowing waters.
Like the warm west wind of Favonius that uncovers flowers,
he brought these woven gifts in a tangled wreath,
which stroked the house smiling with its perfume.

The Peneus river is there. Tempe is green—
Tempe, surrounded by high hanging trees.
Minos leaves the dancing crowds in Doris,
and not empty handed! He carried the long roots
of a beach tree, and stiff branches from tall bay trees,
and he was not without the leaning nod of the plane tree,
sister of flaming Phaeton and the airy cypress.
He wove these around their home
so that their vestibule was draped with soft green leaves.

Here, the careful heart of Prometheus
is reduced to the trace of his punishment.
The scars from how his limbs hung on that cliff
were shafts of light on a steep mountain.

Here comes the father of the gods with his children
and his holy wife. You’re alone in the sky Phoebus,
abandoned and served by your sister in the mountains of Idrus.
Your sister is as disgusted as you were of Peleus. She did not wish to gather
for Thetis’ great wedding ceremony among the crowds holding pine torches.

Here, after they stretched in sculpted snow couches,
heaps of banquet food were piled up and multiplied.
The faint shivering body of Parcae, goddess of Fate,
began chanting and they were dancing with divine wisdom.
Their trembling bodies embraced every fold in the flow
of their white robes fringed with a flash of purple.
Rose ribbons hang from their snow soft hair.
Their hands of pious labor gather up eternity.
To their left, a cloth strainer collects supple wool,
and on their right, a thread is drawn down lightly, turned
back up around their fingers, and leaning forward, they twist it
over their thumb so it moves the spool and spins out.
And in this way, with one arm extended, they snap off equal strips
with their teeth. Bits of wool linger on their dry lips.
The thread is stretched and smoothed out
in piles of pale white wool. Below their feet,
there is a wicker basket made of willow which holds the thread
that they pick at. And with a clear voice,
they pour out an old song of divine fate;
a song that has never lied:

“O grace of eminent and increasing great virtue!
From Emathia, protector of Thessaly, to the son of Ops, goddess of plenty,
accept this divine oracle, which these sisters spread out
for you in sleek light. And you must run. The Fates will follow.
Draw the spindles and run with the threads of Fate.”

“He will come again to you with the promise of marriage.
This Hesperus—He will come with a blessing from the stars,
which he will pour over your mind and sway you in the liquidness
and he will love you. He will join you with the drugs of sleep.
A smooth forearm spreads under his strong neck. You must run.
Draw the spindles and run with the threads of Fate.”

“No house ever held such a love.
No love ever joined such lovers
like that of Thetis together with Peleus. So you must run.
Draw the spindles and run with the threads of Fate.”

“Achilles will be born to you, void of fear.
No stranger will know his back, but his brave chest
will often be wide when he sprints away in victory
with flaming footsteps left behind him. So you must run.
Draw the spindles and run with the threads of Fate.”

“No hero will ever match him in war.
When Teucrian blood flows on the Phrygian plain
and the Trojan walls are laid to waste in the long war,
the third heir of Pelops will leave as a liar. So you must run.
Draw the spindles and run with the threads of Fate.”

“This man, with distinguished virtue and the strength of clarity,
is often acknowledged by mothers at the funerals of their sons
with an uncontrolled sobbing chant. Their faint hands switch
from their frayed hair to their chest. So you must run.
Draw the spindles and run with the threads of Fate.”

“For just as the thick beards of corn are plucked
under the fiery sun in an early harvest of yellow fields,
the bodies of the sons of Troy are slain with iron. So you must run.
Draw the spindles and run with the threads of Fate.”

“The test of his great virtue will be the Scamander river
rushing out to Hellespont Strait,
rising where its journey reaches a heap of bodies—
carcasses making the water warm. So you must run.
Draw the spindles and run with the threads of Fate.”

“His last test will be returned with the great prize of death,
when he will remove from the heights of this slaughtered heap,
a snow soft virgin curled up. So you must run.
Draw the spindles and run with the threads of Fate.”

“Fortune gives the weary Achaens the power
to free the Dardanian city surrounded by Neptune’s sea.
The high tomb will moisten with the blood of Polyzena, the great-
granddaughter of Achilles. She bows beneath the double-edged sword.
Her headless body bent forward on one knee. So you must run.
Draw the spindles and run with the threads of Fate.”

“Whoever excites the wish of souls in love to unite,
accept this wife as a chance to bond with the divine and
give this bride the desire for an everlasting marriage. And you must run.
Draw the spindles and run with the threads of Fate.”

“With the East light rising, the nurse returns,
unable to wrap yesterday’s necklace around
this sobbing girl who lies alone and squirms. Her anxious mother
will not let go of the desire for grandchildren. You must run.
Draw the spindles and run with the threads of Fate.”

There was once a prayer of this kind for the fortune of Peleus.
It was a divine song, like smoke from the chests of these goddesses of Fate.
It was once their habit to visit the sacred homes
of heroes and stretch themselves before humans, uniting them
with the heavens, but not after piety was desecrated.
Often the Father of the gods returns to his glamorous temple.
When the sacred festivals come, they come
on the image of a hundred bulls lunging toward the earth.
Often the vegetation of Liber roams to the highest summit of Parnassus—
Outbursts of “Evoe!” from the long hair of the Thyades.
When will every Delphian, flowing fiercely from the city,
accept the joy of the smoke-streaming alter to the gods?
Often in the certain death of war, either Mars
or the swift mistress of Triton or the virgin of Rhamnusia
incite groups of men to take up arms.
But after the earth becomes saturated in this pollution,
and everyone’s desire for justice flies from the mind,
and brothers soak their hands in their brothers’ blood,
and the child is left alone to mourn his parents’ death,
the father wishes for the early funeral of his son
to freely drink the flower of the new bride.
The unfaithful mother spreads herself under an ignorant son,
polluting the divine truth of the Penates—
Every evil is promiscuous, right or wrong, and frantically
leads us away from the fair minds of the gods,
where it is not worth it to know such a union
or to brush oneself against the loudness of light.

  � copyright 1995-2010 by Rudy Negenborn