|Carmen 17 (in English by Brendan Rau)
Vercellese. Compare two languages here.
O Cologna, you wish to play on the long bridge
and are ready to jump, but you are weary of the awkward
legs of a little bridge standing on second-hand planks,
lest it go facing upward and settle in the deep swamp:
out of your lust, may the bridge be good for you,
this bridge on which even the rites of Salisubsalus might be undertaken;
so grant me this favor of the greatest laughter, Cologna.
I want a certain townsman of mine to go
plunging headfirst into the mud,
or rather where the lake of the stinking swamp is a blackish-blue hole,
as nearly bottomless as possible.
The man is well nigh witless, and he doesn't sense so well
as a two-year-old boy in the dandling forearm of his sleeping father.
Though he has for a wife a young woman in the freshest flower,
(and the young woman, friskier than a tender little bird,
must be guarded from clusters of very dark grapes),
he lets her play as she pleases; he doesn't care a hair,
and he doesn't rouse himself from his lethargy on his own behalf. But he lies
just like an alder tree in a ditch, an alder tree hamstrung by a Ligmian axe,
sensing everything just as well as if it didn't exist at all.
Such a clod as this one of mine sees nothing and hears nothing,
and he himself doesn't even know whether he exists.
Now I want to send him face down from your bridge,
if that can arouse his dull senility,
and leave his helpless mind in the heavy slime
as a she-mule leaves her iron sandal behind in a glutinous pit.
Taken with kind permission from Brendan
|© copyright 17-4-1999 by Brendan Rau