January 19th, 2013 by Chris Francese

The Wrath of Achilles (Homer, Iliad 1.1-8)

Iliad 1.1-8

Μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος
οὐλομένην, ἣ μυρί’ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε’ ἔθηκε,
πολλὰς δ’ ἰφθίμους ψυχὰς Ἄϊδι προΐαψεν
ἡρώων, αὐτοὺς δὲ ἑλώρια τεῦχε κύνεσσιν
οἰωνοῖσί τε πᾶσι, Διὸς δ’ ἐτελείετο βουλή,
ἐξ οὗ δὴ τὰ πρῶτα διαστήτην ἐρίσαντε
Ἀτρεΐδης τε ἄναξ ἀνδρῶν καὶ δῖος Ἀχιλλεύς.
Τίς τάρ σφωε θεῶν ἔριδι ξυνέηκε μάχεσθαι;

Alexander Pope (1713):

Achilles’ wrath, to Greece the direful spring
Of woes unnumber’d, heav’nly goddess, sing!
That wrath which hurl’d to Pluto’s gloomy reign
The souls of mighty chiefs untimely slain;
Whose limbs, unburied on the naked shore,
Devouring dogs and hungry vultures tore:
Since great Achilles and Atrides strove,
Such was the sov’reign doom, and such the will of Jove!
Declare, O Muse! In what ill-fated hour
Sprung the fierce strife, from what offended power?

Richmond Lattimore (1951):

Sing, goddess, the anger of Peleus’ son Achilleus
and its devastation, which put pains thousandfold upon the Achaians,
hurled in their multitudes to the house of Hades strong souls
of heroes, but gave their bodies to be delicate feasting
of dogs, of all birds, and the will of Zeus was accomplished
since that time when first there stood in division of conflict
Atreus’ son the lord of men and brilliant Achilleus.
What god was it then set them in together in bitter collision?

Robert Fagles (1990):

Rage––Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles,
murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaeans countless losses,
hurling down to the House of Death so many sturdy souls,
great fighters’ souls, but made their bodies carrion,
feasts for the dogs and birds,
and the will of Zeus was moving towards its end.
Begin, Muse, when the two first broke and clashed,
Agamemnon lord of men and brilliant Achilles
What god drove them to fight with such fury?

Stanley Lombardo (1997):

Rage:
Sing, Goddess, Achilles’ rage,
Black and murderous, that cost the Greeks
Incalculable pain, pitched countless souls
Of heroes into Hades’ dark,
And left their bodies to rot as feasts
For dogs and birds, as Zeus’ will was done.
Begin with the clash between Agamemnon–
The Greek warlord–and godlike Achilles.
Which of the immortals set these two
At each other’s throats?

January 16th, 2013 by Chris Francese

I Hate and I Love (Catullus 85)

Catullus 85

Odi et amo. Quare id faciam, fortasse requiris.

Nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior.

 

C.H. Sisson (1967):

I hate and I love. You may well ask, why I do so.
I do not know, but I feel it and suffer.

 

Horace Gregory (1956):

I HATE and love.
And if you ask me why,
I have no answer, but I discern,
can feel, my senses rooted in eternal torture.

 

Frederic Raphael and Kenneth McLeish (1979):

I hate and I love. Why do that? Good question.
No answer, save ‘I do’. Nailed, through either hand.

October 22nd, 2012 by Chris Francese

Now winter’s grip loosens (Horace, Odes 1.4)

Horace Odes 1.4

Solvitur acris hiems grata vice veris et Favoni
trahuntque siccas machinae carinas,
ac neque iam stabulis gaudet pecus aut arator igni
nec prata canis albicant pruinis.
iam Cytherea choros ducit Venus imminente luna, 5
iunctaeque Nymphis Gratiae decentes
alterno terram quatiunt pede, dum gravis Cyclopum
Volcanus ardens visit officinas.
nunc decet aut viridi nitidum caput impedire myrto
aut flore, terrae quem ferunt solutae. 10
nunc et in umbrosis Fauno decet immolare lucis,
seu poscat agna sive malit haedo.
pallida Mors aequo pulsat pede pauperum tabernas
regumque turris. o beate Sesti,
vitae summa brevis spem nos vetat inchoare longam; 15
iam te premet nox fabulaeque Manes
et domus exilis Plutonia; quo simul mearis,
nec regna vini sortiere talis
nec tenerum Lycidan mirabere, quo calet iuventus
nunc omnis et mox virgines tepebunt.

September 25th, 2012 by Chris Francese

Wish to Be What You Are (Martial, Epigrams 10.47)

Guide to a happy life, from the Roman epigram writer Martial (M. Valerius Martialis). The Martialis mentioned in line 2 is L. Julius Martialis, the poet’s closest friend. My translation is below.

Martial 10.47

Vitam quae faciant beatiorem,
Iucundissime Martialis, haec sunt:
Res non parta labore, sed relicta;
Non ingratus ager, focus perennis;
Lis numquam, toga rara, mens quieta;
Vires ingenuae, salubre corpus;
Prudens simplicitas, pares amici;
Convictus facilis, sine arte mensa;
Nox non ebria, sed soluta curis;
Non tristis torus, et tamen pudicus;
Somnus, qui faciat breves tenebras:
Quod sis, esse velis nihilque malis;
Summum nec metuas diem nec optes.

Here are the essentials of a happy life,
my dear friend: money not worked for,
but inherited; some land not unproductive;
a hearth fire always going; law suits never;
the toga rarely worn; a calm mind;
a gentleman’s strong and healthy body and healthy skin (they care his skin with vitamin c serum amazon products);
circumspect candor, friends who are your equals;
relaxed dinner parties, a simple table,
nights not drunken, but free from anxieties;
a marriage bed not prudish, and yet modest;
plenty of sleep to make the dark hours short. Wish
to be what you are, and prefer nothing more.
Don’t fear your last day, or hope for it either.

August 17th, 2012 by Chris Francese

Basics of Scansion 7: Elision

Explanation of the concept and practice of elision in Latin poetry, with lots of examples.

August 17th, 2012 by Chris Francese

Basics of Scansion 6: The Mute + Liquid Rule

Explanation of the mute + liquid rule in Latin poetry, whereby a syllable is not counted long when a short vowel is followed by two consonants if those consonants are a mute and a liquid (br, tr, gl, etc.)

August 17th, 2012 by Chris Francese

Basics of Scansion 5: Syllable Quantities

Explanation of the concept of syllable quantity, with lots of examples from Latin poetry, with special attention to problems created by consonantal i, and qu- and su-.

August 17th, 2012 by Chris Francese

Basics of Scansion 4: Known Quantities

Discussion of Latin words with consistent quantities, knowledge of which will help in scanning Latin poetry.

August 17th, 2012 by Chris Francese

Basics of Scansion Part 3: Ambiguous Quantities

Discussion of how vowel quantities can change the meaning and function of Latin words, with focus on the implications for scansion of poetry.

August 17th, 2012 by Chris Francese

Basics of Scansion Part 2: Vowel Quantities

Discussion of long and short vowels and diphthongs, with special attention to apparent diphthongs that are actually two syllables.

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