Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Horace - 4

Student: (Did John Burnett [a Naropa student] do [read out loud] any Horace?)
AG: Pardon me?
Student:  John Burnett?
AG: No, he didn't do any Horace. (So), let's see, okay, yeah…

Student (begins reading)  [Horace Book 2 - Ode XIV]  "Ah, how they glide by, Postumus, Postumus,/ The years, the swift years!/ Wrinkles and imminent/ Old age and death, whom no one conquers -/ Piety cannot delay their onward/ March; no, my friend, not were you to sacrifice/Three hundred bulls each day to inflexible/ Pluto whose grim moat holds the triple/ Geryon jailed with his fellow giants/ Death's lake that all we sons of mortality/Who have the good earth's fruits for the picking are/Foredoomed to cross, no matter whether/Rulers of kingdoms or needy peasants/.In vain we stay unscratched by the bloody wars,/in vain escape tumultous Hadria's/Storm-waves, in vain each autumn dread the/ Southern sirocco, our health's destroyer./We must at last set eyes on the scenery/Of Hell; the ill-famed daughters of Danaus,/Cocytus' dark, slow, winding river,/Sisyphus damned to his endlesss labour./ Farewell to lands, home dear and affectionate,/Wife then. Of all those trees that you tended well/Not one, a true friend , save the hated/Cypress shall follow its short-lived master./An heir shall
 drain those cellars of  Caecuban/You treble-locked (indeed he deserves it more)/And drench the stone-flagged floor with prouder/Wine than is drunk at the pontiff's banquet>"

Eheu fugaces, Postume, Postume
labuntur anni, nec pietas moram
    rugis et instanti senectae
        adferet indomitaeque morti;

non, si trecenis, quotquot eunt dies,
amice, places inlacrimabilem
    Plutona tauris, qui ter amplum
        Geryonen Tityonque tristi

compescit unda, scilicet omnibus,
quicumque terrae munere vescimur,
    enaviganda, sive reges
        sive inopes erimus coloni.

rustra cruento Marte carebimus
fractisque rauci fluctibus Hadriae,
    frustra per autumnos nocentem
        corporibus metuemus Austrum:

visendus ater flumine languido
Cocytos errans et Danai genus
    infame damnatusque longi
        Sisyphus Aeolides laboris

linquenda tellus et domus et placens
uxor, neque harum, quas colis, arborum
    te praeter invisas cupressos
        ulla brevem dominum sequetur.

absumet heres Caecuba dignior
servata centum clavibus et mero
    tinguet pavimentum superbo
        pontificum potiore cenis.

AG: Does that have any.. anywhere? Is that done in Sapphics in English? 
Student: Yeah
AG; Can you read the adonic lines? - the little (tags) , just the adonic lines..
Student: (Well, I ...)  "Piety cannot delay their onward.."..(but)...
AG: Ah, it's not translated into.. ?
Student: Well, no, like, it's real irregular.
AG: That's really interesting
Student: (Some, but).. I don't know
AG: Are there are any good ones, short, brief sharp ones that are..really.. that have some rhythm?  The point is to get some rhythm, not just to listen to.. words..
Student: Yes, ok
AG: (But) rhythmic words!
Student: Here's one.  (but)  It's not all that short  tho'), with...
AG:  Er.. I don't want to get too hung up..
Student: (Well..)
AG: Is it interesting?  Because we've only got another fifteen minutes..

The reason Horace is important here is that the later European Renaissance poets (Petrarch, particularly, precursor of Dante - Petrarch was a precursor of Dante, right?) picked up not so much from Sappho or Catullus but from Horace. And it was Horace who influenced them - (John) Milton and (Andrew) Marvell - Milton translated an Horatian Ode - Marvell wrote a Horatian Ode,

[Audio for the above can be heard here beginning at approxomately forty-two-and-three-quarter minutes in, and ending at approximately forty-five-and-a-quarter minutes in]

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