In Translation

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When I attended Memorial University a number of years ago, I focused on three areas of study: English Literature, Medieval Studies, and Classics. At one point, I had hoped to continue my study of the Middle Ages through graduate work. This, alas, was not to be and I ended up becoming a high school teacher. Latin is a language I have always loved and took a number of courses in it during my first degree. Where am I going with all this? When reading The Odes of Horace recently it struck me to attempt a few translations myself. I had dealt primarily with prose pieces up to this point and, after a few years of inactivity, my skills with the Lingua Latina had, shall we say, oxidized. The last week or so I’ve been refreshing myself on declensions, conjugations, and the finer details of grammar. What has resulted from this is my interpretation of a couple of Horace’s poems. I’ll post one here:

ODE XXXVIII

Persicos odi, puer, apparatus,
displicent nexae philyra coronae,
mitte sectari, rosa quo locorum
sera moretur.

Simplici myrto nihil adlabores
sedulus, curo: neque te ministrum
dedecet myrtus neque me sub arta
uite bibentem.

*

Son, I hate Persian fanciness,
those lime-tied garlands vex me.
Stay, don’t look all over
for a lingering rose.

Fervently make sure the plain myrtle
remains unchanged: it disgraces neither you
the servant, nor me as I drink
beneath this narrow vine.

So the formatting is off a little and I couldn’t present it exactly as I had wanted, but this is it. It’s nothing major, nothing that other people haven’t done before, but it’s good practice and quite a bit of fun. I have translated three others thus far, as well as a couple short prose pieces. I may attempt another if I can find the time this weekend.

In other news, I finally received a copy of The Society 2008 from St. Peter’s College. I have three poems in this issue and was delighted to see them.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Arts and Letters Awards are just around the corner. I’m looking forward to reading the winning entries and seeing what has been created in the province this past year.

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