Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Gaius Valerius Catullus (circa 84-54 B.C.). Catullus 101

Gaius Valerius Catullus (circa 84-54 B.C.), Poem CI / 101:

Multas per gentes et multa per aequora uectus
     Advenio has miseras, frater, ad inferias,
Vt te postremo donarem munere mortis
     Et mutam nequiquam adloquerer cinerem,
Quandoquidem fortuna mihi tete abstulit ipsum,
     Heu miser indigne frater adempte mihi.
Nunc tamen interea haec, prisco quae more parentum
     Tradita sunt tristi munere ad inferias,
Accipe fraterno multum manantia fletu
     Atque in perpetuum, frater, aue atque uale.

Aubrey Beardsley translation, 1896:

By ways remote and distant waters sped, 
Brother, to thy sad grave-side am I come,
That I may give the last gifts to the dead, 
And vainly parley with thine ashes dumb: 
Since she who now bestows and now denies 
Hath taken thee, hapless brother, from mine eyes.
But lo! these gifts, the heirlooms of past years, 
Are made sad things to grace thy coffin shell, 
Take them, all drenchèd with a brother’s tears, 
And, brother, for all time, hail and farewell!

Google Translate, slightly tweaked, 2016:

Through many nations and many seas, I
      Arrive at these wretched funeral rites, in the rites,
As a last gift of death
      And in vain address your ashes
Since fortune has borne you, yourself, away from me,
      Oh, poor brother, snatched unfairly away from me.
But now that I, even these, in the ancient custom of our parents
      Have been handed down as a sad gift to the underworld,
Many tears of a brother
     And forever, brother, farewell

Today's Rune: Fertility. 


Charles Gramlich said...

Must pick up one of these translations. I've heard of the poet but no virtually nothing about them

the walking man said...

The Aubrey Beardley translation is much better.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

These are some very beautiful and deep poems...