Catullus 64.1-204

Pines, once sprung from Peliacan mount,
Are said to have swum through flowing Phasian
Waves to the waters and borders of Aeetes,
When chosen youths, strongest of Argive men,
Seeking to snatch the golden fleece from Colchis,
Dared to quickly run through the salty waves with their
Prow, sweeping the azure waters with firewood oars.
The goddess, retaining for them citadels in loftiest cities,
Herself made the craft, flying with light flame,
Joining woven pines to the curved prow.
She, firstly, introduced the sea, untried, to sailing;
As soon as it ploughed the windy sea with prow
And the rough water became white with froths of the oar,
The Nereids, admiring the sight of the sea, raised
Their heads from the froth of the shining ocean.
They, as mortal mariners, and not others, saw in the light
With their own eyes nymphs, with bare body, as far as
The breasts, raising their heads from the hoary sea.
Then Peleus was carried, incensed with love of Thetis;
Then Thetis did not scorn the mortal hymn;
Then the father himself perceived Peleus joining to Thetis.
O, heroes born in the much-chosen time of ages,
Hello, kind of the gods! O progeny of great
Mothers, hello!
Often you–you I will seek in my song.
I go to you, having especially prospered in felicitous marriage,
Prominence of Thessalian Peleus, to whom Jupiter himself,
Himself father of the gods, has granted your loves.
Did Thetis, most beautiful Nereid, hold you?
Did Tethys, and Oceanus, who encloses the whole
World in sea, allow you to marry their daughter?
As that hoped-for day came in certain time,
All Thessalia frequented the house for meeting:
The palace was filled by a band of those celebrating:
They bear gifts before themselves; they show joys in their face.
Cieros is abandoned, they flow from Thessalian vale
And Crannonian houses and Larissan bulwarks.
They come together at Pharsalus, frequent Pharsalian houses.
None looks after the fields; youths’ shoulders soften;
No humble vine is cleared out with curved hoe;
No bull tugs the plough with slanted ploughshare;
No knife trims the shade of the fronds of a tree;
A rough rust is born to the deserted fields.
And the seats of that one, wherever the opulent palace
Extended, are resplendent with shining gold and silver.
Ivory gleams on the high seats; goblets on the table glimmer;
The entire house rejoices in the splendid kingly treasure.
Indeed, a couch to the marriage goddess is placed
In the middle of the seats, which, gleaming with Indian
Ivory, which a rosey coverlet, dyed with the purple of an oyster
Covers. This cloth, embroidered with ancient figures of men
Spoke the virtues of heroes in wondrous art.
For, looking to the sea-battered shore of Dia,
Ariadne, bearing indomitable angers in heart,
Watches fleeing Theseus with his swift fleet, nor truly
While she sees these things does she believe herself to see them:
No wonder, as she, first roused from deceptive sleep, discerned
Herself, miserable, to be forsaken on the lone beach.
The unmindful and fleing youth struck the waves with oars,
Loosing his empty promises to the windy gale.
Whom, from the seaweed-lined shore, miserable Ariadne–
Alas!–saw, herself as a stony statue of a Bacchant.
She saw, and she rages with great waves of worry,
Not retaining her delicate veil on her head,
Her chest not covered by light sheltering cloak,
Her milk-white breasts not supported with round strap.
All about, all things had fallen from her whole body,
And before her feet, the waved of salt did play.
But then, Theseus, caring not in your whole heart
For her plight, nor her floating veil or cloak,
She did hang with her whole mind, her whole ruined mind.
From this misery, Erycina, sowing thorny worries in her
Breast, maddened her with unremitting griefs,
Since that time, that time when iron Theseus,
Having stepped from the sloped shores of Piraeus,
Touched the Cretan temples of the unjust king.
For they say of old, driven by cruel pestilence
To pay retributions for the death of Androgeos,
Chosen youths Athens was wont to give, and
The gift of unwed women as a sacrificial meal to the Minotaur.
When the narrow walls were threatened by such evils,
Theseus himself chose to put forth his own body
For the care of Athens, the better than should yet-alive
Athenians be borne to Crete for such deaths.
And indeed, speeding with a light ship and gentle breezes,
Great-hearted Theseus came to Minos and his haughty kingdom.
As soon as the princess saw him with cupidinous eyes,
Whom chaste couch, breathing out sweet odours,
Nourished still in the soft embrace of her mother,
Just as myrtles which gird Spartan rivers,
Or the spring breeze which brings forth distinct colours.
Not before she has lowered her flowering eyes from him
Than has she caught a fire wholly within her entire body,
And she blazed entire from her deepest marrows.
Alas, Cupid, exciting pitiless furies in an ill-fated heart,
You mix the delights of men with worries,
And you, who rules Golgos and frondy Idalium,
You have thrown the girl, incensed in her mind, into such
Waves, often sighing over the fair-haired guest!
She has carried such fears in her weary heart!
often, by how much the more than the gleam of gold did she pale,
When desiring to contend against the savage monster,
Or when Theseus sought laudations for either death or reward!
Nevertheless, not promising unpleasing gifts to the gods,
She did take up prayers with silent mouth,
For just as a a gale ruins with a gust shaking oak
in the highest branches of Taurian mount or coniferous
Pine with dripping bark, twisting indomitable trunk
(Those torn of the root fall prone afar
Fracturing widely all things that are in its way),
So did Theseus lie low the monster with its body subdued,
In vain throwing its horns to the empty winds.
Thence, with much praise, he turned back on safe foot,
Commanding the wandering paths with thin string,
Lest unseen error confound him from leaving winding maze.
But why should I recall more, having departed from the
First song: such as the girl, fleeing from the face of her father,
The embrace of her sister, and at last, that of her mother,
Who, ruined, celebrated her miserable daughter–
From all these things she chose the sweet love of Theseus–
Or how she came, dragged by ship to the frothy shores
Of Dia, or how her spouse, departing with heedless mind,
Left her, conquered in her eyes by sleep?
Often they say that she, raging with fiery heart,
Uttered resonating cries from her bottommost breast,
And then climbed, distraught, the steep mountains,
That thence she might extend her gaze to the sea’s vast swell,
Then running to opposing waves of shaking salt,
Lifting the soft coverings of her bared calf,
And spoke sad things in final protests,
Raising feeble sobs with moistened face:

“Thus, faithless, have you deserted me in deserted
Land, dragged from my fathers altars, perfidious Theseus?
Thus departing, with neglect to the will of the gods–
Heedless, alas!–do you carry ruinous wishes to your house?
No work is able to sway the plan of your cruel
Mind? Is no kindness available to you
That you might wish your heart have compassion for me?
But these are not the promises you have given me with your
Sweet voice: you did not bid me, miserable, to hope these,
But for happy marriage, but for chosen vows,
Which the lofty winds have torn asunder, all in vain.
Now let no woman believe that a man swears;
Let none trust that mens’ speeches be faithful,
Who, while their minds, desiring, are eager to obtain anything,
Fear to promise nothing, spare to promise nothing.
But as soon as the desire of their cupidinous mind is sated,
They fear not their words, care not for their slights.
Certainly, I have snatched you, turning in the turbulent midst of death,
And I decided more aptly to leave my own brother
Than I might fail you–false–in your most dire time.
I am given for tearing as prize to beasts and birds,
Nor shall I, dead, be buried under thrown earth.
Who then has birthed you? A lioness under a lone rock?
What sea spewed you, conceived, from frothy waves?
What Sytris, what rapacious Scylla, what gaping Charybdis?
To whom do you give gifts for such sweet life?
If it did not please your heart for us to be we,

<The entire epyllion is translated; I’ve just been too lazy to yet type it up.>


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s