2016年11月27日 星期日

Latin poet Horace

Quintus Horatius Flaccus was born on Venusia, Italy, Roman Republic on this day in 65 BCE.
"Winter" by Horace
See how Soracte stands glistening with snowfall,
and the labouring woods bend under the weight:
see how the mountain streams are frozen,
cased in the ice by the shuddering cold?
Drive away bitterness, and pile on the logs,
bury the hearthstones, and, with generous heart,
out of the four-year old Sabine jars,
O Thaliarchus, bring on the true wine.
Leave the rest to the gods: when they’ve stilled the winds
that struggle, far away, over raging seas,
you’ll see that neither the cypress trees
nor the old ash will be able to stir.
Don’t ask what tomorrow brings, call them your gain
whatever days Fortune gives, don’t spurn sweet love,
my child, and don’t you be neglectful
of the choir of love, or the dancing feet,
while life is still green, and your white-haired old age
is far away with all its moroseness. Now,
find the Campus again, and the squares,
soft whispers at night, at the hour agreed,
and the pleasing laugh that betrays her, the girl
who’s hiding away in the darkest corner,
and the pledge that’s retrieved from her arm,
or from a lightly resisting finger.
This wide-ranging selection showcases the work of one of ancient Rome’s master poets—and originator of the phrase “carpe diem”—whose influence on poetry can be traced through the centuries into our own time. Quintus Horatius Flaccus, who lived from 65 to 8 BCE, saw the death of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the Roman Empire and was personally acquainted with the emperor Augustus and the poet Virgil. He was famous during his lifetime and since for his odes and epodes, for his satires and epistles, and for Ars Poetica. His lyric poems, brief and allusive, have been translated into English by a range of famous poets, including Milton, Ben Jonson, John Dryden, William Cowper, A. E. Housman, Ezra Pound, Louis MacNeice, Robert Lowell—and even Queen Elizabeth I and the Victorian prime minister William Gladstone. Horace’s masterly verses have inspired poets from antiquity to modernity, and his injunction to “seize the day” has echoed through the ages. This anthology of superb English translations shows how Horace has permeated English literature for five centuries.


從去年8-9月至2004年3月,我斷續研讀名著The Life of Samuel Johnson by Boswell【牛津大學本】,並找出新潮翻譯本的許多形形色色缺失。期間,我當然向瑞麟兄請教過許多問題。下面為一典型例:
「瑞麟兄: 這是(詳下文對照)Boswell 引的,他對傳主的雄心壯志,可能意思是寫此名人的50年史。

【我2004/6/24趁機補習,參考《蒙田隨筆全集》(南京:譯文,1996三卷本)「論自命不凡」(pp.331369)和《我不想樹立雕像:蒙田隨筆選》(梁宗岱 黃建華翻譯,北京:光明日報,1996 只譯「自命不凡的虛幻」第一段),並抄錄如下。


原文出自HORACE Satire II.i,記得我曾經提過書林有Sidney Alexander: The Complete Odes and Satires of Horace.


Ille velut fidis arcana sodalibus olim
Credebat libris, neque, si male cesserat, usquam
Decurrens alio , neque si bene: quo fit ut omnis
Votiva pateat veluti descripta tabella
Vita senis.

Autrefois celui-là confiait à ses livres
Comme à de bons amis ses secrets, et jamais
Heureux ou malheureux n'ont d'autre confident:
Aussi sa longue vie est-elle là dépeinte 
Tout étalée ainsi qu'en un tableau votif.

He trusted to his booke, as to his trusty friend 
His secrets, nor did he to other refuge bend, 
How ever well, or ill, with him his fortune went. 
Hence is it, all the life is seene the old man spent, 
As it were in a Table noted, 
Which were unto some God devoted.

Or (translated by Sideny Alexander)
In the old days he entrusted the secrets
of his heart to his books as if to
faithful friends, never turning elsewhere
for recourse whether things went good or bad.
So that the life of that old man 
appears entirely in his writings as if
painted on a votive-tablet.


Latin poet Horace was a celebrity in his era, “halfway between Bob Dylan and Seamus Heaney”. He died on November 27th 8BC—yet his writings and aphorisms still furnish us with answers

Satirist and poet Horace died on November 27th, 8 BC