Sunday, December 07, 2008

The best and the brightest--basic theme

Quem vocet divum populus ruentis
imperi rebus? Prece qua fatigent
virgines sanctae minus audientem
carmina Vestam?

Whom will the people call on in the collapse of the empire?
With what prayer can the holy virgins call out the Vesta
if she doesn't listen to their song?

Cui dabit partis scelus expiandi
Iuppiter? Tandem venias, precamur,
nube candentis umeros amictus,
augur Apollo.

To whom will Juppiter assign the part of expiating our crime?
Come at length, we pray, Apollo,
your shoulders wrapped in a bright cloud

[Or perhaps you, Mercury should come, disguised as the emperor Augustus]

And then he addresses Augustus:

Serus in caelum redeas, diuque
laetus intersis populo Quirini
neve te nostris vitiis iniquum
ocior aura

Return only late to heaven,
and instead be pleased to be for a long time among us.
And let not the air earlier
[you] offended by our vices

Tollat. Hic magnos potius triumphos,
hic ames dici pater atque princeps,
neu sinas Medos equitare inultos,
te duce, Cesar.

Take you. Rather be pleased with triumphs here
Be pleased to be called father and prince.
Nor permit the Persians unpunished to ride against us,
You our leader, Caesar!


--Horace writing in the first century BC.
Carminum Lib I, ii

(The meter goes like this, using italics for the long syllables):

Quem vo cet di vum po pu lus ru en tis
etc

there ya go

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post of yours could not have been more timely, judging by events in today's news. "More than 150 vehicles carrying equipment bound for U.S.-led troops in Afghanistan are blown apart and burned at two terminals in Peshawar, Pakistan." And the U.S. auto industry is going into free-fall mode.

Down goes the empire.

5:35 PM  
Blogger badger said...

even spookier, what he's saying at the end is "lead us in taking another shot at punishing that outfit that controls [Mesopotamia, Iran and environs] and we'll feel like we're fine again."

6:26 PM  
Anonymous parvati_roma said...

Badger - I truly LOVE your blog!

10:45 PM  
Anonymous parvati_roma said...

I've quoted your post and cross-linked it here - hope this meets your definition of a long-long deserved "accolade"?

11:10 PM  
Blogger badger said...

thanks! (the "accolades" thing isn't entirely serious...)

3:03 PM  

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