Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Landoriana Latini

A Latin epigram ('Ad Ianthen XXI') from Poemata et Inscriptiones (1847):
Non ut ames, ut amere peto; da dulcis Ianthe!
Est mihi, si merear plura, datura dies.

It's because you don't love me that I seek your love. Give it, sweet Ianthe!
If I deserve more, such loving will one day be mine.
Also, from the same volume, 'Ad Bonapartum, V':
Parce tuae famae, et maneat sua vera locuto
Gloria! Quid laudes dejicis ipse tuas?
Verte retro gressum; aeternas Niloctica palmas
Terra parit; Syriae cur aconita legis?
Erue saxa situ, fragiles evolve papyros,
Barbariem veterem vince, repelle novam.
Possunt, Napoleo, crudelia quaeque minores;
Magnum si facerent, magna vel aspis erat.
Est aliquid laudem vatis meruisse Britanni,
Haud pretium falsae Gallica regna forent.
Praestat, crede mihi, quam triste relinquere nomen
Quo vocet ultorem Thraxque Syrusque deum;
Quo puer horrescat fabellas inter avitas
(Tecta notus quoties stupea quassat) Arabs.

Pare away your fame, hold true to the glory of your word!
What can you conquer with your own praises?
Turn back your steps. Countless Egyptian palms
Spring from the earth; why choose too-easy Syria too?
Deliver the blocks to the site: unroll the fragile papyrus,
Conquer the old barbarism; and ward away the new one.
These have the power, Napoleon, to lessen cruelties;
Those who can choose greatness: be a hero not a snake.
Britons consider it no mean feat to merit a poet's praise,
Better that than the false prize of French-won kingdoms
Much better, believe me, however sorrowfully, to leave
The name of 'Avenger of Thrace and Syria' to a god;
Shudder at the ancestral stories (part soaring wisdom
part trampled reeds) of an Arabian boy.
One more:
Et quae supra sunt nebulo pro suis venditaret

His mihi surreptis ipsa sub imagine Bruti,
Ter furi incutiens flagra, ter abstinui.

The scoundrel offers for sale as his own things that come from a higher source

These things of mine, stolen from under his very image of Brutus,
Three times the thief trembling at the whips; three times I held off.

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