|PHASELLUS ILLE QUEM VIDETIS, ...||THE LITTLE BOAT YOU SEE BEFORE YOU ...|
|Catullus (Gaius Valerius Catullus)||tr. James Elroy Flecker|
Phasellus ille quem videtis, hospites, |
Ait fuisse navium celerimus,
Neque ullius natantis impetum trabis
Nequisse praeter ire, sive palmulis
Opus foret volare sive linteo.
Et hoc negat minacis Hadriatici
Negare litus insulasve Cycladas
Rhodumque nobilem horridamque Thraciam
Propontida, trucemve Ponticum sinum,
Ubi iste post phasellus antea fuit
Comata silva: nam Cytorio in jugo
Loquente saepe sibilum edidit coma.
Amastri Pontica et Cytore buxifer,
Tibi haec fuisse et esse cognitissima
Ait phasellus; ultima ex origine
Tuo stetisse dicit in cacumine,
Tuo imbuisse palmulas in aequore,
Et inde tot per impotentia freta
Erum tulisse, laeva sive dextera
Vocaret aura, sive utrumque Juppiter
Simul secundus incidisset in pedem;
Neque ulla vota litoralibus deis
Sibi esse facta, cum veniret a mari
Novissimo hunc ad usque limpidum lacum.
Sed haec prius fuere: nunc recondita
Senet quiete seque dedicat tibi,
Gemelle Castor et gemelle Castoris.
Proud is Phaselus here, my friends, to tell|
That once she was the swiftest craft afloat:
No vessel, were she winged with blade or sail,
Could ever pass my boat.
Phaselus shunned to shun grim Adria's shore,
Or Cyclades, or Rhodes the wide renowned,
Or Bosphorus, where Thracian waters roar,
Or Pontus' eddying sound.
It was in Pontus once, unwrought, she stood,
and conversed, sighing, with her sister trees,
Amastris born, or where Cytorus' wood
Answers the mountain breeze.
Pontic Amastris, boxwood-clad Cytorus! -
You, says Phaselus, are her closest kin:
Yours were the forests where she stood inglorious:
The waters yours wherein
She dipped her virgin blades; and from your strand
She bore her master through the cringing straits,
Nought caring were the wind on either hand,
Or whether kindly fates
Filled both the straining sheets. Never a prayer
For her was offered to the gods of haven,
Till last she left the sea, hither to fare,
And to be lightly laven
By the cool ripple of the clear lagoon.
This too is past; at length she is allowed
Long slumber through her life's long afternoon,
To Castor and the twin of Castor vowed.
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