from "SATIRES - XII"SATIRES - XII
Juvenaltr. Peter Green
Natali, Coruine, die mihi dulcior haec lux,
qua festus promissa deis animalia caespes
expectat. niueam reginae ducimus agnam,
par uellus dabitur pugnanti Gorgone Maura;
sed procul extensum petulans quatit hostia funem
Tarpeio seruata Ioui frontemque coruscat,
quippe ferox uitulus templis maturus et arae
spargendusque mero, quem iam pudet ubera matris
ducere, qui uexat nascenti robora cornu.
si res ampla domi similisque adfectibus esset,
pinguior Hispulla traheretur taurus et ipsa
mole piger, nec finitima nutritus in herba,
laeta sed ostendens Clitumni pascua sanguis
cui foret et grandi ceruix ferienda ministro
ob reditum trepidantis adhuc horrendaque passi
nuper et incolumem sese mirantis amici.
nam praeter pelagi casus et fulminis ictus
euasit. densae caelum abscondere tenebrae
nube una subitusque antemnas inpulit ignis,
cum se quisque illo percussum crederet et mox
attonitus nullum conferri posse putaret
naufragium uelis ardentibus (omnia fiunt
talia, tam grauiter, si quando poetica surgit
tempestas), genus ecce aliud discriminis! audi
et miserere iterum, quamquam sint cetera sortis
eiusdem pars dira quidem sed cognita multis
et quam uotiua testantur fana tabella
plurima: pictores quis nescit ab Iside pasci?
accidit et nostro similis fortuna Catullo.
cum plenus fluctu medius foret alueus et iam
alternum puppis latus euertentibus undis
arboris incertae, nullam prudentia cani
rectoris cum ferret opem, decidere iactu
coepit cum uentis, imitatus castora, qui se
eunuchuin ipse facit cupiens euadere damno.
testiculi: adeo medicatum intellegit inguen.
............
............
My birthday, Corvinus? No; a still happier occasion,
on which this gay turf altar awaits the beasts I'd vowed
to the Gods: a snow-white lam for Juno, Queen of Heaven,
the same for Minerva, her shield armed with the Moorish Gorgon.
But the victim reserved for Tarpeian Jove strains at his taut
stretched tether, tosses his head, a mettlesome frisky
young calf, well-grown for temple and altar, for sprinkling
with unmixed wine: high time he was weaned, he feels,
as he fiercely butts at the tree-trunks with his growing horns.
If my means were ample, and matched up to my wishes,
I'd have laid on a bull that was bulkier than - Hispulla,
slowed down by his very size: no locally-pastured beast,
but a pedigree Umbrian, bred in lush water-meadows,
with a neck that only the heftiest priest could sever -
to mark the return of my friend, still trembling from the horrors
he's undergone, and astonished to find himself safe and sound.
Small wonder: for he avoided not deep-sea perils alone
but being struck by lightning. Thick black clouds blotted out
the heavens: burning and sudden, fire flashed down on the yards,
making each man believe that he had been hit - and soon,
thunderstruck, conclude that the grimmest shipwreck was nothing
to this horror of blazing sails. It all resembled
a storm in a poem, exactly the same events,
and just as bad. But I've got yet another crisis to tell you,
and for you to pity again, though the rest is all of a piece,
awful, but a disaster experienced by many -
witness those countless votive plaques in the temples:
our artists, everyone knows, owe bed and board to Isis.
This was just the fate that befefi my friend Catullus.
The hold was half-seas under already, and now
with great waves pounding the vessel from either side,
rocking the mast, the grizzled old captain's expertise
could hit upon no solution. So Catullus resolved to compound
with the winds, and jettison cargo - thus imitating the beaver,
that makes itself eunuch when cornered, in its urge to escape
surrenders its balls: so precious the drug, it knows, in its groin.
............
............

Trans. Copyright © Peter Green, 1967, 1974, 1998 - publ. Penguin Classics


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