Other Translations

Below are some translations of mine from ancient authors. Scroll down or use these links to access them:

Horace Odes 1.11 ("Carpe Diem")

Don't ask - for it's a kind of sin to know -
What doom the gods on each of us bestow,
Leuconoe; don't try the ouija boards;
Better to take whatever Fate affords;
Whether great Jove shall grant us many winters
Or just this winter only, which now splinters
Tyrrhenan seas upon the jutting rock:
Instead be wise, the cellar's wines unlock,
Cut back fat hope to fit this little space;
For even as we're talking, there's a race
With Time we're losing; seize today
And trust tomorrow no more than you may.
Tu ne quaesieris, scire nefas, quem mihi, quem tibi
finem di dederint, Leuconoe, nec Babylonios
temptaris numeros. ut melius, quidquid erit, pati.
seu pluris hiemes seu tribuit Iuppiter ultimam,
quae nunc oppositis debilitat pumicibus mare
Tyrrhenum: sapias, vina liques et spatio brevi
spem longam reseces. dum loquimur, fugerit invida
aetas: carpe diem quam minimum credula postero.

Horace Odes 2.14 ("Eheu fugaces")

written for "Lord Bob, a fellow commenter at Maclean's

So fleetingly, alas, Lord Bob, Lord Bob,
The years run out; and not a single hour
Can piety preserve, for wrinkles rob
Our later days, along with death's dread power.

Not if, for every passing day, my friend,
Three hundred bulls unto the tearless lord
Of hell to sacrifice you condescend,
Who guards Geryon past that grim fjord,

The watery cleft which all of us must cross,
All of us nourished on the fruits of earth,
Whether we greet the peasants as the boss
Or pass away as poor as at our birth,

In vain we dread the bloody sight of war,
Or growling Adriatic; yes, in vain,
When autumn strikes, we palpitate before
The Afric Wind, and call it inhumane.

No, no, the black and aimless, stagnant mere
Of Cocytos, and Danaos' cursed race,
And Sisyphus, condemned to persevere
In endless toil: such evils we must face.

Your land, your house, your charming wife are left
Behind; and each of your new-planted trees
Shall be of their brief gardener bereft,
Save for the cypress, by the mortal breeze.

Your wiser heirs shall then have wine galore,
The wine you stash behind a hundred locks;
They'll spill your haughty cellar on the floor,
So far superior to priestly frocks.


Eheu fugaces, Postume, Postume,
labuntur anni nec pietas moram
rugis et instanti senectae
adferet indomitaeque morti,

non, si trecenis quotquot eunt dies,
amice, places inlacrimabilem
Plutona tauris, qui ter amplum
Geryonen Tityonque tristi

conpescit unda, scilicet omnibus
quicumque terrae munere vescimur
enaviganda, sive reges
sive inopes erimus coloni.

frustra cruento Marte carebimus
fractisque rauci fluctibus Hadriae,
frustra per autumnos nocentem
corporibus metuemus Austrum:

visendus ater flumine languido
Cocytos errans et Danai genus
infame damnatusque longi
Sisyphus Aeolides laboris.

linquenda tellus et domus et placens
uxor neque harum quas colis arborum
te praeter invisas cupressos
ulla brevem dominum sequetur.

absumet heres Caecuba dignior
servata centum clavibus et mero
tinguet pavimentum superbo,
pontificum potiore cenis.

Sappho 58 ("The New Sappho" of 2006)



Yourselves, girls, now seek out
The purple-bosomed Muses' spell
So fine, and that clear shout
From song-fond shell

I find old age has spread
In waves across what once was quite
A soft complexion; on my head
The black is white.

My heart's grown heavy, knees
Won't bear me, knees that once would steer
Me to the dance with ease
Like lissom deer;

Indeed I'll ever rage
Against it; yet for what? To be
A human being and to age:
Necessity.

And thus, they used to say,
In love Tithonus did ascend
With rose-arm'd Break of Day
To world's end,

When he was young and fine;
And yet grey age picked up his trail
In time, his wife divine
To no avail.
text that of West in the TLS

῎Υμμες πεδὰ Μοίσαν Ἰ]οκ[ό]λπων κάλα δῶρα, παῖδες,
σπουδάσδετε καὶ τὰ]ν φιλάοιδον λιγύραν χελύνναν·



ἔμοι δ' ἄπαλον πρίν] ποτ' [ἔ]οντα χρόα γῆρας ἤδη
ἐπέλλαβε, λεῦκαι δ' ἐγ]ένοντο τρίχες ἐκ μελαίναν·



βάρυς δέ μ' ὀ [θ]ῦμος πεπόηται, γόνα δ' [ο]ὐ φέροισι,
τὰ δή ποτα λαίψηρ' ἔον ὄρχησθ' ἴσα νεβρίοισι.



τὰ <μὲν> στεναχίσδω θαμέως· ἀλλὰ τί κεν ποείην;
ἀγήραον ἄνθρωπον ἔοντ' οὐ δύνατον γένεσθαι.



καὶ γάρ π[ο]τα Τίθωνον ἔφαντο βροδόπαχυν Αὔων
ἔρωι φ .. αθεισαν βάμεν' εἰς ἔσχατα γᾶς φέροισα[ν,



ἔοντα [κ]άλον και νέον, ἀλλ' αὖτον ὔμως ἔμαρψε
χρόνωι πόλιον γῆρας, ἔχ[ο]ντ' ἀθανάταν ἄκοιτιν.

Bacchlylides 17 (first half)

strophe
The ship (the ship of sombre prow) that bore
Young Theseus (Theseus, steady in the war)
With fourteen shining youths, Ionia’s elite,
Was slicing through the Cretan sea; the breeze
Blew from the north upon the sheet
(The sheet that shone afar) to please
Athena the prestigious
(Athena bearing battle’s aegis)
But Minos’ heart was tickled; Cypris’ gifts divine
(the goddess of the fillet chic)
Could not be quelled —
He could not conquer his design
On one young girl; he stroked her pretty cheek;
And Eriboea yelled
To one of Pandion’s line
(A man of brazen shirt); and Theseus beheld.
His black eyes ’neath his brow he bent,
His spirit with unyielding pain was rent;
He spoke forth: “Son of strongest Zeus, no more
You guide your holy will in sight of reason’s shore.
Now, Sire, check your masterly intent.



antistrophe
No matter what almighty Fate assigns
As ours from Heav’n, no matter how inclines
The scale of Justice, our decided doom we shall assess
Whenever it approaches; for yourself
Forfeit your scheming to oppress.
Although beneath Mt. Ida’s shelf
Zeus to his bedside brought her,
Your mother, Phoenix’ clever daughter
(Daughter with a lovely name) and she delivered you
To be the strongest mortal, yet
Rich Pittheus’ girl
The lord of sea Poseidon knew
She gave me birth; upon her head was set
The shawl they would unfurl,
A shawl of golden hue,
The Nereids (Nereids with their locks of darkest jet).
And so I bid you, Cnossos’ chief,
Restrain your rashness (rashness e’en to grief)
I’d little care for Dawn’s immortal light
Were you to overcome a girl in her despite
I’d rather punch, with Heaven my relief.”



epode
Such was the hero’s word
(The hero of the worthy spear)
The sailors overheard
And marvelled at the fellow’s sheer
Boldness; the Sun-god’s kinsman’s liver raged most grim;
A brand new scheme he wove, and spoke:
“Hear me, o father Zeus (o Zeus of greatest vim),
If truly the Phoenician maid (the maid of shining limb)
Bore me your son, now send a sudden lightning stroke
(A stroke of fiery tresses) from the sky
A sign which none could read awry;
And if Troezanian Aethra gave you birth
Unto Poseidon, Shaker of the Earth,
Just bring this golden finger-bauble back
From salty depths, and cast your body to your father’s hall;
You’ll see if he shall hear my prayer who rules o’er all
The son of Cronos, Lord of Thundercrack.”

Κυανόπρῳρα μὲν ναῦς μενέκτυπον
Θησέα δὶς ἑπτά τ᾽ ἀγλαοὺς ἄγουσα
κούρους Ἰαόνων
Κρητικὸν τάμνε πέλαγος:
τηλαυγέϊ γὰρ [ἐν] φάρεϊ
βορήϊαι πίτνον αὖραι
κλυτᾶς ἕκατι π[ο]λεμαίγιδος Ἀθάνας:
κνίσεν τε Μίνωϊ κέαρ
ἱμεράμπυκος θεᾶς
Κύπριδος αἰνὰ δῶρα:
χεῖρα δ᾽ οὐκέτι παρθενικᾶς
ἄτερθ᾽ ἐράτυεν, θίγεν
δὲ λευκᾶν παρηΐδων:
βόασέ τ᾽ Ἐρίβοια χαλκο-
θώρακα Πανδίονος
ἔκγονον: ἴδεν δὲ Θησεύς,
μέλαν δ᾽ ὑπ᾽ ὀφρύων
δίνασεν ὄμμα, καρδίαν τέ ϝοι
σχέτλιον ἄμυξεν ἄλγος,
εἶρέν τε: Διὸς υἱὲ φερτάτου,
ὅσιον οὐκέτι τεᾶν
ἔσω κυβερνᾷς φρενῶν
θυμόν: ἴσχε μεγαλοῦχον ἥρως βίαν.


ὅ τι μὲν ἐκ θεῶν μοῖρα παγκρατὴς
ἄμμι κατένευσε καὶ Δίκας ῥέπει τά-
λαντον, πεπρωμέναν
αἶσαν ἐκπλήσομεν, ὅταν
ἔλθῃ: σὺ δὲ βαρεῖαν κάτε-
χε μῆτιν. εἰ καί σε κεδνὰ
τέκεν λέχει Διὸς ὑπὸ κρόταφον Ἴδας
μιγεῖσα Φοίνικος ἐρα-
τώνυμος κόρα βροτῶν
φέρτατον, ἀλλὰ κἀμὲ
Πιτθέος θυγάτηρ ἀφνεοῦ
πλαθεῖσα ποντίῳ τέκεν
Ποσειδᾶνι, χρύσεον
τέ ϝοι δόσαν ἰόπλοκοι
κάλυμμα Νηρηΐδες.
τῶ σε, πολέμαρχε Κνωσίων,
κέλομαι πολύστονον
ἐρύκεν ὕβριν: οὐ γὰρ ἂν θελοι-
μ᾽ ἀμβρότου ἐραννὸν Ἀοῦς
ἰδεῖν φάος, ἐπεί τιν᾽ ἠϊθέων
σὺ δαμάσειας ἀέκον-
τα: πρόσθε χειρῶν βίαν
δείξομεν: τὰ δ᾽ ἐπιόντα δαίμων κρινεῖ.


τόσ᾽ εἶ]πεν ἀρέταιχμος ἥρως:
τάφον δὲ ναυβάται
φωτὸς] ὑπεράφανον
θάρσος: Ἁλίου τε γαμβρῷ χολώ[σατ᾽ ἦτορ,
ὕφαινέ τε ποταινίαν
μῆτιν, εἶπέν τε: μεγαλοσθενὲς
Ζεῦ πάτερ, ἄκουσον: εἴπερ μ[ε κούρ]α
Φοίνισσα λευκώλενος σοὶ τέκε,
νῦν πρόπεμπ᾽ ἀπ᾽ οὐρανοῦ θ[οὰν
πυριέθειραν ἀστραπὰν
σᾶμ᾽ ἀρίγνωτον: εἰ
δὲ καὶ σὲ Τροιζηνία σεισίχθονι
φύτευσεν Αἴθρα Ποσει-
δᾶνι, τόνδε χρύσεον
χειρὸς ἀγλαὸν
ἔνεγκε κόσμον ἐκ βαθείας ἁλός,
δικὼν θράσει σῶμα πατρὸς ἐς δόμους.
εἴσεαι δ᾽ αἴ κ᾽ ἐμᾶς κλύῃ
Κρόνιος εὐχᾶς
ἀναξιβρόντας ὁ πάντων μεδέων.

Bacchylides 2 as a Sonnet

Arise, o grandeur-granting Fame, and bring
To holy Ceos news most glorious:
Fleet-fisted in the combats of the ring
Young Argius returns victorious,
Recalling Ceos’ noble deeds of yore,
Which at the mythic Isthmus’ neck we wrought
So boldly, far from Euxas’ sacred shore;
Seventy garlands thus the Island got.
Now to the Muse this moment must belong:
The blasting of the bagpipes has begun,
And in the dance of epinician song
She celebrates the fate of Pantheus’ son.
    [Dacylo-epitrites shall testify
    To his worth and ours also, by and by.]
ἄ[ϊξεν ἁ] σεμνοδότειρα Φήμα
ἐς Κέον ἱεράν, χαριτώ-
νυμον φέρουσ᾽ ἀγγελίαν,
ὅτι μ[άχ]ας θρασύχειρος Ἀρ-
5γεῖος ἄρατο νίκαν:
καλῶν δ᾽ ἀνέμνασεν, ὅσ᾽ ἐν κλεεννῷ
αὐχένι ϝισθμοῦ ζαθέαν
λιπόντες Εὐξαντίδα νᾶ-
σον ἐπεδείξαμεν ἑβδομή-
10κοντα σὺν στεφάνοισιν.
καλεῖ δὲ Μοῦσ᾽ αὐθιγενὴς
γλυκεῖαν αὐλῶν καναχάν,
γεραίρουσ᾽ ἐπινικίοις
Πανθείδα φίλον υἱόν.

Ovid Amores 1.5 as a Sonnet

’Twas summer; I was languid on the bed,
At noon; and through the shutter half-ajar
A woodland light, or such (once night has fled)
As glows ere dawn, or follows Phoebus’ car,
Was filtering; ’twas then Corinna came,
Her dressed hemmed up, until I pulled it free;
She fought, but fought to lose, and soon lay tame,
Captured and conquered by her treachery.
Upon her flawless form I laid my eyes:
What shoulders, chest, with nipples for a dose
Of tickling, what a belly, what young thighs—
But why go on? We pressed our bodies close;
    You know the rest; at length the couple swoons.
    I wish I often had such afternoons!
aestus erat, mediamque dies exegerat horam;
    adposui medio membra levanda toro.
pars adaperta fuit, pars altera clausa fenestrae,
    quale fere silvae lumen habere solent,
qualia sublucent fugiente crepuscula Phoebo,
    aut ubi nox abiit, nec tamen orta dies.
illa verecundis lux est praebenda puellis,
    qua timidus latebras speret habere pudor.
ecce, Corinna venit, tunica velata recincta,
    candida dividua colla tegente coma,
qualiter in thalamos famosa Semiramis isse
    dicitur, et multis Lais amata viris.
deripui tunicam; nec multum rara nocebat,
    pugnabat tunica sed tamen illa tegi;
quae cum ita pugnaret, tamquam quae vincere nollet,
    victa est non aegre proditione sua.
ut stetit ante oculos posito velamine nostros,
    in toto nusquam corpore menda fuit:
quos umeros, quales vidi tetigique lacertos!
    forma papillarum quam fuit apta premi!
quam castigato planus sub pectore venter!
    quantum et quale latus! quam iuvenale femur!
singula quid referam? nil non laudabile vidi,
    et nudam pressi corpus ad usque meum.
cetera quis nescit? lassi requievimus ambo.
    proveniant medii sic mihi saepe dies.

Thucydides 1.22 into Latin, on a dare

("Ne nobis antiquos se iactent Oxonienses.")

1.22 Quod autem quisque dixerit orator dum bellum aut gerendum est aut geritur, difficile erat et mihi ex eis quae ipse audivi et illis qui mihi alia aliunde nuntiaverunt id quod dictum erat in animum acuratissime revocare; ut cuique de rebus praesentibus maxime congruere mihi videbatur ab illo dictum fuisse, etsi totam fere sententiam verorum dictorum quam maxime tenebam, sic oratur. Bellica rerum gestarum facta sic mihi scribenda esse dignavi non ut alicui crederem qui forte affuisset neque sic ut mihi ipsi videbantur, sed omnia quibus ipse affueram aut ab aliis cognoveram singula quam acuratissime investiganda. Arduum erat haec repperi, quod ei qui rebus affuerant non eadem de illis tradebant sed potius secundum aut favorem utrius factionis aut suam recordationem narrabant. Apparet nihilominus hic liber ad recitandum ingratior esse, quia commentis caret; qui autem voluerit perspecte cognoscere quid acciderit atque id quod iterum agendum sit in rebus futuris et iisdem et similibus natura humana causa, auxilio hunc in iudicando habebit. Monumentum enim perenne plusquam recitatio in praesens ad certandum constat.


καὶ ὅσα μὲν λόγῳ εἶπον ἕκαστοι ἢ μέλλοντες πολεμήσειν ἢ ἐν αὐτῷ ἤδη ὄντες, χαλεπὸν τὴν ἀκρίβειαν αὐτὴν τῶν λεχθέντων διαμνημονεῦσαι ἦν ἐμοί τε ὧν αὐτὸς ἤκουσα καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοθέν ποθεν ἐμοὶ ἀπαγγέλλουσιν: ὡς δ᾽ ἂν ἐδόκουν ἐμοὶ ἕκαστοι περὶ τῶν αἰεὶ παρόντων τὰ δέοντα μάλιστ᾽ εἰπεῖν, ἐχομένῳ ὅτι ἐγγύτατα τῆς ξυμπάσης γνώμης τῶν ἀληθῶς λεχθέντων, οὕτως εἴρηται. [2] τὰ δ᾽ ἔργα τῶν πραχθέντων ἐν τῷ πολέμῳ οὐκ ἐκ τοῦ παρατυχόντος πυνθανόμενος ἠξίωσα γράφειν, οὐδ᾽ ὡς ἐμοὶ ἐδόκει, ἀλλ᾽ οἷς τε αὐτὸς παρῆν καὶ παρὰ τῶν ἄλλων ὅσον δυνατὸν ἀκριβείᾳ περὶ ἑκάστου ἐπεξελθών. [3] ἐπιπόνως δὲ ηὑρίσκετο, διότι οἱ παρόντες τοῖς ἔργοις ἑκάστοις οὐ ταὐτὰ περὶ τῶν αὐτῶν ἔλεγον, ἀλλ᾽ ὡς ἑκατέρων τις εὐνοίας ἢ μνήμης ἔχοι. [4] καὶ ἐς μὲν ἀκρόασιν ἴσως τὸ μὴ μυθῶδες αὐτῶν ἀτερπέστερον φανεῖται: ὅσοι δὲ βουλήσονται τῶν τε γενομένων τὸ σαφὲς σκοπεῖν καὶ τῶν μελλόντων ποτὲ αὖθις κατὰ τὸ ἀνθρώπινον τοιούτων καὶ παραπλησίων ἔσεσθαι, ὠφέλιμα κρίνειν αὐτὰ ἀρκούντως ἕξει. κτῆμά τε ἐς αἰεὶ μᾶλλον ἢ ἀγώνισμα ἐς τὸ παραχρῆμα ἀκούειν ξύγκειται.