By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

More Humanitas from Tibullus (circa 54-19 B.C.)

He was a friend of Horace according to the Loeb Classical Library.

The excerpt speaks for itself--Latin, my translation, and the much better online translation by A.S. Kline.

Book I.10.1-16

Quis fuit, horrendos primus qui protulit enses? Quam ferus et vere ferreus ille fuit! Tum caedes hominum generi, tum proelia nata,Tum brevior dirae mortis aperta via est. An nihil ille miser meruit, nos ad mala nostra Vertimus, in saevas quod dedit ille feras? Divitis hoc vitium est auri, nec bella fuerunt, Faginus adstabat cum scyphus ante dapes (fem. plural). Non arces, non vallus erat, somnumque petebat //Securus sparsas dux gregis inter oves.Tunc mihi vita foret, Valgi, nec tristia nossem Arma nec audissem corde micante tubam; Nunc ad bella trahor, et iam quis forsitan hostis// Haesura in nostro tela gerit latere. Sed patrii servate Lares: aluistis et idem, Cursarem vestros cum tener ante pedes.

Who was the first who brought forth horrible swords? How savage and truly cruel was that man! Then slaughter, then battles were born to the race of men. Then a shorter road was opened to cruel death. Or did that wretched man deserve nothing of blame, [but] we turn to our own evil purposes what that man gave for us to use against savage wild beasts? This is the vice of precious gold, nor were there wars when the simple beachwood cup stood beside our feasts. There were no citadels, no rampart, and without a care the leader of the flock sought sleep among his scattered sheep. Then there was life for me, O Valgius. I had known neither sad arms nor had I heard with a trembling heart the trumpet-call. Now I am dragged to wars, and now some enemy perhaps bears the weapons that he is about to plunge in my side. But ancestral Lares [Lares are protective gods especially of the home] save [us]; you also nourished [me] when I ran to and fro as a young child before your feet.

Other translation (by A.S. Kline):

X Make Peace Not War

Who was he, who first forged the fearful sword?
How iron-willed and truly made of iron he was!
Then slaughter was created, war was born to men.
then a quicker road was opened to dread death.
But perhaps it’s not the wretch’s fault we turn to evil
what he gave us to use on savage beasts?
That’s the curse of rich gold: there were no wars
when the beech-wood cup stood beside men’s plates.
There were no fortresses or fences, and the flock’s leader
sought sleep securely among the diverse sheep.
I might have lived then, Valgius, and not known
sad arms, or heard the trumpet with beating heart.
Now I’m dragged to war, and perhaps some enemy
already carries the spear that will pierce my side.
Lares of my fathers, save me: you are the same
that reared me, a little child running before your feet.

(Image of Tibullus in public domain)