“What do you think is going on, anyway?”
Some horrible Wagnerian thing, I told him, full of blood, thunder, and death for us all.
“Oh, the usual,” Luke said.
Exactly, I replied.
“Coming to a Cord,” Pirate Writings, #7 [Frakir] (1995)
Note not all quotations have been tagged, so Search may find additional quotes on this topic.
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Who sneers at epigrams and feigns to scout them,
Believe me, does not know a thing about them.
The real bores are the dreary epic spinners
Who rant of Tereus’ or Thyestes’ dinners,
Who rave of cunning Daedalus applying
The wings to Icarus to teach him flying,
Or else to show what dullards they esteem us
Bleat endless pastorals on Polyphemus.
My unpretentious Muse is not bombastic,
But deems these robes of Tragedy fantastic.
“Such things,” you say, “earn all men’s commendation,
As works of genius and inspiration.”
Ah, very true — those pompous classic leaders
Do get the praise — but then I get the readers!
[Nescit, crede mihi, quid sint epigrammata, Flacce,
Qui tantum lusus ista iocosque vocat.
Ille magis ludit, qui scribit prandia saevi
Tereos, aut cenam, crude Thyesta, tuam,
Aut puero liquidas aptantem Daedalon alas,
Pascentem Siculas aut Polyphemon ovis.
A nostris procul est omnis vesica libellis,
Musa nec insano syrmate nostra tumet.
“Illa tamen laudant omnes, mirantur, adorant.”
Confiteor: laudant illa, sed ista legunt.]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 4, epigram 49 (4.49) [tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]
"To Valerius Flaccus." (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:
Though little know'st what epigram contains,
Who think'st it all a joke in jocund strains.
He direly jokes, who bids a Tereus dine;
Or dresses suppers like, Thyestes, thine;
Feins him who fits the boy with melting wings,
Or the sweet shepherd Polyphemus sings.
Or muse disdains by fustian to excel;
by rant to rattle, or in buskin swell.
Those strains the learn'd applaud, admire, adore.
Those they applaud, I own; but these explore.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), ep. 48]
Thou know'st not, trust me, what are Epigrams,
Flaccus, who think'st them jest and wanton games.
He wantons more, who writes what horrid meat
The plagu'd Tyestes and vex't Tereus eat,
Or Daedalus fitting is boy to fly,
Or Polyphemus' flocks in Sicily.
My booke no windy words nor turgid needes,
Nor swells my Muse with mad smothurnal weedes.
Yet those things all men praise, admire, adore.
True; they praise those, but read these poems more.
You little know what Epigram contains,
Who deem it but a jest in jocund strains.
He rather jokes, who writes what horrid meat
The plagued Thyestes and vex't Tereus eat;
Or tells who robed the boy with melting wings;
Or of the shepherd Polyphemus sings.
Our muse disdains by fustian to excel,
By rant to rattle, or in buskins swell.
Though turgid themes all men admire, adore,
Be well assured they read my poems more.
[Westminster Review (Apr 1853)]
He knows not, Flaccus, believe me, what Epigrams really are,
who calls them mere trifles and frivolities.
He is much more frivolous, who writes of the feast of the cruel
Tereus; or the banquet of the unnatural Thyestes;
or of Daedalus fitting melting wings to his son's body;
or of Polyphemus feeding his Sicilian flocks.
From my effusions all tumid ranting is excluded;
nor does my Muse swell with the mad garment of Tragedy.
"But everything written in such a style is praised, admired, and adored by all."
I admit it. Things in that style are praised; but mine are read.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]
He does not know, believe me, what epigrams are, Flaccus,
who styles them only frivolities and quips.
He is more frivolous who writes of the meal of savage
Tereus, or of thy banquet, dyspeptic Thyestes,
or of Daedalus fitting to his son melting wings,
or of Polyphemus pasturing Sicilian sheep.
Far from poems of mine is all turgescence,
nor does my Muse swell with frenzied tragic train.
"Yet all men praise those tragedies, admire, worship them."
I grant it: those they praise, but they read the others.
[tr. Ker (1919)]
What makes an epigram he knows not best
Who deems it, Flaccus, but an idle jest.
They rather jest, who Tereus' crime indict
Or the foul banquet of Thyestes write,
Or Icarus equipped with waxen wing
Or Polyphemus and his shepherding.
No fustian ornaments my page abuse
Nor struts in senseless pomp my tragic Muse.
"Men praise," you say, "and call such verse divine."
Yes, they may praise it, but they study mine.
[tr. Francis & Tatum (1924), #188, "A Defence of Epigram"]
He does not know what epigrams
Are really meant to be
Who calls them only jests and jokes
Or comic poetry --
A dimwit dilettante's delight,
Mere vers de societé
He really is the one who jests
Who writes about the stew
Served Tereus, or that loathsome meal
Of children served to you,
Of sons your brother slew.
Or Daedalus fitting Icarus
With two liquescent wings,
Or who of Polyphemus tending
Sheep in Sicily sings,
And those huge, monstrous boulders which
He at Ulysses flings.
Far from my verse is any trace
Of rank turgidity.
My Muse has never donned the robes
Of pompous tragedy.
"But that's what's praised!" But what is read?
My earthy poetry!
[tr. Marcellino (1968)]
To say that epigrams are only jokes and gags
is not to know what they are, my good friend Flaccus.
The poet is more entertaining who asks you to dine
at the cannibal board of Tereus, or describes,
oh indigestible Thyestes, your dinner party;
or the diverting poet turns your attention away
to the mythical sight of Daedalus, fittingly typed
as the one who tailored those tender wings for his son;
or wanders off with Polyphemus, the pastoral giant
pasturing preposterous sheep. Far be it from me
to enlarge on the standard rhetorical situation
and wax eloquent in the interests of inflation.
Our Muse makes no use of the billowing robes
that stalk the figures of Tragedy. "But those poems
are what everyone praises and adores."
I admit it, they praise them, but they read ours.
[tr. Bovie (1970)]
Who deem epigrams mere trifles,
Flaccus, know not epigram.
He trifles who describes the meal
wild Tereus, rude Thyestes ate,
The Cretan Glider moulting wax,
the one-eyed shepherd herding sheep.
Foreign to my verse the tragic sock,
it's turgid, ranting rhetoric.
"Men praise -- esteem -- revere these works."
True: them they praise ... while reading me.
[tr. Whigham (1987)]
Anybody who calls them just frivolities and jests, Flaccus, doesn't know what epigrams are, believe me. More frivolous is the poet who writes about the meal of savage Tereus or your dinner, dyspeptic Thyestes, or Daedalus fitting his boy with liquid wings, or Polyphemus feeding Sicilian sheep. All bombast is far from my little books, neither does my Muse swell with tragedy's fantastic robe. "And yet all the world praises such things and admires and marvels." I admit it: that they praise, but this they read.
[tr. Shackleton Bailey (1993)]
Quite clueless, Flaccus, all these sorry folks
Who brand short poems mere badinage and jokes.
Want to know who's more idle? The big boys,
Our Epic Poets, who rehearse the joys
Of serving human flesh up à la carte --
Tereus' bloody banquet or the huge tart
Chez Thyestes ("It's a little gristly!").
Or they serve us crap, like how remissly
Daedalus made -- with wax, imagine! -- wings
For his poor doomed son. Then Big Epic sings
Of arms and the -- not "man" -- one-eyed giant?
Polyphemus: his brain was far from pliant,
So Homer made him watch sheep in Sicily.
Pardon me for carping so pissily,
Flaccus, at insults to my epigrams,
So far from the bloated whimsy that crams
Our big-assed epics. All men blare in praise
of these "classics," you say, and bask in their rays.
I will not disagree, but mark my word:
Some day, far off, a wise man will be heard
To say, "Classics we all want to have read,
Never to read." My books get read instead!
[tr. Schmidgall (2001)]
You think my epigrams are silly?
Far worse is bombast uttered shrilly --
Like Tereus baking human pie.
Or Daedal son who tried to fly.
Monster Cyclopes keeping sheep.
My verse is of such nonsense free.
It poses not as tragedy.
But praise for those things does exceed?
Those things men praise -- but mine they read.
[tr. Wills (2007)]
One doesn't fathom epigrams, believe me,
Flaccus, who labels them mere jokes and play.
He's trifling who writes of savage Tereus' mean
or yours, queasy Thyestes, or the way
Daedalus fit his boy with melting wings
or Polyphemus grazed Sicilian flocks.
My little books shun bombast and my Muse
won't rave in puffed-up tragedy's long frocks.
"Yet all admire, praise, honor those," Indeed,
they praise those, I confess, but these they read.
[tr. McLean (2014)]
Trust me, Flaccus, anyone who says it's just "ditties" and "jokes"
doesn't know what epigram is.
The real joker is the poet who describes the feast of cruel
Tereus, or the dinner that gave Thyestes indigestion,
or Daedalus strapping melting wings to his son,
or Polyphemus pasturing his Sicilian sheep.
No puffery gets near my little books;
my Muse doesn't swell and strut in the trailing robe of Tragedy.
"But that stuff gets the applause, the awe, the worship."
I can't deny it: that stuff does get the applause. But my stuff gets read.
[tr. Nisbet (2015)]
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Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns …
driven time and again off course, once he had plundered
the hallowed heights of Troy.
Many cities of men he saw and learned their minds,
many pains he suffered, heartsick on the open sea,
fighting to save his life and bring his comrades home.
[Ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, Μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ
πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσε·
πολλῶν δ’ ἀνθρώπων ἴδεν ἄστεα καὶ νόον ἔγνω,
πολλὰ δ’ ὅ γ’ ἐν πόντῳ πάθεν ἄλγεα ὃν κατὰ θυμόν,
ἀρνύμενος ἥν τε ψυχὴν καὶ νόστον ἑταίρων.]
The Odyssey [Ὀδύσσεια], Book 1, l. 1ff (1.1-5) (c. 700 BC) [tr. Fagles (1996)]
Original Greek. Alternate translations:
The man, O Muse, inform, that many a way
Wound with his wisdom to his wished stay;
That wander’d wondrous far, when he the town
Of sacred Troy had sack’d and shiver’d down;
The cities of a world of nations,
With all their manners, minds, and fashions,
He saw and knew; at sea felt many woes,
Much care sustain’d, to save from overthrows
Himself and friends in their retreat for home;
But so their fates he could not overcome.
[tr. Chapman (1616)]
Tell me, O Muse, th’ adventures of the man
That having sack’d the sacred town of Troy,
Wander’d so long at sea; what course he ran
By winds and tempests driven from his way:
That saw the cities, and the fashions knew
Of many men, but suffer’d grievous pain
To save his own life, and bring home his crew.
[tr. Hobbes (1675)]
The man for wisdom's various arts renown'd,
Long exercised in woes, O Muse! resound;
Who, when his arms had wrought the destined fall
Of sacred Troy, and razed her heaven-built wall,
Wandering from clime to clime, observant stray'd,
Their manners noted, and their states survey'd,
On stormy seas unnumber'd toils he bore,
Safe with his friends to gain his natal shore.
[tr. Pope (1725)]
Muse make the man thy theme, for shrewdness famed
And genius versatile, who far and wide
A Wand’rer, after Ilium overthrown,
Discover’d various cities, and the mind
And manners learn’d of men, in lands remote.
He num’rous woes on Ocean toss’d, endured,
Anxious to save himself, and to conduct
His followers to their home.
[tr. Cowper (1792)]
Sing me, O Muse, that hero wandering
Who of men's minds did much experience reap,
And knew the citied realms of many a king,
Even from the hour he smote the Trojan keep.
Also a weight of sorrows in the deep
Brooding he bore, in earnest hope to save,
'Mid hard emprise and labour all too steep,
Himself and comrades from a watery grave --
Whom yet he rescued not with zeal nor yearnings brave.
[tr. Worsley (1861), st. 1]
Tell me, O Muse, declare to me that man
Tost too and fro by fate, who, when his arms
Had laid Troy's holy city in the dust,
Far wand'ring roam'd on many a tribe of men
To bend his gaze, their minds and thoughts to learn.
Grief upon grief encounter'd he, when, borne
On ocean-waves, his life he carried off
A prize from perils rescued, and would fain
Have homeward led his brethren in arms.
[tr. Musgrave (1869)]
Tell me, oh Muse, of the many-sided man,
Who wandered far and wide full sore bestead,
When had razed the mighty town of Troy:
And of many a race of human-kind he saw
The cities; and he learned their mind and ways:
And on the deep fully many a woe he bore
In his own bosom, while he strove to save
His proper life, and his comrades' home-return.
[tr. Bigge-Wither (1869)]
Tell me, Muse, of that man, so ready at need, who wandered far and wide, after he had sacked the sacred citadel of Troy, and many were the men whose towns he saw and whose mind he learnt, yea, and many the woes he suffered in his heart upon the deep, striving to win his own life and the return of his company. Nay, but even so he saved not his company, though he desired it sore.
[tr. Butcher/Lang (1879)]
Tell me, O Muse, of the Shifty, the man who wandered afar,
After the Holy burg, Troy-town, he had wasted with war:
He saw the towns of menfolk, and the mind of men did he learn;
As he warded his life in the world, and his fellow-farers' return,
Many a grief of heart on the deep-sea flood he bore,
Nor yet might he save his fellows, for all that he longed for it sore.
[tr. Morris (1887)]
Speak to me, Muse, of the adventurous man who wandered long after he sacked the sacred citadel of Troy. Many the men whose towns he saw, whose ways he proved; and many a pang he bore in his breast at sea while struggling for his life and his men's safe return.
[tr. Palmer (1891)]
Tell me, oh Muse, of that ingenious hero who travelled far and wide after he had sacked the famous town of Troy. Many cities did he visit, and many were the nations with whose manners and customs he was acquainted; moreover he suffered much by sea while trying to save his own life and bring his men safely home.
[tr. Butler (1898)]
Tell me, O Muse, of that many-sided hero who traveled far and wide after he had sacked the famous town of Troy. Many cities did he visit, and many were the people with whose customs and thinking he was acquainted; many things he suffered at sea while seeking to save his own life and to achieve the safe homecoming of his companions.
[tr. Butler (1898), rev. Power/Nagy]
That man, tell me O Muse the song of that man, that versatile man, who in very many ways veered from his path and wandered off far and wide, after he had destroyed the sacred citadel of Troy. Many different cities of many different people did he see, getting to know different ways of thinking. Many were the pains he suffered in his heart while crossing the sea struggling to merit the saving of his own life and his own homecoming as well as the homecoming of his comrades.
[tr. Butler (1898), rev. Kim/McCray/Nagy/Power (2018)]
Tell me, O Muse, of the man of many devices, who wandered full many ways after he had sacked the sacred citadel of Troy. Many were the men whose cities he saw and whose mind he learned, aye, and many the woes he suffered in his heart upon the sea, seeking to win his own life and the return of his comrades.
[tr. Murray (1919)]
O Divine Poesy,
Goddess-daughter of Zeus,
Sustain for me
This song of the various-minded man,
Who after he had plundered
The innermost citadel of hallowed Troy
Was made to stray grievously
About the coasts of men,
The sport of their customs good or bad,
While his heart
Through all the seafaring
Ached in an agony to redeem himself
And bring his company safe home.
[tr. Lawrence (1932)]
Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story
of that man skilled in all ways of contending,
the wandering, harried for years on end after he plundered the stronghold
on the proud height of Troy.
He saw the townlands
and learned the minds of many distant men,
and weathered many bitter nights and days
in his deep heart at sea, while he fought only
to save his life, to bring his shipmates home.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1961)]
Tell me, Muse, of the man of many ways, who was driven
far journeys after he had sacked Troy's sacred citadel.
Many were they whose cities he saw, whose minds he learned of,
many the pains he suffered in his spirit on the wide sea,
struggling for his own life and the homecoming of his companions.
[tr. Lattimore (1965)]
Muse, tell me of the man of many wiles,
the man who wandered many paths of exile
after he sacked Troy's sacred citadel.
He saw the cities -- mapped the minds -- of many;
and on the sea, his spirit suffered every
adversity -- to keep his life intact;
to bring his comrades back.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1990)]
Speak, Memory -- Of the cunning hero,
The wanderer, blown off course time and again
After he plundered Troy's sacred heights. Speak
Of all the cities he saw , the minds he grasped,
The suffering deep in his heart at sea
As he struggled to survive and bring his men home.
[tr. Lombardo (2000)]
Tell me, Muse, of the man versatile and resourceful, who wandered many a sea-mile afer he ransacked Troy's holy city. Many the men whose towns he observed, whose minds he discovered, many the pains in his heart he suffered, traversing the seaway, fighting for his own life and a way back home for his comrades.
[tr. Merrill (2002)]
Tell me, Muse, the story of that resourceful man who was driven to wander far and wide after he had sacked the holy citadel of Troy. He saw the cities of many people and he learnt their ways. He suffered great anguish on the high seas in his struggles to preserve his life and bring his comrades home.
[tr. DCH Rieu (2002)]
Tell me, Muse, of the man of many turns, who was driven
far and wide after he had sacked the sacred city of Troy.
Many were the men whose cities he saw, and learnt their minds,
many the sufferings on the open sea he endured in his heart,
struggling for his own life and his companions' homecoming.
[tr. Verity (2016)]
Tell me about a complicated man.
Muse, tell me how he wandered and was lost
when he had wrecked the holy town of Troy,
and where he went, and who he met, the pain
he suffered in the storms at sea, and how
he worked to save his life and bring his men
[tr. Wilson (2017)]
The man, Muse -- tell me about that resourceful man, who wandered
far and wide, when he'd sacked Troy's sacred citadel:
many men's townships he saw, and learned their ways of thinking,
many the griefs he suffered at heart on the open sea,
battling for his own life and his comrades' homecoming.
[tr. Green (2018)]
Muse, speak to me now of that resourceful man
who wandered far and wide after ravaging
the sacred citadel of Troy. He came to see
many people’s cities, where he learned their customs,
while on the sea his spirit suffered many torments,
as he fought to save his life and lead his comrades home.
[tr. Johnston (2019)]
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Then welcome fate!
‘Tis true I perish, yet I perish great:
Yet in a mighty deed I shall expire,
Let future ages hear it, and admire!
[νῦν αὖτέ με μοῖρα κιχάνει.
μὴ μὰν ἀσπουδί γε καὶ ἀκλειῶς ἀπολοίμην,
ἀλλὰ μέγα ῥέξας τι καὶ ἐσσομένοισι πυθέσθαι.]
The Iliad [Ἰλιάς], Book 22, l. 303ff (22.303) [Hector] (c. 750 BC) [tr. Pope (1715-20), l. 385ff]
Original Greek. Alternate translations:
But Fate now conquers; I am hers; and yet not she shall share
In my renown; that life is left to every noble spirit,
And that some great deed shall beget that all lives shall inherit.
[tr. Chapman (1611), l. 266ff]
But I will not fall
Inglorious; I will act some great exploit
That shall be celebrated ages hence.
[tr. Cowper (1791), l. 347ff]
Fate overtakes me. Nevertheless I will not perish cowardly and ingloriously at least, but having done some great deed to be heard of even by posterity.
[tr. Buckley (1860)]
My fate hath found me now.
Yet not without a struggle let me die,
Nor all inglorious; but let some great act,
Which future days may hear of, mark my fall.
[tr. Derby (1864)]
Now my fate hath found me. At least let me not die without a struggle or ingloriously, but in some great deed of arms whereof men yet to be born shall hear.
[tr. Leaf/Lang/Myers (1891)]
My doom has come upon me; let me not then die ingloriously and without a struggle, but let me first do some great thing that shall be told among men hereafter.
[tr. Butler (1898)]
Now again is my doom come upon me. Nay, but not without a struggle let me die, neither ingloriously, but in the working of some great deed for the hearing of men that are yet to be.
[tr. Murray (1924)]
But now my death is upon me. Let me at least not die without a struggle, inglorious, but do some big thing first, that men to come shall know of it.
[tr. Lattimore (1951)]
Now the appointed time's upon me. Still, I would not die without delivering a stroke, or die ingloriously, but in some action memorable to men in days to come.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1974)]
So now I meet my doom. Well let me die --
but not without struggle, not without glory, no,
in some great clash of arms that even men to come
will hear of down the years!
[tr. Fagles (1990), l. 359ff]
But now has my doom overcome me. But let me at least not die without making a fight, without glory, but a great deed having done for the men of the future to hear of.
[tr. Merrill (2007)]
May I not die without a fight and without glory
but after doing something big for men to come to learn about.
[tr. @Sentantiq (2011)]
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I sing of warfare and a man at war.
From the sea-coast of Troy in early days
He came to Italy by destiny,
To our Lavinian western shore,
A fugitive, this captain, buffeted
Cruelly on land as on the sea
By blows from powers of the air — behind them
Baleful Juno in her sleepless rage.
And cruel losses were his lot in war,
Till he could found a city and bring home
His gods to Latium, land of the Latin race,
The Alban lords, and the high walls of Rome.
[Arma virumque canō, Trōiae quī prīmus ab ōrīs
Ītaliam, fātō profugus, Lāvīniaque vēnit
lītora, multum ille et terrīs iactātus et altō
vī superum saevae memorem Iūnōnis ob īram;
multa quoque et bellō passus, dum conderet urbem,
inferretque deōs Latiō, genus unde Latīnum,
Albānīque patrēs, atque altae moenia Rōmae.]
The Aeneid [Ænē̆is], Book 1, l. 1ff (1.1-7) (29-19 BC) [tr. Fitzgerald (1981)]
(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:
Arms and the man I sing who first did come,
Driven by fate, from Troy to Latium.
And Tyrrhen shores; Much toff'd by Land and Sea
By wrath of Gods, and lasting enmity
Of cruell Juno, suffering much by Wars
Whiles he a Citie builds, and Gods transfers
To Latium whence, Latine Originalls
The Alban fathers, and Romes lofty walls.
[tr. Ogilby (1649)]
Arms, and the man I sing, who, forc'd by fate,
And haughty Juno's unrelenting hate,
Expell'd and exil'd, left the Trojan shore.
Long labours, both by sea and land, he bore,
And in the doubtful war, before he won
The Latian realm, and built the destin'd town;
His banish'd gods restor'd to rites divine,
And settled sure succession in his line,
From whence the race of Alban fathers come,
And the long glories of majestic Rome.
[tr. Dryden (1697)]
Arms I sing, and the hero, who first, exiled by fate, came from the coast of Troy to Italy, and by the Lavinian shore: much was he tossed both on sea and land, by the power of those above, on account of the unrelenting rage of cruel Juno: much too he suffered in war till he founded a city, and brought his gods into LatiumL from whence the Latin progeny, the Alban fathers, and the walls of lofty Rome.
[tr. Davidson/Buckley (1854)]
Arms and the man I sing, who ﬁrst,
By Fate of Ilian realm amerced,
To fair Italia onward bore,
And landed on Lavinium’s shore: --
Long tossing earth and ocean o’er,
By violence of heaven, to sate
Fell Juno’s unforgetting hate:
Much laboured too in battle-ﬁeld,
Striving his city’s walls to build,
And give his Gods a home:
Thence come the hardy Latin brood,
The ancient sires of Alba’s blood,
And lofty-rampired Rome.
[tr. Conington (1866)]
I sing of arms, and of the man who first
Came from the coasts of Troy to Italy
And the Lavinian shores, exiled by fate.
Much was he tossed about upon the lands
And on the ocean by supernal powers,
Because of cruel Juno's sleepless wrath.
Many things also suffered he in war,
Until he built a city, and his gods
Brought into Latium, whence the Latin race,
The Alban sires, and walls of lofty Rome.
[tr. Cranch (1872)]
I sing of arms and the man who of old from the coasts of Troy came, an exile of fate, to Italy and the shore of Lavinium; hard driven on land and on the deep by the violence of heaven, for cruel Juno's unforgetful anger, and hard bestead in war also, ere he might found a city and carry his gods into Latium; from whom is the Latin race, the lords of Alba, and the stately city Rome.
[tr. Mackail (1885)]
I sing of arms, I sing of him, who from the Trojan land
Thrust forth by Fate, to Italy and that Lavinian strand
First came: all tost about was he on earth and on the deep
By heavenly might for Juno's wrath, that had no mind to sleep:
And plenteous war he underwent ere he his town might frame
And set his Gods in Latian earth, whence is the Latin name,
And father-folk of Alba-town, and walls of mighty Rome.
[tr. Morris (1900)]
Of arms I sing, and of the man, whom Fate
First drove from Troy to the Lavinian shore.
Full many an evil, through the mindful hate
Of cruel Juno, from the gods he bore,
Much tost on earth and ocean, yea, and more
In war enduring, ere he built a home,
And his loved household-deities brought o'er
To Latium, whence the Latin people come,
Whence rose the Alban sires, and walls of lofty Rome.
[tr. Taylor (1907), st. 1]
Arms and the man I sing, who first made way,
predestined exile, from the Trojan shore
to Italy, the blest Lavinian strand.
Smitten of storms he was on land and sea
by violence of Heaven, to satisfy
stern Juno's sleepless wrath; and much in war
he suffered, seeking at the last to found
the city, and bring o'er his fathers' gods
to safe abode in Latium; whence arose
the Latin race, old Alba's reverend lords,
and from her hills wide-walled, imperial Rome.
[tr. Williams (1910)]
Arms I sing and the man who first from the coasts of Troy, exiled by fate, came to Italy and Lavinian shores; much buffeted on sea and land by violence from above, through cruel Juno's unforgiving wrath, and much enduring in war also, till he should build a city and bring his gods ot Latium; whence came the Latin race, the lords of Alba, and the walls of lofty Rome.
[tr. Fairclough (1916)]
Arms and the man I sing, the first who came,
Compelled by fate, an exile out of Troy,
To Italy and the Lavinian coast,
Much buffeted on land and on the deep
By violence of the gods, through that long rage,
That lasting hate, of Juno’s. And he suffered
Much, also, in war, till he should build his town
And bring his gods to Latium, whence, in time,
The Latin race, the Alban fathers, rose
And the great walls of everlasting Rome.
[tr. Humphries (1951)]
I tell about war and the hero who first from Troy's frontier,
Displaced by destiny, came to the Lavinian shores,
To Italy -- a man much travailed on sea and land
By the powers above, because of the brooding anger of Juno,
Suffering much in war until he could found a city
And march his gods into Latium, whence rose the Latin race,
The royal line of Alba and the high walls of Rome.
[tr. Day Lewis (1952)]
I sing of arms and of a man: his fate
had made him fugitive; he was the first
to journey from the coasts of Troy as far
as Italy and the Lavinian shores.
Across the lands and waters he was battered
beneath the violence of High Ones, for
the savage Juno's unforgetting anger;
and many sufferings were his in war
until he brought a city into being
and carried in his gods to Latium;
from this have come the Latin race, the lords
of Alba, and the ramparts of high Rome.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1971)]
I sing of arms and of the man, fated to be an exile, who long since left the land of Troy and came to Italy to the shores of Lavinium; and a great pounding he took by land and sea at the hands of the heavenly gods because of the fierce and unforgetting anger of Juno. Great too were his suffering in war before he could found his city and carry his gods into Latium. this was the beginning of the Latin race, the Alban fathers and the high walls of Rome.
[tr. West (1990)]
I sing of arms and the man, he who, exiled by fate,
first came from the coast of Troy to Italy, and to
Lavinian shores – hurled about endlessly by land and sea,
by the will of the gods, by cruel Juno’s remorseless anger,
long suffering also in war, until he founded a city
and brought his gods to Latium: from that the Latin people
came, the lords of Alba Longa, the walls of noble Rome.
[tr. Kline (2002)]
Arms I sing -- and a man,
The first to come from the shores
Of Troy, exiled by Fate, to Italy
And the Lavinian coast; a man battered
On land and sea by the powers above
In the face of Juno's relentless wrath;
A man who also suffered greatly in war
Until he could found his city and bring his gods
Into Latium, from which arose
The Latin people, our Alban forefathers,
And the high walls of everlasting Rome.
[tr. Lombardo (2005)]
Wars and a man I sing -- an exile driven on by Fate,
he was the first to flee the coast of Troy,
destined to reach Lavinian shores and Italian soil,
yet many blows he took on land and sea from the gods above --
thanks to cruel Juno’s relentless rage -- and many losses
he bore in battle too, before he could found a city,
bring his gods to Latium, source of the Latin race,
the Alban lords and the high walls of Rome.
[tr. Fagles (2006)]
My song is of war and a man: a refugee by fate,
the first from Troy to Italy's Lavinian shores,
battered much on land and sea by blows from gods
obliging brutal Juno's unforgetting rage;
he suffered much in war as well, all to plant
his town and gods in Latium. From here would rise
the Latin race, the Alban lords, and Rome's high walls.
[tr. Bartsch (2021)]
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Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away ere break of day
To seek the pale enchanted gold.
The dwarves of yore made mighty spells,
While hammers fell like ringing bells
In places deep, where dark things sleep,
In hollow halls beneath the fells.
For ancient king and elvish lord
There many a gleaming golden hoard
They shaped and wrought, and light they caught
To hide in gems on hilt of sword.
On silver necklaces they strung
The flowering stars, on crowns they hung
The dragon-fire, in twisted wire
They meshed the light of moon and sun.
Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away, ere break of day,
To claim our long-forgotten gold.
Goblets they carved there for themselves
And harps of gold; where no man delves
There lay they long, and many a song
Was sung unheard by men or elves.
The pines were roaring on the height,
The winds were moaning in the night.
The fire was red, it flaming spread;
The trees like torches blazed with light.
The bells were ringing in the dale
And men they looked up with faces pale;
The dragon’s ire more fierce than fire
Laid low their towers and houses frail.
The mountain smoked beneath the moon;
The dwarves they heard the tramp of doom.
They fled their hall to dying fall
Beneath his feet, beneath the moon.
Far over the misty mountains grim
To dungeons deep and caverns dim
We must away, ere break of day,
To win our harps and gold from him!
The Hobbit, ch. 1 “An Unexpected Party” [Thorin, et al.] (1937)
Song sung by Thorin Oakenshield and the rest of his dwarvish company.
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