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Short Latin passages, discussed, translated, and read aloud by Christopher Francese, Asbury J. Clarke Professor of Classical Studies at Dickinson College.

Latin Poetry Podcast Dickinson College

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Short Latin passages, discussed, translated, and read aloud by Christopher Francese, Asbury J. Clarke Professor of Classical Studies at Dickinson College.

    Dawn at Thebes (Seneca, Hercules Furens 125-201)

    Dawn at Thebes (Seneca, Hercules Furens 125-201)

    Juno has just finished her opening monologue in which she whips herself into a frenzy of rage at Hercules. As the chorus enters, they sing of the dawn, then deliver an encomium of the simple country life, away from the ambition, greed, and corruption of city life. (Seneca apparently knew little of country life, which can be just as full of ambition, greed, and corruption as city life. But the sentiments are conventional.) The poetry here is more lyrical and contemplative than the thrusting, fiery rage of the opening monologue. The meter is in anapestic dimeters.

    Iam rāra micant                                                    125

    sīdera prōnō languida mundō;                             125bis

    nox vīcta vagōs contrahit ignēs

    lūce renātā;

    cōgit nitidum Phōsphoros agmen;

    signum celsī glaciāle polī

    septem stēllīs Arcados Ursa                                 130

    lūcem versō tēmōne vocat.

    iam caeruleīs ēvectus equīs

    Tītān summā prōspicit Oetā;

    iam Cadmēīs inclita Bacchīs

    aspersa diē dūmēta rubent,                                   135

    Phoebīque fugit reditūra soror.

     

    Labor exoritur dūrus et omnēs

    agitat cūrās aperitque domōs.

    pāstor gelidā cāna pruīnā

    grege dīmissō pābula carpit;                                140

    lūdit prātō līber apertō

    nōndum ruptā fronte iuvencus;

    vacuae reparant ūbera mātrēs;

    errat cursū levis incertō

    mollī petulāns haedus in herbā.                           145

    pendet summō strīdula rāmō

    pinnāsque novō trādere sōlī

    gestit querulōs inter nīdōs

    Thrācia paelex,

    turbaque circā cōnfūsa sonat                                150

    murmure mixtō testāta diem.

    carbasa ventīs                                                       152

    crēdit dubius nāvita vītae                                     152bis

    laxōs aurā complente sinūs.

    hic exēsīs pendēns scopulīs

    aut dēceptōs īnstruit hāmōs                                  155

    aut suspēnsus

    spectat pressā praemia dextrā;

    sentit tremulum līnea piscem.

     

    Haec, innocuae quibus est vītae

    tranquilla quiēs                                                    160a

    et laeta suō parvōque domus.                               160b-1a

    spēs immānēs urbibus errant                                161b-3a

    trepidīque metūs.                                                 163b

    ille superbōs aditūs rēgum

    dūrāsque forēs expers somnī                                165

    colit; hic nūllō fīne beātās

    compōnit opēs

    gāzīs inhiāns                                                        167b

    et congestō pauper in aurō;

    illum populī favor attonitum

    flūctūque magis mōbile vulgus                            170

    aurā tumidum tollit inānī;

    hic clāmōsī rabiōsa forī

    iūrgia vēndēns                                                      173

    improbus īrās et verba locat.                                173bis

     

    Nōvit paucōs sēcūra quiēs,

    quī vēlōcis memorēs aevī                                    175

    tempora numquam reditūra tenent.

    dum fāta sinunt, vīvite laetī.

    properat cursū vīta

    • 31 min
    Seneca Hecules Furens 1-29

    Seneca Hecules Furens 1-29

    Soror Tonantis – hōc enim sōlum mihi

    nōmen relictum est – semper aliēnum Iovem

    ac templa summī vidua dēseruī aetheris,

    locumque caelō pulsa paelicibus dedī;

    tellūs colenda est, paelicēs caelum tenent.                 5

    hinc Arctos altā parte glaciālis polī

    sublīme classēs sīdus Argolicās agit;

    hinc, quā recentī vēre laxātur diēs,

    Tyriae per undās vector Eurōpae nitet;

    illinc timendum ratibus ac pontō gregem                   10

    passim vagantēs exserunt Atlantidēs.

    ferrō mināx hinc terret Ōrīōn deōs

    suāsque Persēus aureus stēllās habet;

    hinc clāra geminī signa Tyndaridae micant

    quibusque nātīs mōbilis tellūs stetit.                           15

    nec ipse tantum Bacchus aut Bacchī parēns

    adiēre superōs: nē qua pars probrō vacet,

    mundus puellae serta Cnōsiacae gerit.

    Sed sēro querimur; ūna mē dīra ac fera

    Thēbāna tellūs mātribus sparsa impiīs                        20

    quotiēns novercam fēcit! ēscendat licet

    meumque uictrīx teneat Alcmēnē locum,

    pariterque nātus astra prōmissa occupet,

    in cuius ortūs mundus impendit diem

    tardusque Eōō Phoebus effulsit marī                          25

    retinēre mersum iussus Ōceanō iubar,

    nōn sīc abībunt odia; vīvācēs aget

    violentus īrās animus, et saevus dolor

    aeterna bella pāce sublātā geret.

    • 14 min
    Phaedra to Hippolytus, part 4 (Ovid, Heroides 4.147-176)

    Phaedra to Hippolytus, part 4 (Ovid, Heroides 4.147-176)

    Despite my royal status and lineage, I am begging you. Spare me, please. May you get everything you want as a huntsman.

    tolle morās tantum properātaque foedera iunge —

    quī mihi nunc saevit, sīc tibi parcat Amor!

    nōn ego dēdignor supplex humilisque precārī.

    150                                   heu! ubi nunc fastūs altaque verba iacent?

    et pugnāre diū nec mē submittere culpae

    certa fuī — certī sīquid habēret amor;

    vīcta precor genibusque tuīs rēgālia tendō

    bracchia! quid deceat, nōn videt ūllus amāns.

    155                            dēpuduī, profugusque pudor sua signa relīquit.

    dā veniam fassae dūraque corda domā!

    quod mihi sit genitor, quī possidet aequora, Mīnōs,

    quod veniant proavī fulmina torta manū,

    quod sit avus radiīs frontem vāllātus acūtīs,

    160                                   purpureum rapidō quī movet axe diem —

    nōbilitās sub amōre iacet! miserēre priōrum

    et, mihi sī nōn vīs parcere, parce meīs!

    est mihi dōtālis tellūs Iovis īnsula, Crētē —

    serviat Hippolytō rēgia tōta meō!

    165                            flecte, ferōx, animōs! potuit corrumpere taurum

    māter; eris taurō saevior ipse trucī?

    per Venerem, parcās, ōrō, quae plūrima mēcum est!

    sīc numquam, quae tē spernere possit, amēs;

    sīc tibi sēcrētīs agilis dea saltibus adsit,

    170                                   silvaque perdendās praebeat alta ferās;

    sīc faveant Satyrī montānaque nūmina Pānes,

    et cadat adversā cuspide fossus aper;

    sīc tibi dent Nymphae, quamvīs ōdisse puellās

    dīceris, ārentem quae levet unda sitim!

    175                            addimus hīs precibus lacrimās quoque; verba precantis

    quī legis, et lacrimās finge vidēre meās!

    • 16 min
    Phaedra to Hippolytus, part 3 (Ovid, Heroides 4.105-146)

    Phaedra to Hippolytus, part 3 (Ovid, Heroides 4.105-146)

    Phaedra asks Hippolytus to put off his huntsman’s persona and relax, then offers to come out on the hunt with him. She offers to abandon Theseus and move to Troezen to be with Hippolytus. Theseus is already ignoring and slighting both of them, she argues. Their close family connection is no problem, even an asset. The affair will be easily concealed because of it.

    aequora bīna suīs oppugnant flūctibus Isthmon, 105

    et tenuis tellūs audit utrumque mare.

    hīc tēcum Troezēna colam, Pitthēia rēgna;

    iam nunc est patriā cārior illa meā.

    tempore abest aberitque diū Neptūnius hērōs;

    illum Pīrithoī dētinet ōra suī. 110

    praeposuit Thēseus — nisi sī[1] manifēsta negāmus —

    Pīrithoum Phaedrae Pīrithoumque tibī.

    sōla nec haec ad nōs iniūria vēnit ab illō;

    in magnīs laesī rēbus uterque sumus.

    ossa meī frātris clāvā perfrācta trinōdī 115

    sparsit humī; soror est praeda relicta ferīs.

    prīma secūrigerās inter virtūte puellās

    tē peperit, nātī digna vigōre parēns;

    sī quaerās, ubi sit — Thēseus latus ēnse perēgit,

    nec tantō māter pignore tūta fuit. 120

    at nē nūpta quidem taedāque accepta iugālī —

    cūr, nisi nē caperēs rēgna paterna nothus?

    addidit et frātrēs ex mē tibi, quōs tamen omnēs

    nōn ego tollendī causa, sed ille fuit.

    ō utinam nocitūra tibī, pulcherrime rērum, 125

    in mediō nīsū vīscera rupta forent!

    ī nunc, sīc meritī lectum reverēre parentis —

    quem fugit et factīs abdicat ipse suīs!

    nec, quia prīvignō videar coitūra noverca,

    terruerint animōs nōmina vāna tuōs. 130

    ista vetus pietās, aevō moritūra futūrō,

    rūstica Sāturnō rēgna tenente fuit.

    Iuppiter esse pium statuit, quodcumque iuvāret,

    et fās omne facit frātre marīta soror.

    illa coit firmā generis iūnctūra catēnā, 135

    imposuit nōdōs cui Venus ipsa suōs.

    nec labor est cēlāre, licet peccēmus, amōrem.

    cognātō poterit nōmine culpa tegī.

    vīderit amplexōs aliquis, laudābimur ambō;

    dīcar prīvignō fīda noverca meō. 140

    nōn tibi per tenebrās dūrī reseranda marītī

    iānua, nōn cūstōs dēcipiendus erit;

    ut tenuit domus ūna duōs, domus ūna tenēbit;

    ōscula aperta dabās, ōscula aperta dabis;

    tūtus eris mēcum laudemque merēbere culpā, 145

    tū licet in lectō cōnspiciāre meō.

     

    [1] nisi si = “unless,” a strenghthened form of nisi https://latin.packhum.org/search?q=nisi+si%23

     

    • 23 min
    Phaedra to Hippolytus, part 2 (Ovid, Heroides 4.37-84

    Phaedra to Hippolytus, part 2 (Ovid, Heroides 4.37-84

    Phaedra wants to take up hunting like Hippolytus and is driven to the extremes of mental derangement. Perhaps it is some family curse that the women of her Cretan line all suffer in love (Europa, Pasiphae, Ariadne)? Phaedra describes how attractive she found Hippolytus when she first saw him at Eleusis.

    See Peter J. Davis, “Rewriting Euripides: Ovid, Heriodes 4,” Scholia 4 (1995) 41-55. https://www.academia.edu/4756559/Rewriting_Euripides_Ovid_Heroides_4

    iam quoque — vix crēdēs — ignōtās mittor in artēs;

    est mihi per saevās impetus īre ferās.

    iam mihi prīma dea est arcū praesignis aduncō

    Dēlia; iūdicium subsequor ipsa tuum.

    in nemus īre libet pressīsque in rētia cervīs

    hortārī celerēs per iuga summa canēs,

    aut tremulum excussō iaculum vibrāre lacertō,

    aut in grāmineā pōnere corpus humō.

    saepe iuvat versāre levēs in pulvere currūs

    torquentem frēnīs ōra fugācis equī;

    nunc feror, ut Bacchī furiīs Elelēides āctae,

    quaeque sub Īdaeō tympana colle movent,

    aut quās sēmideae Dryadēs Faunīque bicornēs

    nūmine contāctās attonuēre suō.

    namque mihī referunt, c*m sē furor ille remīsit,

    omnia; mē tacitam cōnscius ūrit amor.

    forsitan hunc generis fātō reddāmus amōrem,

    et Venus ex tōtā gente tribūta petat.

    Iuppiter Eurōpēn — prīma est ea gentis orīgō —

    dīlēxit, taurō dissimulante deum.

    Pāsiphaē māter, dēceptō subdita taurō,

    ēnīxa est uterō crīmen onusque suō.

    perfidus Aegīdēs, dūcentia fīla secūtus,

    curva meae fūgit tēcta sorōris ope.

    ēn, ego nunc, nē forte parum Mīnōia crēdar,

    in sociās lēgēs ultima gentis eō!

    hoc quoque fātāle est: placuit domus ūna duābus;

    mē tua fōrma capit, capta parente soror.

    Thēsīdēs Thēseusque duās rapuēre sorōrēs —

    pōnite dē nostrā bīna tropaea domō!

    tempore quō nōbīs inita est Cereālis Eleusīn,

    Cnōsia mē vellem dētinuisset humus!

    tunc mihi praecipuē (nec nōn tamen ante placēbās)

    ācer in extrēmīs ossibus haesit amor.

    candida vestis erat, praecīnctī flōre capillī,

    flāva verēcundus tīnxerat ōra rubor,

    quemque vocant aliae vultum rigidumque trucemque,

    prō rigidō Phaedrā iūdice fortis erat.

    sint procul ā nōbīs iuvenēs ut fēmina cōmptī! —

    fīne colī modicō fōrma virīlis amat.

    tē tuus iste rigor positīque sine arte capillī

    et levis ēgregiō pulvis in ōre decet.

    sīve ferōcis equī luctantia colla recurvās,

    exiguō flexōs mīror in orbe pedēs;

    seu lentum validō torquēs hastīle lacertō,

    ōra ferōx in sē versa lacertus habet,

    sīve tenēs lātō vēnābula cornea ferrō.

    dēnique nostra iuvat lūmina, quidquid agis.

    • 26 min
    Phaedra to Hippolytus (Ovid, Heroides 4.1-36)

    Phaedra to Hippolytus (Ovid, Heroides 4.1-36)

    Quā, nisi tū dederis, caritūra est ipsa, salūtem

    mittit Amāzoniō Cressa puella virō.

    perlege, quodcumque est: quid epistula lēcta nocēbit?

    tē quoque in hāc aliquid quod iuvet esse potest;

    hīs arcāna notīs terrā pelagōque feruntur.   5

    īnspicit acceptās hostis ab hoste notās.

    ter tēcum cōnāta loquī ter inūtilis haesit

    lingua, ter in prīmō restitit ōre sonus.

    quā licet et sequitur, pudor est miscendus amōrī;

    dīcere quae puduit, scrībere iussit Amor. 10

    quidquid Amor iussit, nōn est contemnere tūtum;

    rēgnat et in dominōs iūs habet ille deōs.

    ille mihī prīmō dubitantī scrībere dīxit:

    ‘scrībe! dabit vīctās ferreus ille manūs.’

    adsit et, ut nostrās avidō fovet igne medullās, 15

    fingat sīc animōs ad mea vōta tuōs!

    nōn ego nēquitiā sociālia foedera rumpam;

    fāma — velim quaerās — crīmine nostra vacat.

    vēnit amor gravius, quō sērior — ūrimur intus;

    ūrimur, et caecum pectora vulnus habent. 20

    scīlicet ut tenerōs laedunt iuga prīma iuvencōs,

    frēnaque vix patitur dē grege captus equus,

    sīc male vixque subit prīmōs rude pectus amōrēs,

    sarcinaque haec animō nōn sedet apta meō.

    ars fit, ubi ā tenerīs crīmen condiscitur annīs; 25

    cui venit exāctō tempore, pēius amat.

    tū nova servātae capiēs lībāmina fāmae,

    et pariter nostrum fīet uterque nocēns.

    est aliquid, plēnīs pōmāria carpere rāmīs,

    ac tenuī prīmam dēligere ungue rosam. 30

    sī tamen ille prior, quō mē sine crīmine gessī,

    candor ab īnsolitā lābe notandus erat,

    at bene successit, dignō quod adūrimur ignī;

    pēius adulteriō turpis adulter obest.

    sī mihi concēdat Iūnō frātremque virumque, 35

    Hippolytum videor praepositūra Iovī!

    • 23 min

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Della Francesca ,

Delightful

These are delightful. The discussion is always interesting and the reading of the poems in Latin is beautiful.

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