Tuesday, August 23, 2011
In Cities Never Seen
Most happy man! who in his own sweet fieldsClaudian's Latin:
Spent all his time; to whom one Cottage yields
In age and youth a lodging; who grown old
Walks with his staff on the same soil and mold
Where he did creep an infant, and can tell
Many fair years spent in one quiet Cell!
No toils of fate made him from home far known,
Nor foreign waters drank, driv'n from his own.
No loss by Sea, no wild lands wasteful war
Vex'd him; not the brib'd Coil of gowns at bar.
Exempt from cares, in Cities never seen
The fresh field-air he loves, and rural green.
The years set turns by fruits, not Consuls knows;
Autumn by apples: May by blossom'd boughs.
Within one hedg his Sun doth set and rise,
The world's wide day his short Demeasnes comprise.
Where he observes some known, concrescent twig
Now grown an Oak, and old, like him, and big.
Verona he doth for the Indies take,
And as the red Sea counts Benacus lake.
Yet are his limbs and strength untir'd, and he
A lusty Grandsire three descents doth see.
Travel and sail who will, search sea or shore;
This man hath liv'd, and that hath wander'd more.
Felix, qui propriis aevum transegit in arvis,I haven't seen "Claudian's Old Man of Verona: An Anthology of English Translations with a New Poem by Edwin Morgan," Translation and Literature 2 (1993) 87-97, but for some other translations see
ipsa domus puerum quem videt, ipsa senem;
qui baculo nitens in qua reptavit harena
unius numerat saecula longa casae.
illum non vario traxit fortuna tumultu,
nec bibit ignotas mobilis hospes aquas.
non freta mercator tremuit, non classica miles,
non rauci lites pertulit ille fori.
indocilis rerum, vicinae nescius urbis
adspectu fruitur liberiore poli.
frugibus alternis, non consule computat annum:
autumnum pomis, ver sibi flore notat.
idem condit ager soles idemque reducit,
metiturque suo rusticus orbe diem,
ingentem meminit parvo qui gemine quercum
aequaevumque videt consenuisse nemus,
proxima cui nigris Verona remotior Indis
Benacumque putat litora Rubra lacum.
sed tamen indomitae vires firmisque lacertis
aetas robustum tertia cernit avum.
erret et extremos alter scrutetur Hiberos:
plus habet hic vitae, plus habet ille viae.
The Sunny South