Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Book Club

Girolamo Fracastoro (1478-1553), "Winter: To Giovanni Battista della Torre," tr. James Gardner:
But if the frigid north wind roars or if winter storms descend in rain filled clouds, then let us remain at home and may the hearth shine forth with a great fire. Let the shepherd prepare logs of the huge beech or oak, easily split. Then let him place you in the fire, junipers, who are wont to spread sweet odors all around, and you too, olive trees of Athena. In front of the fire you will have young Giulio to play with, as he charms you and speaks words as yet incoherent. For my part, I will join you in reading the remains of great Vergil. How lucky we should be if fate allowed us to pass what is left of this life in one another's company.
The Latin:
Frigidus at silvis Aquilo si increverit, aut si
hiberni pluviis descendent e nubibus imbres,
nos habeat domus, et multo lar luceat igne.
Upilio ingentem aut fagum vel scissile robur
sufficiat, tum vos, claro quando igne soletis,
iuniperi suaves, circum diffundere odores,
et vos Palladiae flammis imponat olivae.
Ante focum tibi parvus erit, qui ludat, Iulus,
blanditias ferat, et nondum constantia verba.
Ipse legam magni tecum monumenta Maronis.
O fortunatos nimium, si fata, quod aevi
nos manet, hanc una dederint producere vitam!
Text and translation are as printed in Girolamo Fracastoro, Latin Poetry. Translated by James Gardner (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2013), pp. 258-259. One trivial comment: in the sixth line Gardner regards "suaves" as modifying "odores," and so the comma in the Latin should perhaps go after the vocative "iuniperi," not after the accusative "suaves."

Update from Karl Maurer:
Michael, in the little poem by Fracastoro, in line 2 the prep. "e" is crudely unmetrical. An editor desperate to keep it could put it after "hiberni" (to elide with that) — but it isn't needed, and I suspect should just be excised.

In line 8 "Iulus" should get a mark of diaeresis to show that "I-" is there a vowel (is metrically a whole syllable).

In line 1 Gardner's "roars" seems a terribly free way to render "silvis... increverit".
Hat tip: Ian Jackson.

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