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NaPoTraMo 6: The Sea and the Winds

April 6, 2010

So it’s technically the early hours of the 7th, so sue me. (I maintain that it isn’t officially tomorrow until you’ve been to bed, which is why one Tuesday in first year lasted an unseasonal 37 hours.) Today’s translation is only a little one: a fragment of Ode III from book I of Horace’s Carmina, praising the bravery of the first sailor.

Horace’s Odes cover a vast range of subjects from poetry to pederasty (well, it’s implied). This one is a travel-poem addressed to Virgil, who lived at around the same time. This segment comes a little way in.

That man had oak and triple-layered brass
around his heart, who with a fragile ship
trusted the cruel sea first, who did not fear
steep Africa, the north winds’ battle-ground,
sad Hyades, the south wind’s madnesses –
the Adriatic’s greatest power, who wills
those narrow seas to hold or sweep away.

Translates ll. 9-16 of Horace’s Ode III, Book I; Latin text can be found here.

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