Horace (65BC – 8BC): Odes III. xxv

Translated by Timothy Adès

BARDIC HWYL (in the same metre)

Quo me, Bacche, rapis tui
plenum? Quae nemora aut quos agor in specus
    velox mente nova? Quibus
antris egregii Caesaris audiar
    aeternum meditans decus
stellis inserere et consilio Iovis?
    Dicam insigne, recens, adhuc
indictum ore alio. Non secus in iugis
    exsomnis stupet Euhias,
Hebrum prospiciens et niue candidam
    Thracen ac pede barbaro
lustratam Rhodopen, ut mihi devio
    ripas et vacuum nemus
mirari libet. O Naiadum potens
    Baccharumque valentium
proceras manibus vertere fraxinos,
    nil parvum aut humili modo,
nil mortale loquar. Dulce periculum est,
    o Lenaee, sequi deum
cingentem viridi tempora pampino.

    Wine-god, where are you hurtling me
smashed, seized, into the woods, into the hideaways
    headlong, out of my mind, in what
deep caves soon to be heard hymning the glories of
    Caesar, wonderful man, what a
bright star, Jupiter’s close friend, for eternity?
    I’ll have something to say, so good,
so fresh, nobody yet… Just as a Williwaw,
    sleep-starved, gawps at the realms of snow,
three-tongue-straddler Meritsch, far Philippopolis,
    I stray too and I wonder at
woods where nobody goes, beautiful watersides.
    Wine-god, lord of the Nymphs and of
Bacchant strongwomen, who wrench and uproot with their
    bare hands towering trees! I shall
talk no trivia, steer clear of humility,
    say naught mortal. So sweet the risk,
so grave, hazardous joy, following after him,
    wine-lord, god of the clustering
vine-leaves, braiding the brows, weaving viridian.

Translation: Copyright © Timothy Adès

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