G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936): The Donkey

Translated by Timothy Adès

When fishes flew and forests walked
  And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
  Then surely I was born.

With monstrous head and sickening cry
   And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
   On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
   Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
   I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
   One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
   And palms before my feet.

errabant silvae, pecus et squamosa volabat, fructus erat sento ficus opi.ma vepri;
deinde cruentata surrexit imagine luna: scilicet in tali tempore natus ego.
en asini deforme caput, damnosa querela, auris, inassueto devia pinna loco:
me gentem Stygia illudens fabricavit Erinys,
quattuor in pedibus quot properamus iter. ille ego, terrarum lacer et miserabilis exsul:
haeret in antiquo mens mea prava modo. verberer, esuriam, illudar: tamen usque tacebo:
quicquid secrete novimus, usque latet.
o stulti ! mihi enim fuit et mirabilis hora, una fuit dudum dulcis et acris item:
namque resultavit multorum clawor in aures, et tetigit nostros plurima palma pedes.

Latin translation by Timothy Adès

Translation: Copyright © Timothy Adès

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