20 Horace 1.37


To drinking now, now all to the nimble foot
that beats the earth, now friends, now at last it’s time
to heap the festive couches deep with
Salian feasts for the gods’ enjoyment.

Before this day, to break out the Caecuban
from our ancestral cellars had been a crime,
while that demented queen was working
havoc to Capitol, death to Empire

with her polluted mob of retainers whom
disease alone made men-unrestrained in all
her impotence of fancied power and
drunk on sweet fortune. But seeing scarcely

a single ship come out of the flames intact
subdued her rage, and Caesar impelled a mind
distraught on Mareotic wine to
tangible terrors, pursuing closely

by oar her flight from Italy, even as
the hawk a gentle dove or the hunter, swift
in chase, a hare across the plains of
snow-mantled Thessaly, keen to put chains

around a monster laden with doom: one who,
intent to die more nobly, had nothing of
a woman’s fear before the sword nor
fled by swift fleet to a secret border,

audacious still to gaze on her humbled court
with tranquil face, and valiant enough to take
the scaly asps in hand, that she might
drink with her body their deadly venom,

ferocious all the more in her studied death;
she was indeed-disdaining to let the fierce
Liburnian ships lead her dethroned to
arrogant triumph–no humble woman.


Selections from Horace’s Odes

Translated by Steven J. Willett (includes a brief biography and annotated bibliography of the poet, and metrical notes).  Translation & notes copyright 1996-1998 by Steven Willett.  All rights reserved. https://diotima-doctafemina.org/translations/latin/selections-from-horaces-odes/


Nunc est bibendum, nunc pede libero
pulsanda tellus; nunc Saliaribus
ornare pulvinar deorum
tempus erat dapibus, sodales.
antehac nefas depromere Caecubum
cellis avitis, dum Capitolio
regina dementis ruinas,
funus et imperio parabat
contaminato cum grege turpium
morbo virorum quidlibet inpotens
sperare fortunaque dulci
ebria. sed minuit furorem
vix una sospes navis ab ignibus
mentemque lymphatam Mareotico
redegit in veros timores
Caesar ab Italia volantem
remis adurgens, accipiter velut
mollis columbas aut leporem citus
venator in campis nivalis
Haemoniae, daret ut catenis


fatale monstrum. quae generosius
perire quaerens nec muliebriter
expavit ensem nec latentis
classe cita reparavit oras.


ausa et iacentem visere regiam
voltu sereno, fortis et asperas
tractare serpentes, ut atrum
corpore conbiberet venenum,


deliberata morte ferocior;
saevis Liburnis scilicet invidens
privata deduci superbo,
non humilis mulier, triumpho.



Gender and Sexuality in Ancient Rome Copyright © by Jody Valentine. All Rights Reserved.

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