~ Happy New Year from Ovid
January 1, seen through the pages of Ovid's Fasti (1.79 ff as seen via Tony Kline's online translation):
See how Janus appears first in my song
To announce a happy year for you, Germanicus.
Two-headed Janus, source of the silently gliding year,
The only god who is able to see behind him,
Be favourable to the leaders, whose labours win
Peace for the fertile earth, peace for the seas:
Be favourable to the senate and Roman people,
And with a nod unbar the shining temples.
A prosperous day dawns: favour our thoughts and speech!
Let auspicious words be said on this auspicious day.
Let our ears be free of lawsuits then, and banish
Mad disputes now: you, malicious tongues, cease wagging!
See how the air shines with fragrant fire,
And Cilician grains crackle on lit hearths!
The flame beats brightly on the temple’s gold,
And spreads a flickering light on the shrine’s roof.
Spotless garments make their way to Tarpeian Heights,
And the crowd wear the colours of the festival:
Now the new rods and axes lead, new purple glows,
And the distinctive ivory chair feels fresh weight.
Heifers that grazed the grass on Faliscan plains,
Unbroken to the yoke, bow their necks to the axe.
When Jupiter watches the whole world from his hill,
Everything that he sees belongs to Rome.
Hail, day of joy, and return forever, happier still,
Worthy to be cherished by a race that rules the world.
Here's the Latin (via the Latin Library):
Ecce tibi faustum, Germanice, nuntiat annum
inque meo primum carmine Ianus adest.
Iane biceps, anni tacite labentis origo,
solus de superis qui tua terga vides,
dexter ades ducibus, quorum secura labore
otia terra ferax, otia pontus habet:
dexter ades patribusque tuis populoque Quirini,
et resera nutu candida templa tuo.
prospera lux oritur: linguis animisque favete;
nunc dicenda bona sunt bona verba die.
lite vacent aures, insanaque protinus absint
iurgia: differ opus, livida turba, tuum.
cernis odoratis ut luceat ignibus aether,
et sonet accensis spica Cilissa focis?
flamma nitore suo templorum verberat aurum,
et tremulum summa spargit in aede iubar.
vestibus intactis Tarpeias itur in arces,
et populus festo concolor ipse suo est,
iamque novi praeeunt fasces, nova purpura fulget,
et nova conspicuum pondera sentit ebur.
colla rudes operum praebent ferienda iuvenci,
quos aluit campis herba Falisca suis.
Iuppiter arce sua totum cum spectet in orbem,
nil nisi Romanum quod tueatur habet.
salve, laeta dies, meliorque revertere semper,
a populo rerum digna potente coli.
While in exile, Ovid also wrote a whiney poem to his pal Sextus Pomepeius, imagining a similar scene as the latter entered his consulship (Ex Ponto 4.4.16 ff again via Tony Kline):
‘Lo, I, Rumour, come to you with glad tidings,
having flown down the vast pathways of the air.
Because of Pompey’s consulship, he who’s dearer to you
than any other, the new year will be happy and bright.’
The goddess spoke and, having filled Pontus
with good news, made her way to other nations.
But care slipped from me in the midst of new joys,
and the hostile harshness of this place was banished.
So, two-faced Janus, when you’ve opened the long year,
and December’s been driven out by your holy month,
Pompey will don purple robes of high honour,
and leave nothing more to be added to his titles.
Now I seem to see halls near bursting with the crowd,
and the people trampled due to lack of space,
and first you go to visit the Tarpeian holy places,
and the gods begin to be receptive to your prayers:
the snowy oxen, that Falerii’s grass has nourished,
in its meadows, offer their throats to the sure axe:
and next, as you wish deeply that all the gods
might favour you, Jupiter and Caesar will do so.
The Curia will receive you, and the senators, summoned
in the usual way, will lend their ears to your words.
When your speech from eloquent lips has pleased them,
and, as customary, the day’s brought words of good-omen,
and you’ve given the thanks due to Caesar and the gods,
(he’ll give you cause why you should often repeat them)
then you’ll return home, escorted by the whole senate,
your house scarcely big enough for everyone’s attentions.
Pity me, because I won’t be there among that crowd,
my eyes won’t have the power to enjoy these things!
What’s permitted is for me to see you, though absent,
in my mind: and view the features of the dear consul.
May the gods allow my name to come to you sometimes,
when you’ll say: ‘Ah, what’s that poor wretch doing now?’
If anyone reports words like that to me,
I’ll immediately confess my exile’s eased.
And the Latin text (via the Latin Library):
Fama per inmensas aere lapsa uias:
consule Pompeio, quo non tibi carior alter,
candidus et felix proximus annus erit!'
Dixit et, ut laeto Pontum rumore repleuit,
ad gentes alias hinc dea uertit iter,
at mihi dilapsis inter noua gaudia curis
excidit asperitas huius iniqua loci.
Ergo ubi, Iane biceps, longum reseraueris annum
pulsus et a sacro mense December erit,
purpura Pompeium summi uelabit honoris,
ne titulis quicquam debeat ille suis.
Cernere iam uideor rumpi paene atria turba
et populum laedi deficiente loco
templaque Tarpeiae primum tibi sedis adiri
et fieri faciles in tua uota deos,
colla boues niueos certae praebere securi,
quos aluit campis herba Falisca suis,
cumque deos omnes, tum quos inpensius aequos
esse tibi cupias, cum Ioue Caesar erunt.
Curia te excipiet patresque e more uocati
intendent aures ad tua uerba suas.
Hos ubi facundo tua uox hilarauerit ore,
utque solet, tulerit prospera uerba dies
egeris et meritas superis cum Caesare grates
--qui causam, facias cur ita saepe, dabit!--,
inde domum repetes toto comitante senatu
officium populi uix capiente domo.
Me miserum, turba quod non ego cernar in illa
nec poterunt istis lumina nostra frui!
Quod licet, absentem qua possum mente uidebo;
aspiciet uultus consulis illa sui.
Di faciant aliquo subeat tibi tempore nostrum
nomen et 'Heu!' dicas 'quid miser ille facit?'
Haec tua pertulerit si quis mihi uerba, fatebor
protinus exilium mollius esse meum.
::Saturday, January 01, 2005 8:24:57 AM::