Monday, May 2, 2011

804 Prayer to Phoebus for a happy retirement (Poems of Exile)

Smoldering Fires, Clarence Holbrook Carter, 1904-2000
Columbus Museum of Art



O Phoebus, favour my efforts which aim for nothing grand,
nothing that the envious crowd would want.
Keep riches away from me; let others seek leadership,
let others take pleasure in great influence:
that this one is named admiral, head of the fleet, and that one
is joyful at the returns of his anxious eagerness, who seeks to take
command of another army; that the province fears his two bundles of fasces;
and that he hears triple times applause.

As for me, can I devote myself to a poor plot and poems of love,
and not pass a day without my brothers?
Grant me retirement not touched by an indolent or sordid life,
that my mind fears nothing nor desires any thing;
and enjoying my ignorance, grant that I would be released after a long painless old age,
and that my brothers be near to collect my bones for burying.





Note on the poem:  this is one of my loose translations from a collection of 1st century Latin poems attributed to Lucius Annaeus Seneca, or pseudo-Seneca.  If you have been set it as a translation exercise, don't rely on my efforts as my Latin is pretty shaky ...  a full explanation for the collection is posted under 'The Madness of Exile (Exile II)'.

image from Tess Kincaid Mag 64 http://magpietales.blogspot.com/

31 comments:

Tess Kincaid said...

Elegant, intelligent and heartfelt.

jabblog said...

That is beautiful and so should we all wish.

Kathe W. said...

that's all I wish for! Nicely done!

LKHarris-Kolp said...

Beautifully written, Isabel!

~laurie

Isabel said...

beautiful!

Kay L. Davies said...

Indeed, let others have the power, and with it the responsibility; the glory, and with it the danger of fame.
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

jen revved said...

how facinating and beautiful. xxxJenne'

Martin H. said...

Loosely translated or not, I'm glad you posted it.

Mary said...

Isabel, a clever take on this Magpie Tale. I like it.

thingy said...

Wonderful translation. Love it.

versebender said...

What a smart, smart piece. Perfectly expresses my hope for retirement. Vb

anthonynorth said...

Beautiful, heartfelt words.

Dave King said...

I'm no Latin scholar, so cannot speak of it as a translation, but it is what all such are: a poem in its own right. As such it's lovely.

honeyhaiku said...

Elegant and beautifully written. Thank you for sharing.

cosmos cami said...

I think you've done beautifully with it.
"can I devote myself to a poor plot and poems of love..." totally resonated with me. I like it a lot.

Lyn said...

An elegant poem... simplicity itself is difficult to achieve..hope you have that blessing!

HyperCRYPTICal said...

Beautifully done.

Anna :o]

Ann Grenier said...

Your choice of translation to share for this Magpie is so appropriate to the prompt. Thanks for this unusual and delightful surprise.

tarunima said...

how beautiful:)
i really enjoyed reading your take on the prompt:)

Brigid said...

A really excellent take on the prompt, what a beautiful poem, I certainly echo this line in my thoughts:

that my mind fears nothing nor desires any thing;

rel said...

"and enjoying my ignorance, grant that I would be released after a long painless old age,
and that my brothers be near to collect my bones for burying."
"Tis a consumation devoutly to be wished."
rel

Bee's Blog said...

I am absolutely fascinated by this write and will come back again and again to read it until I can fully appreciate the sheer brilliance.

Tumblewords: said...

Wonderful - wonderful!

Liz said...

Isabel your words:
"let others seek leadership, let others take pleasure in great influence" ... hit home rather squarely! It has been some time since I have written. Last week, I concluded that I no longer needed to measure my value by what I did or accomplished. I resigned from my boards and found that I needed to write.
Thank you.

120 Socks said...

wonderful write!

Lena said...

Lovely written piece - and now I know who Clarence Holbrook Carter is and his artwork is amazing.

Steve Isaak said...

Excellent versifyin'.

Jingle said...

lovely magpie.

Jingle said...

lovely magpie.

ds said...

Lovely translation, and it fits the magpie so well.
Thank you.

Promising Poets Parking Lot said...

Happy Belated Mother's Day..

love your work.

Glad to discover your poetry talent,
Impressed,
Share a free verse with us today, bless you.
Keep up the excellence.
xxx