Sunday, June 5, 2011

412 The Poet Protests (Poems of Exile)

Another 'translation' from pseudo-Seneca:

Your doom-laden songs are suffused with poison

And your jokes coloured with black feelings

no one escapes your fangs:

Not man, nor woman; not youth nor old age.

Furious, you throw your cruel words in the same way

as an army hurls boulders at our city.

(but, it is the habit of insane people to appear sane

and we do not see the missiles that strike home)

The Muse rewards your sullen menace

granting discordant songs to you alone

while my rebuttals fall like unpractised

arms, short of their marks.

Are you a man of honour?  Your jokes are like crimes

trickling black venom

Ah, but for a laugh – you say – and the wine,

Anything to score a hit, and if I weep, that wit has won!

Why abolish jokes?  It is not the laugh that is spiteful:

Wits are never light – whoever they strike.



Anonymous said...

mm sharp

Dave King said...

It needs thought to appreciate it fully, which is just as it should be.

jabblog said...

That last line sums up the cruelty of wit.

Willow said...

Brilliant Seneca, brilliant you, the translator. I have known a few like this, and had my insane moments as well.