What I Learned: More Latin Poetry

B&W reproduction of an imaginary portrait of H...

Portrait of Horace. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What can I say? I’m taking a Latin Lyric class.

We have now moved on to reading Horace, and Thursday in class, the poem adjacent to the one we were translating had my name in it. This caught my eye, as well as my professor’s. There are 9 people in this class, I have him for two classes this semester, and I’ve had him 3 previous semesters, so yeah, this it’s not surprising he made a big deal of it. We ended up sight translating the poem in class.

My name comes from the Greek Χλóη (“young shoot”). This root is frequently found in regards to green things. Chlorine, chloroplasts, etc. It is also connected with Demeter, the goddess of harvest. It is believed that Horace chose this name because it is fitting with the theme of the poem.

We all thought it was a good poem, and my professor told me to stay like the fawn. He likes being a father to the large proportion of women in the Classics department. I don’t need to be ready for a man, according to him.

Following is the original text and my class’s translation. As usual with poems like these, we got to the end and my professor said, “Isn’t that nice.”

Horace: Odes, Book 1, Poem 23

Vitas inuleo me similis, Chloë,
quaerenti pavidam montibus aviis
matrem non sine vano
aurarum et siluae metu.

Nam seu mobilibus veris inhorruit
adventus foliis, seu virides rubum
dimovere lacertae,
et corde et genibus tremit.

Atqui non ego te tigris ut aspera
Gaetulian leo frangere persequor:
tandem desine mantrem
tempestiva sequi viro.

You avoid me like a fawn, Chloe, seeking her trembling mother in the lonely mountains not without empty fear of airs and forests.

For just as a spring breeze rustles the quivering leaves, just as green lizards move aside the bramble, the fawn trembles in both heart and knees.

And yet I do not seek to break you as the harsh tiger or the Gaetulian lion: finally cease to follow your mother, you are ready for a man.



About How We Flourish

Welcome! I'm Chloe. I have a passion for creating a healthy life and a healthy environment. Join me as I explore homemade and reusable products, essential oils, and real food. Look around a bit. I look forward to getting to know you.
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