Monday, November 1, 2010

Horace on intimidation

to a youth of the republic

Why isn't he still with his peers,
testing his mettle as a soldier does,
using his spiked bit to rein in his frenzied Gallic mount?

Why is he now afraid even to touch the yellow Tiber, much less to breathe in it?

Why is he put off by the oil
used to grease the wrestler's body,
as if it were some snake's?

Where are the livid bruises
left by weapons on his own body,
this winner with the discus,

the javelin, who threw so often
so far past the mark? Why does he
hide himself as if he were Thetis' son,

whom she hid in guise of a girl, they say,
seeing the many dead of Troy
and the grief of the still living,

for fear that a manly appearance
might hurry him back
to the Lycian cohorts and the slaughter?

Horace, The Odes, I : 8, 
translation Robert Creeley, 
JD McClatchy, editor,
Princeton, 2002 

No comments:

Post a Comment