Lucan: Defeat at Pharsalus (From Latin)

Another excerpt from that unhinged epic of grotesque splendor, Lucan's Civil War. This short passage from book 7 shows Lucan's poignancy and goriness. At the end of this section, he has one of his more lofty anti-authoritarian (I won't say "republican") moments, and we get a refraction of what reads, to me at least, like a growing resentment at Caesarism and Neronian absolutism. 

The Defeat at Pharsalus (7.617-46)
By Lucan
Translated by A.Z. Foreman

  When all a world is dying, it is shameful
to squander tears on countless deaths, to track
individual destinies and ask
whose guts each kill-stroke skivered, whose feet trampled
his own intestines spilled across the ground,
who looked his enemy in the face while forcing 
the sword out of his throat with dying breath;
who crumpled at the first strike, who stood tall
as his hacked limbs fell round him, who allowed
the javelin to run him clean through, whom
the spear pinned wriggling to the plain, whose blood 
exploded from his veins into the air
drenching an enemy combatant's armor,
who speared his brother's breast then kicked away
the severed head to pick the kin corpse clean,
who mutilated his own father's face
with such demented rage to convince watchers
the man he'd butchered wasn't his own parent.
  No single death deserves its own lament,
No time to mourn the individual.  
Pharsalus was unlike all prior battles'
catastrophes. There Rome fell with men's fates,
here with entire peoples'. Soldiers died there
but here whole nations perished. Here blood streamed
from Greek, Assyrian and Pontic veins,
which might have congealed on the field in one
cross-ethnic scab, but for a huge deluge 
of Roman gore. 
        In that unholy battle
upon the stinking plains of Thessaly,
the peoples all sustained a deeper wound  
than their own era could endure. Much more
than life and safety were lost there. We were
made prostrate for eternity. Every age 
that suffers slavery fell to those swords.
  But what did grandsons and great-grandsons do
to deserve birth in an autocracy?
Were ours the blades that fell with fear? Did we
snivel behind our shields and hide our throats?
The penalty of others' cowardice 
is hung around our necks today. 
               O Fortune, 
since then you've only given us more tyrants!
Why not at least give us a chance to fight?


The Original:

Bellum Cīvīle 7.617-46
Mārcus Annaeus Lūcānus

Impendisse pudet lacrimās in fūnere mundī
mortibus innumerīs, ac singula fāta sequentem
quaerere lētiferum per cuius vīscera vulnus
exierit, quis fūsa solō vītālia calcet,                
ōre quis adversō dēmissum faucibus ēnsem
expulerit moriēns animā, quis corruat ictus,
quis steterit dum membra cadunt, quī pectore tēla
trānsmittant aut quōs campīs affixerit hasta,
quis cruor ēmissīs perrūperit āera vēnīs                
inque hostis cadat arma suī, quis pectora frātrīs
caedat et, ut nōtum possit spoliāre cadāver,
abscīsum longē mittat caput, ōra parentis
quis laceret nimiāque probet spectantibus īrā
quem iugulat nōn esse patrem. Mors nūlla querellā              
digna suā est, nūllōsque hominum lūgēre vacāmus.
Nōn istās habuit pugnae Pharsālia partēs
quās aliae clādēs: illic per fāta virōrum,
per populōs hīc Rōma perit; quod mīlitis illic,
mors hīc gentis erat: sanguīs ibi flūxit Achaeus,                
Ponticus, Assyrius; cūnctōs haerēre cruōrēs
Rōmānus campīsque vetat cōnsistere torrēns.
Maius ab hāc aciē quam quod sua saecula ferrent
vulnus habent populī; plūs est quam vīta salūsque
quod perit: in tōtum mundī prōsternimur aevum.                
Vīncitur hīs gladiīs omnis quae serviet aetās.
Proxima quid subolēs aut quid meruēre nepōtēs
in rēgnum nāscī? Pavidē num gessimus arma
tēximus aut iugulōs? Aliēnī poena timōris
in nostrā cervīce sedet. Post proelia nātīs                
sī dominum, Fōrtūna, dabās, et bella dedisses.

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