Rough translation of the Aeneid, Book II, Lines 1-13

April 3, 2014 § Leave a comment

After posting my 1994 translation notes of Vergil’s Aeneid, Book I (minus some breaks that I translated this year to cover the gaps of 5-10 lines here and there), over the first three months, now I’m going to begin posting shorter (mostly paragaph-sized breaks) translations that I will do for the first time of Book II, as outside of one key flashback passage that I had to translate for an exam, I didn’t have to translate any of Books II or III (or for that matter, V, VII-XII) for my Intermediate Latin class twenty years ago.  Should be interesting to see how this goes (I’ll be comparing what I write to published translations to make sure I’m not too far off the mark, but it certainly will be my word choices and will likely be more literal than the prose or poetry translations available).  So here goes, with Aeneas beginning to narrate the seven years’ of misfortunes that his band of Trojan warriors have suffered, beginning with the Trojan Horse:

Conticuere omnes intentique ora tenebant
inde toro pater Aeneas sic orsus ab alto:

Infandum, regina, iubes renovare dolorem,
Troianas ut opes et lamentabile regnum
eruerint Danai, quaeque ipse miserrima vidi
et quorum pars magna fui. quis talia fando
Myrmidonum Dolopumve aut duri miles Ulixi
temperet a lacrimis? et iam nox umida caelo
praecipitat suadentque cadentia sidera somnos.
sed si tantus amor casus cognoscere nostros
et breviter Troiae supremum audire laborem,
quamquam animus meminisse horret luctuque refugit,
incipiam.

They all fell silent and eager they continued to hold so as Father Aeneas from his couch on high thus began:  “Unspeakable, O Queen, you order me to renew grief, by telling of how the Greeks overthrew the power of Troy, that lamentable kingdom, the heart-breaking events which I myself saw and in which I played a great part.  Who could tell such a story, Myrmidon, Dolopian, or harsh soldier of Ulysses, without crying?  And now the dewy night falls from the heavens and the setting stars urge sleep.  But if you have such a desire to know of our disasters and briefly hear of Troy’s final agony, although my soul shudders to recall and recoils in sorrow, I shall begin.

In a few days, or more likely a week or so, I will begin translating the lines that deal with the discovery of the Trojan Horse on the beach and the fate of Laocoōn and his sons.  Hopefully this first, rough draft gives at least some idea of the sorrowful story that Aeneas is about to tell.

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