Arion and the Dolphin

Ovid's works contain many stories derived from legend and folklore. One such work, his incomplete Fasti, is a poetic discourse on the religious festivals of the Roman calendar and their mythological roots. The following story con-cerns Arion, an early Greek poet, who, after a successful tour of the Greek cities of southern Italy and Sicily, survives a criminal assault while returning to his native Corinth.

Nomen Arionium Siculas impleverat urbes, captaque erat lyricis Ausonis ora sonis; inde domum repetens puppem conscendit Arion, 95

atque ita quaesitas arte ferebat opes, forsitan, infelix, ventos undasque timebas, at tibi nave tua tutius aequor erat; namque gubernator destricto constitit ense ceteraque armata conscia turba manu. 100

text Ovid Fasti, trans. J. G. Frazer, revised G. P. Gould

(Loeb Classical Library, 1989) meter elegiac couplet [§m2]

nômën À|rïônï|ùm || Sïcù|lâs îm|plëvërât | urbes càptâqu(e) ë|rât lyri|cïs || Aûsônïs | ôrâ sô|nls

93f. Arïonius adj. of Arîôn (see 1. 95); Siculus adj. of Sicilia -ae f. Sicily; impleô -èrefill; capta erat (3 sg. pluperf. ind. pass, capiô -ere) had been captivated; lyricis ... sonis instrumental abl. [§g47], lit., by the lyrical sounds (sonus -I m.), trans, by the sounds of [his] lyre (Iyricus adj. of lyra -ae f. lyre); take Ausonis (f. adj. of Ausonia -ae f. Italy) with ôra. 95f. inde from there; repetô -ere (tr.) return to; puppis puppis f. stern (of a boat), used by synecdoche [§g98] for ship; conscendô -ere board; Arïôn Arïonis m.— the name is Greek, as is the legend; ita quaesitas arte... opes wealth won (quaerô -ere) in this way by [his] skill (arte instrumental abl. [§g47]).

97 forsitan perhaps; infelix voc. O unfortunate [man]—Ovid is fond of addresses of this sort that break into the story (cf. 11.101-102 and 106).

98 tibi dat. of reference [§g 32] for you; nâve tuà abl. of comparison [§g42] than your ship; tutius n.sg. compar. of tutus safe; aequor aequoris n. here sea.

99f. namque = nam; gubernâtor gubernàtôris m. helmsman; destrictô ... ense abl. absolute [§G49], lit., sword (ensis ensis m.) having been drawn (destringô -ere), trans, with drawn sword; -que (after cetera) trans, together with; constitit (constd -are take a stand) agrees with the nearer of its two subjects [§g 58], gubernâtor and turba; cetera ... conscia turba the rest of the guilty band; armàtâ ... manu abl. absolute [§G49], but trans, with armed (armô -are) hands (sg. for pi. [§G 53] )—the meter tells us that the final à of armàtâ is long and therefore the participle is ablative and is to be taken with manû (and not with the nominative turba).

quid tibi cum gladio? dubiam rege, navita, puppem: non haec sunt digitis arma tenenda tuis.

ille, metu pavidus, "mortem non deprecor" inquit,

"sed liceat sumpta pauca referre lyra." dant veniam ridentque moram. capit ille coronam, 105 quae possit crines, Phoebe, decere tuos;

induerat Tyrio bis tinctam múrice pallam: reddidit icta suos pollice chorda sonos.

protinus in medias ornatus desilit undas: 111

spargitur impulsa caerula puppis aqua.

101 To render the scene more vivid, Ovid calls on the helmsman (cf. 11. 97 and 106); supply est with the question quid ... gladióf what [business is there] for you (dat. of reference [§G32]) with a sword?; dubius uncertain—the ship (puppem, as in 1. 95) needs to be controlled, hence rege (2 sg. imp. act. of regó -ere steer); navita -ae m. (= nauta) sailor.

102 Take digitis ... tuis (instrumental abl. [§G47]) with tenenda (gerundive used as a predicative adj. [§g8o], lit., needing to be held; trans, your fingers should not be holding this weapon (pi. for sg. [§G53]).

103 ille i.e., Arion; metü pavidus trembling with fear (metü instrumental abl. [§047]); deprecor -árí beg to avoid.

104 liceat subj. to express a wish [§g 67] may it be allowed [to me]; sumpta... lyrá abl. absolute [§G49], lit., lyre having been taken up; pauca n.pl. acc. a few [tunes]; refero -ferre repeat.

105 dant historic pres. [§g6o], as are other verbs later in the narrative; venia -ae f. permission; rident moram they laughed at the delay (mora -ae f.); capit here put on; corona -ae f. chaplet.

106 possit potential subj. [§g 68] could; crines ... tuós trans .your own hair (crlnis crinis m.); Phoebe voc. of Phoebus -i m. another name for Apollo; decere (pres. inf. of decet normally impers. it adorns) can be used with a third-person subject.

107 induerat pluperf. used for perf. [§g 64] (induó -ere) he put on; Tyrió ... pallam a cloak (palla -ae f.) twice (bis) dipped (tingó -ere) in Tyrian (adj. of Tyrus -i f. Tyre) dye (mürex müricis m. shellfish found off the coast of Tyre from which a purple dye was extracted).

108 reddó -ere give back; icta perf. pple. of icio icere strike; suds ... sonós trans. sounds [all] their own; pollice instrumental abl. [§G47] with [his] thumb (pollex pollicis m.); chorda (-ae f. string) sg. for pi. [§g 53].

in protinus adv. immediately; in medias ... undás into the middle of the waves; ornó -are adorn; désilió -Ire jump down—beginning with desilit, the historic present is used exclusively to the end of the selection.

112 spargó -ere splash; impulsa ... aquá instrumental abl. [§G47] by the water [when] hit (impelió -ere); caerula puppis the blue ship (cf. 1.95).

H3f. inde then; take fide (abl. of comparison [§G42]) with maius (n. compar. of maior), lit., greater than belief i.e., incredible as it sounds; tergó ... recurvó in-

inde (fide maius) tergo delphina recurvo se memorant oneri subposuisse novo;

ille, sedens citharamque tenens, pretiumque vehendi 115 cantat et aequoreas carmine mulcet aquas.

di pia facta vident: astris delphina recepit Iuppiter et stellas iussit habere novem.

strumental abl. [§G47] with [its] curved back (tergum -1 n.); delphina Greek acc. sg. of delphln delphinis m. dolphin; memorant (they (i.e., people) say (memoro -are)) is followed by an acc.+inf. construction [§gio], delphina ... se subposuisse—delphina is the subject of the infinitive and se is its object; oner! ... novo dat. after subposuisse (subpono -ere + acc./dat. place [something] under [something]), lit., a dolphin to have placed itself under an unfamiliar burden (onus oneris n.)—the dolphin was unaccustomed to carrying humans.

H5f. cithara -ae f. lyre; ... -que (after pretium) et... lit., both ... and ..., but trans, simply and; pretium vehendi is in apposition [§g 52] to the first clause (cantat), [as] payment for being carried (lit., of the carrying—vehendi gerund [§G78]); canto -are sing; aequoreas ... aquas waters of the sea (aequoreus adj. of aequor (cf. 1.98); carmine instrumental abl. [§G47] with [his] song; mulceo -ere calm.

H7f. vident here take note of; astris abl. of place where [§G38], trans, among the constellations (astrum -I n.),- delphina Greek acc. (cf. 1.113); recipid -ere here admit; Iuppiter Iovis m. Jupiter; Stella -ae f. star; iubed -ere here direct; novem nine.

Rhapsody inVerse

Although his Astronomica contains many striking passages, Marcus Manilius (see page 157) has found few readers because of his complex subject and the difficulty of his language. Among those who have appreciated his succinct and epigrammatic style was the German polymath Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Once?,"during a visit to the Harz Mountains in Germany, Goethe was deeply moved by the grandeur of the; scenery and quoted Manilius in a visitors' book:

Quis caelum posset nisi caeli munere nosse et reperire deum, nisi qui pars ipse deorum est? 2.1156

Who could know heaven except by heavens gift and discover the divine (lit.,'god) except [a person] who is himself part of the gods?

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment