Posts tagged ‘1st century’

Monday, 14 January 2019

To My Wife by Qin Jian

Mindful that I had soon to leave on service,
Farther and farther away from you every day,
I sent a carriage to bring you back;
But it went empty, and empty it returned.
I read your letter with feelings of distress;
At meals I cannot eat;
And I sit alone in this desolate chamber.
Who is there to solace and encourage me?
Through the long nights I cannot sleep,
And solitary I lie prostrate on my pillow, tossing and turning.
Sorrow comes as in a circle
And cannot be rolled up like a mat.

From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ch%27in_Chia

Date: 1st century (original); 1962 (translation)

By: Qin Jia (1st century)

Translated by: Albert Richard Davis (1924-1983)

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Sunday, 13 January 2019

Your Humble Wife is Unwell by Xu Shu

Your humble wife is unwell,
Sickness prevents her from returning.
Lingering disease keeps her indoors,
Her health situation is not stable.
Imperial attendance is not worthy,
Respect goes to the wrong people.
You are on an official mission,
Going afar to the capital.
You will depart for long,
But we cannot meet.
Expectation and longing is intense,
Waiting only makes one restless.
I am missing my husband,
Your looks appear in dreams.

From: Peterson, Barbara Bennett (ed.), Notable Women of China: Shang Dynasty to the Early Twentieth Century, 2000, Routledge: Oxon, pp. [unnumbered].
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=kJ4ECwAAQBAJ)

Date: 1st century (original); 2000 (translation)

By: Xu Shu (1st century)

Translated by: Zhu Zhongliang (19??- )

Monday, 14 May 2018

Lines 67-97 from “Book I [Crossing the Rubicon] from Pharsalia [On the Civil War]” by Marcus Annaeus Lucanus (Lucan)

The causes first I purpose to unfold
Of these garboils, whence springs a long discourse;
And what made madding people shake off peace.
The Fates are envious, high seats quickly perish,
Under great burdens falls are ever grievous;
Rome was so great it could not bear itself.
So when this world’s compounded union breaks,
Time ends, and to old Chaos all things turn,
Confused stars shall meet, celestial fire
Fleet on the floods, the earth shoulder the sea,
Affording it no shore, and Phœbe’s wain
Chase Phœbus, and enrag’d affect his place,
And strive to shine by day and full of strife
Dissolve the engines of the broken world.
All great things crush themselves; such end the gods
Allot the height of honour; men so strong
By land and sea, no foreign force could ruin.
O Rome, thyself art cause of all these evils,
Thyself thus shiver’d out to three men’s shares!
Dire league of partners in a kingdom last not.
O faintly-join’d friends, with ambition blind,
Why join you force to share the world betwixt you?
While th’ earth the sea, and air the earth sustains,
While Titan strives against the world’s swift course,
Or Cynthia, night’s queen, waits upon the day,
Shall never faith be found in fellow kings:
Dominion cannot suffer partnership.
This need[s] no foreign proof nor far-fet story:
Rome’s infant walls were steep’d in brother’s blood;
Nor then was land or sea, to breed such hate;
A town with one poor church set them at odds.

From: Marlowe, Christopher and Bullen, A.H. (ed.), The Works of Christopher Marlowe: in Three Volumes, Volume the Third, 1885, John C. Nimmo: London, pp. 255-256.
(http://www.gutenberg.org/files/21262/21262-h/21262-h.htm#FNanchor_587_587)

Date: 1st century (original in Latin); 1600 (translation in English)

By: Marcus Annaeus Lucanus (Lucan) (39-65)

Translated by: Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593)

Saturday, 28 April 2018

I’m A Nobody by Bianor

I’m a nobody,
no one special,
a nothing —
yet even I am loved.
Even I am the master
of someone else’s soul.

From: Nystrom, Bradley P. (ed. and transl.), The Song of Eros: Ancient Greek Love Poems, 1991, Southern Illinois University Press: Carbondale, p. 20.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=f9nNuChxuREC)

Date: 1st century (original in Greek); 1991 (translation in English)

By: Bianor (1st century)

Translated by: Bradley P. Nystrom (19??-)

Monday, 16 April 2018

Epigram 419 by Marcus Argentarius

Hetero-sex is best for the man of a serious turn of mind,
But here’s a hint, if you should fancy the other:
Turn Menophila round in bed, address her peachy behind.
And it’s easy to pretend you’re screwing her brother.

From: Jay, Peter (ed.), The Greek Anthology and Other Ancient Greek Epigrams: A Selection in Modern Verse Translations, 1973, Allen Lane: London, p. 201.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=7YtfAAAAMAAJ)

Date: c1st century (original in Greek); 1973 (translation in English)

By: Marcus Argentarius (c1st century)

Translated by: Fleur Adcock (1934- )

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Excerpt from “Rhapsody of the Two Capitals (Liangdu Fu)” by Ban Gu

[This passage describes a part of the imperial hunt in the great Shanglin Park outside Chang’an during Former Han.]

And then the Sharpshooters and the Guards of the Gates,
Each with sharp swords and whistling arrows,
Running from their vantage points and hastening in pursuit.
Birds are frightened and fly into silk,
Beasts in their panic run upon spears.
No bolt from a cross-bow fires in vain,
No bowstring draws twice to the mark.
The arrows do not kill singly
But pierce and hit two at a time.
Confusion of movement, a medley of chaos,
Arrows with marker-strings crossing in flight.
A wind of feathers and a rain of blood
Poured on the ground and spread in the sky.
… Snaring lions and leopards,
Roping boars and dragons,
Dragging buffalo and oxen,
Beating down elephants and bear.
Leaping ravines and gullies,
Crossing cliffs and crags,
Striding hill-sides and mountains.
Great boulders overthrown,
Pines and cedars uprooted,
Woods and forests destroyed.
Nothing remains of the grass and the trees,
The birds and the animals have all been killed.

From: https://openresearch-repository.anu.edu.au/html/1885/42048/rap.html

Date: 1st century (original); 2004 (translation)

By: Ban Gu (32-92)

Translated by: Rafe de Crespigny (1936- )

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Prologue to the First Satire by Aulus Persius Flaccus

I never did on cleft Parnassus dream,
Nor taste the sacred Heliconian stream;
Nor can remember when my brain inspir’d
Was, by the Muses, into madness fir’d
My share in pale Pyrene I resign;
And claim not part in all the mighty Nine
Statues, with winding ivy crown’d, belong
To nobler poets, for a nobler song:
Heedless of verse, and hopeless of the crown,
Scarce half a wit, and more than half a clown,
Before the shrine I lay my rugged numbers down.
Who taught the parrot human notes to try,
Or with a voice endu’d of the chatt’ring pye?
‘Twas witty want, fierce hunger to appease:
Want taught their masters, and their masters these.
Let gain, that gilded bait, be hung on high,
The hungry witlings have it in their eye;
Pyes, crows, and daws, poetic presents bring:
You say they squeak; but they will swear they sing.

From: Dryden, John, The Miscellaneous Works of John Dryden, Esq.; containing all his Original Poems, Tales, and Translations, in Four Volumes. Volume the Fourth. 1767, J. and R. Tonson: London, p. 290.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=d2QiAAAAMAAJ)

Date: 1st century (original in Latin); 1693 (translation in English)

By: Aulus Persius Flaccus (34-62)

Translated by: John Dryden (1631-1700)