Monday, January 6, 2014

Priapea - Verses of Priapus, in translation (by Elise Green)

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Verse 3

Obscure poteram tibi dicere: 'da mihi, quod tu
   des licet assidue, nil tamen inde perit.
da mihi, quod cupies frustra dare forsitan olim,
   cum tenet obsessas invida barba genas,
quodque Iovi dederat, qui raptus ab alite sacra
   miscet amatori pocula grata suo,
quod virgo prima cupido dat nocte marito,
   dum timet alterius vulnus inepta loci.'
simplicius multo est 'da pedicare' Latine
   dicere: quid faciam? crassa Minerva mea est.

I could speak to you, secretly: ‘give me, that which you
   give although constantly, yet thenceforth nothing is wasted.
Give me, in vain, what you will desire to give perhaps in the future,
   when the hostile beard possesses the besieged cheeks,
what he, who snatched by a sacred eagle, had given Jove
   mixes the pleasing vessels for his own lover,
what the maiden on her first night gives to her passionate husband,
   while foolish, she fears a wound of a different place.’
Much more simply it is to say ‘give me your ass’ in Latin:
   What shall I say? My cleverness is crass.

Verse 4

Obscenas rigido deo tabellas
dicans ex Elephantidos libellis
dat donum Lalage rogatque, temptes,
si pictas opus edat ad figuras.

The indecent tablets to the rigid god,
speaking, from Elephantis’ little books
Lalage gives as a gift and asks, if you can try,
To exhibit the work according to the painted figures.

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