Latin · Rome · Translation

Translation: Roman Romance

In celebration of this day of Love, I leave you all one of my favourite Roman phrases of romance.

“Longa satis nunc sum; dulcī sed pondere venter sī tumeat, fīam tunc tibi zōna brevis.”
– Martial

Translation (with some liberties taken to make it attractive to the modern reader– Tanaquil will notice where I have deviated from the literal translation, so do forgive me, my dear, for how I have changed your beloved Martialis):
“I am long enough now; but if your stomach swells with sweet burden, then I will become your narrow girdle.”

“Deripui tunicam–nec multum rara nocebat;
pugnabat tunica sed tamen illa tegi.
quae cum ita pugnaret, tamquam quae vincere nollet,
victa est non aegre proditione sua.”
– Ovid

“I tore off her tunic– neither was the thin thing impairing much;
But nevertheless she was fighting to be covered by the tunic.
Since she thus was fighting like she who does not want to win,
She was conquered with no difficulty by her own betrayal.”

“Sī terra trānsfōrmat esse tempus
Saltem vīvemus aeternitatī
Sed miserabiliter tū et ego manēmus
Omnem fessam horam
Permīsimus fortunam praeterīre nōs
Quod cōgitāmus omnia
Et dīcimus nihil.”
– Unrecorded

If land transformed to be time
At least we will live for eternity
But miserably you and I await
Every weary hour
We allowed fortune to neglect us
Because we think everything
And say nothing.

14 thoughts on “Translation: Roman Romance

      1. Thrilling and stunning. We talked about the frist one already and I enjoyed the others poems as well. So why not share some other poems with us? 😀

        I don´t know why, but the last one could be written by you. Somehow it fits to you and your life, right?

        And the poem by Ovid, oh dear, that touched me…And I have really no Idea why…

        1. You think? Perhaps that is why I felt so touched by the third poem; I felt a bit of myself within it.

          Ovid is my personal favourite. Though I admit, sometimes it is Martialis. When I want something cruder and more biting.

          I promise to share more of my awful translations. I try to do at least one a day– always keep it fresh, after all.

  1. Three wonderful texts 🙂 I like the third one best, it’s a little dark.
    As for the Martialis, I read your translation only after I tried it myself and the dictionary and I came to the same result as you did. So no, I don’t know what you changed.
    But what I’m wondering much more about is: why does Martialis write longa? The person speaking is a guy, right? Or does “longa” refer to “zona” ?
    I also thought a lot about the contents of those lines in the last few days. My spontanous thought was: “This lecherous Martialis. That’s not romantic, it does not even sound pleasant.” But maybe I’m too quick to suspect prutrient hints were there are none. Blame my vestaline virtue.

    1. I think we are to assume that the speaker is a woman. In this case, perhaps Martial is making commentary not, in his usual manner, through direct insult, but indirectly speaking as her to a lover. At least, that is my take. You know how very difficult Latin is, particularly poetry, which takes license anyway.

      Martial certainly was a crude, oversexed, overly critical man, but he is so very funny.

        1. It has been known to drive people to do some very regretful things. Also, things that are terribly embarrassing.

  2. Yes really. As I read it I thought “Hmmm fits to Marius and this words, he could have written it.”

    Ovid is very elegant. I dont know many poems of him, but that one is very lovely:

    Hic ego qui iaceo tenerorum lusor amorum

    Ingenio perii, Naso poeta, meo.

    At tibi qui transis, ne sit grave quisquis amasti

    Dicere: Nasonis molliter ossa cubent.

    I only knew only the german translation, so I had to search for the latin one with google, I hope thats really the right one XDD

    Ha. More cruder and more biting. I wonder how often you have these moods…where you need the cruder and more biting stuff.

    Awful translations? And again, this not fitting modesty. You know exactly how good you are!
    Yes, do that please, I love to read the poems!!

    1. Ah! The epitaph of Ovid, and such sad words from a poet whose beautiful words went without appreciation and honour in his time. It had to be a secret, you see, to whisper Ovid’s words. He knew it. Just as he knew that his spirit should be given respect, his works placed high in the pantheon of Roman literature.

      I knew him, and he was a great man.

      The poet who died because of his own talents, indeed.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.