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November 19, 2010

The Wedding of Peleus and Thetis

The first 21 lines of Catullus' Song 64, in my translation:

Sprouted at the peak of Mt. Pelion,
the pines, they say, pushed right through Neptune's waves
to the surf at Phasis, Aeëtes' realm,
when the hand-picked force, those young oaks of Greece,
wanting to snatch from Colchis the Golden Fleece,
risked riding the salty waves on a ship,
and brushed the sky-blue sea with fir-wood oars.

Athena, who protects their citadel,
invented their light flying vehicle,
weaving the pine boards into one curved keel.

This ship was a first for the sea goddess.
When with its prow it plowed her wind-blown swell,
and its oar strokes sprayed white spume on her waves,
a face arose from the froth-covered strait,
a miracle the sea nymphs marveled at.
This one and many others they beheld,
the mortals, staring in the ocean sun:
nymphs rising out, naked, breasts in the foam.
Then Peleus was on fire for the nymph Thetis.
Then Thetis was not above a human match.
Then even father Jupiter knew it:
she was meant to be wife for Peleus.

(The whole long poem is well translated by Thomas Banks. The Latin I used is here.)

November 19, 2010 7:57 AM | category: verse and worse | Comments



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