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J C H Potts, 1st prize (18-and-under)
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Poem 63

I
super alta vectus Attis celeri rate maria,
Phrygium ut nemus citato cupide pede tetigit,
adiitque opaca silvis redimita loca deae,
stimulatus ibi furenti rabie, vagus animis,
devolsit ilei acuto sibi pondera silice.

itaque, ut relicta sensit sibi membra sine viro,
etiam recente terrae sola sanguine maculans,
niveis citata cepit manibus leve typanum,
typanum tuum, Cybebe, tua, mater, initia,
quatiensque terga tauri teneris cava digitis
canere haec suis adorta est tremebunda comitibus.

'agite ite ad alta, Gallae, Cybeles nemora simul,
simul ite, Dindymenae dominae vaga pecora,
aliena quae petentes velut exules loca
sectam meam exsecutae duce me mihi comites
rapidum salum tulistis truculentaque pelagi,
et corpus evirastis Veneris nimio odio;
hilarate erae citatis erroribus animum.

mora tarda mente cedat: simul ite, sequimini
Phrygiam ad domum Cybebes, Phrygia ad nemora deae,
ubi cymbalum sonat vox, ubi tympana reboant,
tibicen ubi canit Phryx curvo grave calamo,
ubi capita Maenades vi iaciunt hederigerae,
ubi sacra sancta acutis ululatibus agitant,
ubi suevit illa divae volitare vaga cohors,
quo nos decet citatis celerare tripudiis.'

simul haec comitibus Attis cecinit notha mulier,
thiasus repente linguis trepidantibus ululat,
leve tympanum remugit, cava cymbala recrepant,
viridem citus adit Idam properante pede chorus.
furibunda simul anhelans vaga vadit animam agens
comitata tympano Attis per opaca nemora dux,
veluti iuvenca vitans onus indomita iugi;
rapidae ducem sequuntur Gallae properipedem.

itaque, ut domum Cybebes tetigere lassulae,
nimio e labore somnum capiunt sine Cerere,
piger his labante languore oculos sopor operit;
abit in quiete molli rabidus furor animi.
sed ubi oris aurei Sol radiantibus oculis
lustravit aethera album, sola dura, mare ferum,
pepulitque noctis umbras vegetis sonipedibus,
ibi Somnus excitam Attin fugiens citus abiit;
trepidante eum recepit dea Pasithea sinu.

II
ita de quiete molli rapida sine rabie,
simul ipsa pectore Attis sua facta recolvit,
liquidaque mente vidit sine quis ubique foret,
animo aestuante rusum reditum ad vada tetulit.
ibi maria vasta visens lacrimantibus oculis,
patriam allocuta maestast ita voce miseriter.

'patria o mei creatrix, patria o mea genetrix,
ego quam miser reliquens, dominos ut erifugae
famuli solent, ad Idae tetuli nemora pedem,
ut aput nivem et ferarum gelida stabula forem,
et earum opaca adirem furibunda latibula,
ubinam aut quibus locis te positam, patria, reor?

cupit ipsa pupula ad te sibi derigere aciem,
rabie fera carens dum breve tempus animus est.
egone a mea remota haec ferar in nemora domo?
patria, bonis, amicis, genitoribus abero?
abero foro, palaestra, stadio et gyminasiis?
miser a miser, querendum est etiam atque etiam, anime.

quod enim genus figura est, ego non quod obierim?
ego mulier, ego adulescens, ego ephebus, ego puer,
ego gymnasi fui flos, ego eram decus olei;
mihi ianuae frequentes, mihi limina tepida,
mihi floridis corollis redimita domus erat,
liquendum ubi esset orto mihi Sole cubiculum.

ego nunc deum ministra et Cybeles famula ferar?
ego Maenas, ego mei pars, ego vir sterilis ero?
ego viridis algida Idae nive amicta loca colam?
ego vitam agam sub altis Phrygiae columinibus,
ubi cerva silvicultrix, ubi aper nemorivagus?
iam iam dolet quod egi, iam iamque paenitet.'

III
roseis ut huic labellis sonitus citus abiit
geminas deorum ad aures nova nuntia referens,
ibi iuga resolvens Cybele leonibus
laevumque pecoris hostem stimulans ita loquitur.
'agedum,' inquit, 'age ferox i fac ut hunc furor agitet
fac uti furoris ictu reditum in nemora ferat,
mea libere nimis qui fugere imperia cupit.
age caede terga cauda, tua verbera patere,
fac cuncta mugienti fremitu loca retonent,
rutilam ferox torosa cervice quate iubam.'

ait haec minax Cybebe religatque iuga manu:
ferus ipse sese adhortans rapidum incitat animo,
vadit, fremit, refringit virgulta pede vago.
at ubi umida albiantis loca litoris adiit,
teneramque vidit Attin prope marmora pelagi,
facit impetum. illa demens fugit in nemora fera;
ibi semper omne vitae spatium famula fuit.
dea, magna dea, Cybebe, dea domina Dindymi,
procul a mea tuos sit furor omnis, era, domo:
alios age incitatos, alios age rabidos.


Catullus
Poem 63

I
Drawn over the deep sea by a fast raft, Attis,
when breathlessly he had sped to the Phyrgian forest
and reached the goddess' gloomy wood-crowned groves,
tortured there by raging madness, deranged,
plucked the fruit of his groin with a sharp flint.

When she felt her limbs stripped of their manhood,
staining the soil with fresh blood, in her snowy hands
the agile girl took up the light tambourine,
your tambourine, Cybele, your mysteries, mother,
and striking hollow bull-skin with soft fingers,
the trembling girl sang out to her followers:

'Go at once, Gallae, to Cybele's high groves,
go together, Mistress Dindymus' wandering flocks,
who like exiles seeking foreign fields, having
followed my lead, my comrades, led by me,
have borne the tempestuous brine and bullying of the sea,
and reviling Venus have emasculated your bodies;
with quick-footed wanderings delight your mistress' heart.

Free all lingering restraints, go together, follow me
to Cybele's Phrygian home, the goddess' Phrygian groves,
where cymbals sound, where tambourines resound,
where the Phrygian piper plays deeply on curved reed,
where frantically ivy-clad Maenads toss their heads,
where screechingly they celebrate sacred rites,
where the goddess, roaming retinue rush about,
where we should with swift dance speed.'

Soon as sissified Attis sang this to her comrades,
the Bacchic band broke out with wailing ululations,
the light tambourine sounded, hollow cymbals resounded,
the flashing chorus wove its way to green Ida;
at once, panting, frantic, wits wandering, gasping for air,
their leader Attis went through the dark groves with a drum,
like an untamable bull dancing from the burden of the yoke;
the swift Gallae shadowed their speeding leader.

And so, when worn out they reach Cybele's home,
too much work without Bread, they seize sleep,
sluggish sleep veils their eyes as they sway with lethargy;
the spirit's raving and raging fades into gentle rest.
But when golden-faced Sun with his sparkling eyes
lit up the white heavens, rough land, wild sea, rode down
the shadow of the night with dancing hooves thundering,
then swift Sleep flew from the awakened Attis;
between her quivering breasts Pasithea welcomed him.

II
So freed from frenzy in gentle rest, Attis
recollected her doings in her own breast,
saw clear-minded where she was, what she'd lost.
Spirit boiling, she returned to the shore.
There, seeing the open seas, with tearful eyes
she sorrowfully addressed her homeland:

'Homeland my creator, homeland my mother,
leaving as miserable as runaway slaves
leaving their masters, I ran to Ida's groves
to be in the snow and frosty dens of beasts,
and reach in a frenzy their dungeon-dark lairs;
where do I imagine you are now, homeland?

My eye feels its gaze drawn to you,
my mind for a short time free from madness.
Shall I be dragged from my far-off home to these groves?
away from home, possessions, friends, parents?
from the forum, gyms, wrestling-ground, stadium?
Mourn, mourn, miserable, miserable spirit.

For what shape is there I have not taken?
There's me a woman, me a young man, youth, boy.
I was flower of the gym, glory of the wrestling-ground;
doors were crowded for me, thresholds warmed for me,
the house crowned with flowery posies for me
when at sunrise I had to leave my room.

Shall I now be the gods, slave, Cybele's handmaid?
a Maenad, only part myself, impotent?
Shall I dwell in green Ida's cold places, draped with snow?
live under the column-like Phrygian peaks,
with the wood-dwelling deer and forest-roaming boar?
Now, now I regret what I've done, now I'm sorry.'

III
When this sound bled from her rose-red lips,
pricking the goddess' ears with such unexpected news,
Cybele, whipping back her lions' leashes,
rousing her flock's nemesis, made her command:
'On, my fierce beast, make a frenzy whip her on,
make her return to the grove struck by madness,
she who yearns to be free and escape my power.
Flail your back with your tail, bear your own lashes,
make the hills thunder in answer to your roars,
flail your mane with your muscular neck.'

So speaks unbending Cybele, and ties back the leash;
the beast rouses himself, spirit surging, bounds forward,
roars, rips apart the undergrowth with roving paw.
When he came to the wet strip on the whitening shore,
and saw tender Attis near the marble of the sea,
he charged. Senseless she fled into the wild woods,
for the rest of her life a handmaid always.
Goddess, great goddess, Cybele, goddess mistress
of Dindymus, may your madness, mistress, be far
from my home: make others mad, make others raving.


Translated from the Latin by J C H Potts (aged 17)
  [Commentary on the poem by the translator]   



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