Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Dancing girl of Syria

Dancing girl of Syria, her hair caught up with a fillet:
Very subtle in swaying those quivering flanks of hers
In time to the castanet's rattle: half-drunk in the smoky tavern,
She dances, lascivious, wanton, clashing the rhythm.
And what's the use, if you're tired, of being out in the dust and the heat,
When you might as well lie still and get drunk on your settle?
Here's tankards and cups and measures and roses and pipes and fiddles
And a trellis-arbour cool with its shade of reeds,
And somewhere somebody piping as if it were Pan's own grotto,
On a shepherd's flute, the way they do in the fields.
And here's a thin little wine, just poured from a cask that is pitchy,
And a brook running by with the noise and gurgle of running water.

There's even garlands for you, violet wreaths and saffron,
And golden melilot twining with crimson roses,
And lilies plucked where they grow by the virgin river,
—Achelois brings them in green willow baskets
And little cheeses for you that they dry in baskets of rushes,
And plums that ripen in the autumn weather,
And chestnuts, and the cheerful red of apples.
In brief, here's Ceres, Love, and rowdy Bacchus
—And red-stained blackberries, and grapes in bunches,
And hanging from his withe seagreen cucumber.
And here's the little god who keeps the arbour,
Fierce with his sickle and enormous belly.

—Appendix Vergiliana*

*Often spuriously attributed to Virgil.  This translation can be found in Mediæval Latin Lyrics by Helen Waddell.( Maram )