Tuesday 19 March 2024

Civilizations One Day Vanish

Diruta sunt aliis, uni mihi Pergama restant:
   Incola captivo quae bove victor arat.
Iam seges est, ubi Troia fuit, resecandaque falce,
   Luxuriat Phrygio sanguine pinguis humus.
Semisepulta virum curvis feriuntur aratris
   Ossa: ruinosas occulit herba domos.

Destroyed for others, Troy, where the victorious Greek ploughs with a captured ox, remains for me alone. Now corn stands where Troy was, and the earth, rank in Phrygian blood, is fertile for the cutting scythe. The half-buried bones of men are struck by curved ploughs; the grass hides ruined houses.
Ovid, Heroides, I.51-58 [Penelope Ulixi]. My translation.
    Casi no tienes ni una sombra vana
de nuestra antigua Itálica, ¿y esperas?
¡Oh error perpetuo de la suerte humana!

    Las enseñas grecianas, las banderas
del senado y romana monarquía
murieron, y pasaron sus carreras.
¿Qué es nuestra vida más que breve día
do apenas sale el sol cuando se pierde
en las tinieblas de la noche fría?

You scarcely possess even an empty shadow of our ancient Italica, and still you hope? O, the perpetual error of human fortune! The Grecian banners and the flags of Roman Senate and monarchy have died and their courses have ended. What is our life but a short day where the sun scarcely rises before it is lost in the darkness of the cold night?
Andrés Fernándes de Andrada, La ‘Epístola moral a Fabio’, ed. by Dámaso Alonso (Madrid: Gredos, 1978), p. 17 [lines 61-69]. My translation.