Sunday, January 04, 2009

Virgil's Third Eclogue

One of my posts last summer about Virgil's Aeneid was about trash talking, and his Third Eclogue begins with a vigorous exchange of insults between Damoetas and Menalcas, before concluding with their singing competition, which their judge, Palaemon, ends up calling a draw. Here's a nice example of the trash, from Damoetas:

Maybe it was the day, right here, near these beeches,
When you broke Daphnis' bow and his arrows, too,
Because you couldn't stand the idea, you prick,
That that boy was given them as a song prize.
You were dying to get back at him.

As for me, I vote for Damoetas as the winner (which will of course lead Menalcas to shower me with insults), for this couplet:

Pollio loves my songs, however clumsy;
Muses, offer a calf to placate readers.

All this in David Ferry's translation, by the way.


swiss said...

my favourite exchange of poetic insults has to be the flyting between dunbar and kennedy

among which the great line from the scots speaking dunbar to the highland gaelic of kennedy is -

ane lawland ers wald mak a bettir noyis

Andrew Shields said...

Do you know of any translations of it?

swiss said...

there is a selected poems which looks good and a collected poems form the association of scottish literary studies, tho only the former is avaiable on amazon thru sellers. how annotated they are i don't know.

in the meantime there's an annotated version of the flyting here
tho the translation is very polite as you'll see when you get to l50. impotent craven indeed!

swiss said...

i should point out that he appears to make his peace with kennedy in lament of the makars but, as robert crawford points out on the wonderful scotland's books, this could be tongue in cheek

Andrew Shields said...

I just found a Clarendon edition at the English Seminar here.