The complete new translation can found from Hackett Publishing here.

My poem sings of one man forced from Troy by war.
Fate harried him to find a home on Latium’s shore—
On some Lavinian littoral. By land and sea,
Driven by loss, by gods who would not let him be,
By unrelenting Juno’s lack of any pity, [5]
He made his gods a home at last, founding the city
Of ancient Alba, then the battlements of Rome.

Speak, Muse. Speak out, and say where Juno’s rage came from.
Tell me why great heaven’s queen hounded this man
So marked by righteousness through such hard labors. Can [10]
Such savage indignation grip a deity?

There was an ancient city, far from Italy
And Tiber’s mouth, called Carthage. Colonized by Tyre,
It was resourceful, rich, and storied in war’s dire
Arts. They say that Juno loved it even more [15]
Than Samos. Here was her armor (she set such store
By Carthage); here, her chariot. Even now, she aimed,
If fate allowed, to make this city feared and famed,
Ruling the world. But she had heard Troy’s progeny
Would one day topple Punic towers. Supremacy [20]
World-wide would come from this, a war-proud people winning
Libya’s ruin (that’s how the Parcae planned their spinning).

Anxious, and mindful of the war she once had waged
For her belovèd Argos, Juno—still enraged
By what began that war, and bitter in her soul [25]
Still; nursing hate at just the thought of Paris’ role
In judging her, and of her beauty meanly spurned,
And of that race, and stolen Ganymede’s unearned
Honors—burned hotter still, and shook the storm-whipped main
For men the Greeks and cruel Achilles had not slain. [30]
She kept them out of Latium for so long that they
Despaired the fates would ever let them find their way.
Such massive effort: that’s what founding Rome entailed.

Now sanguine on the sea, the ships had scarcely sailed
From Sicily, their brazen bowsprits ploughing spume, [35]
When Juno, nursing endless hate, began to fume:
“Am I to give in now? Give up my cherished plan,
Thwarted in turning back a Teucrian king—one man—
From Italy? No doubt the Fates say so! But she
Could burn the Argive fleet or drown it in the sea, [40]
Could Pallas, just because one guilty man went mad—
Ajax. She pitched Jove’s lightning from the rack, and bade
The whipped-up winds rip through the sails and shrouds to maim
That man who while his breast still billowed smoke and flame,
Found out a jagged rock that spiked him all his life. [45]
But I, the queen of gods, Jove’s sister and his wife,
Must all these many years wage war against one race.
Who then will worship Juno’s godhead? Who will place
Their little sacrificial offerings on my altars?”

So Juno’s furious fire flares and never falters. [50]

 

 

Original Latin

Arma virumque canō, Trōiae quī prīmus ab ōrīs
Ītaliam, fātō profugus, Lāvīniaque vēnit
lītora, multum ille et terrīs iactātus et altō
vī superum saevae memorem Iūnōnis ob īram;
multa quoque et bellō passūs, dum conderet urbem, [5]
inferretque deōs Latiō, genus unde Latīnum,
Albānīque patrēs, atque altae moenia Rōmae.

Mūsa, mihī causās memorā, quō nūmine laesō,
quidve dolēns, rēgīna deum tot volvere cāsūs
īnsīgnem pietāte virum, tot adīre labōrēs [10]
impulerit. Tantaene animīs caelestibus īrae?

Urbs antīqua fuit, Tyriī tenuēre colōnī,
Karthāgō, Ītaliam contrā Tiberīnaque longē
ōstia, dīves opum studiīsque asperrima bellī,
quam Iūnō fertur terrīs magis omnibus ūnam [15]
posthabitā coluisse Samō; hīc illius arma,
hīc currus fuit; hōc rēgnum dea gentibus esse,
sī quā Fāta sinant, iam tum tenditque fovetque.
Prōgeniem sed enim Trōiānō ā sanguine dūcī
audierat, Tyriās olim quae verteret arcēs; [20]
hinc populum lātē regem bellōque superbum
ventūrum excidiō Libyae: sīc volvere Parcās.
Id metuēns, veterisque memor Sāturnia bellī,
prīma quod ad Trōiam prō cārīs gesserat Argīs—
necdum etiam causae īrārum saevīque dolōrēs[ 25
exciderant animō: manet altā mente repostum
iūdicium Paridis sprētaeque iniūria fōrmae,
et genus invīsum, et raptī Ganymēdis honōrēs.
Hīs accēnsa super, iactātōs aequore tōtō
Trōas, rēliquiās Danaum atque immītis Achillī, [30]
arcēbat longē Latiō, multōsque per annōs
errābant, āctī Fātīs, maria omnia circum.
Tantae mōlis erat Rōmānam condere gentem!

Vix e conspectu Siculae telluris in altum
vela dabant laeti, et spumas salis aere ruebant, [35]
cum Iuno, aeternum servans sub pectore volnus,
haec secum: ‘Mene incepto desistere victam,
nec posse Italia Teucrorum avertere regem?
Quippe vetor fatis. Pallasne exurere classem
Argivom atque ipsos potuit submergere ponto, [40]
unius ob noxam et furias Aiacis Oilei?
Ipsa, Iovis rapidum iaculata e nubibus ignem,
disiecitque rates evertitque aequora ventis,
illum expirantem transfixo pectore flammas
turbine corripuit scopuloque infixit acuto. [45]
Ast ego, quae divom incedo regina, Iovisque
et soror et coniunx, una cum gente tot annos
bella gero! Et quisquam numen Iunonis adoret
praeterea, aut supplex aris imponet honorem?’

Talia flammato secum dea corde volutans [50]

 

Len Krisak has translated Horace’s Odes (2006), Virgil’s Eclogues (2010), and Prudentius’ Crown of Martyrs (2019). Among other honors, he is the recipient of the Robert Penn Warren Prize, the Richard Wilbur Award, and the Robert Frost Prize. He taught at Brandeis University, Northeastern University, and Stonehill College.


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4 Responses

  1. C.B. Anderson

    Thank the gods! A classical translation that flows and can be read with pleasure in English. Somehow you have avoided stilted phrasing that infects many such similar endeavors. Of course, we can have little idea of how the original must have sounded to contemporary readers, unless there exists a record of such observations and opinions, but Anglophones are in for a good yarn.

    Reply
  2. Evan Mantyk

    Mr. Krisak, who by the way is some kind of Jeopardy champion of yore, has done an outstanding job in this translation and I recommend purchasing the whole book. I was in the middle of reading Fitzgerald’s excellent blank verse Aeneid translation when Mr. Krisak’s translation made its way into my hands. After comparing the two, I can say with certainty that Mr. Krisak has put out a better translation, at least in terms of the reading experience. For the accuracy from Latin I cannot say. My only criticism is that the book’s production quality does not match the level of the translation. The book is sturdy enough and bound well, but the image and design chosen for the cover is dark and ugly. Also the pages have tiny margins. This should be a grand production to match the grand translation, which wouldn’t surprise me if it became the definitive translation. For future editions, I recommend looking at Fagles book in terms of production quality, Mr. Krisak. Only, just begin there. Yours should be even better and have beautiful illustrations on the inside ideally; see Flaxman. At any rate, thank you for your fine work! It is a treasure.

    Reply
  3. BDW

    As per Aedile Cwebus:

    I always appreciate the Latin of Vergil, whose works are the ultimate emblem of the classic. Every time I read the first lines of the “Aeneid”, I am more than impressed at what he accomplished, I am awestruck.

    Arma virumque canō, Trōiae quī prīmus ab ōrīs
    Ītaliam, fātō profugus, Lāvīniaque vēnit
    lītora, multum ille et terrīs iactātus et altō
    vī superum saevae memorem Iūnōnis ob īram;
    multa quoque et bellō passūs, dum conderet urbem,
    inferretque deōs Latiō, genus unde Latīnum,
    Albānīque patrēs, atque altae moenia Rōmae.

    From the radical break from Homer in the first words, while at the same time holding tenaciously to the tradition, the condensation is breathtaking. If Milton’s “Paradise Lost” seems barbarous in comparison, Milton’s attempt is still the most Herculean in English. Of course, for those longing for a “rhymed Aeneid”, Dryden’s translation is an interesting place to begin; however, each generation has to work out its own Zeitgeist. It would be interesting to know what it is Mr. Krisak is trying to achieve.

    In times like these, the verses of Vergil and Horace are invaluable.

    Reply

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