Phaselus ille, quem videtis, hospites,
Ait fuisse navium celerrimus,
Neque ullius natantis impetum trabis
Nequisse praeter ire, sive palmulis
Opus foret volare sive linteo. 5
Et hoc negat minacis Adriatici
Negare litus insulasve Cycladas
Rhodumque nobilem horridamque Thraciam
Propontida trucemve Ponticum sinum,
Vbi iste post phaselus antea fuit 10
Comata silva: nam Cytorio in iugo
Loquente saepe sibilum edidit coma.
Amastri Pontica et Cytore buxifer,
Tibi haec fuisse et esse cognitissima
Ait phaselus: ultima ex origine 15
Tuo stetisse dicit in cacumine,
Tuo imbuisse palmulas in aequore,
Et inde tot per inpotentia freta
Erum tulisse, laeva sive dextera
Vocaret aura, sive utrumque Iuppiter 20
Simul secundus incidisset in pedem;
Neque ulla vota litoralibus deis
Sibi esse facta, cum veniret a marei
Novissime hunc ad usque limpidum lacum.
Sed haec prius fuere: nunc recondita 25
Senet quiete seque dedicat tibi,
Gemelle Castor et gemelle Castoris.
Yonder Pinnace ye (my guests!) behold
Saith she was erstwhile fleetest-fleet of crafts,
Nor could by swiftness of aught plank that swims,
Be she outstripped, whether paddle plied,
Or fared she scudding under canvas-sail. 5
Eke she defieth threat’ning Adrian shore,
Dare not denay her, insular Cyclades,
And noble Rhodos and ferocious Thrace,
Propontis too and blustering Pontic bight.
Where she (my Pinnace now) in times before, 10
Was leafy woodling on Cytórean Chine
For ever loquent lisping with her leaves.
Pontic Amastris! Box-tree-clad Cytórus!
Cognisant were ye, and you weet full well
(So saith my Pinnace) how from earliest age 15
Upon your highmost-spiring peak she stood,
How in your waters first her sculls were dipt,
And thence thro’ many and many an important strait
She bore her owner whether left or right,
Where breezes bade her fare, or Jupiter deigned 20
At once propitious strike the sail full square;
Nor to the sea-shore gods was aught of vow
By her deemed needful, when from Ocean’s bourne
Extreme she voyaged for this limpid lake.
Yet were such things whilome: now she retired 25
In quiet age devotes herself to thee
(O twin-born Castor) twain with Castor’s twin.
That pinnace which ye see, my friends, says that it was the speediest of boats, nor any craft the surface skimming but it could gain the lead, whether the course were gone o’er with plashing oars or bended sail. And this the menacing Adriatic shores may not deny, nor may the Island Cyclades, nor noble Rhodes and bristling Thrace, Propontis nor the gusty Pontic gulf, where itself (afterwards a pinnace to become) erstwhile was a foliaged clump; and oft on Cytorus’ ridge hath this foliage announced itself in vocal rustling. And to thee, Pontic Amastris, and to box-screened Cytorus, the pinnace vows that this was alway and yet is of common knowledge most notorious; states that from its primal being it stood upon thy topmost peak, dipped its oars in thy waters, and bore its master thence through surly seas of number frequent, whether the wind whistled ‘gainst the starboard quarter or the lee or whether Jove propitious fell on both the sheets at once; nor any vows [from stress of storm] to shore-gods were ever made by it when coming from the uttermost seas unto this glassy lake. But these things were of time gone by: now laid away, it rusts in peace and dedicates its age to thee, twin Castor, and to Castor’s twin.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:52