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A Poet's Journal: April 29th, 2014

April 29th, 2014

Wisdom is often accepted to stand for little in the times it is most necessary, leaving preference to the wanderings of mind that emit our notions of blame and discontent.  A phrase from Aurelius, or any other sage of the past, has at times whispered a solution to the situation at hand, having only to apply its advice and thereon proceed in tranquility, but in the end I have found myself more willing to sulk in my misconceptions, as a point of taking misfortune in place of something outside of my nature.  Have not the ways and pretensions of mind, for so long embedded in our habits, condemned us already to an easily conceivable fate?  Where we stand with a person or group depends on the attitude we take: to stand apart and go unnoticed is an aggression towards the common and the undertaken, so that we ultimately concern ourselves with those people who put forth the same pretensions.   'Don't be carried away rashly by the appearance of things!'--For there i…

A New Translation of Catullus!

Here is a new translation of Catullus: please scroll down to read or visit the Society of Classical Poets by clicking on the following link: A Translation of Catullus’s ‘Ad Sirmium Insulam’ by Douglas Thornton

The important events in the life of Gaius Valerius Catullus (84-54 B.C.) are recounted through the poems he has left.  The particular poem below was written on his return from Asia Minor, where he had attempted at a public career by following Memmius, the patron of the poet Lucretius, into the province of Bithynia.  But his hopes being dashed, he took refuge after the long journey at his home in the present-day village of Sirmione, in northern Italy, on Lake Garda.

Ad Sirmium Insulam

Of the islands which in stagnant
Waters and vast seas Neptune holds,
Sirmio--the pearl of islands!--
Now my heart with you rejoices
Safe and sound, still scarce believing
Thynia and Bithynian
Fields have gone.  What more fortunate
Care, after so many struggles,
When the mind shrugs off its burden,
Dr…