© Richard Jenkins

This is part 2 of 3. Part 1 is here. Part 3 is here.

Contra sic Bessus:
“Gram regit agmen
Marte beatus,
quem metus aut vis
flectere nescit;
nec rogus ardens
nec ferus ensis
aut maris umquam
terruit aestus.
hoc duce belli
signa levamus
aurea, virgo.”
rursum Gro:
“hinc remeantes
vertite cursum,
ne proprio vos
opprimat omnes
agmine Sigtrug
inque feroci
stipite figat
guttura nexu
detque rigenti
corpora nodo
ac male torvus
trudat edaci
funera corvo.”
item Bessus:
“Gram prior illum
Manibus addet
ac dabit Orco,
quam sua fatis
lumina claudat,
inque pavenda
vertice plexum
Tartara mittet.
nulla Sueonum
castra timemus.
quid minitaris
tristia nobis
funera, virgo?”
ad quem Gro:
“en ferar istinc
nota revisens
tecta parentis,
ne venientis
conspicer audax
agmina fratris.
vos remeantes
ultima, quaeso,
fata morentur.”
ad quam Bessus:
“laeta revise
nata parentem,
nec cita nobis
fata precare,
nec tua bilis
pectora pulset.
namque petenti
aspera primum
saepe secundo
femina cedit.”
(Saxo Grammaticus, Historia Danorum 1.4.5-7)

Gro answered him:
“Retrace your steps,
reverse your direction.
Otherwise Sigtrug
will crush you all
with his militia.
Fastening you tightly
to a terrible stake,
he would noose your throats,
consign your bodies
to the stiffening knot,
savagely staring
would thrust your corpses
to the greedy raven.”
Again Bess spoke.
“First, Gram will
put him in Hades,
add him to the shades,
before Death closes
his own eyelids,
will send him whirling
to the dread inferno.
We are not worried
by Swedish encampments.
Why then, mistress,
do you threaten us with
gloomy funerals?”
Gro replied:
“Again I shall ride
to visit the well-known
halls of my father,
lest I should rashly
view your brother’s
advancing columns.
But turn back now,
I beg you, and stave off
your final fate.”
To which Bess answered:
“Return joyfully,
daughter, to your father,
and do not pray
for our swift decease,
letting the choler
pound through your heart.
A stubborn woman,
harshly refusing
her wooer at first,
will often yield when
the plea is repeated.”
(tr. Peter Fisher)

2 thoughts on “Cedit”

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