Wednesday, 19 June 2013

promisses, promisses....

This poem I found in the same booklet in which I found the previous poem. It has been attributed to Marbodius of Rennes (1035 - 11 September 1123). Little can be found about this man on internet. He was a clergyman and a prolific writer, whose adaptation of the story of Thais, a 4th century Egyptian prostitute turned into Christian, was used by Anatole France on whose work in turn - remember this opera lovers! - Jules Massenet based his opera Thais.
Marbodius also wrote a lot of poetry and the reason to ascribe this poem to him, is that it neatly fits into a series of poems which constitute an exchange of letters between lovers.  In this poem a girl complains about all the promises her lover had made: gems, gold, money, clothes etc., but thus far she has seen nothing of this. `If you really love me, you would have given me all those things, so either your love is not real or you are not rich at all, so you are a lyer!’ In the last 2 lines she considers another possibility: `it could be that you are indeed rich, but won’t give me anything, lest I maybe falling in love which your things and not with you. In that case you are a complete asshole!’
Of course we can ask to the girl: `Haven’t you ever been at his house? What kind of clothes does he wear?  Or in case you have never met him before, what information do you have about him?’ But this is stepping outside the poem and asking questions one should not ask.

            PUELLA AD AMICUM
Gaudia nimpharum, violas floresque rosarum,
lilia candoris miri quoque poma saporis
parque columbarum, quibus addita  mater earum,
vestes purpureas, quibus exornata Napaeas
vincere tam possim cultu, quam transeo  vultu,   (5)
insuper argentum, gemmas promittis et aurum.
Omnia promittis, sed nulla tamen mihi mittis.
Si me diligeres et, quae promittis, haberes,
res praecessissent  et verba secuta fuissent.
Ergo vel est fictus  nescisque cupidinis ictus    (10)
vel verbis vanis es dives, rebus inanis.
Quod si  multarum sis plenus divitiarum,
rusticus es, qui me tua, non te credit amare.

candor –oris (m): whiteness, radiance
miri: to be taken both with candoris and saporis
pomum: fruit
sapor –oris (m): taste
par paris (n): pair, couple (Petronius has in his Satyricon c.89: cras illi par columbarum donabo. Could it be that Marbodius knew this work?)
columba: dove
Napaeae: species of nymphs living in valleys
cultus –us (m): clothing
quam transeo  vultu: whom I surpass in appearance (note the change to the singular quam)
insuper: moreover, besides
diligo dilexi dilectum: to love
res praecessissent  et verba secuta fuissent: the things would come first and the words would follow
fictus: understand amor as subject: Your love is a lie (litt.: made up, fabricated) and you don’t  know  the stings of Cupid.
ictus –us (m): sting
vanus: void, empty
dives + abl.: rich in
inanis + abl.: empty, poor
quod si: if however
rusticus es, qui me tua, non te credit amare. Note how the indignation of the girl by just considering this possibility is underscored by breaking up the internal rhyme!
rusticus: person living in the countryside, farmer (contemptuously used)
tua: your possessions

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