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Понт шумит за черной изгородью пиний.
Чье-то судно с ветром борется у мыса.
На рассохшейся скамейке — Старший Плиний.
Дрозд щебечет в шевелюре кипариса.
Translation - English Letters To A Friend In Rome (reading Martial)
What a gale we have today – the sea is livid.
Autumn’s coming, with its hues and leafy tresses.
Its kaleidoscope, dear Postum, is more vivid
Than the colors of a lady’s changing dresses.
One may only get so frisky with a beauty –
Knees and elbows signify forbidden places.
How delightful, then, is disembodied Beauty:
Disappointments are as likely as embraces.
I enclose for you some books on plants and potting.
What is Rome like? Sunny speeches? Stormy weather?
How is Caesar? What’s he up to? Ever plotting?
Ever plotting more debauchery, I gather.
I am sitting in my garden; lamps are burning.
Not a soul around, not even an acquaintance.
While the mighty and the meek the Earth are churning
All I hear is insects droning in a cadence.
There’s a merchant buried here – a savvy merchant –
Inconspicuous, yet shrewd, from Asia Minor.
Died of flu, he did. I’m sure he sailed searching
For more business, not exactly just to lie here.
There’s a legionnaire, beneath a rough-hewn stone pile.
Countless victories he won for Roman glory;
Courting death a thousand times! – and dying senile.
There’s no justice, Postum; it’s the same old story.
Let them say that only fools are truly blissful,
But misfortune has for fools its own allowance.
If your homeland is an empire, none too peaceful,
Life is safer in a far-flung, seaside province.
Far from many an unfortunate encounter,
Caesar’s pleasers and, you know, the need to bother;
All the governors take bribes, you’ll counter?
Better bribes than lives, is how I see it, brother.
Through this downpour I will stay with you, hetaera.
Let’s not haggle, though; besides, the beds are singles.
Being a human blanket costs how much?! By Hera!
Tell a roof it owes you shelter, plus some shingles.
What was that you say – I leak? But where’s the puddle?
I have never left a puddle as a lover.
Find a hubby for yourself, so you could huddle;
Then your bed will have more leaks than you could cover.
More than half our lives is gone – a case for ruing?
As this time-worn slave once told me, frail and pallid,
“Looking back,” he said, “we make out only ruins.”
A barbaric thing to say, of course, – but valid.
In the mountains there was fog and heaps of daisies;
Now I need a great big pitcher and some water –
How’s that war with… oh, that province with those crazies?
Wasn’t it last year that we just fought her?
Say, remember that old girl, your former mistress?
With an appetite for men – a real mantis –
Good in bed, you said… Well, she is now a priestess.
Priestess, Postum! and the mighty gods’ apprentice.
Do come visit – we’ll drink wine, you’ll try my cornbread.
Then you’ll tell me all the latest perturbations.
In the garden I’ll put out an ancient daybed,
And at night, I’ll point out the constellations.
Soon, your friend, who likes multiplication,
Will depart to pay a debt he owes division.
Every sesterce I saved up for that vacation
Will now go towards a burial provision.
To the House where the hetaerae ply their calling
Ride that jet-black mare of yours – a splendid mount;
Offer them the price they charged for moaning;
Have them weep for me now, for the same amount.
Laurel leaves so green they shiver on the branches.
Door ajar, a dusty window, distant shoreline.
An abandoned chair, a bed, two lonely benches.
Simple fabric that’s absorbed the midday sunshine.
Pontus heaving just beyond the stone-pine hedgerow.
At the cape, a ship and winds engaged in battle.
On a weathered stump, the Elder Pliny’s shadow.
In a cypress tree, a blackbird’s chirpy prattle.
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I have lived, studied, and worked in Russia and the US, and am a native speaker of both Russian and English.
My experience in different countries, industries, and environments (finance, advertising, IT, medicine / translation, interpreting, copywriting, editing, etc) has given me the knowledge and intuition necessary to convey message and atmosphere accurately and well.
My standard for a translation: perfectly idiomatic, fluid, elegant, and better than the original.
My areas of specialization: Finance/Business, Internet, Law, Medicine. My forte: literary translation. I've translated and edited research and PR publications for financial firms, interpreted at conferences and legal depositions, translated and developmentally edited tour brochures, catalogues for fine art exhibits, academic books, novels, and non-fiction. Also song lyrics.
Considerations of quality supersede those of quantity. That said, I can translate an average of 2500 words a day.
Samples of up to 250 words will be gladly translated for serious potential clients.