Recusatio

Here is the third in Austin Diaz’s new series of satiric translations of Horace’s Odes.

Reminder: Diaz, an American living in Switzerland and teaching Latin there, has decided to channel his outrage about Trump into something creative. An expert on Horace, and struck by the level of sycophancy in the Odes, Diaz has started translating those poems (mainly written in honor of, if not directly addressed to, Augustus) as though he were a sycophantic classics professor who voted for Trump out of spite and was then later hired by Kellyanne Conway to translate Horace to flatter the new president.

This one, a refusal to write an encomium to Gen. Michael Flynn, may be a little obscure for some readers. In a traditional version of the poem — an example of which can be found here — Horace is telling Agrippa (who more or less won the war against Marcus Antonius for Augustus) he can’t possibly write a poem for him.

 

6

Recusatio
Apologies to a National Hero

Might I suggest, instead, Scott Adams, whose talents
are far better disposed to extol your virtues
forged in the Grenadian and Haitian theatres,
refined when leading the DI

A, dear Michael, as I, though flattered by your note
passed on by sweet KC, shy away from wielding my pen
in service of martial exploits perpetrated
by oil-thirsting senator’s

sons, which fall outside my small imagination,
being more cosmopolitan myself, not dis-
similar to Bannon, though Lord knows he fought too—
he often reminds me and you.

And who can really draw that red line anyways
from dust-caked rucksacks to air-conditioned brass
with proper gravitas or connect war-room lights
to the watchful armed-satellites?

No, I’ve simply other principles, committees
with foil-clad heiresses partying all night,
discussing the infinite possibilities
of war in the south China sea.



See here for the collection of all translations so far.

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