Marcus Manilius (Ier siècle av. J.-C.)
Poète romain, connu pour son poème, en cinq livres, Astronomica.
L'auteur n'est ni connu ni mentionné par les autres commentateurs antiques. Même son nom est incertain, mais il s'agit probablement de Marcus Manilius ; dans les premiers livres, l'auteur est anonyme mais les derniers livres indiquent Manilius, Manlius, ou Mallius. Le poème, quant à lui, implique que l'auteur a vécu sous les empereurs Auguste ou Tibère, et qu'il était citoyen ou résident de Rome. Selons certains, il aurait été d'origine asiatique ou africaine. Son oeuvre montre un grand savoir de l'astronomie et de l'astrologie du temps.
Manilius imite fréquemment Lucrèce, auquel on peut le comparer en originalité et en profondeur ainsi que dans sa capacité d'égayer un sujet aride.
L'édition de 1903 de Housman est particulièrment appréciée.
Now Constellations, Muse, and signs rehearse,
In order, let them sparkle in thy verse.
Those which obliquely round the burning Zone,
And bear the Summer and the Winter Sun,
Those first: then those which roll a different way
>From West: nor Heaven's Diurnal whirl obey :
Which Nights serene disclose, and which create
The steady Rules, and fix the Laws of Fate.
First Aries, glorious in his Golden Wool,
Looks back and wonders at the mighty Bull,
Whose back-parts first appear: He bending lies
With Threat'ning Head, and calls the Twins to rise,
They clasp for fear , and mutually embrace;
And next (to) the Twins with an unsteady pace
Bright Cancer rolls: then Leo shakes his mane :
And following Virgo calms his rage again :
Then Day and Night weigh'd in Libra's Scales,
Equal awhile, at last the Night prevails,
And longer grown the heavier scale inclines
And draws bright Scorpio from the Winter signs :
Him Centaur follows with an aiming Eye
His Bow full drawn and ready to let fly :
Next narrow Horns the twisted Caper shows,
And from Aquarius' Urn a Flood o'erflows.
Near their loved Waves cold Pisces take their seat,
With Aries join and make the round complete.
Now view the point where turn the shining Bears,
And from their height look down on other Stars.
Which never set but only change their sites
To the same point; and whirl the meaner Lights ;
Thither the Axis runs, whose adverse Poles
Bears the pois'd World, and Heaven about it rolls ;
No solid substance that the weight might bear
But an imagined Line stretch'd through the Air ;
Begun from either Pole the Line extends
Earth's Centre through and in the other ends.
For since the frame turns round, that fancied Line
Which cuts the middle, too minutely thin
By turning round itself to measure space,
But still confined to one imagin'd place,
Is called the Axis; cause unapt to move
It sees Stars whirl, the shining Planets rove,
And swiftly measure the vast space above.
First next the Pole appear those friendly Stars
Well known to wretched greedy Mariners ;
Which guide their Sails, and which direct their Oars,
When mad for gain they fly to foreign Shores.
(While Heaven itself befriends their Avarice,
What pleas may wretched Mortals make for Vice ?)
Seven equal Stars adorn the greater Bear,
Which measure larger Circles of the Sphere,
And teach the Grecian Sailors how to steer.
The smaller Bear, though less in size and light
In narrower Circles she commands the Night.
Yet Tyre prefers, for though the Ocean toss'd,
They sail by her and find the foreign Coast ;
These stand not front to front, but each dothe view
The other's Tail, pursu'd as they pursue.
Betwixt and round these two the Dragon twines,
At once divides, and to their place confines;
Secure from meeting they're distinctly roll'd,
Nor leave their seats, and pass the dreadful fold :
These keep the Vertex, but betwixt the Bear
And shining Zodiac where the Planets err,
A thousand Figur'd Constellations roll,
Some near the Zodiac, some placed near the Pole :
Whose differing Powers by tenpering Skies combined
Make Seasons fruitful, and refresh Mankind.
First near the North, as conscious of his Shame
A Constellation kneels without a Name ;
And next Bootes comes, whose ordered Beams
Present a Figure driving of his teams.
Below his Girdle, near his Knees, He bears
The bright Arcturus, fairest of the Stars.
Behind his Back the radiant Crown is viewed,
And shines with Stars of different magnitude ;
One placed i'th' front above the rest displays
A vigorous light, and darts surprising rays.
This shone since Theseus first his faith betrayed,
The Monument of the forsaken Maid.
Not far from these distended Lyra lies,
Well strung, the sounding glory of the Skies.
This Orpheus struck when with his wondrous Song
He charmed the Woods, and drew the Rocks along ;
When Hell obeyed, when Death resigned her Chain,
And loosed his dear Eurydice again ;
This gained it Heaven, and still its force appears,
As then the Rocks it now draws on the Stars.
The Planets dance, and to the tuneful Sound
The Heaven consents, and moves the fateful Round.
Next (to) Ophiuchus strides the mighty Snake,
Untwists his winding Folds, and smooths his Back,
Extends its Bulk, and o'er the slippery Scale
His wide stretched hands on either side prevail :
The Snake turns back his head and seems to rage,
That war must last where equal Powers engage.
Next view the Swan, whom Jove advanced above,
That Form's reward by which he caught his Love.
When shrouded in the fair deceiptful shape,
He cheated trusting Leda to a Rape :
Now graced with stars his Wings stretched o'er the Skies.
And next the Swan, the shining arrow flies ;
The Tow'ring Eagle next doth boldly soar,
As if the Thunder in his Claws he bore ;
He's worthy Jove, since He, a bird supplies
The Heaven with sacred Bolts, and arms the Skies.
Next, raised from Seas the Dolphin's tail appears,
The Glory of the Flood and of the Stars.
Whom while the Horse (one radiant Star doth grace
His generous Breast) pursues with eager pace,
His Legs before, as running, He extends,
But closed in fair Andromeda he ends,
Five splendid Stars in its unequal frame,
Deltoton bears, and from the shape, a name ;
But those that grace the sides, dim light display
And yield unto the Basis brighter Ray.
Next with her Cepheus, Cassiopeia shines,
Her posture sad, and mourns amongst the Signs ;
She sees her daughter chained, the rolling Tide
The Monster spouts, and curses her old Pride :
She fears that Perseus will inconstant prove,
And now in Heaven forget his former Love;
But He attends, and bears the Gorgon's Head,
His Spoil, and witness of a coming aid.
Near the bent Bull a feat the Driver claims,
Whose skill conferred his Honour and his Names,
His Art great Jove admired, when first he drove
His rattling Car and fixed the Youth above."
Now near the Twins, behold Orion rise ;
His arms extended measure half the skies :
His stride no less. Onward with steady pace
He treads the boundless realms of starry space,
On each broad shoulder a bright star displayed.
And three obliquely grace his hanging blade.
In his vast Head, immersed in boundless spheres,
Three stars less bright, but yet as great, he bears ;
But farther off removed, their splendour's lost ;
Thus grac'd and armed, he leads the starry Host.
Marcus Manilius (vers 14-27), traduit par Thomas Creech, 1670
The Ram defends the Head, the Neck the Bull,
The Arms, bright Twins, are subject to your Rule :
I' th' Shoulders Leo, and the Crab's obeyed
I' th' Breast, and in the Guts the modest Maid :
I' th' Buttocks Libra, Scorpio warms Desires
In Secret Parts, and spreads unruly Fires :
The Thighs the Centaur, and the Goat commands
The Knees, and binds them up with double bands.
The parted Legs in moist Aquarius meet,
And Pisces gives Protection to the Feet.
Some Signs for Sea, and other Signs for Land :
Thus watery Pisces, and the Crab retain
Their proper nature, and respect the main :
The Bull and Ram possess their old command,
They lead the herds, and still they love the land,
Tho' there the Lion's force their rest invades,
And poisonous Scorpio lurks in gloomy shades ;
The danger is despised, the Ram and Bull
Keep Land, so powerful is the lust of rule :
The Twins, the Centaur, and the Scales dispose
In the same rank ; and join the Maid with those.
Of middle nature some with both agree,
One part respects the Land, and one the Sea :
The double Goat is such, whose wild command
Now Sea affects, and now enjoys the Land :
And young Aquarius pouring out his stream
Here spreads a watery, there an earthly beam.
How small these things, yet they reward thy pain,
Reason's in all, and nothing framed in vain...
And now if you will know what signs dispose
To Leagues and Peace, and friendly thoughts disclose :
The Fire Triplicity
The Ram's bright births you may securely join
As friends to the production of his trine :
But the Ram's births are more fiercely plain,
They give more love than they receive again
From thy fierce Leo, or than his can show
That strides through heaven, and draws the Cretan bow (Sagittarius).
For (Aries) 'tis a sign of thoughtless innocence,
Exposed to harms, unpracticed in defence ;
Unused to fraud or wrong, but gentle, kind,
And not more soft in body than in mind.
The others (Leo and Sagittarius) carry fierceness in their rays.
Their nature's brutish, and intent on prey ;
Ungrateful still, nor can they long retain
A sense of kindness. They are unjust for gain :
And though by nature these are both inclined
To frequent quarrel, yet expect to find
More force in that which is of double kind (Sagittarius).
The Earth Triplicity
The Bull, the Goat are equally inclined
To mutual friendship; both alike are kind ;
The Bull's productions love fair Virgo's race,
Yet frequent jars disjoin their close embrace.
The Air Triplicity
The Scales and Urn one friendly soul inspire,
Their love is settled, and their faith entire ;
To both their births the Twins productions prove
The surest friends, and meet an equal love.
The Water Triplicity
The Crab and Scorpion to their births impart
A friendly temper, and an open heart ;
Yet Scorpios (fraud among the stars is found)
Though friends they seem, yet give a secret wound.
But those whom Pisces' watery rays create,
Are constant neither in their love, nor hate ;
They change their minds, now quarrel, now embrace,
And treachery lurks behind their fawning face.
Marcus Manilius (vers 14-27), traduit par Thomas Creech, 1670
- Wikipedia - Marcus Manilius : http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Manilius
Éditions notables :
- Astronomicon, traduit par Joseph Juste Scaliger (1579)
- Astronomica of Manilius, traduit par Richard Bentley (1739)
- M. Manilii Astronomica, traduit par Alfred Edward Housman (1903)
- Manilii Editio, traduit par G. P. Goold (1977)
| Poésie | Page d'accueil | Bibliographie | Glossaire | Hyperliens | © 2003 Mario Tessier - Tous droits réservés.
Adresse URL : http://pages.infinit.net/noxoculi/manilius.html