In Praise of Sun

Translation from the Anthologia Latina by Ɔ. Martiana (Unhistorize).

When mighty Nature inaugurated the world and the earth,
Sun (lat. Sol) himself gave the day. Frightful clouds in heaven
He dispersed, and bathed the rose-coloured world in his appearance,
The beautiful stars shone in their serene movement;
For Day without Sun is chaos. So, let us begin to become acquainted
With the luminary, and to feel the saffron-coloured warmth of the heaven.
From the rosy water the team of horses rises as wonted,
With muzzles raised, exhaling light from their chest.
Sun breaks asunder the shadows, he who shines from his golden-red rising,
Scattering flaming lights onto the ethereal fields.
These lights are humans and animals, and the seeds of all things;
Hence birds and cattle live, and the whole kind of swimming beings,
Which heaven, which the earth holds, which the smooth sea sustains.
Hence the heat is suffused which contains the whole world,
While it perfects the sweet gifts of honey-dripping life.

And when Titan ascends to the saffron-coloured world,
All things lie open, although dark Night closed them;
Soon forests and fields are verdant, and flowery meadows too.
Then calm lies the entire sea, and with surging currents
The rivers: through quivering streams runs golden light
(He rules the empire of the world, he sanctifies time!)
And from the streams Ether raises his head to the shining height.
Next then the glittering reins of the wing-footed horses tighten,
While glowing with gold it imitates the lights of Phoebus.
This god alone has power in the world, whom we see
[several words lost] through flowery meadows.
<O marvellous work of strength,> which navigates the flames!
And with his fire and light he shows forth the senses;
<Hence do body,> hence life return, hence do all things rise again.

As the Phoenix teaches, restored from red cinders,
Through the Phoebean touch all things are brought to life.
It seeks life from death, death after vitality,
Is born to die, dies to be born from fire,
One falls, and it rises as often as the same one dies:
On a rock it sits, is grasped by rays, and taking in the warmth
From the light of Phoebus sent down for restoration from death.

Sun, who bathes the lands with crimson light,
Sun, who renewing himself, the earth breathes again a new mist,
Sun, through whom the painted meadows grow abundant with fertile grass,
Sun, the mirror of heaven, semblance of the divine power,
Sun, forever young, who parts the swift pole of heaven,
Sun, the face of the world and the revolving temple of heaven,
Sun is Liber, Sun is fruitful Ceres, Sun is Jupiter himself,
Sun is also the splendour of Trivia, within whom there are a thousand names,
Sun, who sends out lights from his quadriga,
Sun also shines in the morning in the Northern rising,
Sun returns day with light, when he paints Olympus.
Sun is summer, autumn, winter, Sun is also beloved spring,
Sun is century and month, Sun is day, year and hour,
Sun is the ethereal sphere, he is this golden light of the world,
Sun is good to farmers, and beneficent to seamen on the waves,
Sun repeats the path that it can pass forever.
Sun, next to whom the stars, in serene motion, pale,
Sun, to whom the sea reflects back tranquil light,
Sun, to whom it is permitted to illuminate all things with fierce heat,
Sun, the one to whom, as he rises, the flattering lyre sends forth a melody,
Sun, the one for whom, when he sets, the waves of the sea preserve his heat,
Sun is the glory of the world and of heaven, Sun is one for all,
Sun is the glory of night and light, Sun is the end and the beginning.