Friday, November 26, 2010

End of the Road
(based on Viva La Vida, by Coldplay)

Photo (detail): Margaret Bourke-White, 1944. Source: LIFE/Google

"Quondam omnēs gentēs diciōne sōlus
ūnicā rēxī, pelagusque nūtū
aestuat meō; placidē resēdit
dicta facessens.

Fortūnae in palmō positus superbō
hostium timens pavidumque sensī
pectus; victorem et populus canēbat:
'Aemule dīvīs,

iō!' saevō ingressus milite ōlim in urbēs
gemmārum et aurī rapiēbam acervōs
templa infracta et foedera fracta līquī
turbinis instar.

mox terrōre armīsque regō cruentīs
ossibus trītīs procerum corōna est
et cruōre facta thronusque fūsō
sanguine fultus.

Cārius praedīs caput esse opīmīs
ōra per vulgī volitat susūrrus
nōvī stāre mōbilibus deinde
rēgiam harēnīs."

tālī garrulus mihi fātus ōre
senex nunc verrens trivium celebre
quod tyrannus tum numerāret inter
spōlia regnī.


"Once I alone ruled all nations
with unparalleled might
and the sea at my nod
swells; and - eager to do my bidding -
there! has settled down again.

Placed in Fortune's haughty palm,
I sensed the quaking, timid heart
of my enemy, and as victor
the people would hymn me:
"Hail, O Rival to the Gods!"

Once, I invaded cities with savage armies
and seized heaps of gems and gold,
broken temples, and broken treaties
I left behind, like a savage tornado.

Then with terror and by cruel arms I rule;
From the ground bones and the gore
of princes has my diadem been made
and my throne supported
on their spilled blood.

The whisper flits across the people's lips
that my head is dearer than rich plunder
Then I know my palace stands
on shifting sand."

With such words did the talkative
old man address me, as now he swept
the crowded public square -
which back then as monarch - so he claimed -
he reckoned as a prize of war.


I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning I sleep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own

I used to roll the dice
Feel the fear in my enemy's eyes
Listen as the crowd would sing:
"Now the old king is dead, Long live the king"

One minute I held the key
next the walls were closed on me
and I discovered that my castles stand
on pillars of salt ʻnʻ pillars of sand

[refrain 1]

It was the wicked and wild wind
blew down the doors to let me in
shattered windows and the sound of drums
people couldn't believe what I'd become

Revolutionaries wait
for my head on a silver plate
Just a puppet on a lonely string
Oh, who would ever want to be king?

[refrain 2 x 2]

No comments: