Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.
For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.
"Professor Lattimore, holding closely to the original metres, has produced renderings of great power and beauty. His feeling for the telling noun and verb, the simple yet poignant epithet, and the dramatic turn of syntax is marked. He has completely freed the poems from sentimentality, and the thrilling ancient names—Anacreon, Alcaeus, Simonides, Sappho—acquire fresh brilliance and vitality under his hand."—Louise Bogan, The New Yorker
"The significant quality of Mr. Lattimore's versions is that they are pure. The lenses he provides are as clear as our language is capable of making them."—Moses Hadas, N.Y. Herald Tribune
|Publisher:||University of Chicago Press|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||2 MB|
Read an Excerpt
By Richmond Lattimore
The University of Chicago PressCopyright © 1960 Richard Lattimore
All rights reserved.
ARCHÍLOCHUS OF PAROS
Archílochus probably lived about 680–640 b.c. A rather short life is suggested by the tradition of his death in battle. Archilochus was the son of a Parian aristocrat and a slave woman. He made his living as a mercenary soldier and took part in the colonization of Thasos, off the Thracian coast, where he fought against the Barbarians of Thrace. The story goes that he was engaged to Neoboúle, the daughter of Lykámbes, but the engagement was broken and Archílochus made the family miserable with his invective. According to one version, the daughters of Lykámbes hanged themselves for chagrin. While this is unlikely, the general account probably contains much truth, since the names of Neoboúle, Lykámbes, and other friends and enemies of the poet appear in his work. It is hard to see how Archílochus could have earned any profitable patronage by the poems he wrote; and he thus stands as one of the earliest known examples, for Western tradition, of the amateur poet, driven by love and compulsion to record his hates, loves, friendships, and amusements. He also wrote beast-fables, apparently of the sort later assembled under the name of Aesop.
The first ten items here given may well be very short complete poems rather than fragments.
? 1 ?
I am two things: a fighter who follows the Master of Battles,
and one who understands the gift of the Muses' love.
? 2 ?
By spear is kneaded the bread I eat, by spear my Ismaric
wine is won, which I drink, leaning upon my spear.
? 3 ?
Some barbarian is waving my shield, since I was obliged to
leave that perfectly good piece of equipment behind
under a bush. But I got away, so what does it matter?
Let the shield go; I can buy another one equally good.
4 ? On a Willing Woman
Wild fig tree of the rocks, so often feeder of ravens,
Loves-them-all, the seducible, the stranger's delight.
5 ? Epitaph
O vast earth, you contain Arístophon and Megatímos
under your folds, the two tall columns of Naxos sustained.
6 ? Charon the Smith
Nothing to me the life of Gyges and his glut
of gold. I neither envy nor admire him, as
I watch his life and what he does. I want no pride
of tyranny; it lies far off from where I look.
7 ? Two Captains
I don't like the towering captain with the spraddly length of leg,
one who swaggers in his lovelocks and cleanshaves beneath the chin.
Give me a man short and squarely set upon his legs, a man
full of heart, not to be shaken from the place he plants his feet.
8 ? On Friends Lost at Sea
Blaming the bitterness of this sorrow, Perikles, no man
in all our city can take pleasure in festivities:
Such were the men the surf of the roaring sea washed under,
all of us go with hearts aching against our ribs
for misery. Yet against such grief that is past recovery
the gods, dear friend, have given us strong endurance to be
our medicine. Such sorrows are variable. They beat now
against ourselves, and we take the hurt of the bleeding sore.
Tomorrow it will be others who grieve, not we. From now on
act like a man, and put away these feminine tears.
? 9 ?
Heart, my heart, so battered with misfortune far beyond your strength,
up, and face the men who hate us. Bare your chest to the assault
of the enemy, and fight them off. Stand fast among the beamlike spears.
Give no ground; and if you beat them, do not brag in open show,
nor, if they beat you, run home and lie down on your bed and cry.
Keep some measure in the joy you take in luck, and the degree
you give way to sorrow. All our life is up-and-down like this.
10 ? Eclipse of the Sun
Nothing will surprise me any more, nor be too wonderful
for belief, now that the lord upon Olympus, father Zeus,
dimmed the daylight and made darkness come upon us in the noon
and the sunshine. So limp terror has descended on mankind.
After this, men can believe in anything. They can expect
anything. Be not astonished any more, although you see
beasts of the dry land exchange with dolphins, and assume their place
in the watery pastures of the sea, and beasts who loved the hills
find the ocean's crashing waters sweeter than the bulk of land.
? 11 ?
I will make nothing better by crying, I will make nothing
worse by giving myself what entertainment I can.
? 12 ?
Often along the streaming hair of the gray salt water
they pray for sweet homecoming won in spite of the sea.
? 13 ?
Glaukos, a soldier of fortune's your friend as long as he's fighting.
14 ? Thasos
Here the island stands
stiff with wild timber like a donkey's bristling back.
This is no place of beauty, not desirable
nor lovely like the plains where the River Siris runs.
? 15 ?
Glaukos, look! The open sea is churning to a wash of waves
deep within. A cloud stands upright over the Gyrean cape,
signal of a storm, and terror rises from the unforeseen.
? 16 ?
Luxurious in a spray of myrtle, she wore too
the glory of the rose upon her, and her hair
was all a darkness on her shoulders and her back.
? 17 ?
The fox knows many tricks, the hedgehog only one.
One good one.
? 18 ?
Say goodbye to Paros, and the figs, and the seafaring life.
19 ? Thasos
All the griefs of all the Hellenes came together in this place.
20 ? Thasos
Let not the stone of Tantalos
overhang this island any longer.
? 21 ?
We, a thousand, are the murderers of the seven men who fell
dead. We overtook them with our running feet....
22 ? On Drowned Bodies
Hide we away these painful gifts of the lord Poseidon.
23 ? The Wreckers and a Former Friend
* * *
slammed by the surf on the beach
naked at Salmydéssos, where the screw-haired men
of Thrace, taking him in
will entertain him (he will have much to undergo,
chewing on slavery's bread)
stiffened with cold, and loops of seaweed from the slime
tangling his body about,
teeth chattering as he lies in abject helplessness
flat on his face like a dog
beside the beach-break where the waves come shattering in.
And let me be there to watch;
for he did me wrong and set his heel on our good faith,
he who had once been my friend.
? 24 ?
Here I lie mournful with desire,
feeble in bitterness of the pain gods inflicted upon me,
stuck through the bones with love.
? 25 ?
If it only were my fortune just to touch Neoboule's hand.
? 26 ?
Such is the passion for love that has twisted its way beneath
and closed deep mist across my eyes
stealing the soft heart from inside my body....
? 27 ?
My lord Apollo, single out the guilty ones;
destroy them, O destroyer god.
28 ? The Fox Appeals for Justice
O Zeus, our father Zeus, for you control the sky,
you oversee the works of men,
the right acts and the wrong they do; so yours to judge
the crimes and punishment of beasts.
? 29 ?
Father Lykámbes, whatever were you thinking of?
And who seduced the common sense
in which you once were so secure? How things are changed!
Your neighbors giggle in your face.
? 30 ?
To the gods all things are easy. Many times from circumstance
of disaster they set upright those who have been sprawled at length
on the ground, but often again when men stand planted on firm feet,
these same gods will knock them on their backs, and then the evils come,
so that a man wanders homeless, destitute, at his wit's end.
? 31 ?
Érxias, where is all this useless army gathering to go?
? 32 ?
No man is respected, no man spoken of, when he is dead
by his townsmen. All of us, when still alive, will cultivate
the live man, and thus the dead will always have the worst of it.
? 33 ?
One main thing I understand,
to come back with deadly evil at the man who does me wrong.
CALLÍNUS OF ÉPHESOS
Callínus was the contemporary of Archílochus. Little is known about him, except that he encouraged his fellow citizens to resist the invasion of the barbaric Cimmérians. The poem given, which is the only substantial fragment that survives, is concerned with these events.
How long will you lie idle, and when will you find some courage,
you young men? Have you no shame of what other cities will say,
you who hang back? You think you can sit quiet in peacetime.
This is not peace, it is war which has engulfed our land.
A man, as he dies, should make one last throw with his spear.
It is a high thing, a bright honor, for a man to do battle
with the enemy for the sake of his children, and for his land
and his true wife; and death is a thing that will come when the spinning
Destinies make it come. So a man should go straight on
forward, spear held high, and under his shield the fighting
strength coiled ready to strike in the first shock of the charge.
When it is ordained that a man shall die, there is no escaping
death, not even for one descended from deathless gods.
Often a man who has fled from the fight and the clash of the thrown spears
goes his way, and death befalls him in his own house,
and such a man is not loved nor missed for long by his people;
the great and the small alike mourn when a hero dies.
For all the populace is grieved for the high-hearted warrior
after his death; while he lives, he is treated as almost divine.
Their eyes gaze on him as if he stood like a bastion before them.
His actions are like an army's, though he is only one man.
SEMÓNIDES OF AMÓRGOS
Semónides, the sole literary representative of his little island, was probably at work during the middle or late seventh century. Semónides' second appears to have influenced Solon's first. His work suggests the village sage or cracker-barrel philosopher, but it also constitutes a very early form of satire (as distinguished from the personal invective of Archílochus, Hippónax, Anácreon, Sappho, and Alcaéus). He has, at least, isolated two of the favorite themes of satire, namely, "The Women" and "The Vanity of Human Wishes."
It is altogether doubtful whether Semónides is the right way to spell his name, but it is handy to distinguish between his name and that of Simónides of Ceos.
1 ? An Essay on Women
In the beginning God made various kinds of women
with various minds. He made one from the hairy sow,
that one whose house is smeared with mud, and all within
lies in dishevelment and rolls along the ground,
while the pig-woman in unlaundered clothing sits
unwashed herself among the dunghills, and grows fat.
God made another woman from the mischievous
vixen, whose mind gets into everything. No act
of wickedness unknown to her; no act of good
either, because the things she says are often bad
but sometimes good. Her temper changes all the time.
One from a bitch, and good-for-nothing like her mother.
She must be in on everything, and hear it all.
Out she goes ranging, poking her nose everywhere
and barking, whether she sees anyone about
or not. Her husband cannot make her stop by threats,
neither when in a rage he knocks her teeth out with
a stone, nor when he reasons with her in soft words,
not even when there's company come, and she's with them.
Day in, day out, she keeps that senseless yapping up.
The gods of Olympus made another one of mud
and gave her lame to man. A woman such as this
knows nothing good and nothing bad. Nothing at all.
The only thing she understands is how to eat,
and even if God makes the weather bad, she won't,
though shivering, pull her chair up closer to the fire.
One from the sea. She has two different sorts of mood.
One day she is all smiles and happiness. A man
who comes to visit sees her in the house and says:
"There is no better wife than this one anywhere
in all mankind, nor prettier." Then, another day
there'll be no living with her, you can't get within
sight, or come near her, or she flies into a rage
and holds you at a distance like a bitch with pups,
cantankerous and cross with all the world. It makes
no difference whether they are friends or enemies.
The sea is like that also. Often it lies calm
and innocent and still, the mariner's delight
in summer weather. Then again it will go wild
and turbulent with the thunder of big crashing waves.
This woman's disposition is just like the sea's,
since the sea's temper also changes all the time.
One was a donkey, dusty-gray and obstinate.
It's hard to make her work. You have to curse and tug
to make her do it, but in the end she gets it done
quite well. Then she goes to her corner-crib and eats.
She eats all day, she eats all night, and by the fire
she eats. But when there's a chance to make love, she'll take
the first one of her husband's friends who comes along.
Excerpted from Greek Lyrics by Richmond Lattimore. Copyright © 1960 Richard Lattimore. Excerpted by permission of The University of Chicago Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of ContentsArchílochus
Semónides of Amórgos
Early Metrical Inscriptions
Anonymous Drinking Songs
Simónides of Ceos
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Go to our book. I never said i would stop helping u.
Im here. Thx for helping.