By Burton Raffel
“For there's certainly anything we will be able to name the spirit of historic Greece–a conscientiously tuned voice that speaks out of the grave with impressive readability and beauty , a particular voice that, taken as a complete, is like no different voice that has ever sung in this earth.”
–BURTON RAFFEL, from his Preface
For centuries, the poetry of Homer, Aristophanes, Sophocles, Sappho, and Archilochus has served as certainly one of our basic technique of connecting with the completely vanished international of old Greece. however the works of diverse different nice and prolific poets–Alkaios, Meleager, and Simonides, to call a few–are infrequently translated into English , and are principally unknown to fashionable readers. In Pure Pagan, award-winning translator Burton Raffel brings those and plenty of different clever and witty historical Greek writers to an English-speaking viewers for the 1st time, in complete poetic flower. Their funny and philosophical ruminations create a brilliant portrait of lifestyle in historic Greece –and they're phenomenally wonderful as well.
In brief, sharp bursts of music, those two-thousand-year-old poems discuss the undying issues of daily life:
Wine (Wine is the medicine / To demand, the easiest medicine / To drink deep, deep)
History (Not us: no. / It all started with our fathers, / I’ve heard).
Movers and shakers (If a guy shakes unfastened stones / To make a wall with / Stones might fall on his head / Instead)
Old age (Old age is a debt we love to be owed / Not one we adore to collect)
Frankness (Speak / As you please / And pay attention what can never / Please).
There also are amazing epigrams (Take what you will have when you have it: you’ll lose it quickly enough. / A unmarried summer season turns a child right into a shaggy goat) and epitaphs (Here I lie, underneath this stone, the recognized girl who untied her belt for just one man).
The entrancing attractiveness, humor, and piercing readability of those poems will draw readers into the Greeks’ trips to overseas lands, their bacchanalian events and ferocious battles, in addition to into the extra intimate settings in their kitchens and bedrooms. The poetry of Pure Pagan finds the traditional Greeks’ desires, their humorousness, sorrows, triumphs, and their so much deeply held values, fleshing out our knowing of and appreciation for this attention-grabbing civilization and its inventive legacy.
From the Hardcover edition.
Read or Download Pure Pagan: Seven Centuries of Greek Poems and Fragments (Modern Library Classics) PDF
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Extra resources for Pure Pagan: Seven Centuries of Greek Poems and Fragments (Modern Library Classics)
Zeus: allow the depressing wail at size. supply me shortness of breath. DIONYSIOS OF ANDROS AN EPITAPH No ask yourself I slipped, and fell, and died, Soaked by means of Zeus open air, Soaked by way of Bacchus inside of. the percentages have been to at least one and so they have been gods. GLAUKOS DAPHNIS AND PAN A: Nymphs, O nymphs, inform me the reality. Did Daphnis move right here, leisure along with his white goats? B: definite, piper Pan, certain. He lower a message within the bark of that poplar, A message for you. “Pan, Pan, visit Malea, Come to the mountain of Sophis. You’ll locate me there. ” A: Farewell, nymphs! HEGEMON THER MOPYLAE Passing this tomb, a few somber stranger could say: “Here the braveness of 1000 Spartans Stopped one million Persians, and died dealing with The enemy. this can be what Sparta capacity. ” LEONIDAS ON CLITO this is his hut, the little bit of land He planted, the skinny outdated vines He grew, his patch of brushwood. yet he lived right here 80 years! LEONIDAS OF TARENTUM AN EPITAPH Stranger, take heed to Orthon of Syracuse: “Don’t exit inebriated on a iciness evening. ” I died within the snow, under the influence of alcohol, And rather than resting in my very own wealthy nation I lie endlessly donning this overseas earth. HIS personal EPITAPH I lie faraway from Italy, faraway from Tarentum the place I got here from. This distance is worse than demise. this can be how wanderers reside: it's not lifestyles. however the Muses enjoyed me and my unhappiness becomes sweetness. My identify isn't misplaced, The Muses’ presents convey this lifeless Leonidas in all places the solar nonetheless shines. THE VINE AND THE GOAT A bearded, bouncing billy goat Chewed the entire blossoms off a vine, And from deep within the earth the vine spoke to him: “Monster! Rip off my branches, damage my fruit, yet your evil jaws can’t succeed in my roots, And they’ll ship up candy nectar And make a sacrificial delivering To pour into the sacred earth whilst your throat’s been slit via a priestly knife. ” MELEAGER DAPHNIS I, goat-footed Pan, will now not stay excessive at the hilltops. What are mountains to me, now that Daphnis is useless? He made a hearth in my middle. I’ll reside the following in towns: permit another individual Hunt wild beasts. Pan renounces his outdated lifestyles Now that his love is lifeless. HELIODORA Heliodora’s garland fades, yet she glows, Shining brilliant, a garland for her garland. ON HIMSELF I grew on Tyre, i used to be born in Syria, and that i got here out of Eucrates, I, Meleager, who taught my muse To run on barbed toes. I’m a Syrian: should still somebody be shocked? yet stranger, we all stay in a single state: the realm. we all have been born within the comparable Chaos. And while I grew outdated I wrote this epitaph for myself, understanding that previous age and demise reside aspect through aspect. Say anything to want this wordsmith good, And reside to be a wordy previous guy like me. SPRING iciness winds have blown out of the sky; The pink spring vegetation fortunately. The darkish earth drapes herself in eco-friendly And crops burst into leaf, their baby hair waving. Fields drink the sunrise dew and develop, guffawing as roses open. Shepherds within the hills Shrill shiny melodies on their pipes, And goatherds count number and re-count their white young children. Sailors are out at the huge sea, Zephyr puffing out their sails.