Wednesday, May 26, 2010

fragment from "The Distaff" by Erinna

fragment from "The Distaff" by Erinna

Text of fragment in Greek:

English translation of fragment by Daniel Haberman:

. . . Deep into the wave you raced,
Leaping from white horses,
Whirling the night on running feet.
But loudly I shouted, "Dearest,
You're mine!" Then you, the Tortoise,
Skipping, ran to the rutted garth
Of the great court. These things I
Lament and sorrow, sad Baucis.
These are for me, O Maiden,
Warm trails back through my heart:
Joy, once filled, smoulders in ash;
Young, in rooms without a care,
We held our miming dolls—girls
In the pretense of young brides
(And the toward-dawn-mother
Lotted wool to tending women,
Calling Baucis to salt the meat);
O, what trembling when we were small
And fear was brought by MORMO—
Huge of ear up on her head,
With four feet walking, always
Changing from face to other.
But mounted in the bed of
Your husband, dearest Baucis,
You forgot things heard from mother,
While still the littler child.
Fast Aphrodite set your
Forgetful heart. So I lament,
Neglecting though your obsequies:
Unprofaned, my feet may not leave
And my naked hair's not loosed abroad,
No lighted eye may disgrace your corpse
And in this house, O my Baucis,
Purpling shame grips me about.
Wretched Erinna! Nineteen,
I moan with a blush to grieve. . . .
Old women voice the mortal bloom. . . .
One cries out the lamenting flame. . . .
Hymen! . . . O Hymenaeus! . . .
While the night whirls unvoiced
Darkness is on my eyes . . .

Source of the Greek text - H. Lloyd-Jones and P. Parsons, Supplementum Hellenisticum. Berlin: De Gruyter, 1983. Fragment 401, pp. 187-189.

Source of the translated text - Daniel Haberman, translator, from The Norton Book of Classical Literature, edited by Bernard Knox. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1993, pp. 572-573.

TJB; With conventional-gorgeous personified metaphors, Erinna laments that Baucis: forgot childhood, married, & died; & laments her own loss too.

1 comment:

  1. Artfully composed, beautiful and touching it still reaches the heart after thousands of years.Read Erinna's other shorter poem to Baucus in The Greek Anthology.


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