David Pierce // Matematik (Mathematics) // M.S.G.S.Ü.

Poetry // Greek poetry

Sarpedon, from Homer's Iliad, XII

Chapman, c. 1610 Alexander Pope Samuel Butler
Nor had great Hector and his friends the rampire overrun,
If heav'n's great counsellor, high Jove, had not inflam'd his son
Sarpedon (like the forest's king when he on oxen flies)
Against the Grecians: his round targe he to his arm applies,
Brass-leav'd without, and all within, thick ox-hides quilted hard,
The verge nail'd round with rods of gold; and with two darts prepar'd
He leads his people:
Nor Troy could conquer, nor the Greeks would yield,
Till great Sarpedon tower'd amid the field;
For mighty Jove inspired with martial flame
His matchless son, and urged him on to fame.
In arms he shines, conspicuous from afar,
And bears aloft his ample shield in air;
Within whose orb the thick bull-hides were roll'd,
Ponderous with brass, and bound with ductile gold:
And while two pointed javelins arm his hands,
Majestic moves along, and leads his Lycian bands.
Still the Trojans and brave Hector would not yet have broken down the gates and the great bar, had not Jove turned his son Sarpedon against the Argives as a lion against a herd of horned cattle. Before him he held his shield of hammered bronze, that the smith had beaten so fair and round, and had lined with ox hides which he had made fast with rivets of gold all round the shield; this he held in front of him, and brandishing his two spears came on
                   as ye see a mountain-lion fare,
Long kept from prey; in forcing which, his high mind makes him dare
Assault upon the whole full fold, though guarded never so
With well-arm'd men and eager dogs; away he will not go,
But venture on, and either snatch a prey, or be a prey.
So press'd with hunger, from the mountain's brow
Descends a lion on the flocks below;
So stalks the lordly savage o'er the plain,
In sullen majesty, and stern disdain:
In vain loud mastiffs bay him from afar,
And shepherds gall him with an iron war;
Regardless, furious, he pursues his way;
He foams, he roars, he rends the panting prey.
like some lion of the wilderness, who has been long famished for want of meat and will dare break even into a well-fenced homestead to try and get at the sheep. He may find the shepherds keeping watch over their flocks with dogs and spears, but he is in no mind to be driven from the fold till he has had a try for it; he will either spring on a sheep and carry it off, or be hit by a spear from strong hand—
So far'd divine Sarpedon's mind, resolv'd to force his way
Through all the fore-fights, and the wall: yet since he did not see
Others as great as he in name, as great in mind as he,
He spake to Glaucus:
Resolved alike, divine Sarpedon glows
With generous rage that drives him on the foes.
He views the towers, and meditates their fall,
To sure destruction dooms the aspiring wall;
Then casting on his friend an ardent look,
Fired with the thirst of glory, thus he spoke:
even so was Sarpedon fain to attack the wall and break down its battlements. Then he said to Glaucus son of Hippolochus,
                     ‘Glaucus, say, why are we honour'd more
Than other men of Lycia in place, with greater store
Of meats and cups, with goodlier roofs, delightsome gardens, walks,
More lands and better, so much wealth that court and country talks
Of us and our possessions, and every way we go,
Gaze on us as we were their gods? This where we dwell is so:
The shores of Xanthus ring of this, and shall we not exceed
As much in noise? Come, be we great in deed
As well as look; shine not in gold, but in the flames of fight,
That so our neat-arm'd Lycians may say: “See, these are right
Our kings, our rulers; these deserve to eat and drink the best;
These govern not ingloriously: these thus exceed the rest,
Do more than they command to do.” O friend, if keeping back
Would keep back age from us, and death, and that we might not wrack
In this life's human sea at all, but that deferring now
We shunn'd death ever, nor would I half this vain valour show,
Nor glorify a folly so, to wish thee to advance:
But since we must go, though not here, and that, besides the chance
Propos'd now, there are infinite fates of other sort in death,
Which (neither to be fled nor 'scap'd) a man must sink beneath,
Come, try we if this sort be ours: and either render thus
Glory to others, or make them resign the like to us.’
‘Why boast we, Glaucus! our extended reign,
Where Xanthus' streams enrich the Lycian plain,
Our numerous herds that range the fruitful field,
And hills where vines their purple harvest yield,
Our foaming bowls with purer nectar crown'd,
Our feasts enhanced with music's sprightly sound?
Why on those shores are we with joy survey'd,
Admired as heroes, and as gods obey'd,
Unless great acts superior merit prove,
And vindicate the bounteous powers above?
'Tis ours, the dignity they give to grace;
The first in valour, as the first in place;
That when with wondering eyes our martial bands
Behold our deeds transcending our commands,
Such, they may cry, deserve the sovereign state,
Whom those that envy dare not imitate!
Could all our care elude the gloomy grave,
Which claims no less the fearful and the brave,
For lust of fame I should not vainly dare
In fighting fields, nor urge thy soul to war.
But since, alas! ignoble age must come,
Disease, and death's inexorable doom
The life, which others pay, let us bestow,
And give to fame what we to nature owe;
Brave though we fall, and honour'd if we live,
Or let us glory gain, or glory give!’
‘Glaucus, why in Lycia do we receive especial honour as regards our place at table? Why are the choicest portions served us and our cups kept brimming, and why do men look up to us as though we were gods? Moreover we hold a large estate by the banks of the river Xanthus, fair with orchard lawns and wheat-growing land; it becomes us, therefore, to take our stand at the head of all the Lycians and bear the brunt of the fight, that one may say to another, “Our princes in Lycia eat the fat of the land and drink best of wine, but they are fine fellows; they fight well and are ever at the front in battle.” My good friend, if, when we were once out of this fight, we could escape old age and death thenceforward and for ever, I should neither press forward myself nor bid you do so, but death in ten thousand shapes hangs ever over our heads, and no man can elude him; therefore let us go forward and either win glory for ourselves, or yield it to another.’
This motion Glaucon shifted not, but (without words) obey'd;
Foreright went both, a mighty troop of Lycians followed.
He said; his words the listening chief inspire
With equal warmth, and rouse the warrior's fire;
The troops pursue their leaders with delight,
Rush to the foe, and claim the promised fight.
Glaucus heeded his saying, and the pair forthwith led on the host of Lycians.

Son değişiklik: Monday, 26 March 2012, 11:33:37 EEST