kestrell: (Default)
[personal profile] kestrell
Alexx nobly patched together my fragmented and slightly scrambled scan of _Seven Greeks_ translated by Guy Davenport, which features seven Greek poet/performers who chronologically came after Homer and Hesiod but before the classical period. This translation was made by a poet, not a classical scholar, and this reflects its strength and its weakness: it is a highly quotable translation which reflects many of the concerns and attitudes of our modern century, but is not necessarilyt as accurate a translation as the classical scholar would approve of.

Archilochos, who lived in the 7 century BC, was a soldier-poet whose poems are pretty much concerned with two subjects: fighting and sex. Through the first century or so, he was one of the most famous of Greek poets, as well-known as Homer, and one of aphorisms is still quoted often, although most have no idea who the original author was:
The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog just one big thing.

Classical scholar William Harris has placed his own translation and notes online at

Poiseidon rider of horses
Has spared the captain
Of our fifty men.

Decks awash,
Mast-top dipping,
And all
Balanced on the keen edge
Now of the wind's sword,
Now of the wave's blade.

Some Saian mountaineer
Struts today with my shield.
I threw it down by a bush and ran
When the fighting got hot.
Life seemed somehow more precious.
It was a beautiful shield.
I know where I can buy another
Exactly like it, just as round.

Hang iambics.
This is no time
For poetry.

He comes, in bed,
As copiously as
A Prienian ass
And is equipped
Like a stallion.

Date: 2013-06-13 12:38 am (UTC)
jesse_the_k: Perfectly circlular white brain-like fungus growing on oak tree (LUCY old and no longer)
From: [personal profile] jesse_the_k
Wow! That's quite the snappy poetry. #79 seems to be deeply influenced by William Carlos Williams "This is just to say." #143 belongs in the snarky quiver of a Classical superhero.

Were you a classics-lover in an earlier life? I did not know this about you.


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