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The Swallow Song

From:Thomas R. Wier <artabanos@...>
Date:Friday, July 20, 2001, 1:46
So, I was making my best effort to avoid painting the house
this last weekend before a brief vacation in the Texas Hill Country,
and thought I'd read a little Greek lyric poetry instead.  Surprise!
I found some great stuff in the particular anthology.  Here's a charming
little poem from the 7th century BC by an anonymous poet -- d'y'all
think it'd be a good translation exercise?

    Swallow Song
    (Greek original follows immediately after for the classicists
    among you)

    The swallow is coming, is coming
    bringing hours of beauty, years of beauty
    on her white belly,
    on her black back.

    Bring on the fruitcake,
    from your fatted house,
    and a cup of wine,
    and a basket of cheese.

    And the swallow does not disdain
    wheat-bread or
    pulse-porridge, either.

    Should we go, or get something?
    If you give us something, [good],
    but if you don't, then we won't let you be:
    we'll carry away the door and the lintel,
    or your wife sitting inside --
    she's small; we'll carry her easily.
    But if you give us something,
    let it be something big,
    Open, open the door for the swallow,
    for we are not old men, but children.

    [Note the dialect -- is that Doric? I assume so
    because of the back [a] as in "tan" and the -mes personal ending, but I've never had to
    work with much that wasn't Attic-Ionic]

    É:lthe, é:lthe khélido:n
    kalàs ó:ras ágousa
    kaloùs eniautoús
    epì gastéra leuká
    epì nôta mélaina.
    Paláthan su prokúklei
    ek píonos oíkou
    oínou te dépastron,
    turoû te kánustron
    kaì púrna khelidò:n
    kaì lekithítan
    ouk apo:theîtai.  póter' apío:mes è: labó:metha?
    ei mén ti dóseis... ei dè mé:, ouk eásomes
    e: tàn thúran phéromes e: toupérthuron
    e:  tàn gunaîka tàn éso: kathe:ménan
    mikrà mén esti, rhadío:s min oísomes.
    all' ei phére:s ti,
    méga dé: ti phérois.
    ánoig', ánoige tàn thúran khelidóni
    ou gar gérontés esmen, allà paidía.

Thomas Wier | AIM: trwier

"Aspidi men Saiôn tis agalletai, hên para thamnôi
  entos amômêton kallipon ouk ethelôn;
autos d' exephugon thanatou telos: aspis ekeinê
  erretô; exautês ktêsomai ou kakiô" - Arkhilokhos


andrew <hobbit@...>