Saturday, April 07, 2007

Graeca II

To G.

'How sad one needs to be in order to resucitate Carthage?' -Flaubert

The Greek text has been arranged differently than in the Oxford manuscripts for the sake of metrical clarity and to follow conventions that might resemble closer the original text, but this is not philologically acceptable. Punctuation and syllabic distribution might not accord to the printed texts. The last line does by no means appear in all the manuscripts and has been reconstructed by scholars in the 19th and 20th c., therefore it might not be exactly accurate. Perhaps I could do better justice to this wonderful and unimitable poem by translating it into German or Spanish, but.... I have not either kept the structure of the metre in the English verse if for the sake of clarity.

φαινεται μοι κηνος ισος θεοισιν
εμμεν ωρην οττις εναντιος τοι
ισδαναι και πλασιον αδυ φωνεισας

και γελαισας ιμεροεν, το μ' η μαν
καρδιαν εν στηθεσι επτοαισεν
ως γαρ ες δ' ιδω βροχε, ως με φωναις
ουδ' εν ετ' εικει

αλλα καμ μεν γλωσσα μ'εαγε, λεπτον
δ'αυτικα χρω πυρ υπδεδρομηκεν,
οπατεσσαι δ'ουδ' εν ορημμι, επιρρομβεισι
δ' ακοθαι

καδ δε μ' ιδρως κακχεεται, τρομος δε
παισαν αγρει, χλωροτερα δε ποιας
εμμι, τεθνακην δ' ολιγω επιδεθης
φαινομ' εμ' αυτα

αλλα παν τολματον επει και πενητα

'He appears to me not unlike before the Gods
That man,
Who opposite you sits and nearby speaks
With such delight of words,
He replies,
With that laughter of love.
It is true that
Shivers my heart in my breast.
For when I look at you for a moment
I can no longer speak
For my tongue is broken, and right then
A mild fire raptures my whole body
I see nothing with my eyes, my ears deaden
And sweat pours all through me as an earth-quake
It entirely seizes me,
I turn yellower than hay
And I am, just about to die
Thus I seem to me.

But all has to be endured, even if...'

No comments: