Sunday, September 18, 2016

Stanley Lombardo singing the Iliad, Book One

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[Alexander Pope's translation -- the video uses Robert Fagles' translation]

The Wrath of Peleus' Son, the direful Spring
Of all the Grecian Woes, O Goddess, sing!
That Wrath which hurl'd to Pluto's gloomy Reign
The Souls of mighty Chiefs untimely slain;
Whose Limbs unbury'd on the naked Shore [5]
Devouring Dogs and hungry Vultures tore.
Since Great Achilles and Atrides strove,
Such was the Sov'reign Doom, and such the Will of Jove.

Declare, O Muse! in what ill-fated Hour
Sprung the fierce Strife, from what offended Pow'r? [10]
Latona's Son a dire Contagion spread,
And heap'd the Camp with Mountains of the Dead;
The King of Men his Rev'rend Priest defy'd,
And, for the King's Offence, the People dy'd.

For Chryses sought with costly Gifts to gain [15]
His Captive Daughter from the Victor's Chain.
Suppliant the Venerable Father stands,
Apollo's awful Ensigns grace his Hands:
By these he begs; and lowly bending down,
Extends the Sceptre and the Laurel Crown. [20]
He su'd to All, but chief implor'd for Grace
The Brother-Kings, of Atreus' Royal Race.

Ye Kings and Warriors! may your Vows be crown'd,
And Troy's proud Walls lie level with the Ground.
May Jove restore you, when your Toils are o'er, [25]
Safe to the Pleasures of your native Shore.
But oh! relieve a wretched Parent's Pain,
And give Chruseïs to these Arms again;
If Mercy fail, yet let my Presents move,
And dread avenging Phoebus, Son of Jove. [30]

The Greeks in Shouts their joint Assent declare
The Priest to rev'rence, and release the Fair.
Not so Atrides: He, with Kingly Pride,
Repuls'd the sacred Sire, and thus reply'd.
Hence on thy Life, and fly these hostile Plains, [35]
Nor ask, Presumptuous, what the King detains;
Hence, with thy Laurel Crown, and Golden Rod,
Nor trust too far those Ensigns of thy God.
Mine is thy Daughter, Priest, and shall remain;
And Pray'rs, and Tears, and Bribes shall plead in vain; [40]
'Till Time shall rifle ev'ry youthful Grace,
And Age dismiss her from my cold Embrace,
In daily Labours of the Loom employ'd,
Or doom'd to deck the Bed she once enjoy'd.
Hence then: to Argos shall the Maid retire; [45]
Far from her native Soil, and weeping Sire.

The trembling Priest along the Shore return'd,
And in the Anguish of a Father mourn'd.
Disconsolate, nor daring to complain,
Silent he wander'd by the sounding Main: [50]
'Till, safe at distance, to his God he prays,
The God who darts around the World his Rays.
O Smintheus! sprung from fair Latona's Line,
Thou Guardian Pow'r of Cilla the Divine,
Thou Source of Light! whom Tenedos adores, [55]
And whose bright Presence gilds thy Chrysa's Shores.
If e'er with Wreaths I hung thy sacred Fane,
Or fed the Flames with Fat of Oxen slain;
God of the Silver Bow! thy Shafts employ,
Avenge thy Servant, and the Greeks destroy. [60]

Thus Chryses pray'd: the fav'ring Pow'r attends,
And from Olympus' lofty Tops descends.
Bent was his Bow, the Grecian Hearts to wound;
Fierce as he mov'd, his Silver Shafts resound.
Breathing Revenge, a sudden Night he spread, [65]
And gloomy Darkness roll'd around his Head.
The Fleet in View, he twang'd his deadly Bow,
And hissing fly the feather'd Fates below.
On Mules and Dogs th'Infection first began,
And last, the vengeful Arrows fix'd in Man. [70]
For nine long Nights, thro' all the dusky Air
The Fires thick-flaming shot a dismal Glare.

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