Pure Pagan: Seven Centuries of Greek Poems and Fragments (Modern Library Classics)

By Burton Raffel

“For there's certainly whatever we will name the spirit of old Greece–a rigorously tuned voice that speaks out of the grave with dazzling readability and style , a particular voice that, taken as a complete, is like no different voice that has ever sung in this earth.”
BURTON RAFFEL, from his Preface

For centuries, the poetry of Homer, Aristophanes, Sophocles, Sappho, and Archilochus has served as one in all our fundamental technique of connecting with the utterly vanished international of old Greece. however the works of diverse different nice and prolific poets–Alkaios, Meleager, and Simonides, to call a few–are hardly translated into English , and are principally unknown to trendy readers. In Pure Pagan, award-winning translator Burton Raffel brings those and plenty of different clever and witty old Greek writers to an English-speaking viewers for the 1st time, in complete poetic flower. Their funny and philosophical ruminations create a bright portrait of lifestyle in historical Greece –and they're phenomenally gorgeous as well.

In brief, sharp bursts of tune, those two-thousand-year-old poems talk about the undying concerns of daily life:
Wine (Wine is the medicine / To demand, the simplest medicine / To drink deep, deep)
History (Not us: no. / It all started with our fathers, / I’ve heard).
Movers and shakers (If a guy shakes unfastened stones / To make a wall with / Stones might fall on his head / Instead)
Old age (Old age is a debt we adore to be owed / Not one we adore to collect)
Frankness (Speak / As you please / And listen what can never / Please).
There also are fabulous epigrams (Take what you've gotten once you have it: you’ll lose it quickly enough. / A unmarried summer season turns a child right into a shaggy goat) and epitaphs (Here I lie, underneath this stone, the recognized girl who untied her belt for just one man).

The entrancing good looks, humor, and piercing readability of those poems will draw readers into the Greeks’ trips to international lands, their bacchanalian events and ferocious battles, in addition to into the extra intimate settings in their kitchens and bedrooms. The poetry of Pure Pagan unearths the traditional Greeks’ desires, their humorousness, sorrows, triumphs, and their such a lot deeply held values, fleshing out our knowing of and appreciation for this interesting civilization and its inventive legacy.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Are you thirty ft excessive? ” “By the god i'm, i'm. ” “All of gold? ” “All of gold. ” “And bare? ” “Wearing just a belt. ” “And why do the goddesses of attractiveness and style stand on your correct hand, once you maintain your nice bow on your left? ” “My bow goals at fools. It retains them from conceitedness. yet I provide good looks to the nice, and that i provide it freely. ” THE UNKNOWN’S TOMB who're you, shipwrecked stranger? Leontias stumbled on you, useless in this seashore, and buried you, Weeping for his personal doubtful existence, for he too skims The waves like a gull, and not rests. profitable AND wasting The profitable poet is short. “I won,” he says. not more. yet ask the wasting poet. “Oh, it’s a damned difficult enterprise! ” he cries. Zeus: enable the depressing wail at size. provide me shortness of breath. DIONYSIOS OF ANDROS AN EPITAPH No ask yourself I slipped, and fell, and died, Soaked by means of Zeus outdoor, Soaked via Bacchus inside of. the chances have been to at least one they usually have been gods. GLAUKOS DAPHNIS AND PAN A: Nymphs, O nymphs, inform me the reality. Did Daphnis go the following, leisure together with his white goats? B: certain, piper Pan, sure. He minimize a message within the bark of that poplar, A message for you. “Pan, Pan, visit Malea, Come to the mountain of Sophis. You’ll locate me there. ” A: Farewell, nymphs! HEGEMON THER MOPYLAE Passing this tomb, a few somber stranger may well say: “Here the braveness of one thousand Spartans Stopped one million Persians, and died dealing with The enemy. this is often what Sparta capability. ” LEONIDAS ON CLITO this is his hut, the little bit of land He planted, the skinny outdated vines He grew, his patch of brushwood. yet he lived right here 80 years! LEONIDAS OF TARENTUM AN EPITAPH Stranger, hearken to Orthon of Syracuse: “Don’t exit inebriated on a iciness evening. ” I died within the snow, inebriated, And rather than resting in my very own wealthy state I lie without end donning this overseas earth. HIS personal EPITAPH I lie faraway from Italy, faraway from Tarentum the place I got here from. This distance is worse than loss of life. this can be how wanderers dwell: it's not existence. however the Muses enjoyed me and my disappointment becomes sweetness. My identify isn't really misplaced, The Muses’ presents deliver this lifeless Leonidas in all places the sunlight nonetheless shines. THE VINE AND THE GOAT A bearded, bouncing billy goat Chewed all of the blossoms off a vine, And from deep within the earth the vine spoke to him: “Monster! Rip off my branches, smash my fruit, yet your evil jaws can’t succeed in my roots, And they’ll ship up candy nectar And make a sacrificial delivering To pour into the sacred earth while your throat’s been slit by means of a priestly knife. ” MELEAGER DAPHNIS I, goat-footed Pan, will now not dwell excessive at the hilltops. What are mountains to me, now that Daphnis is useless? He made a hearth in my middle. I’ll reside the following in towns: enable another individual Hunt wild beasts. Pan renounces his outdated existence Now that his love is lifeless. HELIODORA Heliodora’s garland fades, yet she glows, Shining shiny, a garland for her garland. ON HIMSELF I grew on Tyre, i used to be born in Syria, and that i got here out of Eucrates, I, Meleager, who taught my muse To run on barbed toes. I’m a Syrian: may still someone be shocked?

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