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Aoidoi.org, new text: Sappho 96

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Aoidoi.org, new text: Sappho 96

Postby annis » Mon Jan 17, 2005 8:43 pm

A mere five and half strophes, this is a somewhat difficult text, made more difficult by the gaps - we know it from a single parchment. Most of the fairly certain text is devoted to an extended simile which is quite [face=spionic]a)/bron[/face].

"As when the moon outshines the stars," Sappho 96. I comment on all the difficult Aeolic forms, but you might want to briefly review the Aeolic dialect for the superficial changes.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;
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Postby Phylax » Mon Jan 17, 2005 11:42 pm

A very beautiful poem. Maurice Bowra's translation seems to me to capture it well:

AN ABSENT FRIEND

A glorious goddess in her eyes
Were you, her comrade, and your songs
Above all other songs she'd prize.

With Lydian women now she dwells
Surpassing them, as when day dies
The rosy-fingered moon excels

The host of stars, and light illumes
The salt sea and the cornland glows
With light upon its thousand blooms.

In loveliness the dew spills over
And with new strength revives the rose,
Slim grasses and the flowering clover.

But sadly up and down she goes,
Remembering Atthis, once her lover,
And in her heart sick longing grows.

Translated C.M. Bowra (1957)


I was going to start a thread along the lines of "My favourite poems / translations from the Classics", hoping that others might post their favourites too - and that poem was the one I was going to lead off with!

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Postby chad » Tue Jan 18, 2005 4:06 am

hi Will, that's another excellent article, thanks :) :)
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Postby annis » Wed Jan 19, 2005 12:17 am

Phylax wrote:A very beautiful poem.


Yes.

Maurice Bowra's translation seems to me to capture it well:


This is a little odd. It's <i>kind of</i> a terza rima, but not fully.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;
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Postby Phylax » Wed Jan 19, 2005 5:52 pm

It is odd, isn't it? axa, bab, cdc, ede, ded - instead of the usual rhyme scheme of aba, bcb, cdc, ded. efe, [... &c]. I've read that English writers of the terza rima do often vary the pattern on account of English's being a 'rhyme-poor' language (though word-rich), in comparison with Italian's being rhyme-rich (though word-poor). So maybe Bowra was following this tradition. It's possible too that B. in not folllowing the more rigid rhyme pattern, was trying to convey something of the fragmentary nature of the poem, or perhaps the metrical complexity of the original?
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