Thursday, October 19, 2006


Our God Is Marching On

Homer, Iliad 4.439-445 (tr. William Cowper):
                    These Mars to battle roused,
Those Pallas azure-eyed; nor Terror thence
Nor Flight was absent, nor insatiate Strife,
Sister and mate of homicidal Mars,
Who small at first, but swift to grow, from earth
Her towering crest lifts gradual to the skies.
She, foe alike to both, the brands dispersed
Of burning hate between them, and the woes
Enhanced of battle wheresoe'er she pass'd.

ὦρσε δὲ τοὺς μὲν Ἄρης, τοὺς δὲ γλαυκῶπις Ἀθήνη
Δεῖμός τ᾽ ἠδὲ Φόβος καὶ Ἔρις ἄμοτον μεμαυῖα,
Ἄρεος ἀνδροφόνοιο κασιγνήτη ἑτάρη τε,
ἥ τ᾽ ὀλίγη μὲν πρῶτα κορύσσεται, αὐτὰρ ἔπειτα
οὐρανῷ ἐστήριξε κάρη καὶ ἐπὶ χθονὶ βαίνει·
ἥ σφιν καὶ τότε νεῖκος ὁμοίϊον ἔμβαλε μέσσῳ
ἐρχομένη καθ᾽ ὅμιλον, ὀφέλλουσα στόνον ἀνδρῶν.
Alexander Pope's translation:
Each host now joins, and each a god inspires,
These Mars incites, and those Minerva fires,
Pale flight around, and dreadful terror reign;
And discord raging bathes the purple plain;
Discord! dire sister of the slaughtering power,
Small at her birth, but rising every hour,
While scarce the skies her horrid head can bound,
She stalks on earth, and shakes the world around;
The nations bleed, where'er her steps she turns,
The groan still deepens, and the combat burns.
William Cullen Bryant's translation:
These Mars encouraged to the fight; but those
The blue-eyed Pallas. Terror too was there,
And Fright, and Strife that rages unappeased, -
Sister and comrade of man-slaying Mars, -
Who rises small at first, but grows, and lifts
Her head to heaven and walks upon the earth.
She, striding through the crowd and heightening
The mutual rancor, flung into the midst
Contention, source of bale to all alike.
Samuel Butler's translation:
These were inspired of Mars, but the others by Minerva - and with them came Panic, Rout, and Strife whose fury never tires, sister and friend of murderous Mars, who, from being at first but low in stature, grows till she uprears her head to heaven, though her feet are still on earth. She it was that went about among them and flung down discord to the waxing of sorrow with even hand between them.

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