Friday, April 30, 2010


A Baneful God

Homer, Odyssey 20.201-203 (tr. Andrew Lang):
Father Zeus, none other god is more baneful than thou; thou hast no compassion on men, that are of thine own begetting, but makest them to have fellowship with evil and with bitter pains.

Ζεῦ πάτερ, οὔ τις σεῖο θεῶν ὀλοώτερος ἄλλος·
οὐκ ἐλεαίρεις ἄνδρας, ἐπὴν δὴ γείνεαι αὐτός,
μισγέμεναι κακότητι καὶ ἄλγεσι λευγαλέοισιν.
Reading Alexander Pope's translation of these lines, one understands why Richard Bentley observed, "It is a pretty poem, Mr. Pope; but you must not call it Homer." —
O Jove! for ever death to human cries;
The tyrant, not the father of the skies!
Unpiteous of the race thy will began!
The fool of fate, thy manufacture, man,
With penury, contempt, repulse, and care,
The galling load of life is doom'd to bear.

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