Thursday, August 30, 2012


Song of Hybrias the Cretan

Poetae Melici Graeci 909 Page = Athenaeus 15.695f-696a, my translation:
I have great wealth—a spear and a sword
and the good shield of animal hide, skin's protector;
for with this I plough, with this I reap,
with this I tread the sweet wine from the grape-vine,
with this I am named master of vassals.

Those who dare not wield a spear and a sword
and the good shield of animal hide, skin's protector:
all these men, falling around my knee,
worship me, calling me
master and great king.
I don't have access to D.L. Page's Poetae Melici Graeci, and so instead I reproduce here the Greek text from what I can see of C.M. Bowra, Greek Lyric Poetry from Alcman to Simonides, 2nd. rev. ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1961; rpt. 2000), Appendix I, pp. 398-403, using's Look Inside! feature.
ἔστι μοι πλοῦτος μέγας δόρυ καὶ ξίφος
καὶ τὸ καλὸν λαισήϊον, πρόβλημα χρωτός·
τούτῳ γὰρ ἀρῶ, τούτῳ θερίζω,
τούτῳ πατέω τὸν ἁδὺν οἶνον ἀπ' ἀμπέλω,
τούτῳ δεσπότας μνοΐας κέκλημαι.

τοὶ δὲ μὴ τολμῶντ' ἔχειν δόρυ καὶ ξίφος
καὶ τὸ καλὸν λαισήϊον, πρόβλημα χρωτός,
πάντες γόνυ πεπτηῶτες άμφ' ἐμὸν
κυνέοντί με δεσπόταν
καὶ μέγαν βασιλῆα φωνέοντες.
Some Doric forms, with references to Herbert Weir Smyth's Greek Grammar:

4 ἁδὺν: for ἡδὺν (§ 30)
4 ἀμπέλω: genitive singular (§ 230.D.1)
5 δεσπότας: nominative singular (§ 30), cf. also line 9 (accusative singular)
6 τολμῶντ': 3rd person plural present subjunctive
9 κυνέοντί: 3rd person plural present indicative (§ 654)

Here are some verse translations.

By John Leyden (1775-1811), in his Poetical Remains, ed. James Morton (London: Strahan and Spottiswoode, 1819), p. 205:
My spear, my sword, my shaggy shield!
    With these I till, with these I sow:
With these I reap my harvest-field;
    No other wealth the Gods bestow.
With these I plant the fertile vine;
With these I press the luscious wine.

My spear, my sword, my shaggy shield!
    They make me lord of all below,—
For those who dread my spear to wield,
    Before my shaggy shield must bow:
Their fields, their vineyards, they resign;
And all that cowards have is mine.
By Thomas Campbell (1777-1844), in his Poetical Works (London: Edward Moxon, 1837), p. 58:
My wealth's a burly spear and brand,
And a right good shield of hides untann'd,
    Which on my arm I buckle:
With these I plough, I reap, I sow,
With these I make the sweet vintage flow,
And all around me truckle.

But your wights that take no pride to wield
A massy spear and well-made shield,
    Nor joy to draw the sword:
O, I bring those heartless, hapless drones,
Down in a trice on their marrow-bones,
To call me King and Lord.
By John Herman Merivale (1779-1844), in his Poems, Original and Translated, Vol. I (London: William Pickering, 1838), p. 171:
My riches are the arms I wield,
The spear, the sword, the shaggy shield,
My bulwark on the battle-field:
With this I plough the furrow'd soil,
With this I share the reaper's toil,
With this I press the generous juice
That rich and sunny vines produce;

With these, of rule and high command,
I bear the mandate in my hand;
For while the slave and coward fear
To wield the buckler, sword, and spear,
They bend the supplicating knee,
And own my just supremacy.
By Daniel Sandford (1798-1838), in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine 35 (1833) 269:
My wealth is here—the sword, the spear, the breast-defending shield;
With this I plough, with this I sow, with this I reap the field,
With this I tread the luscious grape, and drink the blood-red wine;
And slaves around in order wait, and all are counted mine!

But he that will not rear the lance upon the battle-field,
Nor sway the sword, nor stand behind the breast-defending shield,
On lowly knee must worship me, with servile kiss adored,
And peal the cry of homage high, and hail me mighty Lord!
By William Hay, in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine 35 (1833) 269:
Much riches these me yield—
    My gallant spear and sword,
And my brave hide-covered shield,
    The bulwark of its lord:
'Tis thus,—I reap and plough,
    'Tis thus,—the sweet grape tread,
'Tis thus,—the household bow
    And call me lord and head.

But those who will not dare
    The spear and sword to wield,
And the bulwark will not bear
    Of the brave, hide-covered shield,
Down on their knees before me
    While one and all I bring,
Must as their liege adore me,
    And hail me—mighty King.
By J. Lodge, in Classical Review 28 (1914) 286:
Great wealth is mine in spear and sword
And goodly shield of hides, to guard
    My body from the foeman.
Therewith I reap, therewith I sow,
Therewith I make sweet vintage flow,
Therewith I give the world to know
    That I'm a sturdy yeoman.

And them that shun the spear and sword
And goodly shield of hides, to guard
    Their bodies from the foeman-
Down at my feet I make 'em fall,
Till grovelling low the recreants call:
'Thou art the master of us all,
    A mightier lord is noman!'
Some additional bibliography, most of which I haven't seen:

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?