Wednesday, May 01, 2013


To a Traveller

Edmund Gosse (1849-1928), "To a Traveller":

After many a dusty mile,
Wanderer, linger here awhile;
Stretch your limbs in dewy grass;
Through these pines a wind shall pass
That shall cool you with its wing;
Grasshoppers shall shout and sing;
While the shepherd on the hill,
Near a fountain warbling still,
Modulates, when noon is mute,
Summer songs along his flute;
Underneath a spreading tree,
None so easy-limbed as he,
Sheltered from the dog-star's heat.

Rest; and then, on freshened feet,
You shall pass the forest through.
It is Pan that counsels you.
Not Pan, but Hermes in the original, from the Greek Anthology (Planudean Appendix 227, tr. W.R. Paton):
Throw thyself down here, Wayfarer, on the green meadow, and rest thy languid limbs from painful toil; here where the pine also, tossed by the western breeze, shall soothe thee as thou listenest to the song of the cicadas, and the shepherd likewise on the hills, piping at mid-day by the fountain under the leafy plane-tree. Thus, having escaped the burning heat of the autumnal dog-star, thou shalt in good time cross the hill. Take this counsel that Hermes gives thee.

τᾷδε κατὰ χλοεροῖο ῥιφεὶς λειμῶνος, ὁδῖτα,
   ἄμπαυσον μογεροῦ μαλθακὰ γυῖα κόπου,
ᾗχί σε καὶ Ζεφύροιο τινασσομένη πίτυς αὔραις
   θέλξει, τεττίγων εἰσαΐοντα μέλος,
χὠ ποιμὴν ἐν ὄρεσσι μεσαμβρινὸν ἀγχόθι παγᾶς
   συρίσδων, λασίας θάμνῳ ὕπο πλατάνου·
καῦμα δ᾽ ὀπωρινοῖο φυγὼν κυνὸς αἶπος ἀμείψεις
   ὥριον Ἑρμείῃ τοῦτ᾽ ἐνέποντι πιθοῦ.
Perhaps, in putting Pan for Hermes, Gosse was influenced by Hugo Grotius' Latin translation of the Greek, as found in Epigrammatum Anthologia Palatina, ed. F. Dübner, Vol. II (Paris: Firmin Didot, 1872), p. 574:
Hic tibi projecto per florida prata, viator,
  A longo subeat membra labore quies,
Dulcis ubi somnos tibi suadet inire cicada,
  Et pinus Zephyri flatibus acta levis,
Quaeque die medio gelidas auditur ad undas
  Pastorum densa fistula sub platano.
Autumnale canis sidus fuge: cras bona ducet
  Te via; ne spernas quod bene Pan moneo.
Update: I see that Pan appears in some editions of the Greek, where the last line reads
αύριον· εὐ τόδε σοὶ Πανὶ λέγοντι πιθοῦ.
Related post: Rest Stop.

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