Sunday, July 14, 2013


A Splendid Table

Xenophanes, fragment 1, lines 1-12 (tr. M.L. West):
For now the floor is clean, and everybody's hands
  and cups; a servant garlands us with wreaths;
another offers fragrant perfume from a dish;
  the mixing-bowl's set up, brimful of cheer,
and further jars of wine stand ready, promising
  never to fail—soft wine that smells of flowers.
The frankincense sends out its holy scent all round
  the room; there's water, cool and clear and sweet;
bread lies to hand, gold-brown; a splendid table, too,
  with cheeses and thick honey loaded down.
The altar in the middle's decked about with flowers;
  festivity and song pervade the house.

νῦν γὰρ δὴ ζάπεδον καθαρὸν καὶ χεῖρες ἁπάντων
  καὶ κύλικες· πλεκτοὺς δ᾽ ἀμφιτιθεῖ στεφάνους,
ἄλλος δ᾽ εὐῶδες μύρον ἐν φιάλῃ παρατείνει·
  κρητὴρ δ᾽ ἕστηκεν μεστὸς ἐϋφροσύνης·
ἄλλος δ᾽ οἶνος ἑτοῖμος, ὃς οὔποτέ φησι προδώσειν,
  μείλιχος ἐν κεράμοις, ἄνθεος ὀζόμενος·
ἐν δὲ μέσοις ἁγνὴν ὀδμὴν λιβανωτὸς ἵησιν,
  ψυχρὸν δ᾽ ἔστιν ὕδωρ καὶ γλυκὺ καὶ καθαρόν·
παρκέαται δ᾽ ἄρτοι ξανθοὶ γεραρή τε τράπεζα
  τυροῦ καὶ μέλιτος πίονος ἀχθομένη·
βωμὸς δ᾽ ἄνθεσιν ἀν τὸ μέσον πάντη πεπύκασται,
  μολπὴ δ᾽ ἀμφὶς ἔχει δώματα καὶ θαλίη.

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