Tuesday, April 07, 2015


The Musings of the Drinker's Heart

Bacchylides, fragment 20B, lines 1-16 (tr. David A. Campbell; brackets in the Greek omitted):
My lyre, cling to your peg no longer, silencing your clear voice with its seven notes. Come to my hands! I am eager to send Alexander a golden wing of the Muses, an adornment for banquets at the month's end, when the sweet compulsion of the speeding cups warms the tender hearts of the young men, and hope of the Cyprian, mingling with the gifts of Dionysus, makes their hearts flutter. The wine sends a man's thoughts soaring on high: immediately he is destroying the battlements of cities, and he expects to be monarch over all the world; his house gleams with gold and ivory, and wheat-bearing ships bring great wealth from Egypt over a dazzling sea. Such are the musings of the drinker's heart.

ὦ βάρβιτε, μηκέτι πάσσαλον φυλάσσων
ἑπτάτονον λιγυρὰν κάππαυε γᾶρυν·
δεῦρ᾿ ἐς ἐμὰς χέρας· ὁρμαίνω τι πέμπειν
χρύσεον Μουσᾶν Ἀλεξάνδρωι πτερόν

καὶ συμπονίαισιν ἄγαλμ᾿ ἐν εἰκάδενσιν,        5
εὖτε νέων ἁπαλὸν γλυκεῖ᾿ ἀνάγκα
σευομενᾶν κυλίκων θάλπησι θυμόν,
Κύπριδος τ᾿ ἐλπὶς διαιθύσσηι φρένας,

ἀμμειγνυμένα Διονυσίοισι δώροις·
ἀνδράσι δ᾿ ὑψοτάτω πέμπει μερίμνας·        10
αὐτίκα μὲν πολίων κράδεμνα λύει,
πᾶσι δ᾿ ἀνθρώποις μοναρχήσειν δοκεῖ·

χρυσῶι δ᾿ ἐλέφαντί τε μαρμαίρουσιν οἶκοι,
πυροφόροι δὲ κατ᾿ αἰγλάεντα πόντον
νᾶες ἄγουσιν ἀπ᾿ Αἰγύπτου μέγιστον        15
πλοῦτον· ὣς πίνοντος ὁρμαίνει κέαρ.
Jebb in his commentary compares Pindar, fragment 124 ab (tr. William H. Race):
O Thrasyboulos, I am sending you this chariot of lovely songs
for after dinner. Amid the company may it be a sweet goad
for your drinking companions, for the fruit of Dionysos,
and for the Athenian drinking cups,
when men's wearisome cares vanish        5
from their breasts, and on a sea of golden wealth
we all alike sail to an illusory shore;
then the pauper is rich, while the wealthy...

Ὦ Θρασύβουλ᾿, ἐρατᾶν ὄχημ᾿ ἀοιδᾶν
τοῦτό τοι πέμπω μεταδόρπιον. ἐν ξυνῷ κεν εἴη
συμπόταισίν τε γλυκερὸν καὶ Διωνύσοιο καρπῷ
καὶ κυλίκεσσιν Ἀθαναίασι κέντρον·
ἁνίκ᾿ ἀνθρώπων καμτώδεες οἵχονται μέριμναι        5
στηθέων ἔξω· πελάγει δ᾿ ἐν πολυχρύσοιο πλούτου
πάντες ἴσᾳ νέομεν ψευδῆ πρὸς ἀκτάν·
ὃς μὲν ἀχρήμων, ἀφνεὸς τότε, τοὶ δ᾿ αὖ
Related post: Some Effects of Wine.

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