Thursday, November 24, 2016


Your Time Has Come

Homer, Iliad 21.106-113 (Achilles to Lycaon; tr. Richmond Lattimore):
So, friend, you die also. Why all this clamour about it?
Patroklos also is dead, who was better by far than you are.
Do you not see what a man I am, how huge, how splendid
and born of a great father, and the mother who bore me immortal?
Yet even I have also my death and my strong destiny,        110
and there shall be a dawn or an afternoon or a noontime
when some man in the fighting will take the life from me also
either with a spearcast or an arrow flown from the bowstring.

ἀλλὰ φίλος θάνε καὶ σύ· τί ἦ ὀλοφύρεαι οὕτως;
κάτθανε καὶ Πάτροκλος, ὅ περ σέο πολλὸν ἀμείνων.
οὐχ ὁράᾳς οἷος καὶ ἐγὼ καλός τε μέγας τε;
πατρὸς δ᾽ εἴμ᾽ ἀγαθοῖο, θεὰ δέ με γείνατο μήτηρ·
ἀλλ᾽ ἔπι τοι καὶ ἐμοὶ θάνατος καὶ μοῖρα κραταιή·        110
ἔσσεται ἢ ἠὼς ἢ δείλη ἢ μέσον ἦμαρ
ὁππότε τις καὶ ἐμεῖο Ἄρῃ ἐκ θυμὸν ἕληται
ἢ ὅ γε δουρὶ βαλὼν ἢ ἀπὸ νευρῆφιν ὀϊστῷ.
The same, tr. Peter Green:
So, friend, you too must die: why then lament thus?
Patroklos too is dead, a far better man than you are.
Can't you see what I'm like, how handsome and tall I am?
A fine father sired me, the mother who bore me was a goddess—
Yet over me too hang death and all-mastering destiny:        110
A day will come when, at dawn, or noon, or evening,
my life too will be forfeit to someone in battle,
by a flighted spear or an arrow shot from the bowstring.
The same, tr. Alexander Pope:
Die then, my friend! what boots it to deplore?
The great, the good Patroclus is no more!
He, far thy better, was foredoom'd to die,
And thou, dost thou bewail mortality?
Seest thou not me, whom nature's gifts adorn,
Sprung from a hero, from a goddess born?
The day shall come (which nothing can avert)
When by the spear, the arrow, or the dart,
By night, or day, by force, or by design,
Impending death and certain fate are mine!
The same, tr. William Cowper:
Die therefore, even thou, my friend! What mean
Thy tears unreasonably shed and vain?
Died not Patroclus. braver far than thou?
And look on me—see'st not to what a height
My stature towers, and what a bulk I boast?
A King begat me, and a Goddess bore.
What then! A death by violence awaits
Me also, and at morn, or eve, or noon,
I perish, whensoe'er the destined spear
Shall reach me, or the arrow from the nerve.
The same, tr. William Cullen Bryant:
                                     Die thou, then; and why
Shouldst thou, my friend, lament? Patroclus died,
And greatly he excelled thee. Seest thou not
How eminent in stature and in form
Am I, whom to a prince renowned for worth
A goddess mother bore; yet will there come
To me a violent death at morn, at eve,
Or at the midday hour, whenever he
Whose weapon is to take my life shall cast
The spear or send an arrow from the string.

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