Friday, December 01, 2017


The Boldness of a Fly

Homer, Iliad 17.567-573 (tr. Caroline Alexander):
So he spoke, and the gleaming-eyed goddess Athena rejoiced
that to her of all the gods he had prayed first.
And she placed strength in his shoulders and in his knees,
and threw into his breast the boldness of a horsefly,        570
that though driven repeatedly away from a man's skin,
craves to bite, so delectable is human blood to it.
With such boldness did Athena fill him round his dark heart.

ὣς φάτο, γήθησεν δὲ θεὰ γλαυκῶπις Ἀθήνη,
ὅττί ῥά οἱ πάμπρωτα θεῶν ἠρήσατο πάντων.
ἐν δὲ βίην ὤμοισι καὶ ἐν γούνεσσιν ἔθηκε,
καί οἱ μυίης θάρσος ἐνὶ στήθεσσιν ἐνῆκεν,        570
ἥ τε καὶ ἐργομένη μάλα περ χροὸς ἀνδρομέοιο
ἰσχανάᾳ δακέειν, λαρόν τέ οἱ αἷμ᾽ ἀνθρώπου·
τοίου μιν θάρσευς πλῆσε φρένας ἀμφὶ μελαίνας.

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