Tuesday, January 01, 2013


Antipater's Lament for Corinth

Greek Anthology 9.151 (Antipater), a prose translation by W.R. Paton (1857–1921):
Where is thy celebrated beauty, Doric Corinth? Where are the battlements of thy towers and thy ancient possessions? Where are the temples of the immortals, the houses and the matrons of the town of Sisyphus, and her myriads of people? Not even a trace is left of thee, most unhappy of towns, but war has seized on and devoured everything. We alone, the Nereids, Ocean's daughters, remain inviolate, and lament, like halcyons, thy sorrows.
Another prose translation, by J.W. Mackail (1859-1945):
Where is thine admired beauty, Dorian Corinth, where thy crown of towers? where thy treasures of old, where the temples of the immortals, where the halls and where the wives of the Sisyphids, and the tens of thousands of thy people that were? for not even a trace, O most distressful one, is left of thee, and war has swept up together and clean devoured all; only we, the unravaged sea-nymphs, maidens of Ocean, abide, halcyons wailing for thy woes.
The Greek:
Ποῦ τὸ περίβλεπτον κάλλος σέο, Δωρὶ Κόρινθε;
  ποῦ στεφάναι πύργων; ποῦ τὰ πάλαι κτέανα;
ποῦ νηοὶ μακάρων; ποῦ δώματα; ποῦ δὲ δάμαρτες
  Σισύφιαι λαῶν θ᾽ αἱ ποτε μυριάδες;
οὐδὲ γὰρ οὐδ᾽ ἴχνος, πολυκάμμορε, σεῖο λέλειπται,
  πάντα δὲ συμμάρψας ἐξέφαγεν πόλεμος.
μοῦναι ἀπόρθητοι Νηρηίδες Ὠκεανοῖο
  κοῦραι σῶν ἀχέων μίμνομεν ἁλκυόνες.
A verse translation by Edward Dodwell (1776-1832):
Where is thy grandeur, Corinth! shrunk from sight,
Thy ancient treasures, and thy ramparts' height;
Thy god-like fanes and palaces! Oh where
Thy mighty myriads and majestic fair!
Relentless war has pour'd around thy wall,
And hardly spared the traces of thy fall!
By Henry Wellesley (1794-1866):
Where are thy splendours, Dorian Corinth, where
  Thy crested turrets, thy ancestral goods,
The temples of the blest, the dwellings fair,
  The high-born dames, the myriad multitudes?
There's not a trace of thee, sad doomed one, left,
By rav'ning war at once of all bereft.
We, the sad Nereids, offspring of the surge,
Alone are spared to chant thy halcyon dirge.
By Goldwin Smith (1823–1910):
Where, Corinth, are thy glories now,
Thy ancient wealth, thy castled brow,
Thy solemn fanes, thy halls of state,
Thy high-born dames, thy crowded gate?
There's not a ruin left to tell,
Where Corinth stood, how Corinth fell.
The Nereids of thy double sea
Alone remain to wail for thee.
By John Addington Symonds (1840-1893):
Where is thy splendour now, thy crown of towers,
  Thy beauty visible to all men's eyes,
  The gold and silver of thy treasuries,
Thy temples of blest gods, thy woven bowers
Where long-stoled ladies walked in tranquil hours,
  Thy multitudes like stars that crowd the skies?
  All, all are gone. Thy desolation lies
Bare to the night. The elemental powers
Resume their empire: on this lonely shore
  Thy deathless Nereids, daughters of the sea,
  Wailing 'mid broken stones unceasingly,
Like halcyons when the restless south winds roar,
Sing the sad story of thy woes of yore:
  These plunging waves are all that's left to thee.
By Evelyn Baring, Earl of Cromer (1841-1917):
Where is thy beauty, Dorian Corinth, where
  The crown of towers, which of old was thine?
The halls once crowded by the brave and fair,
  The throng which flocked to many a gorgeous shrine?
Thy beauty's wrecked. It ne'er can rise again,
  'Tis wasted by the stern, relentless foe,
And only we, the Nymphs from out the main,
  Abide, like halcyons, wailing o'er thy woe.
By F.L. Lucas (1894-1967):
Where are the towers that crowned thee, high-throned between thy waters?
  Thy beauty, Dorian Corinth, thy fame of ancient days?
Thy temples of the Blessed, thy palaces, thy daughters
  Far-sprung from ancient Sisyphus, thy myriad-trodden ways?
Not a trace, not a trace, unhappy, hast thou left behind in falling—
  All has been seized and ravened by the wild throat of war:
We only, Ocean's children, still hover calling, calling,
  The sea-birds of thy sorrows, along thy lonely shore.
By Kenneth Rexroth (1905-1982):
Where is your famous beauty,
Corinth of the Dorians?
Where is your crown of towers?
Where are your ancient treasures?
Where are the temples of the
Immortals, and where are the
Houses and the wives of the
Lineage of Sisyphos,
All your myriad people?
Most unhappy city, not
A trace is left of you. War
Has seized and eaten it all.
Only the inviolate
Sea nymphs, the daughters of the
Ocean, remain, crying like
Sea birds over your sorrows.

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