Sunday, June 26, 2005

Poem of the Day

and just why are they called "lesbians?"

thanks to drudge retort, we have learned about the publication of a heretofore undiscovered poem by sappho (whom the ancient Greeks considered one of their greatest poets ever (not as the article implies, greatest female poet), and who liked chicks, and who lived on the island of lesbos). like almost all heretofore undiscovered ancient greek poems discovered nowadays it was on a piece of parchment used to wrap an egyptian mummy. looks like someone unwrapped the mummy and martin west, the brilliant scholar of archaic (roughly speaking before 600 bce) Greek poetry has edited and translated the work in the times literary supplement. the whole article is very good, go read it. west's text in translation is [bracketed words are his conjectures]:

"[You for] the fragrant-blossomed Muses’ lovely gifts
[be zealous,] girls, [and the] clear melodious lyre:

[but my once tender] body old age now
[has seized;] my hair’s turned [white] instead of dark;

my heart’s grown heavy, my knees will not support me,
that once on a time were fleet for the dance as fawns.

This state I oft bemoan; but what’s to do?
Not to grow old, being human, there’s no way.

Tithonus once, the tale was, rose-armed Dawn,
love-smitten, carried off to the world’s end,

handsome and young then, yet in time grey age
o’ertook him, husband of immortal wife."
more fun than a bag o' cats, the news can be.

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