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Unread 02-02-2019, 07:52 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Default The Clouds Sing (Aristophanes)

Aristophanes’ “Clouds” 275-290, 299-313

Let us, the deathless Clouds, arise to human vision
out of the roaring fathoms of our father Ocean
and fly above the forest-laden mountaintops
so that we may behold the towers on the peaks,
the sacred-soil-fomented crops,
the holy river’s roaring flux
and the loud-sounding sea.

The Aether’s never-sleeping eye
glints with glittering rays.
Come, let us shake the water-drops
off our immortal beauty and survey
the earth with telescopic gaze.

Come, rainy maidens, to the fruitful country of
Pallas and Cecrops, to a man-rich land we love,
where none divulge the sacred secrets, and a house
welcomes initiates to holy things, where gods
have high-roofed temples, offerings, sacred images,
and there are many blessÚd and sublime parades,
and sacrifices crowned

with coronals go on year round;
in spring the Bacchic rites
take place, and the melodious
choruses do their dancing, and the sound
echoes, the trill of double-flutes.

. . . . .

Prose Translation, by William James Hickie:

Eternal Clouds! Let us arise to view with our dewy, clear-bright nature, from loud-sounding Father Ocean to the wood-crowned summits of the lofty mountains, in order that we may behold clearly the far-seen watch-towers, and the fruits, and the fostering, sacred earth, and the rushing sounds of the divine rivers, and the roaring, loud-sounding sea; for the unwearied eye of Aether sparkles with glittering rays. Come, let us shake off the watery cloud from our immortal forms and survey the earth with far-seeing eye.

Ye rain-bringing virgins, let us come to the fruitful land of Pallas, to view the much-loved country of Cecrops, abounding in brave men; where is reverence for sacred rites not to be divulged; where the house that receives the initiated is thrown open in holy mystic rites; and gifts to the celestial gods; and high-roofed temples, and statues; and most sacred processions in honour of the blessed gods; and well-crowned sacrifices to the gods, and feasts, at all seasons; and with the approach of spring the Bacchic festivity, and the rousings of melodious choruses, and the loud-sounding music of flutes.

. . . . .

Greek Text: ( 5)

ἀέναοι Νεφέλαι
ἀρθῶμεν φανεραὶ δροσερὰν φύσιν εὐάγητον,
πατρὸς ἀπ᾽ Ὠκεανοῦ βαρυαχέος
ὑψηλῶν ὀρέων κορυφὰς ἐπὶ
280δενδροκόμους, ἵνα
τηλεφανεῖς σκοπιὰς ἀφορώμεθα,
καρπούς τ᾽ ἀρδομέναν ἱερὰν χθόνα,
καὶ ποταμῶν ζαθέων κελαδήματα,
καὶ πόντον κελάδοντα βαρύβρομον:
285ὄμμα γὰρ αἰθέρος ἀκάματον σελαγεῖται
μαρμαρέαις ἐν αὐγαῖς.
ἀλλ᾽ ἀποσεισάμεναι νέφος ὄμβριον
ἀθανάτας ἰδέας ἐπιδώμεθα
290τηλεσκόπῳ ὄμματι γαῖαν.

παρθένοι ὀμβροφόροι
300ἔλθωμεν λιπαρὰν χθόνα Παλλάδος, εὔανδρον γᾶν
Κέκροπος ὀψόμεναι πολυήρατον:
οὗ σέβας ἀρρήτων ἱερῶν, ἵνα
μυστοδόκος δόμος
ἐν τελεταῖς ἁγίαις ἀναδείκνυται,
305οὐρανίοις τε θεοῖς δωρήματα,
ναοί θ᾽ ὑψερεφεῖς καὶ ἀγάλματα,
καὶ πρόσοδοι μακάρων ἱερώταται,
εὐστέφανοί τε θεῶν θυσίαι θαλίαι τε,
310παντοδαπαῖς ἐν ὥραις,
ἦρί τ᾽ ἐπερχομένῳ Βρομία χάρις,
εὐκελάδων τε χορῶν ἐρεθίσματα,
καὶ μοῦσα βαρύβρομος αὐλῶν.

Last edited by Aaron Poochigian; 02-03-2019 at 08:58 AM.
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Unread 02-02-2019, 11:13 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is online now
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: TX
Posts: 3,694

Hi Aaron,

Lovely rhyming. It's very nice to see the beauty that Aristophanes put on the page. I have two tiny nits. One: do you need this many hyphens in "sacred-soil-fomented crops"? Though I'm unsure which I might remove. And two: for blessed, do you want to indicate that the second syllable is sounded, with an acute accent?

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Unread 02-03-2019, 08:30 AM
Jason Ringler Jason Ringler is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: United States of America
Posts: 82

Hi Aaron,

I noticed in the prose translation he capitalized Father Ocean and you have it as father Ocean. So far I'm enjoying reading it.
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Unread 02-03-2019, 09:03 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 4,067

Thank you, gentlemen.

John, I have added the acute accent. I am looking at ways to rearrange "sacred-soil-fomented" so that there isn't a triple compound. We'll see.

Jason, "our father" vs. general "Father" was an interpretive choice. I think they clouds are saying they are daughters of/born from the sea.

Thanks again,

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Unread 02-08-2019, 04:05 PM
Martin Rocek's Avatar
Martin Rocek Martin Rocek is offline
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: NY, USA
Posts: 4,335

Hi Aaron,
I have enjoyed reading this aloud, it sounds great. Looking for a nit, the only thing that I can think of is "roaring" repeated in L2 and L6--is that deliberate? Is it in the original?

Thanks for the read!

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