Eratosphere Forums - Metrical Poetry, Free Verse, Fiction, Art, Critique, Discussions Able Muse - a review of poetry, prose and art

Forum Left Top

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 09-30-2017, 05:57 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is online now
Distinguished Guest
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 2,851
Default Bacchae--Pentheus "comes out"

The Stranger:
You there, so keen to see what you should not
and all-too-eager to pursue what never
should be pursued—I mean you, Pentheus—
come out before the house, show yourself to me,
you who have donned a Bacchant woman’s clothing
to spy upon your mother and her band.

(Pentheus enters from the palace dressed as a Bacchant.)

You look exactly like a daughter of Cadmus.

Pentheus:
I seem to see two suns, the city of Thebes
doubled, and twice the seven-gated walls.
I think you walk before me as a bull;
twin horns, it seems, have sprouted from your head.
Were you an animal before this moment?
You really have been changed into a bull.

The Stranger:
The god is walking with us now, although,
beforehand, yes, he was our enemy.
Now you are seeing things as you should see them.

Pentheus:
Whom do I most resemble? Do I walk
like Ino maybe? Like my mother Agave?

The Stranger:
Looking on you, I see their perfect likeness
before me. There’s a curl, though, that’s come loose
from where I tucked it underneath your headband.

Pentheus:
Inside, when I shook my hair in Bacchic
ecstasy, I must have shook it free.

The Stranger:
Because it is my job to wait upon you,
I’ll put it back in place. Now stand up straight.

Pentheus:
Thank you, beautician. I am in your hands.

The Stranger:
Your sash is drooping, and your dress’s pleats
are hanging crooked there below your ankles.

Pentheus:
Over my right heel maybe. On the left, though,
the dress falls to the tendon as it should.

The Stranger:
You will regard me as your best friend when
you find the Bacchants purer than you thought.

Pentheus:
To look more like a Bacchant, should my right
hand hold the pine-cone staff or should my left?

The Stranger:
Your right, and lift it as you lift your right foot.
I’m proud that you have changed your way of thinking.

Pentheus:
Could I lift the valleys of Cithaeron
atop my shoulders, and the Bacchants with them?

The Stranger:
Yes, if you wished. Your thoughts were sick before
but now they are the way they ought to be.

Pentheus:
Should I bring levers? Could I use my fingers?
Or maybe put a shoulder or arm beneath the summits?

The Stranger:
No, no, you would destroy the places where
the Nymphs live and the god Pan plays his pipes.

Pentheus:
What good advice. We shouldn’t charge the women
violently. I will hide among the pine trees.

The Stranger:
You will hide just where you should be hidden—
the hideout best for spying on the Maenads.

Pentheus:
I think they are like birds inside of bushes,
held snugly in the snares of sweet love-making.

The Stranger:
Isn’t that what you have been sent to watch for?
Yes, you will catch them, if you’re not caught first.

Pentheus:
Escort me through the middle of Thebes, since I
alone am brave enough to dare this deed.

The Stranger:
You are the man who labors for the city,
you alone. The challenge you deserve
is waiting for you. Come, now, follow me,
and I will be your guide and your salvation,
though someone else will bring you home. . .


Prose Translation by Gregory Nagey and Alexander Sens

Dionysus
You who are eager to see and do what you ought not, I mean you, Pentheus, come forth before the house, show yourself to me, 915 wearing the clothing of a woman, of an inspired Bacchant, a spy upon your mother and her company.

Pentheus emerges.

You look like one of Cadmus’ daughters.

Pentheus
What is this? I think I see two suns, and two images of Thebes, the seven-gated polis. 920 And you seem to lead us like a bull and horns seem to have sprouted on your head. Were you ever before a beast? You have certainly now become a bull.

Dionysus
The god accompanies us, now at truce with us, though formerly not propitious. Now you see what it is right for you to see.

Pentheus
925 How do I look? Do I not have the stance [stasis] of Ino, or of my mother Agave?

Dionysus
Looking at you I think I see them. But this hair has come out of place, not the way I arranged it under your miter.

Pentheus
930 I displaced it inside, shaking my head forwards and backwards and practicing my Bacchic revelry.

Dionysus
But I who ought to wait on you will replace it. Keep your head straight.

Pentheus
Here, you arrange it; I’m depending on you.

Dionysus
935 Your girdle has come loose, and the pleats of your gown do not extend regularly down around your ankles.

Pentheus
At least on my right leg, they don’t. But on this side the robe sits well around the back of my leg.

Dionysus
You will consider me the first among your philoi, 940 when contrary to your expectation you see the Bacchae being balanced [s˘phrones].

Pentheus
But shall I be more like a Bacchant holding the thyrsos in my right hand, or in my left?

Dionysus
You must hold it in your left hand and raise your left foot in unison with it. I praise you for having changed your mind.

Pentheus
945 Couldn’t I carry on my shoulders the folds of Kithairon, Bacchae and all?

Dionysus
You could if you should so wish. Your earlier phrenes were not sound, but now they are the way they should be.

Pentheus
Shall we bring levers, 950 or throwing a shoulder or arm under the mountain tops shall I lift them up with my hands?

Dionysus
Please don’t destroy the seats of the Nymphs and the place where Pan plays his pipe.

Pentheus
You’re right. The women are not to be taken by force; I’ll hide in the pines.

Dionysus
955 You will hide yourself in hiding as you should be hidden, coming as a crafty spy on the Maenads.

Pentheus
I imagine that they are in the bushes held in the closest grips of love, like birds.

Dionysus
You have been sent as a guard against this very event. 960 Perhaps you will catch them, if you yourself are not caught before.

Pentheus
Bring me through the midst of the Theban land. I am the only Theban who dares to perform this deed.

Dionysus
You alone enter the struggle for this polis, you alone. Therefore the ordeals [ag˘nes] which have to be await you. 965 Follow me. I am your saving [s˘tŕr] guide; another will lead you down from there.

Greek Original

Διόνυσος
σὲ τὸν πρόθυμον ὄνθ᾽ ἃ μὴ χρεὼν ὁρᾶν
σπεύδοντά τ᾽ ἀσπούδαστα, Πενθέα λέγω,
ἔξιθι πάροιθε δωμάτων, ὄφθητί μοι,
915σκευὴν γυναικὸς μαινάδος βάκχης ἔχων,
μητρός τε τῆς σῆς καὶ λόχου κατάσκοπος:
πρέπεις δὲ Κάδμου θυγατέρων μορφὴν μιᾷ.

Πενθεύς
καὶ μὴν ὁρᾶν μοι δύο μὲν ἡλίους δοκῶ,
δισσὰς δὲ Θήβας καὶ πόλισμ᾽ ἑπτάστομον:
920καὶ ταῦρος ἡμῖν πρόσθεν ἡγεῖσθαι δοκεῖς
καὶ σῷ κέρατα κρατὶ προσπεφυκέναι.
ἀλλ᾽ ἦ ποτ᾽ ἦσθα θήρ; τεταύρωσαι γὰρ οὖν.

Διόνυσος
ὁ θεὸς ὁμαρτεῖ, πρόσθεν ὢν οὐκ εὐμενής,
ἔνσπονδος ἡμῖν: νῦν δ᾽ ὁρᾷς ἃ χρή σ᾽ ὁρᾶν.

Πενθεύς
925τί φαίνομαι δῆτ᾽; οὐχὶ τὴν Ἰνοῦς στάσιν
ἢ τὴν Ἀγαύης ἑστάναι, μητρός γ᾽ ἐμῆς;

Διόνυσος
αὐτὰς ἐκείνας εἰσορᾶν δοκῶ σ᾽ ὁρῶν.
ἀλλ᾽ ἐξ ἕδρας σοι πλόκαμος ἐξέστηχ᾽ ὅδε,
οὐχ ὡς ἐγώ νιν ὑπὸ μίτρᾳ καθήρμοσα.

Πενθεύς
930ἔνδον προσείων αὐτὸν ἀνασείων τ᾽ ἐγὼ
καὶ βακχιάζων ἐξ ἕδρας μεθώρμισα.

Διόνυσος
ἀλλ᾽ αὐτὸν ἡμεῖς, οἷς σε θεραπεύειν μέλει,
πάλιν καταστελοῦμεν: ἀλλ᾽ ὄρθου κάρα.

Πενθεύς
ἰδού, σὺ κόσμει: σοὶ γὰρ ἀνακείμεσθα δή.

Διόνυσος
935ζῶναί τέ σοι χαλῶσι κοὐχ ἑξῆς πέπλων
στολίδες ὑπὸ σφυροῖσι τείνουσιν σέθεν.

Πενθεύς
κἀμοὶ δοκοῦσι παρά γε δεξιὸν πόδα:
τἀνθένδε δ᾽ ὀρθῶς παρὰ τένοντ᾽ ἔχει πέπλος.

Διόνυσος
ἦ πού με τῶν σῶν πρῶτον ἡγήσῃ φίλων,
940ὅταν παρὰ λόγον σώφρονας βάκχας ἴδῃς.

Πενθεύς
πότερα δὲ θύρσον δεξιᾷ λαβὼν χερὶ
ἢ τῇδε, βάκχῃ μᾶλλον εἰκασθήσομαι;

Διόνυσος
ἐν δεξιᾷ χρὴ χἅμα δεξιῷ ποδὶ
αἴρειν νιν: αἰνῶ δ᾽ ὅτι μεθέστηκας φρενῶν.

Πενθεύς
945ἆρ᾽ ἂν δυναίμην τὰς Κιθαιρῶνος πτυχὰς
αὐταῖσι βάκχαις τοῖς ἐμοῖς ὤμοις φέρειν;

Διόνυσος
δύναι᾽ ἄν, εἰ βούλοιο: τὰς δὲ πρὶν φρένας
οὐκ εἶχες ὑγιεῖς, νῦν δ᾽ ἔχεις οἵας σε δεῖ.

Πενθεύς
μοχλοὺς φέρωμεν; ἢ χεροῖν ἀνασπάσω
950κορυφαῖς ὑποβαλὼν ὦμον ἢ βραχίονα;

Διόνυσος
μὴ σύ γε τὰ Νυμφῶν διολέσῃς ἱδρύματα
καὶ Πανὸς ἕδρας ἔνθ᾽ ἔχει συρίγματα.

Πενθεύς
καλῶς ἔλεξας: οὐ σθένει νικητέον
γυναῖκας: ἐλάταισιν δ᾽ ἐμὸν κρύψω δέμας.

Διόνυσος
955κρύψῃ σὺ κρύψιν ἥν σε κρυφθῆναι χρεών,
ἐλθόντα δόλιον μαινάδων κατάσκοπον.

Πενθεύς
καὶ μὴν δοκῶ σφᾶς ἐν λόχμαις ὄρνιθας ὣς
λέκτρων ἔχεσθαι φιλτάτοις ἐν ἕρκεσιν.

Διόνυσος
οὐκοῦν ἐπ᾽ αὐτὸ τοῦτ᾽ ἀποστέλλῃ φύλαξ:
960λήψῃ δ᾽ ἴσως σφᾶς, ἢν σὺ μὴ ληφθῇς πάρος.

Πενθεύς
κόμιζε διὰ μέσης με Θηβαίας χθονός:
μόνος γὰρ αὐτῶν εἰμ᾽ ἀνὴρ τολμῶν τόδε.

Διόνυσος
μόνος σὺ πόλεως τῆσδ᾽ ὑπερκάμνεις, μόνος:
τοιγάρ σ᾽ ἀγῶνες ἀναμένουσιν οὓς ἐχρῆν.
965ἕπου δέ: πομπὸς δ᾽ εἶμ᾽ ἐγὼ σωτήριος,
κεῖθεν δ᾽ ἀπάξει σ᾽ ἄλλος.

Last edited by Aaron Poochigian; 10-01-2017 at 09:45 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 09-30-2017, 08:38 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: TX
Posts: 1,277
Default

What a helpful stranger!
No nits.

Cheers,
John
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 10-01-2017, 10:27 AM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 595
Default

Aaron,

Once again I think you do justice to Euripides. Your pentameter here shines.

These two bits bother me just a little:
The Stranger:
You will regard me as your friend once you
have found the Bacchants purer than you thought.
The stress on "you" feels a bit force--it jangles to my ear, and if it didn't end the line I'd read it (once you have found) as choriambic. That's just my ear, though. I do wonder if you could rephrase the line to have it end more emphatically.
Pentheus:
To look more like a Bacchant, should my right hand
hold the pine-cone staff or should my left?
Again, this is a case where there's nothing wrong with the reading, and the reading aloud of the two lines will be fine. But as poetry I think it's better for the first line to end on "right"; the opposing line endings (right/left) is pleasing, and "hand hold" becomes nearly spondaic (though not quite) so it helps varying the rhythm while still being clearly iambic. What you lose, obviously, is the fidelity to the line, and that may be worth keeping, so I'm in no way adamant about either of these suggestions. Just places that struck me as less felicitous than the rest.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 10-01-2017, 12:20 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is online now
Distinguished Guest
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 2,851
Default

Andrew, thank you, I will revise the “left/right” couplet as you suggest.
The other couplet has given me a great deal of trouble. I can’t keep the clauses, main and subordinate, from falling into four and six foot units, respectively:

You will regard me as your friend

once you have found the Bacchants purer than you thought.

Iambic pentameter does not like units of those lengths so much.

Here’s the Greek:

ἦ πού με τῶν σῶν πρῶτον ἡγήσῃ φίλων,
You will consider me the first of your friends indeed

ὅταν παρὰ λόγον σώφρονας βάκχας ἴδῃς.
when you see the Bacchants are chaste beyond your expectation.

Working on it.

Should I go for, simply:

Finding the Bacchants purer than you thought,
You will consider me as your closest friend.

?

Last edited by Aaron Poochigian; 10-01-2017 at 12:29 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 10-01-2017, 07:46 PM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 595
Default

Aaron,

[I had a post but I don't know where it went. Trying to reconstruct here...I'm genuinely frustrated I lost the post somehow...]

I think your suggested revision on the more difficult pair of lines isn't a step forward; they feel a little stilted. Here are two possible directions:
Finding the Bacchants purer than you thought,
surely you'll see that me as your closest friend.
or
Surely you'll see that I'm your closest friend
when you find them are purer than you thought.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 10-01-2017, 09:25 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is online now
Distinguished Guest
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 2,851
Default

Thank you, Andrew. I am trying to avoid contractions, and I need to name the Bacchants in the translation (the context wouldn't make clear who "they" are). Thank you. I will try some other things.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 10-01-2017, 09:33 PM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 595
Default

Aaron,

Just curious: why no contractions in the parts that are not choral?

Regardless, a new suggestion:
Finding the Bacchants purer than you thought,
you will see I am your closest friend.
Or, instead of being headless:
you will see that I am your closest friend.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 10-01-2017, 09:36 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is online now
Distinguished Guest
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 2,851
Default

Thank you, Andrew. I am going to go with the following--I like the assonance of "best friend when. . .":

You will regard me as your best friend when
you find the Bacchants purer than you thought.

. . . . .

I try to avoid contractions throughout the translations as much as I can because ll tragic discourse is in a higher register than colloquial.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 10-01-2017, 09:56 PM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 595
Default

Aaron,

That makes sense.

Also, I think this fix is better than my suggestions and what you have.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



Forum Right Top
Forum Left Bottom Forum Right Bottom
 
Right Left
Member Login
Forgot password?
Forum LeftForum Right


Forum Statistics:
Forum Members: 7,842
Total Threads: 18,822
Total Posts: 243,085
There are 160 users
currently browsing forums.
Forum LeftForum Right


Forum Sponsor:
Donate & Support Able Muse / Eratosphere
Forum LeftForum Right
Right Right
Right Bottom Left Right Bottom Right

Hosted by ApplauZ Online