Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Hipponax of Ephesos, c. 600 B.C.

Hipponax (accent on the O) was the inventor of a certain rhythm of verse that ends each line with a weak syllable--a maker of poems indeed--but his content suggests a beggar, wanderer, soldier, or otherwise a rogue.

Hermes, dear Hermes, Maia's son from Kyllene,
I pray to you, I'm suffering from extreme shivers,
so give an overcoat to Hipponax, give him
a cape, and sandals, and felt overshoes, sixty
pieces of gold to bury in his strong chamber.

Keep traveling, you swine, the whole way toward Smyrna
Go through the Lydian land, past the tomb of Alyattes,
the grave of Gyges and the pillar of Megastrys,
the monument of Atys, son of Alyattes,
big chief, and point your paunch against the sun's setting.

Hold my jacket, somebody, while I hit Boupalos in the eye.
I can hit with both hands, and I never miss punches.

Trans. Richmond Lattimore


Christopher said...

I hear two different voices in these verses... no? A conversation?

Ann T. said...

Dear Christopher,
What an intriguing possibility! The poem I left out, # 3, is very much like poem number 1 in its subject and attitude.

Ann T.
P.S. i have been assiduously reading Juvenal, looking for something good . . .

The Observer said...

Ann T.

"hold my jacket, somebody, while I hit Boupalos in the eye."


The Observer

Ann T. said...

Dear The Observer,
That's my favorite one too! And neither of us appear to have violent tendencies--
Ann T.