Saturday, 23 December 2017

I loved you, Atthis… but now you hate me…

Yep, love again. But this time in Greek. Yes, we are going back to Sappho after quite some time. Today, I have… how many poems? This is a very good questions. Let's start by saying it's 3 distinct quotations: one is a single line found in Hephaestio's Handbook of meter, the following one is another line found in three other books, and the third one is 4 lines again in Hephaestio. Now my three main references, Bergk Edmonds and Campbell, all agree in putting the first two into the same poem, on the basis of a quote from Terentianus Maurus's Handbook of meter (this one in Latin, the other one was in Greek) which goes "Cordi quando fuisse sibi canit Atthida / Parvam, florea virginitas sua cum foret", which has both a paraphrase of the first line and an adjective of the second one, and is also the basis for Edmond's in-between line Ἆς ἔμ' ἀνθεμόεσσ' ἔτι παρθενία, σὺ δὲ, «As I still had my flowery virginity, and you», and maybe other things I can't find. So that would make two poems. Some, however, for I don't know what reason, decide to split the last quote into two isolated couplets, making 3 poems. I don't see any reason to do so, so I'll make these two poems. In the first one, the only oscillation between those references is ἔμμεν / ἔμμεν', which doesn't change the meaning one bit. I have no arguments for one or for the other, so I'll just be lazy and stick to whatever I have in my translations file. In the second one, we have δαὖτε / δηὖτε and δόνει / δύνει. For the latter, I feel δόνει is the only choice with a fitting meaning, and most codices have that, so I'll take it. For the former, written evidence seems to point to δ' αὖτε, and only Campbell changes the alpha. I assume it's on the basis of the δηὖτεs in the Hymn to Aphrodite. Whatever the case, the meaning doesn't change one bit, so I'll just be lazy as with poem 2. And that is my critical note. The meter of poem 1 is xx–uu–uu–uu–ux, which is kept in Latin and rendered as –u–uu–uu–uu–u– with consecutive lines rhyming in English and Italian (cfr. Hector and Andromacha, which is written in the same meter). The meter of poem 2 is xx–uu–uu–ux, kept in Latin and rendered as –u–uu–uu–u– with consecutive lines rhyming in English and Italian. So let's jump into the poems!


Ἠράμαν μὲν ἔγω σέθεν, Ἄτθι, πάλαι πότα.
Σμίκρα μοι πάϊς ἔμμεν ἐφαίνεο κἄχαρις.


Io t’amavo, o cara mi͜a Attide, tempo fa.
Bimbettina parevimi tu senza grazïa.




Ἔρος δηὖτέ μ’ ὀ λυσιμέλης δόνει
γλυκύπικρον ἀμάχανον ὄρπετον,
Ἄτθι, σοὶ δ᾽ ἔμεθεν μὲν ἀπήχθετο
φροντίσδην, ἐπὶ δ’ Ἀνδρομέδαν πότῃ.


Anco sciogliemi ’l corpo͜ e m’investe ’l cuor
Dolce͜amara͜ invincibile fiera, Amor.
Ora, Attide, odi pensare͜ a me,
Ed Andromeda meta͜ al tuo volo è.
Ămābām t’ ĕgŏ plūrĭmă tēmpŏrĭs āntĕhāc.
Vĭdēbārĭ’ pŭēllŭlă rūstĭcă t’, Ātthĭ, mī.


Long ago, o my dear little Atthis, I did love thee.
Little child wi’ no grace at that time you did seem to me.




Sōlvīcōrpõr’ Ămōr pĕtĭt ēt nūnc mē
Fĕr’ īnvīctăquĕ dūlcĭs ămārăquĕ.
Mē īn mēntĕ hăbērĕ, mĕ’ Ātthĭ, tū
Ōdīst’, Āndrŏmĕdān vŏlĭtānsqu’ ădi̽s.


Body-melting again love investeth me,
Sweet and bitter a beast, never won can be.
Now, my Atthis, the thought of myself to thee
Loathed’s, Andromeda end of a flight’s for thee.

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