Sunday, November 13, 2011

Quotes from ancient theatrical plays: Aeschylus "The suppliants"

Occasionally i will be posting interesting quotes from ancient literature.This time i will the post the most interesting quotes from the  play by Aeschylus called "The suppliants"(Ικέτιδαι).

The Suppliants is a play about some Egyptian women called Danaids who flee from Egypt to avoid a forced marriage and try to find refuge in a Greek city called Argos.

lines (86-101)  Chorus

εὖ δ᾽ εἴη Διόθεν παναληθῶς
Διὸς ἵμερος οὐκ εὐθήρατος ἐτύχθη
παντᾷ τοι φλεγέθει 
κἀν σκότῳ μελαίνᾳ ξὺν τύχᾳ 
μερόπεσσι λαοῖς.
πίπτει δ᾽ ἀσφαλὲς οὐδ᾽ ἐπὶ νώτῳ
κορυφᾷ Διὸς εἰ κρανθῇ , πρᾶγμα τέλειον
δαυλοὶ γὰρ πραπίδων 
δάσκιοί τε τείνουσιν πόροι 
κατιδεῖν ἄφραστοι.
ἰάπτει δ᾽ ἐλπίδων 
ἀφ᾽ ὑψιπύργων πανώλεις 
βροτούςβίαν δ᾽ 
οὔτιν᾽ ἐξοπλίζει
πᾶν ἄπονον δαιμονίων

But may Zeus grant that it go well with us. For Zeus' desire is hard to trace: it shines everywhere, even in gloom, together with fortune [90] obscure to mortal men.
Safely it falls, and not upon its back, whatever deed comes to pass at Zeus' nod; for the pathways of his understanding stretch dark and tangled, [95] beyond comprehension.
From their high-towering hopes he hurls mankind to utter destruction; yet he does not marshal any armed violence— [100] all that is wrought by the powers divine is free from toil. Seated on his holy throne, unmoved, in mysterious ways he accomplishes his will.

line (165)  Chorus

χαλεποῦ γὰρ ἐκ 
πνεύματος εἶσι χειμών.

 a stormy sea follows a harsh wind.

line (203)  Danaus

θρασυστομεῖν γὰρ οὐ πρέπει τοὺς ἥσσονας.

Bold speech does not suit the weak.

The Danaids

lines (381-186) Chorus

τὸν ὑψόθεν σκοπὸν ἐπισκόπει
φύλακα πολυπόνων 
βροτῶνοἳ τοῖς πέλας προσήμενοι 
δίκας οὐ τυγχάνουσιν ἐννόμου
μένει τοι Ζηνὸς ἱκταίου κότος 
δυσπαραθέλκτους παθόντος οἴκτοις.

Look to him who looks down from above, to him, the guardian of mortals sore-distressed, who appeal to their neighbors, yet do not obtain the justice that is their right. [385] The wrath of Zeus, the suppliant's god, remains, and will not be softened by a sufferer's complaints.

lines (434-436) Chorus

ἴσθι γάρπαισὶ τάδε καὶ δόμοις
ὁπότερ᾽ ἂν κτίσῃς
μένει ἄρ ἐκτίνειν 

For be assured of this—whichever end you bring to pass, to your children and house [435] does it remain to make full payment. Consider these just ordinances of God.

lines (442) King

 τοῖσιν  τοῖς πόλεμον αἴρεσθαι μέγαν 440
πᾶσ᾽ ἔστ᾽ ἀνάγκηκαὶ γεγόμφωται σκάφος 
στρέβλαισι ναυτικαῖσιν ὡς προσηγμένον

There is no result without grievous hurt

lines (697-700) Chorus

φυλάσσοι τ᾽ ἀτρεμαῖα τιμὰς 
τὸ δάμιοντὸ πτόλιν κρατύνει

 May the people who control the state guard its privileges free from fear— [700] a prudent government counselling wisely for the public prosperity.

lines (792-798) Chorus

πόθεν δέ μοι γένοιτ᾽ ἂν αἰθέρος θρόνος
πρὸς ὃν νέφη μυδηλὰ γίγνεται χιών
 λισσὰς αἰγίλιψ ἀπρόσ- 
δεικτος οἰόφρων κρεμὰς 
γυπιὰς πέτραβαθὺ 
πτῶμα μαρτυροῦσά μοι
πρὶν δαΐκτορος βίᾳ 
καρδίας γάμου κυρῆσαι;

Ah that somewhere in the upper air I might find a seat against which the dank clouds turn into snow, or some bare, inaccessible crag, [795] beyond sight, brooding in solitude, beetling, vulture-haunted, to bear witness to my plunge into the depths before I am ever forced into a marriage that would pierce my heart!

theatrical masks. All the actors should wear one.

lines (998-1005) Danaus

ὥραν ἐχούσας τήνδ᾽ ἐπίστρεπτον βροτοῖς
τέρειν᾽ ὀπώρα δ᾽ εὐφύλακτος οὐδαμῶς
θῆρες δὲ κηραίνουσι καὶ βροτοίτί μήν
καὶ κνώδαλα πτεροῦντα καὶ πεδοστιβῆ
καρπώματα στάζοντα κηρύσσει Κύπρις 
καλωρα κωλύουσαν θωσμένειν ἐρῶ,† 
καὶ παρθένων χλιδαῖσιν εὐμόρφοις ἔπι 
πᾶς τις παρελθὼν ὄμματος θελκτήριον 

 The tender ripeness of summer fruit is in no way easy to protect; beasts despoil it—and men, why not?— [1000] and brutes that fly and those that walk the earth. Love's goddess spreads news abroad of fruit bursting ripe. . . . So all men, as they pass, [1005] mastered by desire, shoot an alluring arrow of the eye at the delicate beauty of virgins.

lines (1037-1042)

τίεται δ᾽ αἰολόμητις 
θεὸς ἔργοις ἐπὶ σεμνοῖς
μετάκοινοι δὲ φίλᾷ ματρὶ πάρεισιν 
Πόθος  τ᾽ οὐδὲν ἄπαρνον 
τελέθει θέλκτορι Πειθοῖ
δέδοται δ᾽ Ἁρμονίᾳ μοῖρ᾽ Ἀφροδίτας 
ψεδυρᾷ τρίβῳ τ᾽ Ἐρώτων.

And in the train of their mother are Desire and she to whom nothing is denied, [1040] winning Persuasion; and to Harmonia has been given a share of Aphrodite, and to the whispering touches of the Loves.

line (1048-1049)

ὅ τί τοι μόρσιμόν ἐστιντὸ γένοιτ᾽ ἄν
Διὸς οὐ παρβατός ἐστιν 

Whatever is fated, that will come to pass. The mighty, untrammelled will of Zeus cannot be transgressed.

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