Etudes

Translations from the ancient Greek.

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I know] Telchines belittle my songs
     ignoramuses, leaving the muses unamused
     
because I've not "sung" of kings
     . . .]many thousand continuous lines
     
. . .] heroes, annotating short tales [childishly
      though my decades aren't few
      
. . . . . ]to the Telchines this: tribe
     . . .] with epistemological cirrhosis
     
.. . . . .]few lines but cornHarvesting Demeter
     . . . ]outweighs by far long[
     
the small coin not the large 
     . . .]woman taught Mimnermos delights
     
. . . . . ] from Egypt to Thrace fly
     . . . .] cranes relishing Pygmy blood
     
let Massagetai arc their arrows at
     Medes]; s[ongs]'re more honied short
     
Pass-by, slanderous generation; judge by artistic
     criteria not Persian measuring rods
     
don't expect me to spawn thundering
     song; thunder belongs to Zeus.
     
When first I set tablet on 
     knee, wolfSlaying Apollo told me
     
. . . . .]poet, fatten the sacrificial animal
     but keep the muse thin?
     
this too] ?walk a path wagons
     haven't rutted, avoid common tracks.
     
Don't drive your chariot on interstates
     choose narrower roads, less traveled.?
     
We sing for lovers of cicada
     . . . .]not cacophony of asses.
     
Let others bray like longeared beasts,
     let me be elegantly winged
     
so I may sing sustained by
     dew, so I may shed
     
old age which weighs me down
     like Sicily on monstrous Enkaledos--
     
nevermind, whom the Muses accept young
     they'll not cast away gray


                 

The Prologue to Kallimachos' Aetia