Thursday, 9 October 2008

Even Homer nods

Consider the following simile from Odyssey 20.10-16 (Odysseus is angry at his 'disloyal' maids):

πολλὰ δὲ μερμήριζε κατὰ φρένα καὶ κατὰ θυμόν,
ἠὲ μεταΐξας θάνατον τεύξειεν ἑκάστῃ,
ἦ ἔτ’ ἐῷ μνηστῆρσιν ὑπερφιάλοισι μιγῆναι
ὕστατα καὶ πύματα· κραδίη δέ οἱ ἔνδον ὑλάκτει.
ὡς δὲ κύων ἀμαλῇσι περὶ σκυλάκεσσι βεβῶσα
ἄνδρ’ ἀγνοιήσασ’ ὑλάει μέμονέν τε μάχεσθαι,
ὥς ῥα τοῦ ἔνδον ὑλάκτει ἀγαιομένου κακὰ ἔργα.

"And much he debated in mind and heart, whether he should rush after them and deal death to each, or suffer them to lie with the insolent wooers for the last and latest time; and his heart growled within him. And as a bitch stands over her tender whelps growling, when she sees a man she does not know, and is eager to fight, so his heart growled within him in his wrath at their evil deeds;" (Loeb)

This one, perhaps, could have been left as the opening metaphor, but the simile has at least caused a pause for thought and blogging.

1 comment:

Typhaon said...

Whenever Homer says something twice, and says something else in between, we call it ring composition.