Wednesday, June 25, 2008

HESPEROS: Studies in Ancient Greek Poetry Presented to M. L. West on his Seventieth Birthday

The cleverly-titled Hesperos, a Festschrift for M.L. West (get it?), has just been reviewed in the BMCR and has opened a hole in my library that I hadn't noticed. As the reviewer notes in his curt close, "The price of the book is hideous." It's listed at $199, a small sum for Croesus, but Amazon has knocked off 32% for the moderately wealthy among us.

I'm most intrigued by Kenneth Dover's contribution, a 'lyric Encomium' that

sets itself the familiar task of encoding the honorand's achievement in a few well-chosen phrases. In West's case, this would be hard enough to do in English, but Dover pulls it off in clever and elegant Greek. His epode praises West's pioneering efforts to make students of Greek poetry more aware of its interactions with Near Eastern culture.
So without further ado:

μελετᾶν ἄνδρ' ἔμπειρον ἀκριβέων      (στρ.)
ἔδοξε βουλᾷ συνετῶν ἐπαινέσαι
ἀφνειόν τ' οὐ κατὰ δαμόταν θέμεν,
ἄξιον ὄντα χρέος πράσσειν μέγ' ὀφειλόμενον·
τοσαῦτα κείνου μεμαθήκαμεν ἄμμες.      (5)

γενεὰς τὰς καθ' Ἡσίοδον θεῶν      (ἀντ.)
σαφανίσας κ' Ἀρχίλοχον καὶ Θεόγνιδας,
τέτραπται πρὸς Διόνυσον ἠδ' Ἄρη
ἁρμονίας τε λυρᾶν καὶ τέθμα Τερψιχόρας
ὥστ' ἐξικέσθαι σοφίας ἐπ' ἄωτον.      (10)

τολμᾷ δ' ὑπερβαίνειν ὅρους ἐθνέων παλαιῶν·      (ἐπ.)
ἀλλ' οὐ γὰρ ἑλλανίδα μῆτιν ἐλέγξας
ἀπώσατ', ἰχνεύει δ' ἰδέας ἀοιδᾶν
φαίνων ἄρα μοῦνον ἐὸν Μοισᾶν γένος.
I should point out the synizesis in Θεόγνιδας at the end of line 7.

1 comment:

Eric said...

That price seems shocking from OUP. From Brill, I would expect it.

The title seems doubly clever when you take into account the Near East association noted in your post. It would be funny to set "West" the festschrift next to 'The East Face of Helicon' on your bookshelf.