Thursday, June 19, 2014

The core of coeur-age

The first Olympian sets the scene for Pelops' address to Poseidon:

near to the gray sea, alone in the darkness, 
he called aloud on the deep-roaring god, 
skilled with the trident; and the god 
appeared to him, close at hand.

Pelops then says:

Since all must die, why should anyone nameless 
sit in the dark, foolishly stewing old age 
with no share in all that is good? As for me, on this contest 
I will take my stand.

Compare Sarpedon's speech that comes near the center of the Iliad (end of Book Twelve):

'Glaukos, why is it you and I are honored before others
with pride of place, the choice meats and the filled wine-cups
in Lykia, and all men look on us as if we were immortals,
and we are appointed a great piece of land by the banks of Xanthos,
good land, orchard and vineyard, and ploughland for the planting of wheat?
Therefore it is our duty in the forefront of the Lykians
to take our stand and bear our part of the blazing of battle,
so that a man of the close-armoured Lykians may say of us,
“Indeed these are no ignoble men who are lords of Lykia,
these kings of ours, who feed upon the fat sheep appointed
and drink the exquisite sweet wine, since indeed there is strength
of valour in them, since they fight in the forefront of the Lykians.”
'Man, supposing you and I, escaping this battle,
would be able to live on forever, ageless, immortal,
so neither would I myself go on fighting in the foremost
nor would I urge you into the fighting where men win glory.
But now, seeing that the spirits of death stand close about us
in their thousands, no man can turn aside nor escape them,
let us go on and win glory for ourselves, or yield it to others.'

No comments: