Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Argos



So after 20 years Odysseus returns to Ithaca, he disgues himself as a beggar to have his revenge on and justice for the suitors. They have despoiled his house, and abused his wife and child. In their greedy quest for the wealth and power which would come to the new husband of Penelope.

It has been so long that no one recognises our hero. No one but his faithful hound. Odysseus can not allow himself to be unmasked by the loyal dog.

A nice sad piece from the Odyssey.  My translation, so all the errors and deviations are entirely my own.





And so in this way to one another they spoke.
And the old dog sleeping raised his head his ears .
Stout-hearted master reared Argos, but was not able to enjoy
Before to holy Ilius he went. At first the young men
Brought the dog to hunt the wild goat, deer and rabbits.
Now he lay despised, abandoned his master, on the heaping
Mule and cattle dung - the slaves spread the wide acres
Of Ithaca. So lay the dog Argos, full of ticks and fleas.
He became aware of Odysseus presence. He wagged his tail
And both ears dropped. No longer able, he had not the strength
To reach the wily one. The eyes of the hero swelled
Tears, deceiving his friend he turned away. And asked,
'Eumaeus, how strange this dog that lies in dung
For he seems to have been a handsome beast. I do not know
If he is as swift as he appears, or if he is the type of dog
Fed from tables, which men nurture for adornment.'
Answering, the swineherd spoke.
'If he were still in form and action
As when before Odysseus went to Troy
You would marvel at his quickness his strength.
None the wild animals he put to flight
Could escape him - deep in the dark forest.
He knew well how to track. Now he chases
Only misery. His master far from his homeland, dead.
The uncaring women no longer tend him.
For slaves when no longer ruled by masters
Are no longer willing an honest day's work.
Far seeing Zeus takes away half the excellence
Of men on the day they embrace slavery.'

    So saying he entered the comfortable house,
    Walking straight into the hall amid riotous banquet.

Outside,
At once,
Argos
His lot of dark death embraced,
Reunited with polutropos these twenty long years.




pic from: http://beetleinabox.tumblr.com/post/17605032538/ulysses-and-his-dog-illustration-from-the-1905

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