Archilochus

Archilochus notes

Fox knows many, Hedgehog one Solid trick
Alternative version:-
Fox knows Eleventythree Tricks and still Gets caught; Hedgehog knows One but it Always works
translated by Guy Davenport


The fox knows many tricks,
the hedgehog only one. A good one.

In my spear, my barley-bread, in my spear, my rich wine.
I drink
leaning on my spear.


I am a servant of the kingly wargod Enyalios and am also skilled in the lovely arts.

Lovely artist… and also soldier !

Artist x Soldier


My javelin is good white bread and Ismarian wine. When I find rest on my javelin I drink wine.

**

That good shield I threw away beside a bush is making some Thracian proud. ………………………..To hell
with both of them. …………………….Iʼm here
and Iʼll get me a better one.

I donʼt give a damn if some Thracian ape strut Proud of that first-rate shield the bushes got. Leaving it was hell, but in a tricky spot
I kept my hide intact. Good shields can be bought.

*

Dithyrambs

And I know how to lead off The sprightly dance
Of the Lord Dionysus
– the dithyramb –
I do it thunderstruck With wine

I know how to be Lead Singer of the lovely song
of Lord Dionysos, my wits thundered out with wine.

I pray for one gift: that I may merely touch Neobouleʼs hand.

**

These golden matters
Of Gyges and his treasuries
Are no concern of mine.
Jealousy has no power over me, Nor do I envy a god his work, And I do not burn to rule.
Such things have no Fascination for my eyes.

**

I have a high art: I hurt with cruelty those who wound me.

Variant: I have a high art; I hurt with cruelty those who would damage me.

*

Be bold!

Be bold! That’s one way
Of getting through life.
So I turn upon her
And point out that,
Faced with the wickedness
Of things, she does not shiver. I know how to love those
Who love me, how to hate. You whom the soldiers beat, You who are all but dead, How the gods love you
And I, alone in the dark,
I was promised the light.


Summa in hoc vis elocutionis, cum validae tum breves vibrantesque sententiae, plurimum sanguinis atque nervorum, adeo ut videatur quibusdam quod quoquam minor est materiae esse, non ingeni vitium.

There is in him the utmost vigor of language, thoughts forcible, concise, and lively, and abundance of life and energy, insomuch that some think it owing to his subjects, not to his genius, that he is inferior to any writer whatever.
Quintilianus, De Institutione Oratoria, Book X, 60; English translation of the
Rev. John Selby Watson


Poet and mercenary!

Ash spear fighter !


Abundance of muscle !


If, Aesimedes, you will attend to the gossip of others, then you will find in life not very much to enjoy.


εἰμὶ δʼ ἐγὼ θεράπων μὲν Ἐνυαλίοιο ἄνακτος
καὶ Μουσέων ἐρατὸν δῶρον ἐπιστάμενος.
I am a servant [therapōn] of lord Ares [10]
and of the Muses, and am skillful in their lovely gift.

Duality of war and poetry.

Art and madness!


Sergeant to Enyalios,
   the great god War,
     I practise double labor.
     With poetry, the lovees gift,
     I serve the lady Muses.

Let him go ahead.
       Ares is a democrat.
            There are no privileged people
            on a battlefield.

Whoever is alive
Is pleased by song

&**

Be bold! That’s one way
Of getting through life

Don’t shiver when facing fear.

Prefer to have only what pleases me ***


be bold poem

Be bold!  That’s one way
of getting through life.
So I turn upon her
and point out that,
faced with the wickedness
of things, she does not shiver.
I prefer to have, after all,
only what pleases me.
Are you so deep in misery
that you think me fallen?
You say I’m lazy, I’m not,
nor any of my kin-people.
I know how to love those
who love me, how to hate.
My enemies I overwhehn
with abuse.  The ant bites!
The oracle said to me:
“Return to the city, reconquer.
It is almost in ruins.
With your spear give it glory.
Reign with absolute power,
the admiration of men.
After this long voyage,
return to us from Gortyne.”
Pasture, fish, nor vulture
were you, and 1, returned,
seek an honest woman
ready to be a good wife.
I would hold your hand,
would be near you, would have run
all the way to your house.
I cannot.  The ship went down,
and all my wealth with it.
The salvagers have no hope.
You whom the soldiers beat,
you who are all but dead,
how the gods love you!
And I, alone in the dark,
I was promised the light.


One doesn’t have to call it weakness and cowardice, having to retreat, if it’s under the compulsion of a god: no, we turned our backs to flee quickly: there exists a proper time for flight. Even once Telephus from Arcadia put to flight the great army of Argives, and they fled–indeed, so greatly was the fate of the gods routing them–powerful spear-men though they were. The fair-flowing river Kaikos and the plain of Mysia were stuffed with corpses as they fell. And being slain at the hands of the relentless man (Telephus), the well-greaved Achaeans turned-off with headlong speed to the shore of the much-resounding sea. Gladly did the sons of the immortals and brothers, whom Agamemnon was leading to holy Ilium to wage war, embark on their swift ships. On that occasion, because they had lost their way, they arrived at that shore. They set upon the lovely city of Teuthras, and there, snorting fury along with their horses, came in distress of spirit. For they thought they were attacking the high-gated city of Troy, but in fact they had their feet on wheat-bearing Mysia. And Heracles encountered them (the Argives), as he shouted to his brave-hearted son of Telephus, fierce and pitiless in cruel battle, who, inciting unfortunate flight in the Danaans, strove along on that occasion to gratify his father.’


Dreadful gifts of lord Poseidon

**

Human toil and care :

All things are made for mortals by human toil and care.

**

Encourage the young, but determination of victory is with the gods.

Fight bravely… but the outcome isn’t always in your control.

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