By Burton Raffel
“For there's certainly anything we will name the spirit of historical Greece–a conscientiously tuned voice that speaks out of the grave with spectacular readability and style , a particular voice that, taken as an entire, is like no different voice that has ever sung in this earth.”
–BURTON RAFFEL, from his Preface
For centuries, the poetry of Homer, Aristophanes, Sophocles, Sappho, and Archilochus has served as one among our fundamental technique of connecting with the thoroughly vanished global of old Greece. however the works of diverse different nice and prolific poets–Alkaios, Meleager, and Simonides, to call a few–are not often translated into English , and are principally unknown to fashionable readers. In Pure Pagan, award-winning translator Burton Raffel brings those and lots of different clever and witty old Greek writers to an English-speaking viewers for the 1st time, in complete poetic flower. Their funny and philosophical ruminations create a shiny portrait of daily life in old Greece –and they're phenomenally attractive as well.
In brief, sharp bursts of track, those two-thousand-year-old poems discuss the undying issues of daily life:
Wine (Wine is the medicine / To demand, the easiest medicine / To drink deep, deep)
History (Not us: no. / It all started with our fathers, / I’ve heard).
Movers and shakers (If a guy shakes free stones / To make a wall with / Stones may perhaps fall on his head / Instead)
Old age (Old age is a debt we adore to be owed / Not one we love to collect)
Frankness (Speak / As you please / And listen what can never / Please).
There also are very good epigrams (Take what you could have when you have it: you’ll lose it quickly enough. / A unmarried summer time turns a child right into a shaggy goat) and epitaphs (Here I lie, underneath this stone, the recognized girl who untied her belt for just one man).
The entrancing attractiveness, humor, and piercing readability of those poems will draw readers into the Greeks’ trips to international lands, their bacchanalian events and ferocious battles, in addition to into the extra intimate settings in their kitchens and bedrooms. The poetry of Pure Pagan finds the traditional Greeks’ desires, their humorousness, sorrows, triumphs, and their so much deeply held values, fleshing out our knowing of and appreciation for this interesting civilization and its inventive legacy.
From the Hardcover edition.