Damason

ingres-ambassadeurs-achille
J.A.D. Ingres, Les ambassadeurs d’Agamemnon et des principaux de l’armée grecque, précédés des hérauts, arrivent dans la tente d’Achille pour le prier de combattre (1801)

Καί σε τοσοῦτον ἔθηκα, θεοῖς ἐπιείκελ’ Ἀχιλλεῦ,
ἐκ θυμοῦ φιλέων, ἐπεὶ οὐκ ἐθέλεσκες ἅμ’ ἄλλῳ
οὔτ’ ἐς δαῖτ᾽ ἰέναι οὔτ’ ἐν μεγάροισι πάσασθαι,
πρίν γ’ ὅτε δή σ’ ἐπ’ ἐμοῖσιν ἐγὼ γούνεσσι καθίσσας
ὄψου τ’ ἄσαιμι προταμὼν καὶ οἶνον ἐπισχών.
πολλάκι μοι κατέδευσας ἐπὶ στήθεσσι χιτῶνα
οἴνου ἀποβλύζων ἐν νηπιέῃ ἀλεγεινῇ.
ὣς ἐπὶ σοὶ μάλα πολλὰ πάθον καὶ πολλ’ ἐμόγησα,
τὰ φρονέων, ὅ μοι οὔ τι θεοὶ γόνον ἐξετέλειον
ἐξ ἐμεῦ. ἀλλὰ σὲ παῖδα, θεοῖς ἐπιείκελ’ Ἀχιλλεῦ,
ποιεύμην, ἵνα μοί ποτ’ ἀεικέα λοιγὸν ἀμύνῃς.
ἀλλ’, Ἀχιλεῦ, δάμασον θυμὸν μέγαν· οὐδέ τί σε χρὴ
νηλεὲς ἦτορ ἔχειν· στρεπτοὶ δέ τε καὶ θεοὶ αὐτοί,
τῶν περ καὶ μείζων ἀρετὴ τιμή τε βίη τε.
(Homer, Il. 9.485-498)

And I made you what you are – strong as the gods, Achilles –
I loved you from the heart. You’d never go with another
to banquet on the town or feast in your own halls.
Never, until I’d sat you down on my knees
and cut you the first bits of meat, remember?
You’d eat your fill, I’d hold the cup to your lips
and all too often you soaked the shirt on my chest,
spitting up some wine, a baby’s way… a misery.
Oh I had my share of troubles for you, Achilles,
did my share of labor. Brooding, never forgetting
the gods would bring no son of mine to birth,
not from my own loins. So you, Achilles –
great godlike Achilles – I made you my son, I tried,
so someday you might fight disaster off my back.
But now, Achilles, beat down your mounting fury!
It’s wrong to have such an iron, ruthless heart.
Even the gods themselves can bend and change,
and theirs is the greater power, honor, strength.
(tr. Robert Fagles)

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