Kēdea

John William Waterhouse, Pandora, 1896
John William Waterhouse, Pandora (1896)

Αὐτίκα δ’ ἐκ γαίης πλάσσε κλυτὸς Ἀμφιγυήεις
παρθένῳ αἰδοίῃ ἴκελον Κρονίδεω διὰ βουλάς·
ζῶσε δὲ καὶ κόσμησε θεὰ γλαυκῶπις Ἀθήνη·
ἀμφὶ δέ οἱ Χάριτές τε θεαὶ καὶ πότνια Πειθὼ
ὅρμους χρυσείους ἔθεσαν χροΐ, ἀμφὶ δὲ τήν γε
Ὧραι καλλίκομοι στέφον ἄνθεσιν εἰαρινοῖσιν·
πάντα δέ οἱ χροῒ κόσμον ἐφήρμοσε Παλλὰς Ἀθήνη.
ἐν δ’ ἄρα οἱ στήθεσσι διάκτορος Ἀργειφόντης
ψεύδεά θ’ αἱμυλίους τε λόγους καὶ ἐπίκλοπον ἦθος
τεῦξε Διὸς βουλῇσι βαρυκτύπου· ἐν δ’ ἄρα φωνὴν
θῆκε θεῶν κῆρυξ, ὀνόμηνε δὲ τήνδε γυναῖκα
Πανδώρην, ὅτι πάντες Ὀλύμπια δώματ’ ἔχοντες
δῶρον ἐδώρησαν, πῆμ’ ἀνδράσιν ἀλφηστῇσιν.
αὐτὰρ ἐπεὶ δόλον αἰπὺν ἀμήχανον ἐξετέλεσσεν,
εἰς Ἐπιμηθέα πέμπε πατὴρ κλυτὸν Ἀργειφόντην
δῶρον ἄγοντα, θεῶν ταχὺν ἄγγελον· οὐδ’ Ἐπιμηθεὺς
ἐφράσαθ’, ὥς οἱ ἔειπε Προμηθεὺς μή ποτε δῶρον
δέξασθαι πὰρ Ζηνὸς Ὀλυμπίου, ἀλλ’ ἀποπέμπειν
ἐξοπίσω, μή πού τι κακὸν θνητοῖσι γένηται.
αὐτὰρ ὁ δεξάμενος, ὅτε δὴ κακὸν εἶχ’, ἐνόησεν.
πρὶν μὲν γὰρ ζώεσκον ἐπὶ χθονὶ φῦλ’ ἀνθρώπων
νόσφιν ἄτερ τε κακῶν καὶ ἄτερ χαλεποῖο πόνοιο
νούσων τ’ ἀργαλέων, αἵ τ’ ἀνδράσι κῆρας ἔδωκαν.
ἀλλὰ γυνὴ χείρεσσι πίθου μέγα πῶμ’ ἀφελοῦσα
ἐσκέδασ’· ἀνθρώποισι δ’ ἐμήσατο κήδεα λυγρά.
μούνη δ’ αὐτόθι Ἐλπὶς ἐν ἀρρήκτοισι δόμοισιν
ἔνδον ἔμιμνε πίθου ὑπὸ χείλεσιν, οὐδὲ θύραζε
ἐξέπτη· πρόσθεν γὰρ ἐπέλλαβε πῶμα πίθοιο
αἰγιόχου βουλῇσι Διὸς νεφεληγερέταο.
ἄλλα δὲ μυρία λυγρὰ κατ’ ἀνθρώπους ἀλάληται·
πλείη μὲν γὰρ γαῖα κακῶν, πλείη δὲ θάλασσα·
νοῦσοι δ’ ἀνθρώποισιν ἐφ’ ἡμέρῃ, αἱ δ’ ἐπὶ νυκτὶ
αὐτόματοι φοιτῶσι κακὰ θνητοῖσι φέρουσαι
σιγῇ, ἐπεὶ φωνὴν ἐξείλετο μητίετα Ζεύς.
οὕτως οὔ τί πῃ ἔστι Διὸς νόον ἐξαλέασθαι.
(Hesiod, Erga kai Hēmerai 70-105)

At once the renowned Ambidexter moulded from earth the likeness of a modest maiden by Kronos’ son’s design, and the pale-eyed goddess Athene dressed and adorned her. The Graces and the lady Temptation put necklaces of gold about her body, and the lovely-haired spirits of ripeness garlanded her about with spring flowers. Pallas Athene arranged all the adornments on her body. In her breast the Go-Between, the dog-killer*, fashioned lies and wily pretences and a knavish nature by deep-thundering Zeus’s design; and he put in a voice, did the herald of the gods, and he named this woman Pandora, Allgift, because all the dwellers on Olympus made her a gift—a calamity for men who live by bread. When he had completed the precipitous, unmanageable trap, the father sent the renowned dog-killer* to Epimetheus taking the gift, swift messenger of the gods. Epimetheus gave no thought to what Prometheus had told him, never to accept a gift from Olympian Zeus but to send it back lest some afflication befall mortals: he accepted, and had the bane before he realized it. For formerly, the tribes of men on earth lived remote from ills, without harsh toil and the grievous sicknesses that are deadly to men. But the woman unstopped the jar and let it all out, and brought grim cares upon mankind. Only Hope remained there** inside in her secure dwelling, under the lip of the jar, and did not fly out, because the woman put the lid back in time by the providence of Zeus the cloud-gatherer who bears the aegis. But for the rest, countless troubles roam among men: full of ills is the earth, and full the sea. Sicknesses visit men by day, and others by night, uninvited, bringing ill to mortals, silently, because Zeus the resourceful deprived them of voice. Thus there is no way to evade the purpose of Zeus.

* Hermes was the patron of thieves, who sometimes find it expedient to eliminate watch-dogs.
** Hesiod has not given his jar a consistent symbolic meaning. He means that hope remains among men as the one antidote to suffering.

(tr. Martin Litchfield West, with his notes)

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