Neesthai

Francesco Hayez, Ulisse alla corte di Alcinoo, 1814-15
Francesco Hayez, Ulisse alla corte di Alcinoo (1814-15)

This is part 1 of 3. Part 2 is here.

Ὣς ἔφαθ’, οἱ δ’ ἄρα πάντες ἀκὴν ἐγένοντο σιωπῇ,
κηληθμῷ δ’ ἔσχοντο κατὰ μέγαρα σκιόεντα.
τὸν δ’ αὖτ᾽ Ἀλκίνοος ἀπαμείβετο φώνησέν τε·
“ὦ Ὀδυσεῦ, ἐπεὶ ἵκευ ἐμὸν ποτὶ χαλκοβατὲς δῶ,
ὑψερεφές, τῷ σ᾽ οὔ τι παλιμπλαγχθέντα γ’ ὀΐω
ἂψ ἀπονοστήσειν, εἰ καὶ μάλα πολλὰ πέπονθας.
ὑμέων δ’ ἀνδρὶ ἑκάστῳ ἐφιέμενος τάδε εἴρω,
ὅσσοι ἐνὶ μεγάροισι γερούσιον αἴθοπα οἶνον
αἰεὶ πίνετ’ ἐμοῖσιν, ἀκουάζεσθε δ’ ἀοιδοῦ.
εἵματα μὲν δὴ ξείνῳ ἐϋξέστῃ ἐνὶ χηλῷ
κεῖται καὶ χρυσὸς πολυδαίδαλος ἄλλα τε πάντα
δῶρ’, ὅσα Φαιήκων βουληφόροι ἐνθάδ’ ἔνεικαν·
ἀλλ’ ἄγε οἱ δῶμεν τρίποδα μέγαν ἠδὲ λέβητα
ἀνδρακάς· ἡμεῖς δ’ αὖτε ἀγειρόμενοι κατὰ δῆμον
τισόμεθ’· ἀργαλέον γὰρ ἕνα προικὸς χαρίσασθαι.”
ὣς ἔφατ’ Ἀλκίνοος, τοῖσιν δ’ ἐπιὴνδανε μῦθος.
οἱ μὲν κακκείοντες ἔβαν οἶκόνδε ἕκαστος,
ἦμος δ’ ἠριγένεια φάνη ῥοδοδάκτυλος Ἠώς,
νῆάδ’ ἐπεσσεύοντο, φέρον δ’ εὐήνορα χαλκόν.
καὶ τὰ μὲν εὖ κατέθηχ’ ἱερὸν μένος Ἀλκινόοιο,
αὐτὸς ἰὼν διὰ νηὸς ὑπὸ ζυγά, μή τιν’ ἑταίρων
βλάπτοι ἐλαυνόντων, ὁπότε σπερχοίατ’ ἐρετμοῖς.
οἱ δ’ εἰς Ἀλκινόοιο κίον καὶ δαῖτ’ ἀλέγυνον.
τοῖσι δὲ βοῦν ἱέρευσ’ ἱερὸν μένος Ἀλκινόοιο
Ζηνὶ κελαινεφέϊ Κρονίδῃ, ὃς πᾶσιν ἀνάσσει.
μῆρα δὲ κήαντες δαίνυντ’ ἐρικυδέα δαῖτα
τερπόμενοι· μετὰ δέ σφιν ἐμέλπετο θεῖος ἀοιδός,
Δημόδοκος, λαοῖσι τετιμένος. αὐτὰρ Ὀδυσσεὺς
πολλὰ πρὸς ἠέλιον κεφαλὴν τρέπε παμφανόωντα,
δῦναι ἐπειγόμενος· δὴ γὰρ μενέαινε νέεσθαι.
ὡς δ’ ὅτ’ ἀνὴρ δόρποιο λιλαίεται, ᾧ τε πανῆμαρ
νειὸν ἀν’ ἕλκητον βόε οἴνοπε πηκτὸν ἄροτρον·
ἀσπασίως δ’ ἄρα τῷ κατέδυ φάος ἠελίοιο
δόρπον ἐποίχεσθαι, βλάβεται δέ τε γούνατ’ ἰόντι·
ὣς Ὀδυσῆ’ ἀσπαστὸν ἔδυ φάος ἠελίοιο.
(Homer, Od. 13.1-35)

After he finished, all were silent, spellbound,
sitting inside the shadowy hall. At last,
Alcinous said, “Now, Odysseus,
since you have been my guest, beneath my roof,
you need not wander anymore. You have
endured enough; you will get home again.
And all you regulars, my honored friends
who always drink red wine here in my house
and listen to my singer: heed my words.
Our guest has clothes packed up inside a trunk,
and other gifts that we have given him.
Each of us now should add a mighty tripod
and cauldron. I will make the people pay
a levy, so that none of us will suffer
from unrewarded generosity.”
The king’s words pleased them all. They went back home
to rest. Then Dawn was born again; her fingers
bloomed, and they hurried back towards the ship
bringing heroic gifts of bronze. The king
embarked and stowed them underneath the beams,
to leave room for the crew when they were rowing.
Then all the men went back with him to eat.
The holy king killed sacrificial meat—
a cow to Zeus of dark clouds, son of Cronus,
who rules the world. They burned the thighs and feasted
in happiness. The well-respected singer
Demodocus made music in their midst.
But all the while Odysseus kept turning
his head towards the shining sun, impatient
for it to set. He longed to leave. As when
a man is desperate for dinnertime
after he spends the whole day with his oxen
dragging the jointed plow across the field,
and welcomes sunset, when he can go home
to eat; his legs are aching on the way—
just so Odysseus was glad of sunset.
(tr. Emily Wilson)

 

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