Philtra

Lucien Levy-Dhurmer, The sorceress, 1897
Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer, La sorcière (1897)

Πᾷ μοι ταὶ δάφναι; φέρε, Θεστυλί. πᾷ δὲ τὰ φίλτρα;
στέψον τὰν κελέβαν φοινικέῳ οἰὸς ἀώτῳ,
ὡς τὸν ἐμὸν βαρὺν εὖντα φίλον καταδήσομαι ἄνδρα,
ὅς μοι δωδεκαταῖος ἀφ’ ὧ τάλας οὐδὲ ποθίκει,
οὐδ’ ἔγνω πότερον τεθνάκαμες ἢ ζοοὶ εἰμές,
οὐδὲ θύρας ἄραξεν ἀνάρσιος. ἦ ῥά οἱ ἀλλᾷ
ᾤχετ’ ἔχων ὅ τ’ Ἔρως ταχινὰς φρένας ἅ τ’ Ἀφροδίτα.
βασεῦμαι ποτὶ τὰν Τιμαγήτοιο παλαίστραν
αὔριον, ὥς νιν ἴδω, καὶ μέμψομαι οἷά με ποιεῖ.
νῦν δέ νιν ἐκ θυέων καταδήσομαι. ἀλλά, Σελάνα,
φαῖνε καλόν· τὶν γὰρ ποταείσομαι ἅσυχα, δαῖμον,
τᾷ χθονίᾳ θ’ Ἑκάτᾳ, τὰν καὶ σκύλακες τρομέοντι
ἐρχομέναν νεκύων ἀνά τ’ ἠρία καὶ μέλαν αἷμα.
χαῖρ’, Ἑκάτα δασπλῆτι, καὶ ἐς τέλος ἄμμιν ὀπάδει,
φάρμακα ταῦτ’ ἔρδοισα χερείονα μήτε τι Κίρκας
μήτε τι Μηδείας μήτε ξανθᾶς Περιμήδας.
ἶυγξ, ἕλκε τὺ τῆνον ἐμὸν ποτὶ δῶμα τὸν ἄνδρα.
ἄλφιτά τοι πρᾶτον πυρὶ τάκεται. ἀλλ’ ἐπίπασσε,
Θεστυλί. δειλαία, πᾷ τὰς φρένας ἐκπεπότασαι;
ἦ ῥά γέ θην, μυσαρά, καὶ τὶν ἐπίχαρμα τέτυγμαι;
πάσσ’ ἅμα καὶ λέγε ταῦτα· “τὰ Δέλφιδος ὀστία πάσσω.”
ἶυγξ, ἕλκε τὺ τῆνον ἐμὸν ποτὶ δῶμα τὸν ἄνδρα.
Δέλφις ἔμ’ ἀνίασεν· ἐγὼ δ᾽ ἐπὶ Δέλφιδι δάφναν
αἴθω· χὠς αὕτα λακεῖ μέγα καππυρίσασα
κἠξαπίνας ἅφθη κοὐδὲ σποδὸν εἴδομες αὐτᾶς,
οὕτω τοι καὶ Δέλφις ἐνὶ φλογὶ σάρκ’ ἀμαθύνοι.
ἶυγξ, ἕλκε τὺ τῆνον ἐμὸν ποτὶ δῶμα τὸν ἄνδρα.
νῦν θυσῶ τὰ πίτυρα. τὺ δ’, Ἄρτεμι, καὶ τὸν ἐν Ἅιδα
κινήσαις ἀδάμαντα καὶ εἴ τί περ ἀσφαλὲς ἄλλο—
Θεστυλί, ταὶ κύνες ἄμμιν ἀνὰ πτόλιν ὠρύονται·
ἁ θεὸς ἐν τριόδοισι· τὸ χαλκέον ὡς τάχος ἄχει.
ἶυγξ, ἕλκε τὺ τῆνον ἐμὸν ποτὶ δῶμα τὸν ἄνδρα.
ἠνίδε σιγῇ μὲν πόντος, σιγῶντι δ’ ἀῆται·
ἁ δ’ ἐμὰ οὐ σιγῇ στέρνων ἔντοσθεν ἀνία,
ἀλλ’ ἐπὶ τήνῳ πᾶσα καταίθομαι ὅς με τάλαιναν
ἀντὶ γυναικὸς ἔθηκε κακὰν καὶ ἀπάρθενον ἦμεν.
ἶυγξ, ἕλκε τὺ τῆνον ἐμὸν ποτὶ δῶμα τὸν ἄνδρα.
(Theocritus, Id. 2.1-42)

Where are the bay leaves? Bring them, Thestylis! Where is the love magic? Tie a thread of fine purple wool around the bowl that I may bind with a spell my lover who is so cruel to me. For eleven days he has not visited me, alas, and does not even know whether I am alive or dead; nor did he—heartless as he is—knock at my door. Of course, Eros and Aphrodite have carried his fickle heart elsewhere. Tomorrow I will go to Timagetus’ wrestling school and reproach him for the way he treats me. But now I will bind him with fire magic. Shine brightly, Moon; I will softly chant to you, Goddess, and to Hecate in the underworld—the dogs shiver before her when she comes over the graves of the dead and the dark blood. Hail, grim Hecate, and stay with me to the end; make these drugs as powerful as those of Circe and Medea and golden-haired Perimede.
Draw to my house my lover, magic wheel.
First, barley groats must cook on the fire. Throw them on, Thestylis! Idiot, where are you with your thoughts? Has it come to the point that even you make fun of me, scamp? Throw them on and say at the same time: “I throw on Delphis’ bones.”
Draw to my house my lover, magic wheel.
Delphis brought me trouble, and for Delphis I burn this bay leaf. As it crackles in the flames with a sharp noise and suddenly catches fire and we don’t even see its ash, so may Delphis’ flesh melt in the flame.
Draw to my house my lover, magic wheel.
Now I shall burn the husks of corn. Artemis, you have the power to move even the steel in Hades or anything else that is hard to move… Thestylis, the dogs are howling around the town: the Goddess is at the crossroads. Quick, bang the gong!
Draw to my house my lover, magic wheel.
Look, the sea is still and the winds are still, but never stilled is the pain deep in my heart; I am all on fire for the man who made me a wretched, useless thing, who took my maidenhood but did not marry me.
Draw to my house my lover, magic wheel.
(tr. Georg Luck)

 

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