Greek Lyric Poetry Introduction

Download Report

Transcript Greek Lyric Poetry Introduction

Greek Lyric Poetry
What is Lyric Poetry?
• Greek Lyric Poetry refers to poetry sung to a stringed instrument
(usually a lyre but also flutes and other stringed instruments)
• Lyric in this way differs from other styles of poetry like elegiac which
are recited aloud
• Lyric poetry contains several different forms including dithyrambs,
(prayers to Dionysus) paeans (sung to Apollo) funeral dirges,
wedding songs, encomia, (songs of praise) and epinicia (victory
Lyric Age
• The so called “golden age” of Greek lyric poetry spans from 650 to
about 450 BC, this is the first period from which the names of
individual lyric poets survive
• It appears that a long period of anonymous lyric poetry preceded
this “golden age”
• There are nine chief lyric poets as established by the Alexandrians
and first recorded in 100 BC
• Alcman, Alcaeus, Anacreon, Bacchylides, Ibycus, Pindar, Sappho,
Simonides, Stesichorus
• We shall concern ourselves with Anacreon, Sappho, and
Archilochus (680-640 BC)
• Lyric poet from Paros, wrote iambics (meter used for jest and
ridicule) and elegiacs (love poetry), mercenary soldier
• Wrote many poems attacking Lycambes who was believed to have
promised his daughter Neoboule to the poet and then changed his
• The state of Archilochean manuscripts is not great, most of the
fragments which have survived are quoted in the works of other
Archilochus fragment 71 (as listed by D. Campbell)
• εἰ γὰρ ὣς ἐμοὶ γένοιτο χεῖρα Νεοβούλης θιγεῖν
• If only it were possible for me to touch the hand of Neoboule.
• This one line fragment indicates the longing of the poet for his
absent lover
• Few other lines in Archilochus’ poetry speak directly of Neoboule
and never with such tenderness, Archilochus’ usual target is her
father Lycambes,
Sappho (630-570 BC)
• Female poet born on island of Lesbos, one of the most renowned
and revered poets of the ancient world
• much of her poetry has been lost, term lesbian comes from her love
poems to young women
• her poetry includes wedding songs, hymns to gods, and even some
personal material
Sappho 55
κατθάνοισα δὲ κείσηι οὐδέ ποτα μναμοσύνα σέθεν
ἔσσετ' οὐδὲ ποκ'ὔστερον· οὐ γὰρ πεδέχηις βρόδων
τὼν ἐκ Πιερίας· ἀλλ' ἀφάνης κἀν Ἀίδα δόμωι
φοιτάσηις πεδ' ἀμαύρων νεκύων ἐκπεποταμένα.
• When you die, as you lie there, no memory of you will persist,
• Not now nor in the future. You have no share of the Pierian roses,
• Unseen in the house of Hades you will float around flying amongst
the invisible corpses
Anacreon (570-488 B.C.)
• Born in Teos in Ionia, wrote poetry that was mostly monodic to be
sung solo as opposed to choral which is sung by a chorus,
• his poetry covers a wide range of topics including love,
disappointment, parties, and everyday life
• Served under a variety of powerful patrons including Polycrates, the
tyrant of Samos and Hipparchus one of two tyrants at Athens
Anacreon 358
σφαίρηι δηὖτέ με πορφυρῆι
βάλλων χρυσοκόμης Ἔρως
νήνι ποικιλοσαμβάλωι
συμπαίζειν προκαλεῖται·
ἡ δ', ἐστὶν γὰρ ἀπ' εὐκτίτου
Λέσβου, τὴν μὲν ἐμὴν κόμην,
λευκὴ γάρ, καταμέμφεται,
πρὸς δ' ἄλλην τινὰ χάσκει.
• Eros, hitting me with a purple
ball, once again
• summons me to play with the
girl wearing elaborate sandals.
• She is from well-built Lesbos,
she finds fault with me
• because my hair is white, and
she stands agape at another
Anacreon 417
πῶλε Θρηικίη, τί δή με
λοξὸν ὄμμασι βλέπουσα
νηλέως φεύγεις, δοκεῖς δέ
μ' οὐδὲν εἰδέναι σοφόν;
ἴσθι τοι, καλῶς μὲν ἄν τοι
τὸν χαλινὸν ἐμβάλοιμι,
ἡνίας δ' ἔχων στρέφοιμί
σ' ἀμφὶ τέρματα δρόμου·
νῦν δὲ λειμῶνάς τε βόσκεαι
κοῦφά τε σκιρτῶσα παίζεις,
δεξιὸν γὰρ ἱπποπείρην
οὐκ ἔχεις ἐπεμβάτην.
• Thracian philly,
• why looking ruthlessly askance
at me
• do you flee me
• you seem to have no sense.
• Know this truly,
• I would beautifully flick the
• Holding the reins I would ride
• Around the turn posts of the
• Now you graze in the
meadows and
• Nimbly leaping around you
• Because you do not have the
right horse-tamer on her back.