Thursday, November 17, 2011

Plato's ION, my translation 535-536b


SOCRATES: Hold this thought now, Ion, and tell me without reservation
what I am about to ask you: When you give a good recital and astound
your audience as you sing of Odysseus leaping forth upon the
threshold, revealing hmself to the suitors and pouring out the arrows
in front of his feet, or of Achilles dashing at Hector or some part of
the piteous tales about Andromache or about Hecuba or about Priam, are
you then in your right mind or out of it?

ION: How clear to me, Socrates, this part of your proof appears!
For I'll tell you plainly, when I recite a tale of woe, my eyes are
filled with tears. And when it is one of fear or awe, my hair stands
on end with terror and my heart leaps.

SOCRATES: So then, can we say, Ion, that such a person is in his senses
at that time or is full of fear as he stands before twenty thousand or
so friendly people, none of whom is ripping his clothes or harming him in any way?

ION: No, by Zeus, not at all, Socrates, to tell the very truth!

SOCRATES: Are you also aware that y'all work these same effects on many people in your audiences?

ION: Yes, I am very well aware, for I look down upon them from the stage above, seeing fear on their faces and wonder in accord with what I am saying.
For it's necessary for me to fix my attention very closely on them, so that if I get them to crying, I myself shall laugh as I'm taking their money; but if to laughing, then I myself shall cry as I'm losing money.

SOCRATES: Are you aware then that your spectator is the last of the rings of which I spoke as receiving from one another the power from the Heraclean stone? And you, the rhapsode and actor are the middle ring; and the poet himself, the first; but it is the god himself who through all these rings attracts the souls of men thither, holding them suspended one from another with his power.

And just like from the lodestone. there is a chain of very many choral performers and of their masters and tutors suspended from the rings that hang down from the Muse.
One of the poets is suspended from one Muse, but another from another---we call this state 'he is held fast' or fascinated; this is about the same as saying he is owned [hip slang, pwned] or possessed.
And from these first rings (the poets and/or musical composers) are suspended a variety of others, some inspired by Orpheus, others by Musaeus, but the majority are held fast [fascinated] or possessed by Homer.


18November2011 Marginal Note from Hilde Monro:

"Ion: ἡ λίθος

"Did you notice that when Socrates talks about this famous magnetic stone,
he calls it ἡ λίθος? I am sure that we all learnt that λίθος was
masculine, when we first came across the word. In fact, any common and
garden stone is ὁ λίθος, and it only turns feminine when it becomes
something special.

"J.K.Rowling's 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone' was translated by
Andrew Wilson into ancient Greek as 'ΑΡΕΥΙΟΣ ΠΟΤΗΡ καὶ ἡ τοῦ φιλοσόφου


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Rimbaud's most famous quote - with my translation


Un soir, j'ai assis la Beauté sur mes genoux. Et je l'ai trouvée amère. Et je l'ai injurieé. < Une Saison en Enfer

One evening I sat Beauty upon my knees... And I found her vexing... And I abused her.


Rimbaud from 'A Season in Hell' [preface]

'vexing' is, I deem, the sense here rather than the literal French "bitter, harsh; painful, grievous; biting, galling" definition of the lexicographers.