Greek Lyric Poetry Madingley Hall 28-30 May

This course was based on Campbell’s Greek Lyric Poetry (shown above);  since I had owned the book for 28 years without making any use of it I thought I would give the course a try.  In the event, there were eight of us (of whom three were still working for a living) under the direction of Tony Verity.  We had six 90-minute sessions of read-translate-discuss and one evening lecture from a visiting lecturer (Dr Renaud Gagné). And we also had one modern Greek poem in honour of our Modern Greek course member, who had come all the way from Modern Greece to be with us (and visit her son in London).

Those of us who were still working for a living did feel that there was slightly too much general discussion and slightly too little engagement with the specific texts.  I think the most popular items were the longer fragments of Sappho and also a folk-song that was nice and simple.

The participants in the other Advanced Greek course, who had been studying ‘Everyday Greek’ in the form of letters excavated from the Oxyrhynchus rubbish tip were certainly well content.  I think that both of these (letters and lyrics) were deviations from what is normally done on these courses, and the letters were the more successful.

And here with great pedantry is what we covered:

Greek Lyric Poetry ed. David Campbell. Bristol Classical Press

Archilochus 1, 2, 6,7 , 22, 25,60, 66, 103, 104, 112, [if time, 196A]

Tyrtaeus 9

Semonides 1

Alcman 26

Mimnermus 1,2

Solon 5, 10, 13,24

Sappho 1, 2, 31, 47, 94[1-17], 96, 105a, 105c, 130, Fr.Adesp. 976

Alcaeus 326,332,346,347,357, 333

lbycus 286,287

Anacreon 348, 358, 359, 360, 395,413,417

Xenophanes 2,10, 13, 18

Theognis 39-68, 237-54

Hipponax Frag.Adesp.

Simonides 581, 83d, 92d, 99d, 121d, 135d, 122d

Carm. Pop. 848

Scolia 884, 887, 893, 894

Here, italics mean that we didn’t actually cover it; conversely bold means we covered it even though it wasn’t on the original list.

And here’s Η ξανθούλα (by Dionysios Solomos, regarded as the first poet of modern Greece):

Την είδα την ξανθούλα,
την είδα ‘ψες αργά
που εμπήκε στη βαρκούλα
να πάει στην ξενιτιά.

Εφούσκωνε τ’ αέρι
λευκότατα πανιά
ωσάν το περιστέρι
που απλώνει τα φτερά.

Εστέκονταν οι φίλοι
με λύπη με χαρά
κι αυτή με το μαντίλι
τους αποχαιρετά.

Και το χαιρετισμό της
εστάθηκα να ειδώ,
ως που η πολλή μακρότης
μου το ‘κρυψε κι αυτό.

Σ’ ολίγο, σ’ ολιγάκι
δεν ήξερα να πω
αν έβλεπα πανάκι
ή του πελάγου αφρό.

Και αφού πανί, μαντίλι
εχάθη στο νερό
εδάκρυσαν οι φίλοι
εδάκρυσα κ’ εγώ.

Δεν κλαίγω για τη βαρκούλα
δεν κλαίγω τα πανιά
μόν’ κλαίγω την Ξανθούλα
που πάει στην ξενιτιά.

Δεν κλαίγω τη βαρκούλα
με τα λευκά πανιά
μόν’ κλαίγω την Ξανθούλα
με τα ξανθά μαλλιά.

(Performances here.)

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