Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Prologue

So here is the prologue to Parmenides poem. It was written in hexameters in imitation of Homeric verse, but, after working through the Greek and Coxon's notes carefully, I have rendered it into Dante's terza rima. Why? Just because:

the mares that carry me bore me
as far as my hopes had ever aspired
they had taken me and set me
on the goddess’ path ​inspired
by innumerable discussions​     on this way
they bear me through all stages   ​​untired
to meet her face to face​​     a man who can say
he is a man of knowledge    ​in this way I
was carried   ​the clever mares  ​they
strain at the chariot steered by
maidens     ​the axel burning and singing
like pipes within the center eye
of the silver inlayed wheels​    straining
whenever the daughters of the sun
urged them to carry me​​     having
pulled back the scarves they wore on
their heads as they left the house of night
for that of light​​     between the sun
and the night​    between dark and light
stands a gate   ​a great lintel stone
seals both top and bottom​    tight
against the architrave where it shone
in the fiery realms​    the keys
which punishing justice holds    ​alone
allows the opening of these
two gates​   the maidens persuaded her
with soft words to please
push aside the locking bars
briefly     which were bound
to the gates with pegs and poles and were
designed to turn in their sockets around
the poles opening the gateway there
so the maidens having found
the way clear drove the chariot and mares
straight through the gates and along the road
and the goddess greeted me there
taking my hand in hers and told
me the following​      young man
you have arrived at our abode
in the company of deathless charioteers and
horses​​     no ill fate sent you to travel
on this path which leads to a land
far removed from the usual
places trod by man​     you must
learn everything by asking​    the dual
paths ​      both the persuasive thrust
of truth with its untrembling heart
and the beliefs of mortals which you cannot trust
but you will also learn at the start
how it is necessary that those
things men believe to be should be a part
of the general belief that goes
through all things to the end

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