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Из Бакхилида

January 22, 2010
Честный приходит к хозяину гость и стоит на пороге;
Тою порою готовится скромная трапеза в доме.
Речью такою встречает хозяин пришедшего гостя:
«Честные с честными любят делиться беседой…
Нет у нас целых быков угостить дорогого нам гостя,
Нет ни амфор золотых, ни ковров нет пурпурных;
Мы только можем ему предложить свою теплую душу,
Сладкую музыку, Вакха напиток прохладный и вкусный
В наших простых беотийских сосудах…»
И гость благодарный,
Брашен касаясь свободной рукою, приветные речи
Молвит хозяину, сытные снеди вкушает…


Dactylic 6/5 (pentameter in lines 4, 6, 11).  Again Shcherbina uses regular dactyls rather than the classical dacytl=spondee with mid-third-foot caesura setup, in what seems a natural opportunity for гексаметры.  I’m not sure if he believed as a matter of principle that Greek quantitative hexameter should be systematically translated with this kind of Russian dactylic hexameter.

This was part of Shcherbina’s Греческие стихотворения (Odessa, 1850).  Reading the entire collection might help answer the question of why Shcherbina chose to translate this poem and why Bacchylides.  When Shcherbina wrote this poem, the works of Bacchylides survived only in quotations by other ancient authors, but this poem does appear to be a translation of one of these fragments; compare what appears to be an 1858 English translation of the same thing (under the numeral III).

As for how he represented the ancient Greek setting, notice the diction.  Mostly it’s from the general poetic lexicon with some tendency toward the lofty and toward Church Slavonic (трапеза, брашно) with a few lexemes that emphasize the exotic time and place (Вакха напиток, беотийские сосуды).  The sparing use of these words marked as Greek – and their placement late in the poem – establish the setting without being unduly emphatic,  so that the words could seemingly have been spoken by an ancient poet and an ancient host.  The host doesn’t turn to the audience and explain what беотийский means to show the nineteenth-century author’s erudition and allow for the reader’s forgivable ignorance.  The combination простые беотийские is nice: простые for him, not us.

Why do both poet and host mention the guest’s honesty?

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