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Saturday 3 January 2015

H.D. (Hilda Doolittle): Euripides: The Chorus to Iphigeneia


76,000 killed in #Syria last year: image via Belfast Telegraph @BelTel, 1 January 2015

(To Iphigeneia)

Your hair is scattered light:
The Greeks will bind it with petals.

And like a little beast,
Dappled and without horns,
That scampered on the hill-rocks,
They will leave you
With stained throat --
Though you never cropped hill-grass
To the reed-cry
And the shepherd's note.

Some Greek hero is cheated
And your mother's court
Of its bride.

And we ask this -- where truth is,
Of what use is valour and is worth?
For evil has conquered the race,
There is no power but in base men,
Nor any man whom the gods do not hate.

H.D. (Hilda Doolittle) (1886-1961): Chorus to Iphigeneia, from Choruses from The Iphigeneia in Aulis and the Hippolytus of Euripides, The Egoist, London, 1919

@nytopinion on why donating to #WFP's #Syria appeal is a lifeline to #Syrian refugees: image via WFP UK @WFP_UK, 4 December 2014


σὲ δ᾽ ἐπὶ κάρα στέψουσι καλλικόμαν
πλόκαμον Ἀργεῖοι, βαλιὰν
ὥστε πετραίων ἀπ᾽ ἄντρων
ἐλθοῦσαν ὀρέων
μόσχον ἀκήρατον, βρότειον
αἱμάσσοντες λαιμόν:
οὐ σύριγγι τραφεῖσαν οὐδ᾽
ἐν ῥοιβδήσεσι βουκόλων,
παρὰ δὲ ματέρι νυμφοκόμον
Ἰναχίδαις γάμον.
ποῦ τὸ τᾶς Αἰδοῦς
τὸ τᾶς Ἀρετᾶς ἔχει
σθένειν τι πρόσωπον,
ὁπότε τὸ μὲν ἄσεπτον ἔχει
δύνασιν, δ᾽ Ἀρετὰ κατόπι-
σθεν θνατοῖς ἀμελεῖται,
Ἀνομία δὲ νόμων κρατεῖ,
καὶ μὴ κοινὸς ἀγὼν βροτοῖς
μή τις θεῶν φθόνος ἔλθῃ;

Euripides 480-406 BC): Ἰφιγένεια ἐν Αὐλίδι (Iphigeneia en Aulidi), written between 408-406 BC,  ll. 1080-1097 in Euripidis Fabulae, vol. 3, ed. Gilbert Murray, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1913

  A Syrian Kurdish woman crosses the border between Syria and Turkey: photo by Bulent Kilic / AFP, 23 September 2014 via The Guardian, 29 December 2014


But the Argives will crown you, wreathing the lovely tresses of your hair, like a pure, dappled heifer brought from some rocky cave, and staining with blood your human throat; though you were never reared among the piping and whistling of herdsmen, but at your mother's side, to be decked as the bride of a son of Inachus. Where now does the face of modesty or virtue have any strength? seeing that godlessness holds sway, and virtue is neglected by men and thrust behind them, lawlessness over law prevailing, and mortals no longer making common cause to keep the jealousy of gods from reaching them.
Euripides: Iphigenia in Aulis, ll. 1080-1097, in The Plays of Euripides, translated by E. P. Coleridge. Volume II. London. George Bell and Sons. 1891

Showing generosity that embarrasses Europe, #Turkey grants legal status to 1M #Syria refugees
: image via Kenneth Roth @KenRoth, 30 December 2014

Assad air strikes kill 37 civilians in #Syria: image via Middle East Eye @MiddleEastEye, 26 December 2014

 #Lebanese gunmen open fire on a #Syrian #refugee camp, wounding two #Lebanon #Syria: image va Mehmet CELIK @Asabiyaa, 7 December 2014

A look at life in #Kobane #TwitterKurds #Rojava #Kobani #Syria #svpol: image vie Kerim meresene @meresene, 8 December 2014

 "Garbage divides #Syrian neighbourhood". Trash has been piling up in the district of Alaya: image via Mundo en conflicto @NundoConflicto, 9 December 2014

 #UN resumes food aid for #Syrian refugees: image via The Press Times @presstimes, 9 December 2014

 UN2 resume aid2 #Syrian refugees #SouthAfrica: image via NewsWall South Africa @NewsWallCoZa, 9 December 2014

MT@Abbie_019: NGOs inc @Oxfam call on rich countries to resettle 1000s #Syrian #Refugees: image via Heidi Campbell @heidiEcampbell5, 8 December 2014

A Syrian refugee tent in #Lebanon. "via @LetteredOwl #syria c @Leverrierignace @syriano 100: image via chantairebelle @chantairebelle, 25 December 2014


vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

Paired with your selection of photographs, H.D.’s spare, pared-to-the-bone rendering gets to the heart of the matter encapsulated in the last five lines.

Mose23 said...

There is no power but in base men

A horrible truth.

TC said...

Today Lebanon tightened its border, limiting further Syrian refugee influx. No room for any more bodies. That had been the last way out.

Iphigeneia, tired of Agamemnon and Menelaus quarreling over whether or not she should be sacrificed, went ahead and did the job herself.