Sophocles, Ode to Man, in ancient Greek, with an original translation (from his tragedy Antigone)
Ode to Man is a name often given to the first stasimon or "standing song" in Sophocles' play Antigone, a poem which the chorus would sing while standing in the orchestra. The Ode is often compared with the famous speech in Shakespeare beginning, "What a piece of work is man." D'Angour (2021) says of the Ode to Man that it "has become the most famous ode in Greek tragedy."
The English translation below and in the video is free to use under CC-BY-4.0 (attribution only).
00:00 Strophe a
01:14 Antistrophe a
02:22 Strophe b
03:22 Antistrophe b
An Ode to Man, from the Antigone of Sophocles
Many wonderful things there are, and nothing more wonderful than man. This being travels across even the grisly sea, in the stormy southern wind, passing through swelling waves that threaten to engulf him. And even the eldest of the gods—Earth, imperishable, inexhaustible—he wears away; as year by year the plough goes round, and he turns up the soil with the race of horses.
Casting round nets, the light-hearted tribe of birds he captures, and the clans of wild beasts; and with mesh-woven cords, he carries off the tribe of the deep, that dwells in the open sea: all-contriving man! By his arts, he tames the beast that dwells in the field, and roams over the mountains. The shaggy-maned horse he binds for his own use, putting the yoke upon its nape; and uses likewise the tireless, mountain-haunting bull.
Both the power of speech, and wind-swift thought, and the feelings of social life, he has developed for his own benefit; and in the open sky, has learned to fly from inhospitable frosts, and the arrows of the raging storm. He is all-inventing! He comes to no situation without recourse: hell alone shall he find no way to escape. For diseases without remedy, he has invented means of escape.
With ingenious skill, with art past expectation, at times towards evil, at others towards good he creeps. When the laws of the land he honours, and the justice of the gods, to which he is sworn, he stands high in the city; but he has no city at all, who lives with evil because of his recklessness. Never may he share my hearth, nor share my thoughts, who acts in such a way!
Σοφοκλέους Ἀντιγόνη, στάσιμον πρῶτον
πολλὰ τὰ δεινὰ κοὐδὲν ἀν-
θρώπου δεινότερον πέλει:
τοῦτο καὶ πολιοῦ πέραν
πόντου χειμερίῳ νότῳ
περῶν ὑπ᾽ οἴδμασιν, θεῶν
τε τὰν ὑπερτάταν, Γᾶν
ἄφθιτον, ἀκαμάταν, ἀποτρύεται,
ἰλλομένων ἀρότρων ἔτος εἰς ἔτος,
ἱππείῳ γένει πολεύων.
κουφονόων τε φῦλον ὀρ-
νίθων ἀμφιβαλὼν ἄγει
καὶ θηρῶν ἀγρίων ἔθνη
πόντου τ᾽ εἰναλίαν φύσιν
περιφραδὴς ἀνήρ: κρατεῖ
δὲ μηχαναῖς ἀγραύλου
θηρὸς ὀρεσσιβάτα, λασιαύχενά θ᾽
ἵππον ὀχμάζεται ἀμφὶ λόφον ζυγῶν
οὔρειόν τ᾽ ἀκμῆτα ταῦρον.
καὶ φθέγμα καὶ ἀνεμόεν
φρόνημα καὶ ἀστυνόμους
ὀργὰς ἐδιδάξατο καὶ δυσαύλων
πάγων ὑπαίθρεια καὶ
δύσομβρα φεύγειν βέλη
παντοπόρος: ἄπορος ἐπ᾽ οὐδὲν ἔρχεται
τὸ μέλλον: Ἅιδα μόνον
φεῦξιν οὐκ ἐπάξεται:
νόσων δ᾽ ἀμηχάνων φυγὰς
σοφόν τι τὸ μηχανόεν
τέχνας ὑπὲρ ἐλπίδ᾽ ἔχων
τοτὲ μὲν κακόν, ἄλλοτ᾽ ἐπ᾽ ἐσθλὸν ἕρπει,
νόμους γεραίρων χθονὸς
θεῶν τ᾽ ἔνορκον δίκαν,
ὑψίπολις: ἄπολις ὅτῳ τὸ μὴ καλὸν
ξύνεστι τόλμας χάριν.
μήτ᾽ ἐμοὶ παρέστιος
γένοιτο μήτ᾽ ἴσον φρονῶν
ὃς τάδ᾽ ἔρδει.
Joachim Andersen’s 24 Etudes for Flute, Op. 15 - VI. Moderato in B minor, played by Paolo Dalmoro is licensed and adapted under CC-BY-3.0.
Bach’s Flute Sonata in A minor, H. 562 - I. Poco Adagio, played by Lydia J. Roth is licensed and adapted under CC-BY-3.0.
|Category||Arts & Literature|
|Sensitivity||Normal - Content that is suitable for ages 16 and over|
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