Wednesday, 18 February 2009

LYCOPHRON, Alexandra

LYCOPHRON of Chalcis was a Greek poet and scholar of the Library of Alexandria who flourished in the C3rd BC. His cryptic poem, the Alexandra, tells the stories of the heroes of the Trojan War in the riddling, prophetic words of the Trojan princess Cassandra.

The speaker is a slave appointed to watch Cassandra and report her prophecies. He addresses Priam.

[1] ALL will I tell truly that thou askest from the utter beginning, and if the tale be prolonged, forgive me, master. For not quietly as of old did the maiden loose the varied voice of her oracles, but poured forth a weird confused cry, and uttered wild words from her bay-chewing mouth, imitating the speech of the dark Sphinx. Thereof what in heart and memory I hold, hear thou, O King, and, pondering with wise mind, wind and pursue the obscure paths of her riddles, whereso a clear track guides by a straight way through things wrapped in darkness. And I, cutting the utter bounding thread, will trace her paths of devious speech, striking the starting-point like winged runner.

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