Come, Play that Country Song

Moschus, Lament for Bion 116-126

“If I could have…
I would have gone down quickly to Plouto’s home
Descending into Tartaros like Orpheus or
Odysseus or Alkeides so I might see you and hear
What song you sing if you sing for Death.

But come, sing for Kore some Sicilian melody
And play some sweet country song.
She’s a country girl too and she also used to play
On the beaches near Aetna. She knows the Doric tune.

You won’t go without a prize for your melody
Just as once upon a time she gave Orpheus Eurydice
Because he played the lyre so sweetly, so too
To the hills, Bion, she will perhaps restore you.
And If I had any power in in my song
I would have sung for Plouto on my own.”

….εἰ δυνάμαν δέ,
ὡς Ὀρφεὺς καταβὰς ποτὶ Τάρταρον, ὥς ποκ’ Ὀδυσσεύς,
ὡς πάρος Ἀλκεΐδας, κἠγὼ τάχ’ ἂν ἐς δόμον ἦλθον
Πλουτέος ὥς κέ σ’ ἴδοιμι καί, εἰ Πλουτῆι μελίσδῃ,
ὡς ἂν ἀκουσαίμαν τί μελίσδεαι. ἀλλ’ ἄγε Κώρᾳ
Σικελικόν τι λίγαινε καὶ ἁδύ τι βουκολιάζευ·
καὶ κείνα Σικελά, καὶ ἐν Αἰτναίαισιν ἔπαιζεν
ᾀόσι, καὶ μέλος οἶδε τὸ Δώριον· οὐκ ἀγέραστος
ἐσσεῖθ’ ἁ μολπά, χὠς Ὀρφέι πρόσθεν ἔδωκεν
ἁδέα φορμίζοντι παλίσσυτον Εὐρυδίκειαν,
καὶ σέ, Βίων, πέμψει τοῖς ὤρεσιν. εἰ δέ τι κἠγών
συρίσδων δυνάμαν, παρὰ Πλουτέι κ’ αὐτὸς ἄειδον.

Some things are just better than the “original”. RIP ,Toots.

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