Rock-Covered Dreams and Divine Vengeance

Alcman, fr. 1. 36-49

“There is something called divine payback.
The happy person is one
Who piously weaves to the end of his day
Without weeping.

But I am singing of the light
Of Agido–I see her
Like the sun, the sun Agido
Invites to observe us
By shining.

But the famous leader of our dance,
Does not let me praise her
Nor rebuke her at all
For she appears outstanding
On her own just as if
Someone were to place
A tall, prize winning horse
With thundering hooves,
A product of rock-covered dreams*,
Amid a grazing herd.”

ἔστι τις σιῶν τίσις·
ὁ δ᾿ ὄλβιος, ὅστις εὔφρων
ἁμέραν [δι]απλέκει
ἄκλαυτος· ἐγὼν δ᾿ ἀείδω
Ἀγιδῶς τὸ φῶς· ὁρῶ
ϝ᾿ ὥτ᾿ ἄλιον, ὅνπερ ἇμιν
Ἀγιδὼ μαρτύρεται
φαίνην· ἐμὲ δ᾿ οὔτ᾿ ἐπαινῆν

οὔτε μωμήσθαι νιν ἁ κλεννὰ χοραγὸς
οὐδ᾿ ἁμῶς ἐῆι· δοκεῖ γὰρ ἤμεν αὔτα
ἐκπρεπὴς τὼς ὥπερ αἴτις
ἐν βοτοῖς στάσειεν ἵππον
παγὸν ἀεθλοφόρον καναχάποδα
τῶν ὑποπετριδίων ὀνείρων.

*Dionysus of Sidon, in recording a comment of Herodian, suggests that what I have translated here as “rock-covered dreams” is really a syncope or metathesis of “winged” so, the strange ὑποπετριδίων ὀνείρων is equivalent to τῶν ὑποπτεριδίων. Martin West, preferring to argue for the strange, suggests that the sense of “rock-covered dreams” is that people shelter under rocks to nap during the day. As a metaphor in a choral poem, it seems more likely to me that this is a linguistic variant than a unique image.

image of a cliff face with a cave opening in the lower right corner
What dreams may come?