Commentary on the Batrakhomuomakhia, Part 9 (lines 109-121)

This is the ninth installation of our working Commentary on the Homeric “Battle of Frogs and Mice.” As always, comments, corrections and additions are welcome.

109 Τρωξάρτης ἐπὶ παιδὶ χολούμενος, εἶπέ τε μῦθον•
110 ῏Ω φίλοι εἰ καὶ μοῦνος ἐγὼ κακὰ πολλὰ πέπονθα
111 ἐκ βατράχων, ἡ πεῖρα κακὴ πάντεσσι τέτυκται.
112 εἰμὶ δ’ ἐγὼ δύστηνος ἐπεὶ τρεῖς παῖδας ὄλεσσα.
113 καὶ τὸν μὲν πρῶτόν γε κατέκτανεν ἁρπάξασα
114 ἔχθιστος γαλέη, τρώγλης ἔκτοσθεν ἑλοῦσα.
115 τὸν δ’ ἄλλον πάλιν ἄνδρες ἀπηνέες ἐς μόρον εἷλξαν
116 καινοτέραις τέχναις ξύλινον δόλον ἐξευρόντες,
117 ἤν παγίδα κλείουσι, μυῶν ὀλέτειραν ἐοῦσαν
118 ὃ τρίτος ἦν ἀγαπητὸς ἐμοὶ καὶ μητέρι κεδνῇ,
119 τοῦτον ἀπέπνιξεν Φυσίγναθος ἐς βυθὸν ἄξας.
120 ἀλλ’ ἄγεθ’ ὁπλίζεσθε καὶ ἐξέλθωμεν ἐπ’ αὐτοὺς
121 σώματα κοσμήσαντες ἐν ἔντεσι δαιδαλέοισιν.

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Commentary on the Batrakhomuomakhia, Part 6: Lines 67-81

This is installment five of a working commentary on the Homeric Battle of Frogs and Mice. We have posted a translation elsewhere and welcome comments or suggestions on any part of this project.

67 καὶ τὸ πρῶτον ἔχαιρεν ὅτ’ ἔβλεπε γείτονας ὅρμους,
68 νήξει τερπόμενος Φυσιγνάθου• ἀλλ’ ὅτε δή ῥα
69 κύμασι πορφυρέοισιν ἐκλύζετο πολλὰ δακρύων
70 ἄχρηστον μετάνοιαν ἐμέμφετο, τίλλε δὲ χαίτας,
71 καὶ πόδας ἔσφιγγεν κατὰ γαστέρος, ἐν δέ οἱ ἦτορ
72 πάλλετ’ ἀηθείῃ καὶ ἐπὶ χθόνα βούλεθ’ ἱκέσθαι•
73 δεινὰ δ’ ὑπεστενάχιζε φόβου κρυόεντος ἀνάγκῃ.
74 οὐρὴν μὲν πρῶτ’ ἔπλασ’ ἐφ’ ὕδασιν ἠΰτε κώπην
75 σύρων, εὐχόμενος δὲ θεοῖς ἐπὶ γαῖαν ἱκέσθαι
76 ὕδασι πορφυρέοισιν ἐκλύζετο, πολλὰ δ’ ἐβώστρει•
77 καὶ τοῖον φάτο μῦθον ἀπὸ στόματός τ’ ἀγόρευσεν•
78 Οὐχ οὕτω νώτοισιν ἐβάστασε φόρτον ἔρωτος
79 ταῦρος ὅτ’ Εὐρώπην διὰ κύματος ἦγ’ ἐπὶ Κρήτην
80 ὡς μῦν ἁπλώσας ἐπινώτιον ἦγεν ἐς οἶκον
81 βάτραχος ὑψώσας ὠχρὸν δέμας ὕδατι λευκῷ

67 ἔχαιρεν: Note the imperfect tense of the verb indicating the continuing action
καὶ τὸ πρῶτον: “At first” adverbial accusative.
ὅρμους: “harbors”; Some manuscripts have λίμνας

68 νήξει: from νήχω “swim”; a post-Homeric word
ῥα: Line-final ῥα is comparatively rare in Homer; τε seems to be aparticle of choice for concluding a line.

69 κύμασι πορφυρέοισιν: “dark waves”; a Homeric phrase, see Il.21.326 (πορφύρεον δ’ ἄρα κῦμα διιπετέος ποταμοῖο) and Od. 11.243 (πορφύρεον δ’ ἄρα κῦμα περιστάθη οὔρεϊ ἶσον). This specific phrase occurs in the probably late Homeric Hymn to Athena (κύμασι πορφυρέοισι κυκώμενος, ἔσχετο δ’ ἅλμη, 12)

ἐκλύζετο: “he was splashed by”; used in conjunction with “waves” in Homer, see Il. 23.61 (ἐν καθαρῷ, ὅθι κύματ’ ἐπ’ ἠϊόνος κλύζεσκον)

πολλὰ δακρύων: “weeping much”; for Homer, it is heroic to cry.

70 ἄχρηστον: “useless”
μετάνοιαν: This is a post-Homeric word, fairly common in Attic Greek and later. Thucydides describes the Athenians’ repentance of their decision to destroy Mytiline: καὶ τῇ ὑστεραίᾳ μετάνοιά τις εὐθὺς ἦν αὐτοῖς καὶ ἀναλογισμὸς ὠμὸν τὸ βούλευμα καὶ μέγα ἐγνῶσθαι, πόλιν ὅλην διαφθεῖραι μᾶλλον ἢ οὐ τοὺς αἰτίους. (Thucydides 3.36.4) Indeed, compounds with –νοια do not occur in Homer, but become popular in later philosophical and technical works.

τίλλε δὲ χαίτας: “he tore his hair”. Hair and clothing rending is part of a formulaic expression of grief. See Il. 22.406 where Hecuba tears her hair (τίλλε κόμην…)

ἐμέμφετο: “to reproach, find fault with” from μέμφομαι. This verb is found only in ἐπὶ- compounds in Homer, and seems to have a slightly different connotation.

71 ἔσφιγγεν: “he was squeezing”

ἦτορ πάλλετ’: “His heart was leaping”; from πάλλω which functions like an intransitive middle (i.e. πάλλομαι) in Homer. For this phrase, see Iliad 22.451-2: ἐν δ’ ἐμοὶ αὐτῇ / στήθεσι πάλλεται ἦτορ ἀνὰ στόμα, νέρθε δὲ γοῦνα.

72 πάλλετ’ ἀηθείῃ καὶ ἐπὶ χθόνα βούλεθ’ ἱκέσθαι: Some MSS omit this line

ἀηθείῃ: “the novelty” (lit, “unaccustomness”). Forms of this word do appear in Plato, but not earlier. For the form in epic poetry, See Apollonius Rhodius 2.1063-5 αὐτὰρ πασσυδίῃ περιώσιον ὄρνυτ’ ἀυτήν ἀθρόοι, ὄφρα κολῳὸν ἀηθείῃ φοβέωνται / νεύοντάς τε λόφους καὶ ἐπήορα δούραθ’ ὕπερθεν. The concept and lexical root was available, however: cf. Il. 10.493 (νεκροῖς ἀμβαίνοντες• ἀήθεσσον γὰρ ἔτ’ αὐτῶν)

ἱκέσθαι: from ἱκνέομαι, A good Homeric aorist infinitive in this position. Some MSS have ἰδέσθαι but in Homer with ἐπὶ this would be awkward.

73 δεινὰ: Adverbial, “terribly” used in the combination δεινὰ δ’ ὁμοκλήσας in the Iliad (e.g. 20.448).

ὑπεστενάχιζε: “groan beneath”; the compound is not Homeric, but στενάχιζε is.

φόβου κρυόεντος ἀνάγκῃ. “Chilling fear” is a Homeric combination (Il. 9.2) but the full phrase “by necessity of…” is a little tortured.

74 οὐρὴν μὲν πρῶτ’ ἔπλασ’ ἐφ’ ὕδασιν ἠΰτε κώπην
οὐρὴν: “tail”
ἠΰτε κώπην: “like a rudder”
ἐφ’ ὕδασιν: On this see above, 33: Homer does not use plural forms of ὕδωρ. Apollonius Rhodes does, see 3.876: οἵη δέ, λιαροῖσιν ἐν ὕδασι Παρθενίοιο

75 This line basically repeats the same thoughts as line 72
σύρων: “drag, draw” from σύρω
ἱκέσθαι: se on 72 above

76 ὕδασι πορφυρέοισιν: see above on line 69 for κύμασι πορφυρέοισιν. This particular image does not occur in Homer. Some MSS have κύμασι instead of ὕδασι here.

ἐκλύζετο: See on 69, the image is repeated.

πολλὰ: Adverbial accusative

ἐβώστρει: Related to βοάω (“to shout”); rare, but in the Odyssey (12.124). Other MSS have δ᾿ ἐβόα

77 καὶ τοῖον φάτο μῦθον ἀπὸ στόματός τ’ ἀγόρευσεν: This line is omitted by some texts. As a line of speech introduction it is a bit odd: ἀπὸ στόματός does not occur in Homer. ἀγόρευσεν occurs in the Iliad (8.29). Without the line, however, the following lines are indirect speech rather than direct.

78 ἐβάστασε: “to lift up”
φόρτον ἔρωτος: “cargo of love”; see Anacreon fr. 115.1 (φόρτον ῎Ερωτος)

79 ταῦρος ὅτ’ Εὐρώπην: Zeus, disguised as a bull, abducts Europe and takes her to Crete. She gave birth to Minos, Sarpedon and Rhadamanthys. See Apollodorus 3.1. In Homer, comparison to mythological examples (called paradeigmata) is a common motif. See Willcock XXXX and Edmunds XXXX.

80 ἁπλώσας: To make single, unfold, spread out as in ἱστία. Other MSS have instead ἐπιπλώσας
ἐπινώτιον: “on the back”

81 ὑψώσας: “raise on high”
ὠχρὸν δέμας: “pale skin”—perhaps the poet is thinking of the pale color of a frog’s skin

ὕδατι λευκῷ: This could be repunctuated as a question, but the word-order is imperfect. The phrase “white water” appears in Homer (see 23.282) but in connection with bathing.

Commentary on the Batrakhomuomakhia, Part 4: Lines 42-55

This is installment four of a working commentary on the Homeric Battle of Frogs and Mice. We have posted a translation elsewhere and welcome comments or suggestions on any part of this project.

42 οὐδέποτε πτολέμοιο κακὴν ἀπέφυγον ἀϋτήν,
43 ἀλλ’ εὐθὺς μετὰ μῶλον ἰὼν προμάχοισιν ἐμίχθην.
44 ἄνθρωπον οὐ δέδια καί περ μέγα σῶμα φοροῦντα,
45 ἀλλ’ ἐπὶ λέκτρον ἰὼν ἄκρον δάκτυλον δάκνω,
46 καὶ πτέρνης λαβόμην, καὶ οὐ πόνος ἵκανεν ἄνδρα,
47 νήδυμος οὐκ ἀπέφυγεν ὕπνος δάκνοντος ἐμεῖο.
48 ἀλλὰ δύω μάλα πάντα τὰ δείδια πᾶσαν ἐπ’ αἶαν,
49 κίρκον καὶ γαλέην, οἵ μοι μέγα πένθος ἄγουσιν,
50 καὶ παγίδα στονόεσσαν, ὅπου δολόεις πέλε πότμος•
51 πλεῖστον δὴ γαλέην περιδείδια, ἥ τις ἀρίστη,
52 ἣ καὶ τρωγλοδύνοντα κατὰ τρώγλην ἐρεείνει.
53 οὐ τρώγω ῥαφάνους, οὐ κράμβας, οὐ κολοκύντας,
54 οὐ σεύτλοις χλωροῖς ἐπιβόσκομαι, οὐδὲ σελίνοις•
55 ταῦτα γὰρ ὑμέτερ’ ἐστὶν ἐδέσματα τῶν κατὰ λίμνην.

42-53: These lines are omitted by the major manuscripts but are part of the prosodia Byzantina (a collection of lines considered to be interpolations). Lines 44, 45 and 47 have metrical issues. We have included the lines for their stylistic difference and interest. The content is obviously satirical and a welcome break from the previous catalogue of food. Although the speech returns to the subject of food after this section at line 54, the problematic portion adds to the characterization of Crumbthief. Fusillo 1988 argues there are good reasons to consider all of these lines inserted in the 12th century.
 
 

42 ἀπέφυγον: An Attic form. ἀπὸ does not occur in compounds with φεύγω in Homer

πτολέμοιο: πολέμου; the form is very Homeric, e.g. Il. 7.232 (καὶ πολέες• ἀλλ’ ἄρχε μάχης ἠδὲ πτολέμοιο). In the non-Byzantine segments, however, the parodist seems to prefer the other form: e.g. 123, καὶ τοὺς μέν ῥ’ ἐκόρυσσεν ῎Αρης πολέμοιο μεμηλώς,which is an adaptation of a Homeric formula (13.469: βῆ δὲ μετ’ ᾿Ιδομενῆα μέγα πτολέμοιο μεμηλώς). Both spellings coexist in Homer

ἀϋτήν: “Battle cry”; the language in this section clearly borrows from martial Homeric passages.

43 μετὰ μῶλον: “into the fray” often in the phrase “fray of Ares”( μῶλον ῎Αρηος, 18.134). For this phrase, with the verb “to go”, cf. Il. 18.188 πῶς τὰρ ἴω μετὰ μῶλον).

προμάχοισιν ἐμίχθην: “I have mixed among the forefighters” the sentiment is Iliadic, see Il. 4.354: “[You will see] the dear father of Telemachus mixing among the forefighters” (Τηλεμάχοιο φίλον πατέρα προμάχοισι μιγέντα) and 13.642 for the combination with the participle (αὐτὸς δ’ αὖτ’ ἐξ αὖτις ἰὼν προμάχοισιν ἐμίχθη)

44 ἄνθρωπον οὐ δέδια καί περ μέγα σῶμα φοροῦντα
This line is ametrical; the last three feet scan well for dactylic hexameter (περ μέγα σῶμα φοροῦντα) but the first half does not.

δέδια: Perfect of δείδω Homer has δείδια (13.49) and this poem has the lengthened περιδείδια at line 51. For δέδια, see Sophocles Oed. Col. 1469 ( δέδια τόδ’• οὐ γὰρ ἅλιον).

φοροῦντα: “bearing”, here “having” (more like ἔχοντα). For this verb as denoting a physical attribute, see the quotation of Archestratos (4th Century BCE, Sicily) in Athenaeus 1.52.12 ἤδη χρὴ γεραόν, πολιὸν σφόδρα κρᾶτα φοροῦντα “an onld man with a very gray head”.

καί περ: This combination often signals a concessive use of the participle and in Homer typically appear separate as at Il. 1.577 (“I will advise mother even though she already knows herself,” μητρὶ δ’ ἐγὼ παράφημι καὶ αὐτῇ περ νοεούσῃ). The particle περ alone can signal concession in Greek poetry. See Smyth §2083a.

45 ἀλλ’ ἐπὶ λέκτρον ἰὼν ἄκρον δάκτυλον δάκνω
This line is also ametrical (only five feet).
ἄκρον δάκτυλον: “finger tip” or “toe-tip”

46 καὶ πτέρνης λαβόμην
πτέρνης: “ham”; See above on line 29: Πτέρνα mock-epic form adapted from Lat. perna. See LSJ s.v. The lateness of this noun and its probable adaptation from Latin points to a rather late provenance for the date of this poem, especially considering the number of times it occurs (29, 37, 224).

λαβόμην: This form only occurs here. In the middle, λαμβάνω means to “keep hold of” or “to make one’s own” and takes a genitive direct object.

καὶ οὐ πόνος ἵκανεν ἄνδρα: “no pain comes to the man”. For πόνος as simply “pain” see Simonides fr. 15.1 (αἰῶνι δ’ ἐν παύρωι πόνος ἀμφὶ πόνωι)

47 νήδυμος: “sweet”; a typical epithet of sleep (ὕπνος) in Homer, e.g. Il. 14.354 “Sweet sleep went to rush to the ships of the Achaeans” (βῆ δὲ θέειν ἐπὶ νῆας ᾿Αχαιῶν νήδυμος ῞Υπνος).

δάκνοντος ἐμεῖο: Most likely a genitive absolute (i.e. “Sweet sleep never flees when I bite”; but the force of the preposition in ἀπέφυγεν (on which, see above, line 42) might take a genitive object (i.e. “Sweet sleep never fled from my bite”) ἐμεῖο: ἐμοῦ

48 τὰ: The article in Homer is often used as a relative, see line 32 above.
δείδια: See on 44.
πᾶσαν ἐπ’ αἶαν: αἶα (“land”) is a good Homeric word. This phrase is common, see Il. 23.742: (χάνδανεν, αὐτὰρ κάλλει ἐνίκα πᾶσαν ἐπ’ αἶαν)

49 κίρκον: “hawk”; in Homer the hawk is described in a simile (Il. 17.755-759):
“As a flock of starlings or jackdaws moves on,
They squawk constantly when they see a hawk coming on,
Bearing murder for the small birds.
In this way, the sons of the Achaians shrieked when they saw
Aeneas and Hector, and they lost their battle-courage.”

τῶν δ’ ὥς τε ψαρῶν νέφος ἔρχεται ἠὲ κολοιῶν
οὖλον κεκλήγοντες, ὅτε προΐδωσιν ἰόντα
κίρκον, ὅ τε σμικρῇσι φόνον φέρει ὀρνίθεσσιν,
ὣς ἄρ’ ὑπ’ Αἰνείᾳ τε καὶ ῞Εκτορι κοῦροι ᾿Αχαιῶν
οὖλον κεκλήγοντες ἴσαν, λήθοντο δὲ χάρμης.
In the Odyssey, the hawk is a messenger of Apollo (15.526: κίρκος, ᾿Απόλλωνος ταχὺς ἄγγελος• ἐν δὲ πόδεσσι)

καὶ γαλέην: “weasel”

ἄγουσιν: sc. φέρουσιν

50 καὶ παγίδα στονόεσσαν, ὅπου δολόεις πέλε πότμος•
παγίδα: παγίς: “A snare, a trap” but here a “mousestrap”. Forms of this noun appear as early as Aristophanes (Birds, 194 and 527) and Aesop, although in both they refer to snares for birds. An earlier noun (πάγη) overlaps in meaning and both derive from πήγνυμι (“to fix, fasten”). An epigram in the Greek Anthology by Agatheus calls the Trojan Horse a “wooden trap” (αἴθε δ’ ᾿Επειὸς / κάτθανε πρὶν τεῦξαι δουρατέαν παγίδα).

στονόεσσαν: “greivous”, a Homeric adjective cf. Il. 24.721 (θρήνων ἐξάρχους, οἵ τε στονόεσσαν ἀοιδὴν)

δολόεις: “tricky, deceptive”; a post-classical adjectival form.

πέλε: A synonym for ἔστι. The middle form is more common in Homer. For this form, see Il. 19.365 (τοῦ καὶ ὀδόντων μὲν καναχὴ πέλε, τὼ δέ οἱ ὄσσε)

51 πλεῖστον δὴ γαλέην περιδείδια, ἥ τις ἀρίστη,
περιδείδια: “I really fear”. This is a good Homeric form: cf. Il. 10.93 αἰνῶς γὰρ Δαναῶν περιδείδια…). Cf. above on δέδια.

ἥ τις ἀρίστη: Another Homeric phrase in a familiar position. See 17.62. Here, however, the indefinite pronoun seems a bit forced.

52 ἣ καὶ τρωγλοδύνοντα
τρωγλοδύνοντα: “hole-dweller”. Cf. English “troglodyte”.

ἐρεείνει: “seek out”. In Homer, this verb means more frequently “to ask, inquire”. Cf. “to seek” and “to ask” on line 25 above.

53 ῥαφάνους: “cabbage”
κράμβας: “weeds”
κολοκύντας: “pumpkins”

54 οὐ σεύτλοις χλωροῖς: “pale beets”
ἐπιβόσκομαι: “to feed on” usually used of animals in Homer and without the prefix
σελίνοις: “parsely”

55 ἐδέσματα: See above on line 31: “all kinds of treats”; ἐδέσμασι is not found as early as Homer. It seems to rise in popularity in the 4th century BCE (appearing in Xenophon and Aristotle). Forms do appear in Aesop’s Fabulae as well.
κατὰ λίμνην: See above on line 17: “pond.” At Herodotus 4.132 we find βάτραχοι γενόμενοι ἐς τὰς λίμνας. The word λίμνη has a fairly extensive reach: it refers to several different bodies of water, including lakes, ponds, swamps, and marshes.

The Battle of Frogs and Mice, Part 11: Zeus Gives the Frogs Crabs to Counter the Mouse Menace

In the last installment, the mice were about to accomplish their dream of frog extinction. Zeus, however, has different ideas

So he spoke and the son of Kronos threw down shining lightning
as thundered first and shook great Olympos.
He frightened all the frogs and mice with his bolt.
The army of the mice did not let up, but still
hoped to eradicate the race of spear-bearing frogs.
Just then Kronos’ son took pity on the frogs from Olympos
and sent helpers straight away to the frogs.

Immediately, the armor-backed, crooked-clawed
Bow-waling, twisted, shear-mouthed, pottery-skinned
Bone-built, broad-backed, with shining shoulders
Crooked-legged, lip-stretching with eyes set in their chest,
Eight-footed, two-headed, spastic creatures who are called
Crabs, who easily cut off the ears from the mice’s faces
along with their feet and hands went forth. The spears sprang back from
the cowardly mice who were frightened and waited no longer
but turned to flight. The sun went down
And the end of this war was accomplished in a day.

284 ῝Ως ἄρ’ ἔφη• Κρονίδης δὲ βαλὼν ἀργῆτα κεραυνὸν
285 πρῶτα μὲν ἐβρόντησε, μέγαν δ’ ἐλέλιξεν ῎Ολυμπον.
286 πάντας μέν ῥ’ ἐφόβησε βαλὼν βατράχους τε μύας τε•
287 ἀλλ’ οὐδ’ ὣς ἀπέληγε μυῶν στρατός, ἀλλ’ ἔτι μᾶλλον
288 ἔλπετο πορθήσειν βατράχων γένος αἰχμητάων,
289 εἰ μὴ ἀπ’ Οὐλύμπου βατράχους ἐλέησε Κρονίων,
290 ὅς ῥα τότ’ ἐν βατράχοισιν ἀρωγοὺς εὐθὺς ἔπεμψεν.
291 ῏Ηλθον δ’ ἐξαίφνης νωτάκμονες, ἀγκυλοχεῖλαι,
292 λοξοβάται, στρεβλοί, ψαλιδόστομοι, ὀστρακόδερμοι,
293 ὀστοφυεῖς, πλατύνωτοι, ἀποστίλβοντες ἐν ὤμοις,
294 βλαισοί, χειλοτένοντες, ἀπὸ στέρνων ἐσορῶντες,
295 ὀκτάποδες, δικάρηνοι, ἀχειρέες, οἱ δὲ καλεῦνται
296 καρκίνοι, οἵ ῥα μυῶν οὐρὰς στομάτεσσιν ἔκοπτον
297 ἠδὲ πόδας καὶ χεῖρας• ἀνεγνάμπτοντο δὲ λόγχαι.
298 τοὺς δὴ ὑπέδεισαν δειλοὶ μύες οὐδ’ ἔτ’ ἔμειναν,
299 ἐς δὲ φυγὴν ἐτράποντο• ἐδύετο δ’ ἥλιος ἤδη,
300 καὶ πολέμου τελετὴ μονοήμερος ἐξετελέσθη.

And so the battle of frogs and mice has ended?
Don’t fear
for in the New Year
we’ll be posting a commentary to keep you contented.

The Battle of Frogs and Mice, Part 9: Mayhem in the Melee

In the last episode, Athena expressed her antipathy for frog and mouse alike. The gods (eagerly?) look on as blood spills on both sides

The thundering Olympian eye does not stray
From the toil and moil of the bloody melee
Fur flies on spear and lance
Fragile gills have little chance
As frog and mouse clash in a murderous fray.

“So [Athena] spoke and the other gods assented to her
as they all gathered together in one spot.
Then some gnats brought out great trumpets
to sound the dread song of war. And from heaven
Kronos’ son Zeus thundered the battle’s evil sign.

First, Croakmaster struck Man-licker with a spear
through his stomach mid-liver as he stood among the forefighters.
And he fell down and dirtied his delicate hair.
He thundered as he fell, and his arms clattered about him.
Hole-dweller next hurled at Muddy’s son
And fixed his stout spear in his chest. So black death took him
as he fell and his soul flew from his body.
Dish-pirate killed Beat-eater when he struck him in the heart
And after Bread-muncher struck Sir Croaks-a-lot in the stomach
he fell headlong and his soul flew from his limbs.
When Pond-lubber saw Sir Croaks-a-lot dying
He acted first and crushed Hole-dweller’s tender neck
With a rock like a mill-stone. And darkness covered his eyes.
Grief overtook Basilson and he drove him through with a sharp reed
And he didn’t raise his spear against him. When Manlicker saw this
He took aim at him with his own shining spear
And hurled it: he didn’t miss his liver. And when he noticed
That Spiceeater was fleeing, he rushed upon the lush banks.
He did not let up from battle, no he ran him through.
He fell and didn’t look up again: then the pond was dyed
With purple blood even as he was stretched out on the sand
As he tried to rise with his trailing intestines and loins.
Then he despoiled Cheese-nibbler on the same banks.
When Master-Reedy saw Ham-Carver he fled
And he was driven into the pond while rushing and after leaving his shield.
Water-grace killed king Ham-eater.
Blameless Mudbedder killed Poundweight
by striking him with a stone on the top of his head. His brains
Dribbled from his nose and the earth was spattered with blood.”

197 ῝Ως ἄρ’ ἔφη• καὶ τῇ γε θεοὶ ἐπεπείθοντ’ ἄλλοι,
198 πάντες δ’ αὖτ’ εἰσῆλθον ἀολλέες εἰς ἕνα χῶρον.
199 καὶ τότε κώνωπες μεγάλας σάλπιγγας ἔχοντες
200 δεινὸν ἐσάλπιγξαν πολέμου κτύπον• οὐρανόθεν δὲ
201 Ζεὺς Κρονίδης βρόντησε, τέρας πολέμοιο κακοῖο.
202 Πρῶτος δ’ ῾Υψιβόας Λειχήνορα οὔτασε δουρὶ
203 ἑσταότ’ ἐν προμάχοις κατὰ γαστέρα ἐς μέσον ἧπαρ•
204 κὰδ δ’ ἔπεσεν πρηνής, ἁπαλὰς δ’ ἐκόνισεν ἐθείρας.
205 δούπησεν δὲ πεσών, ἀράβησε δὲ τεύχε’ ἐπ’ αὐτῷ.
206 Τρωγλοδύτης δὲ μετ’ αὐτὸν ἀκόντισε Πηλείωνος,
207 πῆξεν δ’ ἐν στέρνῳ στιβαρὸν δόρυ• τὸν δὲ πεσόντα
208 εἷλε μέλας θάνατος, ψυχὴ δ’ ἐκ σώματος ἔπτη.
209 Σευτλαῖον δ’ ἂρ ἔπεφνε βαλὼν κέαρ ᾿Εμβασίχυτρος,
210 ᾿Αρτοφάγος δὲ Πολύφωνον κατὰ γαστέρα τύψε•
211 ἤριπε δὲ πρηνής, ψυχὴ δὲ μελέων ἐξέπτη.
212 Λιμνόχαρις δ’ ὡς εἶδεν ἀπολλύμενον Πολύφωνον,
213 Τρωγλοδύτην ἁπαλοῖο δι’ αὐχένος τρῶσεν ἐπιφθὰς
214 πέτρῳ μυλοειδέϊ• τὸν δὲ σκότος ὄσσε κάλυψε•
215 ᾿Ωκιμίδην δ’ ἄχος εἷλε καὶ ἤλασεν ὀξέϊ σχοίνῳ
216 οὐδ’ ἐξέσπασεν ἔγχος ἐναντίον• ὡς δ’ ἐνόησε
217 Λειχήνωρ δ’ αὐτοῖο τιτύσκετο δουρὶ φαεινῷ
218 καὶ βάλεν, οὐδ’ ἀφάμαρτε καθ’ ἧπαρ• ὡς δ’ ἐνόησε
219 Κοστοφάγον φεύγοντα βαθείαις ἔμπεσεν ὄχθαις.
220 ἀλλ’ οὐδ’ ὣς ἀπέληγε μάχης ἀλλ’ ἤλασεν αὐτόν•
221 κάππεσε δ’, οὐκ ἀνένευσεν, ἐβάπτετο δ’ αἵματι λίμνη
222 πορφυρέῳ, αὐτὸς δὲ παρ’ ἠιόν’ ἐξετανύσθη,
223 χορδῇσιν λιπαρῇσί τ’ ἐπορνύμενος λαγόνεσσιν.
224 Τυροφάγον δ’ αὐτῇσιν ἐπ’ ὄχθαις ἐξενάριξεν.
225 Πτερνογλύφον δὲ ἰδὼν Καλαμίνθιος ἐς φόβον ἦλθεν,
226 ἥλατο δ’ ἐς λίμνην φεύγων τὴν ἀσπίδα ῥίψας.
227 ῾Υδρόχαρις δ’ ἔπεφνεν Πτερνοφάγον βασιλῆα,
228 Λιτραῖον δ’ ἀρ’ ἔπεφνεν ἀμύμων Βορβοροκοίτης,
229 χερμαδίῳ πλήξας κατὰ βρέγματος• ἐγκέφαλος δὲ
230 ἐκ ῥινῶν ἔσταξε, παλάσσετο δ’ αἵματι γαῖα.

The Battle of Frogs and Mice Part, 6: A Murine Assembly Calls for War

In our last installment….
A mouse joined a frog upon a pond
But soon a snake appeared and then
Both frog and mouse were good as gone….

 

“As he said this he gasped in the water. And Plate-licker
Saw him as he at upon the luxuriant banks.
Then he wailed terribly, ran and informed the mice.
A dread wrath fell upon them as they learned his fate,
And they ordered their heralds to summon their kin
To the assembly at the home of Breadmuncher at dawn.
He was the pitiful father of Crumbthief who floated on the pond
high up in a corpse’s form, no longer still alive
on the banks but raised up in the middle of the sea.
And so they came hurrying at dawn and among them first
Breadmuncher rose enraged over his son to make this speech:

 

“Friends, even if I alone of the mice suffered these many evils
it would be still be a vile crime against us all.
I am wretched because I have lost three children:
A most hateful weasel snatched up the first and killed him
as she dragged him from his hole.
Harsh men dragged the second to his doom
once they designed a wooded trick with their newfangled arts
That thing they call the trap, the destroyer of mice.
[A mouse-eating great beast made my first son into dinner
As he chanced upon him spinning on his fat heel]
The third was beloved to me and his prized mother,
Bellowmouth drowned him once he dragged him to the deep.
Come, let us arm ourselves and go out to face them
Once we’ve arrayed our bodies in our well-worked arms.”

 

[99-121]

῝Ως εἰπὼν ἀπέπνευσεν ἐν ὕδασι· τὸν δὲ κατεῖδεν
Λειχοπίναξ ὄχθῃσιν ἐφεζόμενος μαλακῇσιν·
δεινὸν δ’ ἐξολόλυξε, δραμὼν δ’ ἤγγειλε μύεσσιν.
ὡς δ’ ἔμαθον τὴν μοῖραν ἔδυ χόλος αἰνὸς ἅπαντας.
καὶ τότε κηρύκεσσιν ἑοῖς ἐκέλευσαν ὑπ’ ὄρθρον
κηρύσσειν ἀγορήνδ’ ἐς δώματα Τρωξάρταο,
πατρὸς δυστήνου Ψιχάρπαγος, ὃς κατὰ λίμνην
ὕπτιος ἐξήπλωτο νεκρὸν δέμας, οὐδὲ παρ’ ὄχθαις
ἦν ἤδη τλήμων, μέσσῳ δ’ ἐπενήχετο πόντῳ.
ὡς δ’ ἦλθον σπεύδοντες ἅμ’ ἠοῖ, πρῶτος ἀνέστη
Τρωξάρτης ἐπὶ παιδὶ χολούμενος, εἶπέ τε μῦθον·
῏Ω φίλοι εἰ καὶ μοῦνος ἐγὼ κακὰ πολλὰ πέπονθα
ἐκ βατράχων, ἡ πεῖρα κακὴ πάντεσσι τέτυκται.
εἰμὶ δ’ ἐγὼ δύστηνος ἐπεὶ τρεῖς παῖδας ὄλεσσα.
καὶ τὸν μὲν πρῶτόν γε κατέκτανεν ἁρπάξασα
ἔχθιστος γαλέη, τρώγλης ἔκτοσθεν ἑλοῦσα.
τὸν δ’ ἄλλον πάλιν ἄνδρες ἀπηνέες ἐς μόρον εἷλξαν
καινοτέραις τέχναις ξύλινον δόλον ἐξευρόντες,
ἤν παγίδα κλείουσι, μυῶν ὀλέτειραν ἐοῦσαν
ὃ τρίτος ἦν ἀγαπητὸς ἐμοὶ καὶ μητέρι κεδνῇ,
τοῦτον ἀπέπνιξεν Φυσίγναθος ἐς βυθὸν ἄξας.
ἀλλ’ ἄγεθ’ ὁπλίζεσθε καὶ ἐξέλθωμεν ἐπ’ αὐτοὺς
σώματα κοσμήσαντες ἐν ἔντεσι δαιδαλέοισιν.

The Battle of Frogs and Mice, Part 4: A Frog Makes an Offer; A Mouse Becomes Europa

Earlier, the Frog listened to a detailed description of the Mouse’s delicate diet. Now the Frog makes an offer:

Grinning, Bellowmouth responded:
“Friend, you brag about your belly. We also
have many marvels to see in the pond and on the shore.
Zeus gave the frogs an amphibious realm:
We dance on the land or immerse ourselves in water 60
We inhabit homes divided doubly in these parts.
If you wish to learn about these things too, it’s simple.
Climb on my back, hold on tight so you don’t slip
and you will come to my home in good order.”

Thus he spoke and offered up his back. Crumbthief hopped on quickly,
holding his hands to the light band around Bellowmouth’s delicate neck.
At first he rejoiced when he saw the neighboring harbors
and delighted in Bellowmouth’s swimming. But then, when he was
splashed by the dark waves, he poured forth a flood of tears
and reproached his useless change of mind. He tore his hairs,                 70
squeezed his feet around his stomach and his heart
shook at the novelty because wished to get back to land.
He wailed dreadfully under the oppression of chilling fear.
First, he set his tail into the water as though guiding a rudder,
and prayed to the gods to make it to the shore.
He was splashed again by the murky water, and kept shouting out for help.
Then he made a speech like this as he proclaimed:

“Didn’t the bull carry his cargo of love this way
when he led Europa over the waves to Krete?
That’s just how this frog set out to lead a mouse to his house             80
after floating his pale body on a white wave.”

Crumbthief's Thoughts Were Probably less Idyllic
Crumbthief’s Thoughts Were Probably less Idyllic

Πρὸς τάδε μειδήσας Φυσίγναθος ἀντίον ηὔδα•

57 ξεῖνε λίην αὐχεῖς ἐπὶ γαστέρι• ἔστι καὶ ἡμῖν
58 πολλὰ μάλ’ ἐν λίμνῃ καὶ ἐπὶ χθονὶ θαύματ’ ἰδέσθαι.
59 ἀμφίβιον γὰρ ἔδωκε νομὴν βατράχοισι Κρονίων,
60 σκιρτῆσαι κατὰ γαῖαν, ἐν ὕδασι σῶμα καλύψαι,

61 στοιχείοις διττοῖς μεμερισμένα δώματα ναίειν.
62 εἰ δ’ ἐθέλεις καὶ ταῦτα δαήμεναι εὐχερές ἐστι•
63 βαῖνέ μοι ἐν νώτοισι, κράτει δέ με μήποτ’ ὀλίσθῃς,
64 ὅππως γηθόσυνος τὸν ἐμὸν δόμον εἰσαφίκηαι.
65 ῝Ως ἄρ’ ἔφη καὶ νῶτ’ ἐδίδου• ὁ δ’ ἔβαινε τάχιστα
66 χεῖρας ἔχων τρυφεροῖο κατ’ αὐχένος ἅμματι κούφῳ.
67 καὶ τὸ πρῶτον ἔχαιρεν ὅτ’ ἔβλεπε γείτονας ὅρμους ,
68 νήξει τερπόμενος Φυσιγνάθου• ἀλλ’ ὅτε δή ῥα
69 κύμασι πορφυρέοισιν ἐκλύζετο πολλὰ δακρύων
70 ἄχρηστον μετάνοιαν ἐμέμφετο, τίλλε δὲ χαίτας,
71 καὶ πόδας ἔσφιγγεν κατὰ γαστέρος, ἐν δέ οἱ ἦτορ
72 πάλλετ’ ἀηθείῃ καὶ ἐπὶ χθόνα βούλεθ’ ἱκέσθαι•
73 δεινὰ δ’ ὑπεστενάχιζε φόβου κρυόεντος ἀνάγκῃ.
74 οὐρὴν μὲν πρῶτ’ ἔπλασ’ ἐφ’ ὕδασιν ἠΰτε κώπην
75 σύρων, εὐχόμενος δὲ θεοῖς ἐπὶ γαῖαν ἱκέσθαι
76 ὕδασι πορφυρέοισιν ἐκλύζετο, πολλὰ δ’ ἐβώστρει•
77 καὶ τοῖον φάτο μῦθον ἀπὸ στόματός τ’ ἀγόρευσεν•
78 Οὐχ οὕτω νώτοισιν ἐβάστασε φόρτον ἔρωτος
79 ταῦρος ὅτ’ Εὐρώπην διὰ κύματος ἦγ’ ἐπὶ Κρήτην
80 ὡς μῦν ἁπλώσας ἐπινώτιον ἦγεν ἐς οἶκον
81 βάτραχος ὑψώσας ὠχρὸν δέμας ὕδατι λευκῷ.

Will these two be best friends forever?