lotr meme: ten scenes [5/10] → the lighting of the beacons
Best line of the movie
For a second I thought this was the new supernatural season ten opener
I knew I’d see this with the Supernatural title eventually, I wasn’t expecting it to be a day later.
So this exact phrasing is from Donna Tartt, The Secret History:
and it’s actually a very loose translation - what Odysseus says to himself, in Book 11.404-410, is:
ὤ μοι ἐγὼ τί πάθω; μέγα μὲν κακὸν αἴ κε φέβωμαι
πληθὺν ταρβήσας: τὸ δὲ ῥίγιον αἴ κεν ἁλώω
μοῦνος: τοὺς δ᾽ ἄλλους Δαναοὺς ἐφόβησε Κρονίων.
ἀλλὰ τί ἤ μοι ταῦτα φίλος διελέξατο θυμός;
οἶδα γὰρ ὅττι κακοὶ μὲν ἀποίχονται πολέμοιο,
ὃς δέ κ᾽ ἀριστεύῃσι μάχῃ ἔνι τὸν δὲ μάλα χρεὼ
ἑστάμεναι κρατερῶς, ἤ τ᾽ ἔβλητ᾽ ἤ τ᾽ ἔβαλ᾽ ἄλλον.
or, in the Samuel Butler translation:
"Alas," said he to himself in his dismay, "what will become of me? It is ill if I turn and fly before these odds, but it will be worse if I am left alone and taken prisoner, for the son of Saturn has struck the rest of the Danaans with panic. But why talk to myself in this way? Well do I know that though cowards quit the field, a hero, whether he wound or be wounded, must stand firm and hold his own.”
You can see what Tartt is pulling out - a soldier, “ὃς δέ κ᾽ ἀριστεύῃσι” (one who is heroic/excels) must be strong and hold firm - but I’m not sure where “saith my heart” comes from as Odysseus is addressing his heart, here (that’s the literal translation for “myself”) or “I have seen worse sights than this”
Nah, the problem is that the quote is mis-referenced by Tartt in The Secret History. The “be strong, saith my heart” quote is actually Book 20, line 18 of The Odyssey. The Greek is:
τέτλαθι δή, κραδίη: καὶ κύντερον ἄλλο ποτ᾽ ἔτλης
translated by A. T. Murray (because I don’t have any of my physical copies here and that’s the one I could find online easiest) as “Endure, my heart; a worse thing even than this didst thou once endure”
The context being:
but he smote his breast, and rebuked his heart, saying: “Endure, my heart; a worse thing even than this didst thou once endure on that day when the Cyclops, unrestrained in daring, devoured my mighty comrades; but thou didst endure until craft got thee forth from the cave where thou thoughtest to die.”
So he spoke, chiding the heart in his breast, and his heart remained bound within him to endure steadfastly; but he himself lay tossing this way and that.
Her translation’s still pretty loose, but definitely closer than if she were really translating The Iliad.
(And he’s still addressing his heart here, but still it’s a better fit)