It’s Monday, and I have a new epigram to share.
Last time, we had a version of Greek Anthology 1.53 on the Passover. This time, I present to you Greek Anthology 1.54 on the Crucifixion. It would have been nice to have this up on Good Friday, of course; but, on the other hand, the topic is never out of season.
1.54 is a powerful little poem, consisting of one elegiac couplet, in which Christ’s suffering, cross, and blood are directly addressed and asked to wash the speaker’s soul of ἀτασθαλίην [atasthaliēn], a Homeric word that means “presumptuous sin” or “recklessness.”
I’ve expanded the poem slightly to make two couplets of alternating iambic pentameters and tetrameters in an ABCB pattern.
As usual, I give the Greek text according to the Loeb edition; the Loeb translation; and my version.
The Greek text:
Εἰς τὴν σταύρωσιν
Ὦ πάθος, ὦ σταυρός, παθέων ἐλατήριον αἷμα,
πλῦνον ἐμῆς ψυχῆς πᾶσαν ἀτασθαλίην.
The Loeb translation:
O suffering, O cross, O blood that drives out suffering, cleanse my soul from all wickedness.Trans. W.R. Paton, rev. by Michael A. Tueller
On the Crucifixion
O suffering, O cross, O blood, O Christ,
Who put all suffering to flight:
All my rash evil wash away; unwound
My wounded soul through thy wounds’ plight.