Homeric Epic and Hesiodic Wisdom Poetry Homer, Iliad and Odyssey Omniscient, Invisible Third-Person Narration Hesiod, Theogony, Works and Days Theogony -- Omniscient, Invisible Third-Person Narration Works and Days - First Person Narration at Beginning of Poem; Address to Brother Perses
Archilochus of Paros (ca. 680-640 BCE) I am two things: a fighter who follows the Master of Battles, And one who understands the gift of the Muses’ love.
Archilochus of Paros (ca. 680-640 BCE) Some barbarian is waving my shield, since I was obliged to Leave that perfectly good piece of equipment behind Under a bush. But I got away, so what does it matter? Let the shield go; I can buy another one equally good.
Archilochus of Paros (ca. 680-640 BCE) So much I said, but then I took the girl into the flowers in bloom and laid her down, protecting her with my soft cloak, her neck held in my arms. Though out of fear like a fawn she hindered, I encouraged her and her breasts with my hands I gently grasped. She, there and then, herself showed young flesh--the onset of her prime--and, all her lovely body fondling, I also let go with my force, just touching, though, her tawny down.
Sappho of Lesbos (ca. 620-550 BCE) But I claim there will be some who remember us when we are gone.
Sappho of Lesbos (ca. 620-550 BCE) You will die and be still, never shall be memory left of you after this, nor regret when you are gone. You have not touched the flowers of the Muses, and thus, shadowy still in the domain of Death, you must drift with a ghost’s fluttering wings, one of the darkened dead.
Sappho of Lesbos (ca. 620-550 BCE) This is the dust of Timas, who died before she was married and whom Persephone’s dark chamber accepted instead. After her death the maidens who were her friends, with sharp iron cutting their lovely hair, laid it upon her tomb.
Sappho of Lesbos (ca. 620-550 BCE) Like the very gods in my sight is he who sits where he can look in your eyes, who listens close to you, to hear the soft voice, its sweetness murmur in love and laughter, all for him. But it breaks my spirit; underneath my breast all the heart is shaken. Let me only glance where you are, the voice dies, I can say nothing, but my lips are stricken to silence, underneath my skin the tenuous flame suffuses; nothing shows in front of my eyes, my ears are muted in thunder. And the sweat breaks running upon me, fever shakes my body, paler I turn than grass is; I can feel that I have been changed, I feel that death has come near me.
Discussion Questions What difficulties might the relationship between changes in Greek sculptural art and Greek lyric poetry present in terms of historical methodology? Can we posit a common factors in historical causation? Can we say that in Greek lyric poetry of the seventh and sixth centuries BCE we are witnessing the birth of the individual in western literature?