Simonides’ Danae Fragment in a new version by Don Harmon

In our first meeting of the Lyric Spaces reading group (now suspended due to COVID-19) we read Simonides’ Danae Fragment (543 Page). See this handout from Aoidoi for the Greek text with lots of helpful notes.

Don Harmon has since produced the following translation–hope you enjoy it as much as we do!


Simonides 543
                                   in the coffin
        dazzling trap
Wind hisses. The sea rocks her. Bolts of fear.
Her face not free of tears, she clutches Perseus,
throws her arms around him, says, “My child,
troubles have me. Yet, you sleep so soundly,
oh, baby on my breast, in this bleak box,
moonlit, bronze-bolted, blue-black dusk and gloom
you lie. The salty brine drowns your drenched locks,
but you give no attention to the surge
of waves or howling racket of the wind.
You lie. Your sweet face peeks through the purple robe.
But if you took our terror for a terror,
your little ear would hear my sad lament.
Sleep, baby. Sleep, ocean. Sleep, boundless evil.
I command you. Change will come. Zeus! Father!
May some change come! Forgive presumptuous prayers!
Whatever words I say are far from just.