As stars in the night sky glittering
round the moon’s brilliance blaze in all their glory
when the air falls to a sudden, windless calm …
all the lookout peaks stand out and the jutting cliffs
and the steep ravines and down from the high heavens bursts
the boundless, bright air and all the stars shine clear
and the shepherd’s heart exults.
[Ὡς δ’ ὅτ’ ἐν οὐρανῷ ἄστρα φαεινὴν ἀμφὶ σελήνην
φαίνετ’ ἀριπρεπέα, ὅτε τ’ ἔπλετο νήνεμος αἰθήρ·
ἔκ τ’ ἔφανεν πᾶσαι σκοπιαὶ καὶ πρώονες ἄκροι
καὶ νάπαι· οὐρανόθεν δ’ ἄρ’ ὑπεῤῥάγη ἄσπετος αἰθήρ,
πάντα δὲ εἴδεται ἄστρα, γέγηθε δέ τε φρένα ποιμήν.]
The Iliad [Ἰλιάς], Book 8, l. 551ff (8.551-555) (c. 750 BC) [tr. Fagles (1990), ll. 641-47]
Used as a metaphor for the campfires of the Trojan troops before Ilium. Alternate translations:
As when about the silver moon, when air is free from wind,
And stars shine clear, to whose sweet beams, high prospects, and the brows
Of all steep hills and pinnacles, thrust up themselves for shows,
And ev’n the lowly valleys joy to glitter in their sight,
When the unmeasur’d firmament bursts to disclose her light,
And all the signs in heav’n are seen, that glad the shepherd’s heart.
[tr. Chapman (1611), l. 486ff]
As when the moon, refulgent lamp of night,
O'er heaven's clear azure spreads her sacred light,
When not a breath disturbs the deep serene,
And not a cloud o'ercasts the solemn scene;
Around her throne the vivid planets roll,
And stars unnumbered gild the glowing pole,
O'er the dark trees a yellower verdure shed,
And tip with silver every mountain's head;
Then shine the vales, the rocks in prospect rise,
A flood of glory bursts from all the skies:
The conscious swains, rejoicing in the sight,
Eye the blue vault, and bless the useful light.
[tr. Pope (1715-20)]
As when around the clear bright moon, the stars
Shine in full splendor, and the winds are hush’d,
The groves, the mountain-tops, the headland-heights
Stand all apparent, not a vapor streaks
The boundless blue, but ether open’d wide
All glitters, and the shepherd’s heart is cheer’d.
[tr. Cowper (1791), l. 643ff]
As when in heaven the stars appear very conspicuous around the lucid moon, when the æther is wont to be without a breeze, and all the pointed rocks and lofty summits and groves appear, but in heaven the immense æther is disclosed, and all the stars are seen, and the shepherd rejoices in his soul.
[tr. Buckley (1860)]
As when in Heav'n, around the glitt'ring moon
The stars shine bright amid the breathless air;
And ev'ry crag and ev'ry jutting peak
Stands boldly forth, and ev'ry forest glade;
Ev'n to the gates of Heav'n is open'd wide
The boundless sky; shines each particular star
Distinct; joy fills the gazing shepherd's heart.
[tr. Derby (1864), ll. 629-35]
Even as when in heaven the stars about the bright moon shine clear to see, when the air is windless, and all the peaks appear and the tall headlands and glades, and from heaven breaketh open the infinite air, and all stars are seen, and the shepherd’s heart is glad.
[tr. Leaf/Lang/Myers (1891)]
As when the stars shine clear, and the moon is bright -- there is not a breath of air, not a peak nor glade nor jutting headland but it stands out in the ineffable radiance that breaks from the serene of heaven; the stars can all of them be told and the heart of the shepherd is glad.
[tr. Butler (1898)]
Even as in heaven about the gleaming moon the stars shine clear, when the air is windless, and forth to view appear all mountain peaks and high headlands and glades, and from heaven breaketh open the infinite air, and all stars are seen, and the shepherd joyeth in his heart.
[tr. Murray (1924)]As when in heaven principal stars shine out around the moon when the night sky is limpid, with no wind, and all the lookout points, headlands, and mountain clearings are distinctly seen, as though pure space had broken through, downward from heaven, and all the stars are out, and in his heart the shepherd sings.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1974)]
Added on 11-Nov-20 | Last updated 8-Dec-21
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