The Fab Four’s Classic Song Sounds an Appropriate Note for a Classicist
[Editor’s note — With all of our focus on Latin karaoke songs, we don’t want to give the impression that they can’t (and aren’t) being done in Ancient Greek as well. This one was sent to us by a reader of our magazine, Vanya Visnjic, who did the translation several years ago. We tried it out and it goes beautifully. For those whose Greek is rusty, even the briefest practice with a song like this reveals just how useful familiar melodies are for generating comfort with a language. You may not remember that πέποιθα is from πειθώ, “to persuade,” and in the passive with the dative means “to have been convinced of”, or “to believe in” — and so “ὢ ’γώ πέποιθα τῷ χθίζῳ” is “O I have gained belief in yesterday.” A fine theme for a Classicist, and a classic song to boot. P.S. — Medium doesn’t seem to like grave accents on Greek letters, so we’ve had to go with slantless accents in place of grave ones.]
YESTERDAY / Ἐχθές (McCartney/Lennon)(tr. Vanya Visnjic)[1965
Τέως μέν ἄλγη τηλοῦ μευ ἐφαίνετο,
νῦν δέ παραμένειν ἐμαυτῷ,
ὢ ’γώ πέποιθα τῷ χθίζῳ.
Ἄφνω δή οὐχ ἥμισύς εἰμι ἐμαυτοῦ,
κρέμαται σκιά τις ὑπέρ μου,
καί ταῦτ’ ἐξ ἀπροσδοκήτου.
Τί κείνη φύγεν
οὐ μὲν οἶδα, οὐδ’ ἔφη.
Φθέγξας τι κακὸν
νῦν ποθῶ τὸ παρελθό-ο-ο-ον.
Τέως μέν ἔρως ῥᾴδιον ἦν παίγνιον,
νῦν δ’ ἀποκρύψασθαί με χρεών,
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