sauvage noble

An Austronesian’s Adventures in Altertumswissenschaft and Indogermanistik

30 January 2010

Spitting Image

Rogueclassicist (30 January 2010) points to a blog post on seattle pi (25 January 2010 12:06 a.m.) on an exhibit of portraits of writers, one of whom is John Milton:

John Milton, 1645, engraving by William Marshall

Milton wasn’t so fond of the engraver William Marshall’s result, as evidenced by the subscribed four lines of Greek in iambic trimeter, which I attempt to render in English in iambic pentameter:

Ἀμαθεῖ γεγράφθαι χειρὶ τὴνδε μ̣ὲ̣ν̣ εἰκόνα
φαίης τάχ’ ἄν, πρὸς εἶδος αὐτοφυὲς βλέπων〈.〉
τὸν δ’ ἐκτυπωτὸν οὐκ ἐπιγνόντες φίλοι
γελᾶτε φαύλου δυσμίμημα ζωγράφου.

This likeness has been drawn by unskilled hand,
you’d quickly say, regarding my natural form.
Friends who recognize this reliefwork not,
laugh at the mean artist’s misimitation.

(I can’t tell what the word before εἰκόνα is in line 1; for the reading, I relied on this.)