An Account of Famed Venice

Home > Greek

Bouboulidis, Ph.K. 1967. Diigisis tis Foumistis Venetias. Athena 69. 181-190. Around 1450.
Editorial note: Carminis fragmentum edidi e codice Vindobonensi. suspicor autem ipsum poetam numquam ad finem perduxisse: etenim balbutientem homunculum verba revera defecisse videntur. (I have edited the fragment from the Viennese manuscript; but I suspect that the poet himself never completed it; this seems to have been a babbling little man actually abandoning his words half-way.) Wagner, W. 1874. Carmina Graeca Medii Aevi. Leipzig: Teubner. 221-223.

Come, gather, Reason, Thou my finest Knowledge.
Speak prudently, my Tongue. Establish, Mind.
Now let the Three join forces, write this nobly,
speak truthfully, or tell this prudently.
Watch, lest we stumble and become undone!
Pains of the body, let the lips now speak,
that I may praise famed Venice, as I've seen it,
painted in murals, built most curiously,
founded in water, yet as strong as iron.
I fancy there's no other city like her,
or with such curious riches as to match her,
for she's an unquenched fountain, a broad grove,
a mother with her nobles, a pleasant meadow.
Her Piazza dazzled me when I first saw it.
It was a great, high noble, well-regarded,
who gave the word for them to build San Marco!
I shuddered at the City's four built horses,
strange as they are and made most handsomely,
how they stand loaded up above the door;
it seems to you they rush, as famed as pards.
And up above them do the prophets stand;
I look up, and behold the glory of prophets,
Saint Mark, the golden, and the beauty of lions.
And up above them his three brothers stand,
the other evangelists of his same time.
In the first corner stands the world's first joy,
the first Good News, the freeing of the world;
see how the Queen kneels down, Adam's Salvation,
and then the angel says to her "Hail, Mary!"
Apostles stand beside and everywhere,
alcoved in marble domes and built in marble.
The famed apostles hold scrolls in their hands;
and underneath them naked people stand;
they hold the path of water on their shoulders.
But when I saw the outside, I went in.
I saw the floor and shuddered, and its walls,
how they did set; and how they'd domed its dome.
Then I turned right, and I went up the staircase,
into the golden palace, made so lovely,
that's built with prudence and that stands so graceful.
I look up, and behold the throne adorned,
the throne on which the Doge of Venice sits.
And up above it stands a maiden painted,
she holds a sword in one hand, scales in the other;
the sword's to threaten, and guilelessly subdue.
I look up, and behold the benches all,
on which the nobles sit, those prudent heads,
to make words and decisions, sense and order,
words to subdue with, order to express with.
I look up, and behold the mighty war,
fought by King Barbaretto, as we see,
in which, they say, he went right into Rome.
Then I went down, and I looked through the Loggia,
with marble for foundations, and its surrounds.
At the first corner, I pause and see a marvel:
I look up, and behold, sunken in stupor,
Noah, whom wine had bound up very tightly.
Sorry to see this, one son covered him;
the other scolded, pointing at the other.
Seeing the second corner, I was crushed:
Adam and Eve, stripped naked, stand outside;
they once had Paradise; they leave it sadly,
between them is the tree, the snake wrapped round it,
which was a curse to them --- a curse on it!
And up above them stands a soldier angel,
he holds a lance in one hand, ledger in the other,
and writes the exile of the First-Made Man.
And up above them stands another man;
he says "Good Day!", and speaks "Good Day!" as well;
he said "Good Day!" to me, and took my hand,
he went and stood me right by the third corner.
I look up, and behold the glory of prophets,
wise Solomon, who's sitting on the throne,
with royal crown, just as he was while living.
His chief's in front of him; and he was judging.
He holds a babe in hand, he's going to murder,
he lifts his sword, he looks like he will kill it.
Outside stand women, waiting for his judgement;
they see their child, and they cry out for mercy.
And opposite them stand four men, quite bloody;
then they decide where they will go and steal from,
and they were turned to stone, and were like stones.
I look up, and behold those noblemen,
those prudent, and renowned, and famous heads.
Boats are their horses, and canals their streets.

Nick Nicholas, opoudjis [AT] optusnet . com . au
Created: 2001-9-15; Last revision: 2001-10-6
URL: http://www.opoudjis.net/Play/venice.html