Parmenidean Fragments, 1

Parmenides  Parallel editions

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Burnet translation

1The car that bears me carried me as far as ever my heart desired, since it brought me and set me on the renowned way of the goddess, which alone leads the man who knows through all things. On that way was I borne along; for on it did the wise steeds carry me, drawing my car, and maidens showed the way. And the axle, glowing in the socket—for it was urged round by the whirling wheels at each end—gave forth a sound as of a pipe, when the daughters of the Sun, hasting to convey me into the light, threw back their veils from off their faces and left the abode of Night.

There are the gates of the ways of Night and Day, fitted above with a lintel and below with a threshold of stone. They themselves, high in the air, are closed by mighty doors, and Avenging Justice keeps the keys that fit them. Her did the maidens entreat with gentle words and cunningly persuade to unfasten without demur the bolted bars from the gates. Then, when the doors were thrown back, they disclosed a wide opening, when their brazen posts fitted with rivets and nails swung back one after the other. Straight through them, on the broad way, did the maidens guide the horses and the car, and the goddess greeted me kindly, and took my right hand in hers, and spake to me these words:

Welcome, O youth, that comest to my abode on the car that bears thee tended by immortal charioteers! It is no ill chance, but right and justice that has sent thee forth to travel on this way. Far, indeed, does it lie from the beaten track of men! Meet it is that thou shouldst learn all things, as well the unshaken heart of well-rounded truth, as the opinions of mortals in which is no true belief at all. Yet none the less shalt thou learn these things also,—how they should have judged that the things which seem to them are,—as thou goest through all things in thy journey.

Greek text: Diels edition

1ἵπποι ταί με φέρουσιν, ὅσον τ᾽ ἐπὶ θυμὸς ἱκάνοι,

πέμπον, ἐπεί μ᾽ ἐς ὁδὸν βῆσαν πολύφημον ἄγουσαι

δαίμονος, ἣ κατὰ πάντ᾽ ἄστη φέρει εἰδότα φῶτα·

τῇ φερόμην· τῇ γάρ με πολύφραστοι φέρον ἵπποι

ἅρμα τιταίνουσαι, κοῦραι δ᾽ ὁδὸν ἡγεμόνευον.

ἄξων δ᾽ ἐν χνοίῃσιν ἵει σύριγγος ἀυτήν

αἰθόμενος (δοιοῖς γὰρ ἐπείγετο δινωτοῖσιν

κύκλοις ἀμφοτέρωθεν), ὅτε σπερχοίατο πέμπειν

Ἡλιάδες κοῦραι, προλιποῦσαι δώματα Νυκτός,

εἰς φάος, ὠσάμεναι κράτων ἄπο χερσὶ καλύπτρας.

ἔνθα πύλαι νυκτός τε καὶ ἤματός εἰσι κελεύθων,

καί σφας ὑπέρθυρον ἀμφὶς ἔχει καὶ λάινος οὐδός·

αὐταὶ δ᾽ αἰθέριαι πλῆνται μεγάλοισι θυρέτροις·

τῶν δὲ Δίκη πολύποινος ἔχει κληῖδας ἀμοιβούς.

τὴν δὴ παρφάμεναι κοῦραι μαλακοῖσι λόγοισιν

πεῖσαν ἐπιφραδέως, ὥς σφιν βαλανωτὸν ὀχῆα

ἀπτερέως ὤσειε πυλέων ἄπο· ταὶ δὲ θυρέτρων

χάσμ᾽ ἀχανὲς ποίησαν ἀναπτάμεναι πολυχάλκους

ἄξονας ἐν σύριγξιν ἀμοιβαδὸν εἰλίξασαι

γόμφοις καὶ περόνῃσιν ἀρηρότε· τῇ ῥα δι᾽ αὐτέων

ἰθὺς ἔχον κοῦραι κατ᾽ ἀμαξιτὸν ἅρμα καὶ ἵππους.

καί με θεὰ πρόφρων ὑπεδέξατο, χεῖρα δὲ χειρί

δεξιτερὴν ἕλεν, ὧδε δ᾽ ἔπος φάτο καί με προσηύδα·

ὦ κοῦρ᾽ ἀθανάτοισι συνάορος ἡνιόχοισιν,

ἵπποις ταί σε φέρουσιν ἱκάνων ἡμέτερον δῶ,

χαῖρ᾽, ἐπεὶ οὔτι σε μοῖρα κακὴ προὔπεμπε νέεσθαι

τήνδ᾽ ὁδόν (ἦ γὰρ ἀπ᾽ ἀνθρώπων ἐκτὸς πάτου ἐστίν),

ἀλλὰ Θέμις τε Δίκη τε. χρεὼ δέ σε πάντα πυθέσθαι

ἠμὲν ἀληθείης εὐκυκλέος ἀτρεμὲς ἦτορ

ἠδὲ βροτῶν δόξας, ταῖς οὐκ ἔνι πίστις ἀληθής.

<ἀλλ᾽ ἔμπης καὶ ταῦτα μαθήσεαι, ὡς τὰ δοκοῦντα

χρῆν δοκίμως εἶναι διὰ παντὸς πάντα περῶντα>.