The Retinue of Dionysus The Canon
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Damon the artisan (none as fine
as he in the Peloponnese) is
fashioning the Retinue of Dionysus
in Parian marble. The god in his divine
glory leads, with vigor in his stride.
Intemperance behind.  Beside
Intemperance, Intoxication pours the Satyrs wine
from an amphora that’s been garlanded with vines.
Near them delicate Sweetwine, his eyes
half-closed, mesmerizes.
And further down there come the singers,
Song and Melody, and Festival
who never allows the hallowed processional
torch, which he holds, to go out.  Then, most modest, Ritual.—
That’s what Damon is making.  Along with all
of that, from time to time he gets to pondering
the fee he’ll be receiving from the king
of Syracuse, three talents, quite a lot.
When that’s added to the money that he’s got,
he’ll be well-to-do, will lead a life of leisure,
can get involved in politics—what a pleasure!—
he too in the Council, he too in the Agora.

Translated by Daniel Mendelsohn

- Original Greek Poem

- Translation by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard

- Translation by John Cavafy