Parmenides- The Poem’s Opening Fragment
From Antoine Court de Gebelin’s ‘Monde Primitif’_Histoire du Calendrier_Tome IV-1776.
Today’s sharing from the Blue House of HYGEIA is the opening section of Parmenides of Elea’s ‘Poem’, here in the translation from the Greek by Peter Kingsley. From his book, ‘Reality. Golden Sufi Center Publishing, fifth printing-2013.
The mares that carry me as far as longing can reach rode on, once they had come and fetched me onto the legendary road of the divinity that carries the man who knows through the vast and dark unknown. And on i was carried as the mares, aware just where to go, kept carrying me straining at the chariot; and young women led the way. And the axle in the hubs let out the sound of a pipe blazing from the pressure of the two well-rounded wheels at either side, as they rapidly led on: Young women, girls, daughters of the Sun who had left the Mansion of Night for the light and pushed back the veils from their faces with their hands.
There are the gates on the pathway of Night and Day, held fast in places between the lintel above and a threshold of stone. They reach right up into the heavens, filled with gigantic doors. And the keys-that now open, now lock-are held fast by Justice: She who always demands exact returns. And with soft seductive words the girls cunningly persuaded her to push back immediately, just for them, the bar that bolts the gates, and as the door flew open, making the bronze axles with their pegs and nails spin-now one, now the other- in their pipes, they created a gaping chasm. Straight through and on the girls held fast their course for the chariots and horses, straight down the road.
And the goddess welcomed me kindly, and took my right hand in hers and spoke these words as she addressed me: ‘Welcome young man, partnered by immortal charioteers, reaching our home with the mares that carry you. For it was no hard fate that sent you travelling this road-so far away from the beaten track of humans-but Rightness, and Justice. And what’s needed is for you to learn all things: Both the unshaken heart of persuasive Truth and the opinion of mortals in which there is nothing that can truthfully be trusted at all. But even so, this too you will learn-how belief based on appearance ought to be believable as they travel all through all there is.’