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Ithaca

When you set out on your journey to Ithaca,
pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the angry Poseidon -- do not fear them:
You will never find such as these on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine
emotion touches your spirit and your body.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the fierce Poseidon you will never encounter,
if you do not carry them within your soul,
if your soul does not set them up before you.

Pray that the road is long.
That the summer mornings are many, when,
with such pleasure, with such joy
you will enter ports seen for the first time;
stop at Phoenician markets,
and purchase fine merchandise,
mother-of-pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensual perfumes of all kinds,
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
visit many Egyptian cities,
to learn and learn from scholars.

Always keep Ithaca in your mind.
To arrive there is your ultimate goal.
But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better to let it last for many years;
and to anchor at the island when you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.

Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.
Without her you would have never set out on the road.
She has nothing more to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.
Wise as you have become, with so much experience,
you must already have understood what Ithacas mean.

ODYSSEUS TO CALYPSO:
"This comes to inform you, that after my departure from your coasts in the vessel which you were so kind as to provide me with, I was shipwrecked, and saved with the greatest difficulty by Leucothea, who conveyed me to the country of the Phaeacians, and from thence I got home; where I found a number of suitors about my wife, revelling there at my expense. I destroyed every one of them, and was afterwards slain myself by Telegonus, a son whom I had by Circe. I still lament the pleasures which I left behind at Ogygia, and the immortality which you promised me; if I can ever find an opportunity, I will certainly make my escape from hence, and come to you.", Lucian of Samosata

Ithaka

Brichst du auf gen Ithaka,
wünsch dir eine lange Fahrt,
voller Abenteuer und Erkenntnisse.
Die Lästrygonen und Zyklopen,
den zornigen Poseidon fürchte nicht,
solcherlei wirst du auf deiner Fahrt nie finden,
wenn dein Denken hochgespannt, wenn edle
Regung deinen Geist und Körper anrührt.
Den Lästrygonen und Zyklopen,
dem wütenden Poseidon wirst du nicht begegnen,
falls du sie nicht in deiner Seele mit dir trägst,
falls deine Seele sie nicht vor dir aufbaut.

Wünsch dir eine lange Fahrt.
Der Sommermorgen möchten viele sein,
da du, mit welcher Freude und Zufriedenheit!
In nie zuvor gesehene Häfen einfährst;
Halte ein bei Handelsplätzen der Phönizier
Und erwirb die schönen Waren,
Perlmutter und Korallen, Bernstein, Ebenholz
Und erregende Essenzen aller Art,
so reichlich du vermagst, erregende Essenzen,
besuche viele Städte in Ägypten,
damit du von den Eingeweihten lernst und wieder lernst.

Immer halte Ithaka im Sinn.
Dort anzukommen ist dir vorbestimmt.
Doch beeile nur nicht deine Reise.
Besser ist, sie dauere viele Jahre;
Und alt geworden lege auf der Insel an,
reich an dem, was du auf deiner Fahrt gewannst,
und hoffe nicht, dass Ithaka dir Reichtum gäbe.

Ithaka gab dir die schöne Reise.
Du wärest ohne es nicht auf die Fahrt gegangen.
Nun hat es dir nicht mehr zu geben.

Auch wenn es sich dir ärmlich zeigt, Ithaka betrog dich nicht.
So weise, wie du wurdest, in solchem Maße erfahren,
wirst du ohnedies verstanden haben, was die Ithakas bedeuten.

Bemerkung; Nach http://www.goethe.de/oe/mos/seminar1/desem77.htm eine Übersetzung von Wolfgang Josing und Doris Gundert (geschrieben mit den neuen Regeln), siehe auch http://www.lyrikwelt.de/gedichte/kavafisg1.htm

Itaca

Quando ti metterai in viaggio per Itaca
devi augurarti che la strada sia lunga,
fertile in avventure e in esperienze.
I Lestrigoni e i Ciclopi
o la furia di Nettuno non temere,
non sara` questo il genere di incontri
se il pensiero resta alto e un sentimento
fermo guida il tuo spirito e il tuo corpo.
In Ciclopi e Lestrigoni, no certo,
ne' nell'irato Nettuno incapperai
se non li porti dentro
se l'anima non te li mette contro.

Devi augurarti che la strada sia lunga.
Che i mattini d'estate siano tanti
quando nei porti - finalmente e con che gioia -
toccherai terra tu per la prima volta:
negli empori fenici indugia e acquista
madreperle coralli ebano e ambre
tutta merce fina, anche profumi
penetranti d'ogni sorta; piu' profumi inebrianti che puoi,
va in molte citta` egizie
impara una quantita` di cose dai dotti.

Sempre devi avere in mente Itaca -
raggiungerla sia il pensiero costante.
Soprattutto, non affrettare il viaggio;
fa che duri a lungo, per anni, e che da vecchio
metta piede sull'isola, tu, ricco
dei tesori accumulati per strada
senza aspettarti ricchezze da Itaca.
Itaca ti ha dato il bel viaggio,
senza di lei mai ti saresti messo
sulla strada: che cos'altro ti aspetti?

E se la trovi povera, non per questo Itaca ti avra` deluso.
Fatto ormai savio, con tutta la tua esperienza addosso
gia` tu avrai capito cio` che Itaca vuole significare.

A variation of Ithaca: Odysseus by Carolyn Dixwell Cabot

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