The song takes off

Even apart from the imagery of horses and chariot we find in Graeco-Aryan poetry the idea that the song is something that moves forward and travels a course.53 Hesiod recalls that the Muses of Helicon 'set me on the path of song', ene naav aoiSns (Op. 659). The Phaeacian bard Demodocus, invited to perform, 'set forth and began from the god', ¿ppnOels Oeov ^pxero.54 Both poets and prose writers refer to themselves as 'going on' to a new point,

50 See also Pind. Ol. 6. 22-5, Nem. 1. 7, Isth. 5. 38, Pae. 7b. 12-14, fr. 124ab. 1, 140b. 8; Bacchyl. 10. 51; Ar. Vesp. 1022; Choerilus of Samos fr. 1. 4-5; Call. fr. 1. 25-8; Lucr. 6. 47, 92 f.; Virg. G. 2. 541 f., etc. For the 'yoking' image applied more generally to songs and words in Vedic and Greek cf. Wüst (1969), 57-9.

52 A. C. Pearson, The Fragments of Sophocles (Cambridge 1917), i. 14 (on fr. 16); Eduard Norden, Die antike Kunstprosa (3rd edn., Leipzig-Berlin 1915), i. 32-4.

53 See Durante (1958), 3 f. ~ (1976), 123 f.; Nünlist (1998), 228-54.

54 Od. 8. 499. In the next line, usually read evOev ¿Xwv 'taking it from there', Bergk proposed ¿Xojv 'driving', which would imply the chariot metaphor; cf. Pind. Isth. 5. 38 eXa vvv poi neS-oOev; Bacchyl. 10. 51 ri paKpixv yXwaaav lOvaas eXavvoj I eKTOs ¿Sov;

or as 'returning' to an earlier one. But in the poets, both Indian and Greek, we find more graphic images.

According to RV 9. 10. 6 'the poets of the past open the doors of mindings/ songs', presumably enabling the songs to come forth. Similarly Bacchylides (fr. 5): 'One becomes skilled (as a poet) from another; it was ever so. For it is not the easiest thing to discover the gates of unspoken verse.' And Pindar (Ol. 6. 27): 'the gates of song must be opened for them'. In Parmenides the gates of Night and Day are opened for his car to pass through, so that he can learn the truth that will form the subject matter of his poem.

The poem needs an open, smooth road for its advance. 'As in the past, make the paths conducive for the new hymn' (RV 9. 91. 5). 'Broad are the approaches from every side for story-men to glorify this famed island' (Pind. Nem. 6. 45 f., cf. Isth. 3. 19, Bacchyl. 5. 31). 'It is no rocky or uphill path, if one brings the Muses' honours to the house of men of high repute' (Isth. 2. 33 f.). When all is ready, one can say 'let the song go forth!'

Let the song go forth sonorously for Vishnu. (RV 1. 154. 3) prá sukrá etu deví manisa asmát sútasto rátho ná vají.

Let the shining, divine song go forth from us like a well-built prize-winning chariot.

Let our praise of Mitra and Varuna go forth sonorously. (7. 66. 1)

The third-person imperative etu corresponds to Greek í'ra>, and the formula resembles Greek examples such as Aesch. Sept. 964 trw yóos' ltw SciKpv, Soph. fr. 490 í'rw Sé nvdias oa, Eur. Phaethon 101 í'rw reXeía yá/wv aoiSa, Ion of Chios fr. 27. 7 'irw Sia vvKros aoiStf.

Besides travelling by road or by ship, the song may fly (*pet) through the air.55

pára hi me vímanyavah pátanti vásyaístaye váyo ná vasatír úpa.

For forth my sentiments fly to find success like birds to their nests. (RV 1. 25. 4)

The Danaids in Aeschylus' Supplices (656) sing 'So from our suppliant mouths let the honorific prayer fly forth' (noráadw). In Homer we have the

55 Durante (1958), 5-8 ~ (1976), 124-8; Nünlist (1998), 279-83.

formula enea nrepOevra, 'winged words', and the anrepos fMvdos, the utterance that fails to fly. Lyric poets describe their songs as 'winged' or 'flying',56 or as causing the person celebrated to fly.57

In a more pointed image the song is conceived as a bolt shot from a bow.58 'Like an arrow on the bow the minding/hymn is set' (RV 9. 69. 1). 'Like an archer shooting his shaft clear beyond (his rivals), proffer him the praise-song' (10. 42. 1). 'O singer, bring forth the hymn . .. just as an archer aims his arrow, address this prayer to the gods' (AV 20. 127. 6). 'From the mouth fly forth the arrows of speech' (MBh. 5. 34. 77). Once again Pindar provides close parallels:

Many are the swift shafts under my elbow, within the quiver, that speak to those who understand, but for the generality require interpreters . ..

Come, my spirit, aim the bow at the target! Whom do we hit this time with our arrows of glory discharged from gentle heart?59

The arrow is his favourite metaphorical missile, and presumably traditional, but sometimes he varies it by speaking of throwing a javelin (Ol. 13. 93, Pyth. 1. 44, Nem. 7. 71, 9. 55) or a discus (Isth. 2. 35).

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