Bob Yantosca's Epic Poetry Quiz
Why an Epic Poetry Quiz?
Simple. I like epics. After all, I used to be quite the classicist in high school and college.
Equally simple. You must discern from which epic poem each quote is taken. If you answer a question correctly, give yourself the number of points allotted to that question. A perfect score is 45 points.
Table of Contents:
Each of the following excerpts are opening lines of various epic poems. I have taken them from various English translations (sorry, my Latin is very rusty, and my Greek almost nonexistent), so they may be somewhat different than other translations you've seen. Anyway, I think they should all be recognizable, regardless of which tranlation you've seen.
The opening lines are arranged in order of difficulty. In other words, I've put what I think are the easiest quotes at the beginning and the most difficult at the end.
Opening Line #1 (1 point)
I sing of arms and the hero who, from Trojan shores,
A fated exile, first set foot on Italian soil
And the Lavinian coast; driven on land and sea
By force of Heaven's gods and the unremitting anger
Of cruel Juno. He suffered also much in war
To found his city and bring his gods to Latium,
Whence Latins, Alban Fathers, and walls of mighty Rome.
Tell me the reasons, Muse, what slight to her will divine,
Suffering what hurt did Heaven's Queen drive on a man
So righteous, to endure so many woes and afflictions?
Can gods harbor such resentment in their immortal breasts
Opening Line #2 (1 point)
Anger be now your song, Immortal one,
Akhilleus anger, doomed and ruinous
That caused the Akhaians loss on bitter loss
And crowded brave souls into the undergloom
Leaving so many dead men--carrion
For dogs and birds; and the will of Zeus was done....
Opening Line #3 (1 point)
Hear me! We've heard of Danish heroes,
Ancient kings and they glory they cut
For themselves, swinging mighty swords!...
Opening Line #4 (1 point)
Tell me, Muse, about the man of many turns, who many
Ways wandered when he had sacked Troy's holy citadel.
He saw the cities of many men, and he knew their thought;
On the ocean he suffered many pains within his heart,
Striving for his life and his companions' return.
But he did not save his companions, though he wanted to:
They lost their own lives because of their recklessness.
The fools, they devoured the cattle of Hyperion,
The Sun, and he took away the day of their return.
Begin the tale somewhere for us also, goddess, daughter of Zeus....
Opening Line #5 (1 point)
Of Mans First Disobedience and the Fruit
Of that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal tast
Brought Death into the World and all our woe,
With loss of Eden until one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful Seat,
Sing Heav'nly Muse, that on the secret top
Of Oreb or Sinai didst inspire
That Shepherd, who first taught the chosen Seed
In the Beginning how the Heav'ns and Earth
Rose out of Chaos: Or if Sion Hilll
Delight thee more, and Siloa's Brook that flow'd
Fast by the Oracle of God; I thence
Invoke thy aid to my adventrous Song,
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Above the Aonian Mount, while it pursues
Things unattempted yet in Prose or Rime....
Opening Line #6 (1 point)
Midway along the journey of our life
I woke to find myself in a dark wood,
For I had wandered off from the straight path.....
Opening Line #7 (1 point)
My intention is to tell of bodies changed
To different forms; the gods, who made the changes,
Will help meŚor I hope soŚwith a poem
That runs from the world's beginning to our own days....
Opening Line #8 (1 point)
For better waters, now, the little bark
of my poetic powers hoists its sails
and leaves behind that cruelest of the seas....
Opening Line #9 (3 points)
The glory of the One Who moves all things
Penetrates the universe, reflecting
In one part more and in another less....
Opening Line #10 (3 points)
I who e're while the happy Garden sung
By one mans disobedience lost, now sing
Recover'd Paradise to all mankind,
By one mans firm obedience fully tri'd
Through all temptation, and the Tempter foil'd
In all his wiles, defeated and repuls't
And Eden rais'd in the wast wilderness....
Opening Line #11 (5 points)
A little onward lend thy guiding hand
To these dark steps, a little further on
For yonder bank hath choice of Sun or shade.
There I am wont to sit, when any chance
Relieves me from my task of servile toyl....
Opening Line #12 (5 points)
Of him who knew the most of all men know;
Who made the journey; heartbroken; reconciled;
The secret things, the mystery; who went
To the end of the earth, and over; who returned
And wrote the story on a tablet of stone....
If you think the opening lines were easy, wait till you try this. The closing lines are in no particular order, since they are all pretty much of the same difficulty. Same rules as above.
Closing Line #1 (1 point)
At this point power failed high fantasy
But, like a wheel in perfect balance turning,
I felt my will and desire impelled
by the Love that moves the Sun and other stars..
Closing Line #2 (1 point)
The World was all before them, where to choose
Thir place of rest, and Providence thir guide:
They hand in hand with wandring steps and slow,
Through Eden took thir solitarie way.
Closing Line #3 (1 point)
All is best, though we oft doubt
What th' unsearchable dispose
Of highest wisdom brings about,
And ever best found in the close.
Oft he seems to hide his face,
But unexpectedly returns
And to his faithful Champion hath in place
Bore witness gloriously; whence Gaza mourns
And all that band them to resist
His uncontroulable intent;
His servants he with new acquist
Of true experience from this great event
With peace and consolation hath dismist
And calm of mind all passion spent.
Closing Line #4 (1 point)
Then Pallas Athene, daughter of aegis-bearing Zeus,
Established oaths for the future between both sides,
Likening herself to Mentor in form and in voice.
Closing Line #5 (1 point)
We climbed, he first and I behind, until,
Through a small round opening ahead of us,
I saw the lovely things the heavens hold,
And we came out once more to see the stars.
Closing Line #6 (1 point)
So saying, he buried the sword in his chest with blazing anger.
The limbs of Turnus relaxed in the chill of death;
his spirit fled, resentful, to the Shades below.
Closing Line #7 (1 point)
Now I have done my work. It will endure,
I trust, beyond Jove's anger, fire, and sword,
Beyond time's hunger. The day will come, I know,
So let it come, that day which has no power
Save over my body, to end my span of life
Whatever it may be. Still, part of me,
The better part, immortal, will be borne
Above the stars; my name will be remembered
Wherever Roman power rules conquered lands
I shall be read, and through all centuries,
If prophecies of bards are ever truthful,
I shall be living, always.
Closing Line #8 (1 point)
Thus they the Son of God our Saviour meek
Sung Victor, and from Heav'nly Feast refresht
Brought on his way with joy; hee unobserv'd
Home to his Mothers house private return'd.
Closing Line #9 (1 point)
From those holiest waters I returned
To her reborn, a tree, renewed in bloom,
With newborn foliage, immaculate,
Eager to rise, now ready for the stars.
Closing Line #10 (1 point)
Study the brickwork, study the fortification
Climb the great ancient staircase to the terrace;
Study how it is made; from the terrace see
The planted and fallow fields, the ponds and orchards
One league is inner city, another league
Is orchards; still another the fields beyond;
Over there is the precinct of the temple.
Three leagues and the temple precinct of Ishtar;
Measure Uruk, the city of .
Note: I deleted the last word of the excerpt, because it would divulge the answer. And that wouldn't be cricket!!
Closing Line #11 (1 point)
....And so 's followers
Rode, mourning their beloved leader
Crying that no better king had ever
Lived, no prince so mild, no man
So open to his people, so deserving of praise.
Note: Here again, the word in brackets has been deleted since it would give away the answer.
Closing Line #12 (1 point)
...When they had finished
Raising the barrow, they returned to Ilion,
Where all sat down to banquet in his honor
In the hall of Priam king. So they performed
The funeral rites of Hektor, tamer of horses.
For each quote, you must identify both the speaker of the quote and the poem in which the quote is found. The entries are listed from least difficult to most difficult.
Random Quote #1 (1 point)
Friends, No-man is killing me by craft, not by force!
Random Quote #2 (1 point)
...Trojans, trust not the horse!
Whatever it be, I fear the Greeks, even bearing gifts!
Random Quote #3 (1 point)
To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav'n.
Random Quote #4 (3 points)
Huwawa's mouth is fire; his roar the floodwater;
His breath is death; Enlil made him guardian
Of the Cedar Forest, to frighten off the mortal
who would venture there.
Random Quote #5 (3 points)
This is your hour to glory over me,
Hektor. The Lord Zeus and Apollo gave you
The upper hand and put me down with ease.
They stripped me of my arms. No one else did.
Say twenty men like you had come against me,
All would have died before my spear.
No, Leto's son and final destiny
have killed me; if we speak of men, Euphorbos.
You were in third place, only in at the death.
Last modified 12 Sep 2012