15(1) Καθῄρηται ὁ Φρύξ, βλέπει γοῦν ἀπολωλὸς ἤδη διὰ ξύνεσιν ὧν πείσεται καὶ ὕστατα δὴ αὐλῆσαι πεπίστευκεν οὐκ ἐς καιρὸν ἐς τὸν τῆς Λητοῦς θρασυνάμενος, ἔρριπταί τε αὐτῷ ὁ αὐλὸς ἄτιμος μὴ αὐλεῖν ἔτι, ὡς καὶ νῦν ἀπᾴδων 20ἐλήλεγκται· καὶ παρέστηκε μὲν τῇ πίτυι, ἀφ᾿ ἧς κρεμασθήσεσθαι οἶδε ταύτην ἑαυτοῦ καταδικασάμενος δίκην ἀσκὸς δεδάρθαι. (2) Ὑποβλέπει δὲ ἐς τὸν βάρβαρον τοῦτον τὴν ἀκμὴν τῆς μαχαίρας παρακονώμενον ἐς αὐτόν· ὁρᾷς γάρ 25που, ὡς αἱ μὲν χεῖρες ἐς τὴν ἀκόνην αὐτῷ καὶ τὸν σίδηρον, ἀναβλέπει δὲ ἐς τὸν Μαρσύαν γλαυκιῶν τὼ ὀφθαλμὼ καὶ κόμην τινὰ διανιστὰς ἀγρίαν τε καὶ αὐχμῶσαν. τὸ δὲ ἐπὶ τῆς παρειᾶς ἔρευθος φονῶντος οἶμαι καὶ ἡ 30ὀφρῦς δὲ ὑπέρκειται τοῦ ὄμματος ἐς αὐγὴν1 ξυνηγμένη καὶ διδοῦσά τι τῷ θυμῷ ἦθος, ἀλλὰ καὶ σέσηρεν ἄγριόν τι ὑπὸ τῶν μελλόντων αὐτῷ
The Phrygian has been overcome; at any rate his glance is that of a man already perished, since he knows what he is to suffer, and he realizes that he has played the flute for the last time, inasmuch as inopportunely he acted with effrontery towards the son of Leto. His flute has been thrown away, condemned never to be played again, since just now it has been convicted of playing out of tune. And he stands near the pine tree from which he knows he will be suspended, he himself having named this penalty for himself—to be skinned for a wine-bottle.2 He glances furtively at the barbarian yonder who is whetting the edge of the knife to be applied to him; for you see, I am sure, that the man’s hands are on the whetstone and the iron, but that he looks up at Marsyas with glaring eyes, his wild and squalid hair all bristling. The red on his cheek betokens, I think, a man thirsty for blood, and his eyebrow overhangs the eye, all contracted as it faces the light3 and giving a certain stamp to his anger; nay, he grins, too, a savage grin in anticipation of what he is about to do—I am not
- 1The story is that Marsyas presumptuously undertook to prove that the music of his flute was superior to Apollo’s music on the lyre. Defeated in the contest, he was flayed alive. Cf. Xen. Anab.I. 28: “It was here (at Celaenae), according to the story, that Apollo flayed Marsyas, after having defeated him in a contest of musical skill; he hung up his skin in the cave from which the sources issue, and it is for this reason that the river is called Marsyas.”
- 2i.e. in case he should be defeated by Apollo in the contest. The expression is current in classical writers, e.g. Solon. Frag. 33, 7 Bergk.; Aristophanes, Νub. 442.
- 3A similar expression is used by the elder Philostratus, Vit. Apoll. 283, 10 K (VII. 28).