I’ll tattoo on your head the great and shameless stone which even in Hades hangs above the head of Tantalus

Dubiously attributed to Hermesianax, this passage is the better preserved half of a papyrus fragment containing a curse poem – the curse here being a threat to tattoo (στίξω) on the offender a series of representative reminders of select mytho-historical punishments. The text is from the Loeb Hellenistic Collection. The volume also contains bibliography on the (slim, to me) arguments for assigning the poem to Hermesianax.

Justice, immortal maiden, gave a smile,
Who watches fixedly with open eyes,
And lodges in the breast of Cronian Zeus.
I’ll tattoo on your head the great and shameless stone
Which even in Hades hangs above the head
Of Tantalus for his foolish tongue; in truth, a great
Woe overhung him even in Hades’ halls.
Indeed, he feasted with the immortal gods,
And was the son of cloud-gathering Zeus,
Both rich in wealth, and sons, and honoured too.
Yet, giving licence to his foolish tongue, even so
He could not sidestep punishment; and you hope to flee?
May this never be pleasing to the immortal gods.
I’ll tattoo above your brows a white-tusked boar,
Which once, falling upon the Aetolians’ toils,
At Artemis’ command—it was her will—
Ravaged their standing crops, ravaged their vines,
Slew many hunting dogs, until there fixed
His ashen spear beneath the monster’s jowls
Oeneus’ son, Meleager, best of those
Many heroes then assembled for the hunt.
There came Theseus from Pittheus, came Aithon,
Came Ancaeus with a colossal axe,
Came the sons of Leda and of sovereign Zeus.

WordPress cannot handle transposing conjectural readings so the Greek must be through snips.

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