Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Living is an ailment which is relieved every sixteen hours by sleep. A palliative. Death is the cure.Cf. Alexander Pope, Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot, line 132: "this long disease, my life," and Thomas Browne, Religio Medici, Part 2, § 9: "I boast nothing, but plainly say, we all labour against our own cure; for death is the cure of all diseases."
Vivre est une maladie dont le sommeil nous soulage toutes les seize heures; c'est un palliatif: la mort est le remède.
There are probably many classical analogues, but only two come to mind.
Aeschylus, fragment 353 Nauck (tr. Herbert Weir Smyth):
Since unjustly men hate death, which is the greatest defence against their many ills.Lucian, Dialogues of the Dead 27.9 (tr. H.W. and F.G. Fowler):
ὡς οὐ δικαίως θάνατον ἔχθουσιν βροτοί,
ὅσπερ μέγιστον ῥῦμα τῶν πολλῶν κακῶν.
Well, we need wonder no more at youth, when age is still in love with life; one would have thought it should court death as the cure for its proper ills.
τί οὖν ἄν τις ἔτι λέγοι περὶ τῶν νέων͵ ὁπότε οἱ τηλικοῦτοι φιλόζωοί εἰσιν͵ οὓς ἐχρῆν διώκειν τὸν θάνατον ὡς τῶν ἐν τῷ γήρᾳ κακῶν φάρμακον.