Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Hostile Laughter

Athena to Odysseus, in Sophocles, Ajax 79 (tr. Hugh Lloyd-Jones):
Is not laughing at one's enemies the most delighful sort of laughter?

οὔκουν γέλως ἥδιστος εἰς ἐχθροὺς γελᾶν;
Sophocles, Electra 277-281 (tr. R.C. Jebb):
Nay, as if exulting in [ἐγγελῶσα = laughing in] her deeds, having found the day on which she treacherously slew my father of old, she keeps it with dance and song, and month by month sacrifices sheep to the gods who have wrought her deliverance.

ἀλλ᾽ ὥσπερ ἐγγελῶσα τοῖς ποιουμένοις,
εὑροῦσ᾽ ἐκείνην ἡμέραν, ἐν ᾗ τότε
πατέρα τὸν ἀμὸν ἐκ δόλου κατέκτανεν,
ταύτῃ χοροὺς ἵστησι καὶ μηλοσφαγεῖ
θεοῖσιν ἔμμην᾽ ἱερὰ τοῖς σωτηρίοις.
Sophocles, Electra 804-807 (tr. Jebb):
How think ye? Was there not grief and anguish there, wondrous weeping and wailing of that miserable mother, for the son who perished by such a fate? Nay, she left us with a laugh!

ἆρ᾽ ὑμὶν ὡς ἀλγοῦσα κὠδυνωμένη
δεινῶς δακρῦσαι κἀπικωκῦσαι δοκεῖ
τὸν υἱὸν ἡ δύστηνος ὧδ᾽ ὀλωλότα;
ἀλλ᾽ ἐγγελῶσα φροῦδος.
Sophocles, Electra 1153 (tr. Lloyd-Jones):
Our enemies are laughing.

γελῶσι δ᾽ ἐχθροί.
Sophocles, Electra 1293-1295 (tr. Lloyd-Jones):
But tell me what will suit the present time, where we must appear or where we must hide to put a stop to our enemies' laughter by our present expedition.

ἃ δ᾽ ἁρμόσει μοι τῷ παρόντι νῦν χρόνῳ
σήμαιν᾽, ὅπου φανέντες ἢ κεκρυμμένοι
γελῶντας ἐχθροὺς παύσομεν τῇ νῦν ὁδῷ.
Sophocles, Philoctetes 258-259 (tr. Jebb):
No, the men who wickedly cast me out keep their secret and laugh.

ἀλλ᾽ οἱ μὲν ἐκβαλόντες ἀνοσίως ἐμὲ
γελῶσι σῖγ᾽ ἔχοντες.
Sophocles, Philoctetes 1020-1024 (tr. Jebb):
But, since the gods grant nothing sweet to me, thou livest and art glad, while life itself is pain to me, steeped in misery as I am, -- mocked [γελώμενος = laughed at] by thee and by the sons of Atreus, for whom thou doest this errand.

ἀλλ᾽ οὐ γὰρ οὐδὲν θεοὶ νέμουσιν ἡδύ μοι,
σὺ μὲν γέγηθας ζῶν, ἐγὼ δ᾽ ἀλγύνομαι
τοῦτ᾽ αὔθ᾽, ὅτι ζῶ σὺν κακοῖς πολλοῖς τάλας,
γελώμενος πρὸς σοῦ τε καὶ τῶν Ἀτρέως
διπλῶν στρατηγῶν, οἷς σὺ ταῦθ᾽ ὑπηρετεῖς.
Sophocles, Philoctetes 1123-1125 (tr. Lloyd-Jones):
Alas for me, somewhere by the shore of the gray sea he sits and mocks me [γελᾷ μου = laughs at me].

οἴμοι μοι, καί που πολιᾶς
πόντου θινὸς ἐφήμενος
γελᾷ μου.
Psalms 22.7-8:
All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head saying, He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.
Psalms 80.6:
Our enemies laugh among themselves.

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