Thursday, November 16, 2006


Men and Gods

Pindar, Nemean Odes 6.1-7 (tr. Henry David Thoreau):
One the race of men and of gods;
And from one mother
We all breathe.
But quite different power
Divides us, so that the one is nothing,
But the brazen heaven remains always
A secure abode. Yet in some respects we are related,
Either in mighty mind or form, to the Immortals;
Although not knowing
To what resting place
By day or night, Fate has written that we shall run.
The same (tr. Ernest Myers):
One race there is of men and one of gods, but from one mother draw we both our breath, yet is the strength of us diverse altogether, for the race of man is as nought, but the brazen heaven abideth, a habitation steadfast unto everlasting. Yet withal have we somewhat in us like unto the immortals' bodily shape or mighty mind, albeit we know not what course hath Destiny marked out for us to run, neither in the daytime, neither in the night.
The same (tr. C.M. Bowra):
Single is the race, single
Of men and of gods;
From a single mother we both draw breath.
But a difference of power in everything
Keeps us apart;
For one is as nothing, but the brazen sky
Stays a fixt habitation for ever.
Yet we can in greatness of mind
Or of body be like the Immortals,
Though we know not to what goal
By day or in the nights
Fate has written that we shall run.
The same (tr. G.S. Conway):
The race of men and of the gods is one.
  For from one mother have we both
    The life we breathe.
  And yet the whole discrete endowment
    Of power sets us apart;
For man is naught, but the bronze vault of heaven
Remains forever a throne immutable.
  Nevertheless some likeness still
May we with the immortals claim, whether
Of mind's nobility or body's grace,
  Though knowing not to what goal
Has destiny, by day or through the night,
  Marked out for us to run.
The same (tr. William H. Race):
There is one race of men, another of gods; but from one mother
we both draw our breath. Yet the allotment of a wholly
different power separates us, for the one race is nothing,
  whereas the bronze heaven remains a secure abode
forever. Nevertheless, we do somewhat resemble
the immortals, either in greatness of mind or bodily nature,
although we do not know
  by day or in the night
what course destiny
has marked for us to run.
The Greek original:
ἓν ἀνδρῶν, ἓν θεῶν γένος: ἐκ μιᾶς δὲ πνέομεν
ματρὸς ἀμφότεροι: διείργει δὲ πᾶσα κεκριμένα
δύναμις, ὡς τὸ μὲν οὐδέν, ὁ δὲ
  χάλκεος ἀσφαλὲς αἰὲν ἕδος
μένει οὐρανός. ἀλλά τι προσφέρομεν ἔμπαν ἢ μέγαν
νόον ἤτοι φύσιν ἀθανάτοις,
καίπερ ἐφαμερίαν οὐκ
  εἰδότες οὐδὲ μετὰ νύκτας
ἄμμε πότμος
οἵαν τιν' ἔγραψε δραμεῖν ποτὶ στάθμαν.

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