Tuesday, February 02, 2010


Love Tranquillity

Palladas (Greek Anthology 10.77, tr. W.R. Paton):
Why dost thou labour in vain, O man, and disturb everything, being, as thou art, the slave of the lot that fell to thee at birth? Resign thyself to this, and struggle not against Fate, but content with thy fortune, love tranquillity. Yet strive thou rather, even against Fate, to lead thy delighted spirit to mirth.
The same, tr. Tony Harrison:
Why this desperation to move heaven and earth
to try to change what's doled out at your birth,
the lot you're made a slave to by the gods?

Learn to love tranquillity, and against all odds
coax your glum spirit to its share of mirth.
The Greek original:
Τίπτε μάτην, ἄνθρωπε, πονεῖς καὶ πάντα ταράσσεις,
  κλήρῳ δουλεύων τῷ κατὰ τὴν γένεσιν;
τούτῳ σαυτὸν ἄφες, τῷ δαίμονι μὴ φιλονείκει·
  σὴν δὲ τύχην στέργων, ἡσυχίην ἀγάπα·
μᾶλλον ἐπ᾿ εὐφροσύνην δὲ βιάζεο, καὶ παρὰ μοίρην,
  εἰ δυνατόν ψυχὴν τερπομένην μετάγειν.

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