Friday, July 23, 2010


The Freedom of Scanty Fare

Greek Anthology 9.43 (Parmenion of Macedonia, tr. W.R. Paton):
The simple covering of my cloak is enough for me; and I, who feed on the flowers of the Muses, shall never be the slave of the table. I hate witless wealth, the nurse of flatterers, and I will not stand in attendance on one who looks down on me. I know the freedom of scanty fare.
The same, tr. Peter Jay in The Greek Anthology and Other Ancient Greek Epigrams: A Selection in Modern Verse Translations (London: Allen Lane, 1973), p. 237:
The protection of a cheap coat suffices. I
Who graze on the Muses' flowers, will not be slave
To any table. I hate wealth's inanity,
The hot-bed of hangers-on. I wait
On no one's frown, I know
A meagre diet's freedom.
The same, tr. Florent Chrestien in Epigrammata ex Libris Graecae Anthologiae (Lutetiae: Ex Typographia Roberti Stephani, 1608), folio 5 verso:
Sat mihi sat vilis laena est; servire recuso
  Mensis, Musarum munere donec alar.
Odi assentantes & opes sine mente superbas:
  Libertas coenae me iuvat exiguae.
The same, tr. Hugo Grotius:
Sat mihi palliolum pro tegmine: non ego mensis
  Servio, qui pascor floribus Aonidum.
Triste & adulantes & nutus triste potentum
  Ferre mihi; in modica libera vita dape est.
The original Greek:
Ἀρκεῖ μοι χλαίνης λιτὸν σκέπας, οὐδὲ τραπέζαις
  δουλεύσω, Μουσέων ἄνθεα βοσκόμενος.
μισῶ πλοῦτον ἄνουν, κολάκων τροφόν, οὐδὲ παρ' ὀφρὺν
  στήσομαι· οἶδ' ὀλίγης δαιτὸς ἐλευθερίην.
Commentary in A.S.F. Gow and D.L. Page, The Greek Anthology: The Garland of Philip and Some Contemporary Epigrams (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1968), vol. II, p. 324.

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