Sunday, October 30, 2011
More on Retirement Planning
From Karl Maurer:
Michael, regarding the Greek tomb inscription you posted last Monday, s.v. "Retirement Planning" – it strikes me as improbable that whoever composed it, who could make 3 hexameters and 2 pentameters that are metrically, and grammatically, faultless, could have spoiled his couplets with 3 consecutive hexameters! I'm not very experienced in Greek inscriptions, but I know that in the Latin ones, such a blemish – as if the composer forgot for a moment to count the feet! – is usually accompanied by other tell-tale signs of amateurism; but here there are none. (Only two eccentricities in spelling, which could be due to the carver.) So I think perhaps if I were if I were the editor, I might put asterisks in place of the missing line 4, and translate e.g. (here line 4 of course is just 'exempli gratia')
Here is a human being: see who you are and what awaits you.
Looking at this picture consider your end
and use your goods neither as if you had unlimited life,
[so that when you die young, the heir will enjoy what you did not],
nor as if quick to die, so that when you are old many
will whip you with words as someone hemmed in by poverty.
(By the way, I wouldn't translate the last clause as 'with the result that' (etc.), as you do, but say either 'in order that' (etc.) or more ambiguously 'so that'; for it's formally a purpose clause, and to me it seems to have more force that way!)