Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Cast Away Cares

Greek Anthology 10.76 (Paulus Silentiarius, tr. W.R. Paton):
There is no natural pleasure in life itself, but in casting off from our mind anxieties that whiten the temples. I wish for sufficient wealth, but mad lust for gold is a superfluous care that ever devours the heart. Therefore among men thou shalt often find poverty better than wealth, and death than life. Knowing this, make straight the ways of thy heart, looking to one hope, even to wisdom.
The same, tr. J.W. Mackail:
It is not living that has essential delight, but throwing away out of the breast cares that silver the temples. I would have wealth sufficient for me, and the excess of maddening care for gold ever eats away the spirit; thus among men thou wilt find often death better than life, as poverty than wealth. Knowing this, do thou make straight the paths of thine heart, looking to our one hope, Wisdom.
The Greek:
Οὐ τὸ ζῆν χαρίεσσαν ἔχει φύσιν, ἀλλὰ τὸ ῥῖψαι
  φροντίδας ἐκ στέρνων τὰς πολιοκροτάφους.
πλοῦτον ἔχειν ἐθέλω τὸν ἐπάρκιον· ἡ δὲ περισσὴ
  θυμὸν ἀεὶ κατέδει χρυσομανὴς μελέτη.
ἔνθεν ἐν ἀνθρώποισιν ἀρείονα πολλάκι δήεις
  καὶ πενίην πλούτου, καὶ βιότου θάνατον.
ταῦτα σὺ γινώσκων κραδίης ἴθυνε κελεύθους,
  εἰς μίαν εἰσορόων ἐλπίδα, τὴν σοφίην.
Latin translation by Hugo Grotius:
Vivere non dulce est, animo sed pellere curas
  Quae pingunt celeri tempora canitie.
Divitias cupiam quantum satis: id quod abundat,
  Est animum auratis sollicitudinibus.
Hinc et saepe mori melius quam vivere, et audax
  Paupertas magnas saepe lacessit opes.
Haec bene cum noris, maneat sapientia sola
  Spes tibi, in hanc certum dirige mentis iter.

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