Thursday, January 02, 2014


Non Tibi Hoc Soli

Timocles, fragment 6 (tr. Charles Burton Gulick):
Good sir, hearken, if haply I shall tell you the truth. Man is a creature born to labour, and many are the distresses which his life carries with it. Therefore he has contrived these respites from his cares; for his mind, taking on forgetfulness of its own burdens, and absorbed in another's woe, departs in joy, instructed withal. Look first at the tragedians, if it please you, and see what a benefit they are to everybody. The poor man, for instance, learns that Telephus was more beggarly than himself, and from that time on he bears his poverty more easily. The sick man sees Alcmeon raving in madness. One has a disease of the eyes—blind are the sons of Phineus. One has lost his son in death—Niobe is a comfort. One is lame—he sees Philoctetes. One meets with misfortune in old age—he learns the story of Oeneus. For he is reminded that all his calamities, which 'are greater than mortal man has ever borne,' have happened to others, and so he bears his own trials more easily.

ὦ τάν, ἄκουσον ἤν τί σοι μέλλω λέγειν.
ἅνθρωπός ἐστι ζῷον ἐπίπονον φύσει,
καὶ πολλὰ λυπήρ᾽ ὁ βίος ἐν ἑαυτῷ φέρει.
παραψυχὰς οὖν φροντίδων ἀνεύρετο
ταύτας· ὁ γὰρ νοῦς τῶν ἰδίων λήθην λαβὼν
πρὸς ἀλλοτρίῳ τε ψυχαγωγηθεὶς πάθει,
μεθ᾽ ἡδονῆς ἀπῆλθε παιδευθεὶς ἅμα.
τοὺς γὰρ τραγῳδοὺς πρῶτον, εἰ βούλει, σκόπει
ὡς ὠφελοῦσι πάντας. ὁ μὲν ὢν γὰρ πένης
πτωχότερον αὑτοῦ καταμαθὼν τὸν Τήλεφον
γενόμενον ἤδη τὴν πενίαν ῥᾷον φέρει.
ὁ νοσῶν δὲ μανικῶς Ἀλκμέων᾽ ἐσκέψατο·
ὀφθαλμιᾷ τις· εἰσὶ Φινεῖδαι τυφλοί.
τέθνηκέ τῳ παῖς· ἡ Νιόβη κεκούφικε.
χωλός τίς ἐστιν· τὸν Φιλοκτήτην ὁρᾷ.
γέρων τις ἀτυχεῖ· κατέμαθεν τὸν Οἰνέα.
ἅπαντα γὰρ τὰ μείζον᾽ ἢ πέπονθέ τις
ἀτυχήματ᾽ ἄλλοις γεγονότ᾽ ἐννοούμενος
τὰς αὐτὸς αὑτοῦ συμφορὰς ῥᾷον φέρει.

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