Friday, August 01, 2014


Rain on the Roof

Sophocles, fragment 636 (tr. Hugh Lloyd-Jones):
Ah, ah, what greater joy could you obtain than this, that of reaching land and then under the roof hearing the heavy rain in your sleeping mind?

φεῦ φεῦ, τί τούτου χάρμα μεῖζον ἂν λάβοις,
τοῦ γῆς ἐπιψαύσαντα κᾆθ' ὑπὸ στέγῃ
πυκνῆς ἀκοῦσαι ψακάδος εὑδούσῃ φρενί;
It's possible that εὑδούσῃ here means just "at ease" (so Liddell-Scott-Jones, citing this passage) or "at rest," rather than literally sleeping. Usually ψακάς denotes a light rain—see Aristotle, Meteorology 1.9 (347 a 11; tr. E.W. Webster):
When water falls in small drops it is called a drizzle [ψακάδες]; when the drops are larger it is rain [ὑετός].

ὅταν μὲν κατὰ μικρὰ φέρηται, ψακάδες, ὅταν δὲ κατὰ μείζω μόρια, ὑετὸς καλεῖται.

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