Thursday, December 18, 2014


The Golden Mean

Greek Anthology 5.37 (by Rufinus; tr. W.R. Paton):
Take not to your arms a woman who is too slender nor one too stout, but choose the mean between the two. The first has not enough abundance of flesh, and the second has too much. Choose neither deficiency nor excess.

μήτ᾿ ἰσχνὴν λίην περιλάμβανε μήτε παχεῖαν,
    τούτων δ᾿ ἀμφοτέρων τὴν μεσότητα θέλε.
τῇ μὲν γὰρ λείπει σαρκῶν χύσις, ἡ δὲ περισσὴν
    κέκτηται· λεῖπον μὴ θέλε μηδὲ πλέον.
Denys Page in his commentary calls this "the feeblest of Rufinus' epigrams."

I briefly considered λεπτὸν for λεῖπον in the last line, but it was a bad idea—λεῖπον (present participle of λείπω) balances πλέον perfectly and reprises λείπει in the preceding line.

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