Monday, April 20, 2015


Why Should We Lament These Things?

Euripides, fragment 757 (from Hypsipyle), lines 122-128 (tr. Christopher Collard and Martin Cropp):
No mortal was ever born who does not suffer;
he buries children and gets other new ones,
and dies himself, and mortals grieve at these things,
bringing earth to earth. But it is our inevitable lot
to harvest life like a fruitful crop,
for one of us to live, one not: why should we
lament these things, which by our very nature we must endure?

ἔφυ μὲν οὐδεὶς ὅ[στις οὐ πονεῖ βροτῶν·
θάπτει τε τέκ[να χἄτερα κτᾶται νέα,
αὐτός τε θνῄσκε[ι· καὶ τάδ᾿ ἄχθονται βροτοὶ
εἰς γῆν φέροντες [γῆν. ἀναγκαίως δ᾿ ἔχει
βίον θερίζειν ὥ[στε κάρπιμον στάχυν,
καὶ τὸν μὲν εἶ[ναι, τὸν δὲ μή· τί ταῦτα δεῖ
στένειν ἅπε[ρ δεῖ κατὰ φύσιν διεκπερᾶν;
Cicero translated these lines in Tusculan Disputations 3.25.59 (tr. J.E. King):
No mortal is there but pain finds him out
And sickness; many must their children bury,
And sow fresh issue; death is end for all;
In vain do these things vex the race of men,
Earth must go back to earth: then life by all
Like crops is reaped. So bids Necessity.

mortalis nemo est quem non attingit dolor
morbusque; multis sunt humandi liberi,
rursum creandi, morsque est finita omnibus,
quae generi humano angorem nequicquam adferunt.
reddenda terrae est terra, tum vita omnibus
metenda, ut fruges. sic iubet necessitas.

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