Thursday, June 25, 2015



Sophocles, Ajax 668-677 (tr. Hugh Lloyd-Jones):
They are commanders, so that we must bow to them, how else? Why, the most formidable and the most powerful of things bow to office; winter's snowy storms make way before summer with its fruits, and night's dread circle moves aside for day drawn by white horses to make her lights blaze; and the blast of fearful winds lulls to rest the groaning sea, and all-powerful Sleep releases those whom he has bound, nor does he hold his prisoners forever. And how shall we not come to know how to be sensible?
The same, tr. R.C. Jebb:
They are rulers, so we must submit. How else? Dread things and things most potent bow to office; thus it is that snow-strewn winter gives place to fruitful summer; and thus night's weary round makes room for day with her white steeds to kindle light; and the breath of dreadful winds can allow the groaning sea to slumber; and, like the rest, almighty Sleep looses whom he has bound, nor holds with a perpetual grasp. And we—must we not learn discretion?
The Greek:
ἄρχοντές εἰσιν, ὥσθ᾿ ὑπεικτέον. τί μήν;
καὶ γὰρ τὰ δεινὰ καὶ τὰ καρτερώτατα
τιμαῖς ὑπείκει· τοῦτο μὲν νιφοστιβεῖς        670
χειμῶνες ἐκχωροῦσιν εὐκάρπῳ θέρει·
ἐξίσταται δὲ νυκτὸς αἰανὴς κύκλος
τῇ λευκοπώλῳ φέγγος ἡμέρᾳ φλέγειν·
δεινῶν δ᾿ ἄημα πνευμάτων ἐκοίμισε
στένοντα πόντον· ἐν δ᾿ ὁ παγκρατὴς Ὕπνος        675
λύει πεδήσας, οὐδ᾿ ἀεὶ λαβὼν ἔχει·
ἡμεῖς δὲ πῶς οὐ γνωσόμεσθα σωφρονεῖν;

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