Sunday, July 31, 2016


A Shadow

Euripides, Medea 1224-1230 (tr. David Kovacs):
As for our mortal life, this is not the first time that I have thought it to be a shadow, and I would say without any fear that those mortals who seem to be clever and crafters of polished speeches are guilty of the greatest folly. For no mortal ever attains to blessedness. One may may be luckier than another when wealth flows his way, but blessed never.

τὰ θνητὰ δ᾿ οὐ νῦν πρῶτον ἡγοῦμαι σκιάν,
οὐδ᾿ ἂν τρέσας εἴποιμι τοὺς σοφοὺς βροτῶν        1225
δοκοῦντας εἶναι καὶ μεριμνητὰς λόγων
τούτους μεγίστην μωρίαν ὀφλισκάνειν.
θνητῶν γὰρ οὐδείς ἐστιν εὐδαίμων ἀνήρ·
ὄλβου δ᾿ ἐπιρρυέντος εὐτυχέστερος
ἄλλου γένοιτ᾿ ἂν ἄλλος, εὐδαίμων δ᾿ ἂν οὔ.        1230

1227 μωρίαν editio Aldina: ζημίαν codd.
Gilbert Murray's version (he translates ζημίαν in line 1227, which is also printed in his Oxford Classical Text edition):
                                                   Long ago
I looked upon man's days, and found a grey
Shadow. And this thing more I surely say,
That those of all men who are counted wise,
Strong wits, devisers of great policies,
Do pay the bitterest toll. Since life began,
Hath there in God's eye stood one happy man?
Fair days roll on, and bear more gifts or less
Of fortune, but to no man happiness.

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