Monday, August 01, 2016


Never Enough

Aristophanes, Wealth 186-197 (tr. Benjamin Bickley Rogers; the god Wealth, Chremylus, and the slave Cario are onstage):
WE. Can I, unaided, do such feats as these?
CH. O yes, by Zeus, and many more than these.
So that none ever has enough of thee.
Of all things else a man may have too much,
Of love, CAR. Of loaves, CH. Of literature, CAR. Of sweets,        190
CH. Of honour, CAR. Cheesecakes, CH. Manliness, CAR. Dried figs,
CH. Ambition, CAR. Barley-meal, CH. Command, CAR. Pea soup.
CH. But no man ever has enough of thee.
For give a man a sum of thirteen talents,
And all the more he hungers for sixteen;        195
Give him sixteen, and he must needs have forty,
Or life's not worth his living, so he says.

ΠΛ. ἐγὼ τοσαῦτα δυνατός εἰμ᾿ εἷς ὢν ποιεῖν;
ΧΡ. καὶ ναὶ μὰ Δία τούτων γε πολλῷ πλείονα·
ὥστ᾿ οὐδὲ μεστός σου γέγον᾿ οὐδεὶς πώποτε.
τῶν μὲν γὰρ ἄλλων ἐστὶ πάντων πλησμονή·
ἔρωτος, ΚΑΡ. ἄρτων, ΧΡ. μουσικῆς, ΚΑΡ. τραγημάτων,        190
ΧΡ. τιμῆς, ΚΑΡ. πλακούντων, ΧΡ. ἀνδραγαθίας, ΚΑΡ. ἰσχάδων,
ΧΡ. φιλοτιμίας, ΚΑΡ. μάζης, ΧΡ. στρατηγίας, ΚΑΡ. φακῆς.
ΧΡ. σοῦ δ᾿ ἐγένετ᾿ οὐδεὶς μεστὸς οὐδεπώποτε.
ἀλλ᾿ ἢν τάλαντά τις λάβῃ τριακαίδεκα,
πολὺ μᾶλλον ἐπιθυμεῖ λαβεῖν ἑκκαίδεκα·        195
κἂν ταῦθ᾿ ἁνύσηται, τετταράκοντα βούλεται,
ἢ φησὶν οὐ βιωτὸν αὐτῷ τὸν βίον.
Rogers cites a scholion on line 190:
ὅρα πῶς ὁ δεσπότης τὰ πρέποντα αὐτῷ λέγει, ὁ δοῦλος τὰ συμφέροντα αὐτῷ.
See how the master mentions the things suitable to him, the slave the things profitable to him.

From Joel Eidsath:
I'm sure that it's obvious, but in addition to what the scholion mentions, the comedy of the scene is brought out by the call-and-response. Each time Chremylus mentions one of life's finer pleasures, Cario answers back with food. Then Chremylus tries again and Cario just one-ups him again. The meter is what makes it fun, since each one has to answer on the beat. It is almost possible to see the actors performing it on the Athenian stage.

I've bolded the ictus-bearing syllables:

ΧΡ. ἔρωτος, ΚΑΡ. ἄρτων,
ΧΡ. μουσικῆς, ΚΑΡ. τραγημάτων, //
ΧΡ. τιμῆς, ΚΑΡ. πλακούντων,
ΧΡ. ἀνδραγαθίας, ΚΑΡ. σχάδων, //
ΧΡ. φιλοτιμίας, ΚΑΡ. μάζης,
ΧΡ. στρατηγίας, ΚΑΡ. φακῆς. //

(In ἀνδραγαθίας, I took the second syllable of the tribrach as the ictus, following Allen's secondary stress theory.)

Shakespeare sometimes does this sort of thing. Some of the scenes between Petruchio and Katherina come close. But I can't think of a direct parallel. There must be one somewhere, maybe in Shakespeare or a Broadway (or Disney) musical.
Or in Gilbert and Sullivan.

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