Thursday, March 30, 2017


Now is the Time for All Good Men to Come to the Aid of Their Country

Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes 10-20 (tr. Alan H. Sommerstein):
This is the time when every one of you—including both those who have not yet reached the peak of young manhood, and those whom time has carried past it and who are feeding abundant bodily growth—must have a care for your city, as is right and proper, must come to its aid, to the aid of the altars of its native gods so as never to let their rites be obliterated, to the aid of your children, and to the aid of your Motherland, your most loving nurse; for when you were children crawling on her kindly soil, she generously accepted all the toil of your upbringing, and nurtured you to become her shield-bearing inhabitants and be faithful to her in this hour of need.

ὑμᾶς δὲ χρὴ νῦν, καὶ τὸν ἐλλείποντ᾿ ἔτι        10
ἥβης ἀκμαίας καὶ τὸν ἔξηβον χρόνῳ
βλαστημὸν ἀλδαίνοντα σώματος πολύν,
ὤραν ἔχονθ᾿ ἕκαστον, ὥστε συμπρεπές,
πόλει τ᾿ ἀρήγειν καὶ θεῶν ἐγχωρίων
βωμοῖσι, τιμὰς μὴ ᾿ξαλειφθῆναί ποτε,        15
τέκνοις τε γῇ τε μητρί, φιλτάτῃ τρόφῳ·
ἣ γὰρ νέους ἕρποντας εὐμενεῖ πέδῳ,
ἅπαντα πανδοκοῦσα παιδείας ὄτλον,
ἐθρέψατ᾿ οἰκητῆρας ἀσπιδηφόρους
πιστοὺς ὅπως γένοισθε πρὸς χρέος τόδε.        20
Id. 30-35:
So get moving, all of you, to the battlements and gates of the walls—hurry, with your full armour! Man the parapets, take your stand on the platforms of the walls, stand firm at the gate entrances, have good confidence, and don't be too afraid of this horde of foreigners. God will bring success!

ἀλλ᾿ εἴς τ᾿ ἐπάλξεις καὶ πύλας πυργωμάτων        30
ὁρμᾶσθε πάντες, σοῦσθε σὺν παντευχίᾳ·
πληροῦτε θωρακεῖα, κἀπὶ σέλμασιν
πύργων στάθητε, καὶ πυλῶν ἐπ᾿ ἐξόδοις
μίμνοντες εὖ θαρσεῖτε, μηδ᾿ ἐπηλύδων
ταρβεῖτ᾿ ἄγαν ὅμιλον· εὖ τελεῖ θεός.        35
David Grene's translation (rev. Mark Griffith and Glenn W. Most):
You must help her now—both you who still
are short of your full manhood and you who
have bodies grown to greater bulk and strength—
each of you to such duties as befit you:
help the city, help the altars of your country's gods;
save their honors from destruction;
help your children, help Earth your mother.
She reared you, on her kindly surface, crawling
babies, welcomed all the trouble of your nurture,
reared you to live here and to carry a shield
in her defense, loyally, against such needs as this.


All to the battlements, to the gates of the towers!
Haste, in full armor, man the breastworks:
stand on the scaffolding and at the exit gates
be firm, abide, your hearts confident:
fear not that mighty mob of foreigners.
God will dispose all well.

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