Friday, September 29, 2017


Changeable and Inscrutable

Euripides, Helen 711-715 (servant speaking to Helen, after her reunion with Menelaus; tr. Richmond Lattimore):
My daughter, the way of god is complex; he is hard
for us to predict. He moves the pieces and they come
somehow into a kind of order. Some have bad luck
while others, scatheless, meet their evil and go down
in turn. None can hold fortune still and make it last.        715

ὦ θύγατερ, ὁ θεὸς ὡς ἔφυ τι ποικίλον
καὶ δυστέκμαρτον. εὖ δέ πως πάντα στρέφει
ἐκεῖσε κἀκεῖσ᾿ ἀναφέρων· ὁ μὲν πονεῖ,
ὁ δ᾿ οὐ πονήσας αὖθις ὄλλυται κακῶς,
βέβαιον οὐδὲν τῆς ἀεὶ τύχης ἔχων.        715

712 πάντα στρέφει Herwerden: ἀναστρέφει L
post 713 lacunam ind. Holzner
Somewhat more literally:
Daughter, what a changeable thing
and hard to figure out is god. Somehow he completely upsets all things,
shifting them this way and that. One man toils;
another, not having toiled, afterwards perishes in a bad way,
constantly having no stability of fortune.        715
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