Friday, September 11, 2015


Don't Cry

Sophocles, fragment 557 (from Men of Scyros; Achilles' son Neoptolemus speaking; tr. Hugh Lloyd-Jones):
Why, if it were possible to heal troubles by weeping,
and to raise up the dead by tears,
gold would be a less precious possession than lamentation!
But as things are, aged man, it is impossible
to bring up to the light him who is hidden in the tomb.
Why, if tears could have done it, my father
would have been brought up to the light!

ἀλλ᾿ εἰ μὲν ἦν κλαίουσιν ἰᾶσθαι κακὰ
καὶ τὸν θανόντα δακρύοις ἀνιστάναι,
ὁ χρυσὸς ἧσσον κτῆμα τοῦ κλαίειν ἂν ἦν.
νῦν δ᾿, ὦ γεραιέ, τοῦτ᾿ ἀνηνύτως ἔχει,
τὸν ἐν τάφῳ κρυφθέντα πρὸς τὸ φῶς ἄγειν·
κἀμοὶ γὰρ ἂν χάριν γε δακρύων πατὴρ
ἀνῆκτ᾿ ἂν εἰς φῶς.
Philemon, fragment 73 Kock = Comicorum Atticorum Fragmenta, vol. II, pp. 497-498 (tr. Frank Cole Babbitt):
If only tears were remedy for ills,
And he who weeps obtained surcease of woe,
Then we should purchase tears by giving gold.
But as it is, events that come to pass,
My master, do not mind nor heed these things,
But, whether you shed tears or not, pursue
The even tenor of their way. What then
Do we accomplish by our weeping? Naught.
But as the trees have fruit, grief has these tears.

εἰ τὰ δάκρυ᾿ ἡμῖν τῶν κακῶν ἦν φάρμακον,
ἀεί θ᾿ ὁ κλαύσας τοῦ πονεῖν ἐπαύετο,
ἠλλαττόμεσθ᾿ ἂν δάκρυα, δόντες χρυσίον.
νῦν δ᾿ οὐ προσέχει τὰ πράγματ᾿ οὐδ᾿ ἀποβλέπει
εἰς ταῦτα, δέσποτ᾿, ἀλλὰ τὴν αὐτὴν ὁδόν,
ἐάν τε κλάῃς ἄν τε μή, πορεύεται.
τί οὖν πλέον ποιοῦμεν; οὐδέν· ἡ λύπη δ᾿ ἔχει
ὥσπερ τὰ δένδρα ταῦτα καρπὸν τὰ δάκρυα.
I don't have access to Poetae Comici Graeci, edd. Rudolf Kassel and Colin Austin, vol. VII (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1989).

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