Monday, June 05, 2017


A Man's Prayer for His Son

Homer, Iliad 6.476-481 (Hector speaking; tr. Richmond Lattimore):
Zeus, and you other immortals, grant that this boy, who is my son,
may be as I am, pre-eminent among the Trojans,
great in strength, as am I, and rule strongly over Ilion;
and some day let them say of him: "He is better by far than his father",
as he comes in from the fighting; and let him kill his enemy
and bring home the blooded spoils, and delight the heart of his mother.

Ζεῦ ἄλλοι τε θεοὶ δότε δὴ καὶ τόνδε γενέσθαι
παῖδ᾽ ἐμὸν ὡς καὶ ἐγώ περ ἀριπρεπέα Τρώεσσιν,
ὧδε βίην τ᾽ ἀγαθόν, καὶ Ἰλίου ἶφι ἀνάσσειν·
καί ποτέ τις εἴποι πατρός γ᾽ ὅδε πολλὸν ἀμείνων
ἐκ πολέμου ἀνιόντα· φέροι δ᾽ ἔναρα βροτόεντα        480
κτείνας δήϊον ἄνδρα, χαρείη δὲ φρένα μήτηρ.
Usually sons are inferior to their fathers—see e.g. Homer, Odyssey 2.276-277 (tr. Richmond Lattimore):
For few are the children who turn out to be equals of their fathers,
and the greater number are worse; few are better than their father is.

παῦροι γάρ τοι παῖδες ὁμοῖοι πατρὶ πέλονται,
οἱ πλέονες κακίους, παῦροι δέ τε πατρὸς ἀρείους.

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