Sunday, May 10, 2020


Good and Bad Breeding

Theognis 183-192 (tr. Moses Hadas and James Willis, slightly modified):
Horses and asses and sheep we value according to breeding, Cyrnus, and wish them to be bred from the finest of sires. Yet our nobles gladly accept bad women, of low birth, to be their wives, if only the dowry is great. And a woman does not refuse a base companion in wedlock if he is rich: she admires wealthy men rather than good. Gold is what men adore; the base now mates with the noble; nobles mate with the base: money confuses the breed. So do not wonder, son of Polypaus, to see the breed of our townsmen daily grow worse: for excellence is mingling with worthlessness.

κριοὺς μὲν καὶ ὄνους διζήμεθα, Κύρνε, καὶ ἵππους
    εὐγενέας, καὶ τις βούλεται ἐξ ἀγαθῶν
βήσεσθαι· γῆμαι δὲ κακὴν κακοῦ οὐ μελεδαίνει        185
    ἐσθλὸς ἀνήρ, ἤν οἱ χρήματα πολλὰ διδῷ,
οὐδὲ γυνὴ κακοῦ ἀνδρὸς ἀναίνεται εἶναι ἄκοιτις
    πλουσίου, ἀλλ᾽ ἀφνεὸν βούλεται ἀντ᾽ ἀγαθοῦ.
χρήματα γὰρ τιμῶσι· καὶ ἐκ κακοῦ ἐσθλὸς ἔγημε
    καὶ κακὸς ἐξ ἀγαθοῦ· πλοῦτος ἔμειξε γένος.        190
οὕτω μὴ θαύμαζε γένος, Πολυπαΐδη, ἀστῶν
    μαυροῦσθαι· σὺν γὰρ μίσγεται ἐσθλὰ κακοῖς.

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