Tuesday, July 28, 2020


Cleverness Is Not Wisdom

Euripides, Bacchae 386-401 (tr. E.P. Coleridge):
The end of all unbridled speech and lawless senselessness is misery; but the life of calm repose and the rule of reason abide unshaken and support the home; for far away in heaven though they dwell, the powers divine behold man's state. Sophistry is not wisdom, and to indulge in thoughts beyond man's ken is to shorten life; and if a man on such poor terms should aim too high, he may miss the pleasures in his reach. These, to my mind, are the ways of madmen and idiots.

ἀχαλίνων στομάτων
ἀνόμου τ᾽ ἀφροσύνας
τὸ τέλος δυστυχία·
ὁ δὲ τᾶς ἡσυχίας
βίοτος καὶ τὸ φρονεῖν        390
ἀσάλευτόν τε μένει καὶ
συνέχει δώματα· πόρσω
γὰρ ὅμως αἰθέρα ναίον-
τες ὁρῶσιν τὰ βροτῶν οὐρανίδαι.
τὸ σοφὸν δ᾽ οὐ σοφία        395
τό τε μὴ θνητὰ φρονεῖν
βραχὺς αἰών· ἐπὶ τούτῳ
δέ τις ἂν μεγάλα διώκων
τὰ παρόντ᾽ οὐχὶ φέροι. μαι-
νομένων οἵδε τρόποι καὶ        400
κακοβούλων παρ᾽ ἔμοιγε φωτῶν.
E.R. Dodds ad loc.:

John Edwin Sandys ad loc.:

David Kovacs, Euripidea Tertia (Leiden: Brill, 2003), pp. 124-126 (D. = James Diggle):

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