Thursday, July 30, 2020


Disaster and Disgrace

[Euripides,] Rhesus 756-761 (tr. David Kovacs):
Disaster has struck, and over and above disaster disgrace: that makes disaster twice as bad. To die gloriously, if die one must, though it is of course painful for him who dies, is a source of magnificence for the survivors and a glory to their houses. But we perished foolishly and ingloriously.

κακῶς πέπρακται κἀπὶ τοῖς κακοῖσι πρὸς
αἴσχιστα· καίτοι δὶς τόσον κακὸν τόδε·
θανεῖν γὰρ εὐκλεῶς μέν, εἰ θανεῖν χρεών,
λυπρὸν μὲν οἶμαι τῷ θανόντι—πῶς γὰρ οὔ;—
τοῖς ζῶσι δ᾿ ὄγκος καὶ δόμων εὐδοξία.        760
ἡμεῖς δ᾿ ἀβούλως κἀκλεῶς ὀλώλαμεν.
The same, tr. Richmond Lattimore:
There has been wickedness done here. More than wickedness:
shame too, which makes the evil double its own bulk.
To die with glory, if one has to die at all,
is still, I think, pain for the dier, surely so,
yet grandeur left for his survivors, honor for his house.
But death to us came senseless and inglorious.

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