Wednesday, June 16, 2021


The First Thing to Go?

Seneca, Oedipus 818-819 (tr. John G. Fitch):
Old men's first weakness is their memory, tired and ebbing away in slow decay.

                  prima languescit senum
memoria, longo lassa sublabens situ.
But cf. the translation of Frank Justus Miller, which takes prima in a different sense:
An old man's early memory grows faint, failing through weakness and long disuse.
Emily Wilson's translation sidesteps the problem:
                               Old folks' minds
get tired and the memory grows dull.
I don't have access to the commentaries of Karlheinz Töchterle (Heidelberg: Winter, 1994) and A.J. Boyle (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011).

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