Sunday, August 01, 2021


Joy Attends on Every State of Life

Bacchylides, Odes 1.159-177 (tr. Richard C. Jebb):
The best glory is that of Virtue, so deem I now and ever: wealth may dwell with men of little worth, and will exalt the spirit; but he who is bountiful to the gods can cheer his heart with a loftier hope. If a mortal is blessed with health, and can live on his own substance, he vies with the most fortunate. Joy attends on every state of life, if only disease and helpless poverty be not there. The rich man yearns for great things, as the poorer for less; mortals find no sweetness in opulence, but are ever pursuing visions that flee before them.

φαμὶ καὶ φάσω μέγιστον
κῦδος ἔχειν ἀρετάν· πλοῦ-        160
τος δὲ καὶ δειλοῖσιν ἀνθρώπων ὁμιλεῖ.
ἐθέλει δ᾽ αὔξειν φρένας ἀν-
δρός· ὁ δ᾽ εὖ ἔρδων θεοὺς
ἐλπίδι κυδροτέρᾳ
σαίνει κέαρ. εἰ δ᾽ ὑγιείας        165
θνατὸς ἐὼν ἔλαχεν,
ζώειν τ᾽ ἀπ᾽ οἰκείων ἔχει,
πρώτοις ἐρίζει· παντί τοι
τέρψις ἀνθρώπων βίῳ
ἕπεται νόσφιν γε νόσων        170
πενίας τ᾽ ἀμαχάνου.
ἶσον ὅ τ᾽ ἀφνεὸς ἱ-
μείρει μεγάλων ὅ τε μείων
παυροτέρων· τὸ δὲ πάν-
των εὐμαρεῖν οὐδὲν γλυκύ        175
θνατοῖσιν, ἀλλ᾽ αἰεὶ τὰ φεύ-
γοντα δίζηνται κιχεῖν.

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