Monday, September 02, 2013

That New Epigraph

Sophocles, Antigone, line 332.  There are lots of translations but I prefer my own:

There are many wonders, but none so wonderful as humankind.

I had the great privilege of reciting this line last year while standing center stage in the ancient theatre at Epidaurus.  I was standing next to a professor of Greek.  I don't think he understood a word I was saying, nor that it was Greek.

The passage continues (from Jebb's translation, lifted from Perseus):
[335] This power spans the sea, even when it surges white before the gales of the south-wind, and makes a path under swells that threaten to engulf him. Earth, too, the eldest of the gods, the immortal, the unwearied, [340] he wears away to his own ends, turning the soil with the offspring of horses as the plows weave to and fro year after year.
Update:  I'm thinking maybe Taxmom (infra) wants me to go all the way to 375.  Okay by me:

[343] The light-hearted tribe of birds [345] and the clans of wild beasts and the sea-brood of the deep he snares in the meshes of his twisted nets, and he leads them captive, very-skilled man. He masters by his arts [350] the beast who dwells in the wilds and roams the hills. He tames the shaggy-maned horse, putting the yoke upon its neck, and tames the tireless mountain bull. 
[354] Speech and thought fast as the [355] wind and the moods that give order to a city he has taught himself, and how to flee the arrows of the inhospitable frost under clear skies and the arrows of the storming rain. [360] He has resource for everything. Lacking resource in nothing he strides towards what must come. From Death alone he shall procure no escape, but from baffling diseases he has devised flights.  [365] Possessing resourceful skill, a subtlety beyond expectation he moves now to evil, now to good. When he honors the laws of the land and the justice of the gods to which he is bound by oath, [370] his city prospers. But banned from his city is he who, thanks to his rashness, couples with disgrace. Never may he share my home, [375] never think my thoughts, who does these things!
 Long for an epigraph, but still good.


Taxmom said...

But hey, you're leaving out the punchline.

Buce said...


Taxmom said...

The following lines with mention of not being able to outwit death, and then warning about being possibly too clever -- arent' these meant to take man down a notch?

Taxmom said...

At least that what they taught is in accounting 202B.

It is I said...

you wrote: "I was standing next to a professor of Greek. I don't think he understood a word I was saying, nor that it was Greek"

was he like jack gladney in 'white noise' (in that he understood no greek)?

or was it your pronunciation etc?