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Old 08-04-2018, 02:42 PM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 1,438
Default Scolia 890

.....After Scolia 890

For us mortals, the best thing is good health.
If sick, hope you’re physically a ten.
If not, then virtuously gain some wealth.
Ill, ugly and poor? Be young and among friends.


ὑγιαίνειν μὲν ἄριστον ἀνδρὶ θνητῷ,
δεύτερον δὲ καλὸν φυὰν γενέσθαι,
τὸ τρίτον δὲ πλουτεῖν ἀδόλως,
καὶ τὸ τέταρτον ἡβᾶν μετὰ τῶν φίλων.

- x – u u – u – u - -
- x – u u – u – u - -
u u – u – u - - u
- u u – u - - u u – u -


To be healthy is best for mortal man,
second is to be handsome in body,
third is to be wealthy without trickery,
fourth, to be young with one’s friends.


While the original counts down 1-4, it seems more like a checklist. Perhaps I'm totally misreading it, but it's a drinking song and putting a comic twist to it seems to be in line with Scolia.
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Old 08-05-2018, 05:04 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Lazio, Italy
Posts: 4,645

With no Greek, I can’t comment on the original. But I don’t see the countdown as just a checklist. By losing the straightforward simplicity of the original’s logic, you’ve lost epigrammatic concision and added several incongruities.

E.g., “physically a ten” sounds like an impossibility if someone is sick. Nobody looks great when they’re sick. And it seems random to add “If not sick” before the part about virtuously gaining wealth; and it does not seem especially great to be young and among friends if one is ill, ugly and poor.

Others here with Greek will be more fit to comment on the sonics, but just as an English poem, this doesn’t strike me as having the verve and wit and spring of a good epigram.

Last edited by Andrew Frisardi; 08-05-2018 at 05:20 AM. Reason: fixed wording
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Old 08-05-2018, 09:50 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Iowa City, IA, USA
Posts: 7,679

I have to agree with Andrew F. that you have muddied the content by bringing up comparisons that get in the way of the main point of the original list (mentioning sickness with good looks, or all of the other assets in connection with youth and friendship). I would also mention that the final rhyme has to have zing, so your "ten/friends" rhyme is not a winner. There is an intriguing argument implied behind the original listing, and that is getting lost in translation.

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Old 08-05-2018, 11:11 AM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Brooklyn, NY USA
Posts: 4,129

Andrew S., I like the crib very much. Ditto to Susan's comments. It's not that I don't like your version, I just think that you have tried too hard to gild a pretty good piece of gold. Try less, get more?

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Old 08-05-2018, 12:15 PM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 1,438

Thanks all.

This is a failure, it seems. The piece is well translated as it is elsewhere, so going back to the basic counting (best, second, third, fourth) adds nothing to the world.

I'm sad it's a failure, but if you don't failure a few times you aren't trying, I guess.
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