Rufinus, Epigram II (Greek Anthology = 5.12)

“Let’s bathe, Prodicus, and put on our crowns of wreathes,

and grabbing hold of bigger cups, we’ll drink life to the lees.

Short is life for those rejoicing, and old age hinders fun,

until death comes over us, and our life is done.”

More literally:

“Prodicus, once we have bathed, we will put on our crowns, and grabbing bigger cups, let’s drink our wine un-mixed. For the life of those who are happy is short, and then the rest is hindered by old age and, finally, death.”

λουσάμενοι, Προδίκη, πυκασώμεθα, καὶ τὸν ἄκρατον
ἕλκωμεν, κύλικας μείζονας αἰρόμενοι.
βαιὸς ὁ χαιρόντων ἐστὶν βίος: εἶτα τὰ λοιπὰ
γῆρας κωλύσει, καὶ τὸ τέλος θάνατος.

NOTE: There are a couple of tricky spots here in this short little epigram. πυκασώμεθα could refer to putting on crowns (garlands being not uncommon at drinking parties), but it can also simply mean “clothe ourselves.” I have preferred the former possibility as being ultimately more appropriate to the context.

Also, τὰ λοιπὰ could be the object of γῆρας κωλύσει, but it could also mean, in an adverbial sense, “for the remaining time.” Either way, the sense seems clear enough: old age and death are hindrances to happiness.

4 thoughts on “Rufinus, Epigram II (Greek Anthology = 5.12)

  1. I prefer the adverbial translation of τὰ λοιπὰ .But I also prefer your freer, rhyming translation.

    And, Rufinus? Man, you are digging deep. I feel like a gauntlet has been thrown and I am too stunned to acknowledge it…

  2. Yeah, you’re probably right about τὰ λοιπὰ. Consider no gauntlet thrown! I just happen to have an edition of all of Rufinus’ epigrams selected out of the Greek Anthology, and a lot of them are quite good, especially for being composed in such a late period. (Here, the Classicist’s prejudices become so clear!)

    1. My first instinct was to take τὰ λοιπὰ as the object so as to supply an object to the verb, but a bit of digging shows that κωλύσει can be used without a direct object. But that’s irrelevant. I am taking the advice to heart and going to grab a glass of ἄκρατον and make sure it’s in one of those κύλικας μείζονας

      1. Yes! We ought indeed to take this advice to heart! For, why study Greek as unfeeling scholars or grammarians? How un-Greek that would be!

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