Forging His Own Chains

Theognis, 429-38

“It is easier to conceive and feed a mortal than put
Decent thoughts in his head. No one has figured out a way
To make a fool wise or a bad man good.”

φῦσαι καὶ θρέψαι ῥᾷον βροτὸν ἢ φρένας ἐσθλὰς
ἐνθέμεν· οὐδείς πω τοῦτό γ᾿ ἐπεφράσατο,
ᾧ τις σώφρον᾿ ἔθηκε τὸν ἄφρονα κἀκ κακοῦ ἐσθλόν.


“That man, dear Kurnos, is making his own chains,
Unless the gods are ruining my judgment.”

οὗτος ἀνήρ, φίλε Κύρνε, πέδας χαλκεύεται αὑτῷ,
εἰ μὴ ἐμὴν γνώμην ἐξαπατῶσι θεοί.


“I fear that arrogance will destroy this state, Polypaides,
Just as it destroyed the raw-meat-eating Kentaurs.”

δειμαίνω μὴ τήνδε πόλιν, Πολυπαΐδη, ὕβρις
ἥ περ Κενταύρους ὠμοφάγους ὀλέσῃ.


“I wish I could have some of my enemies’ money for me
But give most of it to all my friends to keep”

εἴη μοι τὰ μὲν αὐτὸν ἔχειν, τὰ δὲ πόλλ᾿ ἐπιδοῦναι
χρήματα τῶν ἐχθρῶν τοῖσι φίλοισιν ἔχειν.

Double-bag bellows

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