Silent Out of Necessity

Theognis, Elegies 225-256

“Most beautiful is what is most just; the best thing is to be healthy
Most pleasurable of all: to gain whatever you love.”

κάλλιστον τὸ δικαιότατον· λῷστον δ᾿ ὑγιαίνειν·
πρᾶγμα δὲ τερπνότατον, τοῦ τις ἐρᾷ, τὸ τυχεῖν.

313-314

“I am the craziest among the crazy, but among just men
I am the justest person of all.”

ἐν μὲν μαινομένοις μάλα μαίνομαι, ἐν δὲ δικαίοις
πάντων ἀνθρώπων εἰμὶ δικαιότατος.

363-364

“Charm your enemy well. But whenever the advantage is yours,
Pay him back without any explanation.”

εὖ κώτιλλε τὸν ἐχθρόν· ὅταν δ᾿ ὑποχείριος ἔλθῃ,
τεῖσαί μιν πρόφασιν μηδεμίαν θέμενος.

365-366

“Keep your thoughts close, but let your tongue be ever sweet:
A temper which grows sharply is a mark of worthless men.”

ἴσχε νόῳ, γλώσσῃ δὲ τὸ μείλιχον αἰὲν ἐπέστω·
δειλῶν τοι τελέθει καρδίη ὀξυτέρη.

419-420

“Many things which occur I understand—but I am silent
Because of necessity, since I know my own power.”

πολλά με καὶ συνιέντα παρέρχεται· ἀλλ᾿ ὑπ᾿ἀνάγκης
σιγῶ, γινώσκων ἡμετέρην δύναμιν.

465-466

“Exhaust yourself for excellence; let just pursuits be dear do you;
Never may any profit which is shameful overpower you.”

ἀμφ᾿ ἀρετῇ τρίβου, καί τοι τὰ δίκαια φίλ᾿ ἔστω,
μηδέ σε νικάτω κέρδος ὅ τ᾿ αἰσχρὸν ἔῃ.

Publius Terencius Afer, Comoediae [comédies de Térence] ca. 1411;  Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal, Ms-664 réserve, 157r

Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal, Ms-664 réserve, 157r

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