Easier to Make Something Bad From Something Good

Theognis, Elegies 567-570

“I play, taking pleasure in youth—for I will lie
A long time under the earth once I die,
Like a voiceless stone, when I leave the sun’s lovely light.
No matter how good I was, I will see nothing again.”

ἥβῃ τερπόμενος παίζω· δηρὸν γὰρ ἔνερθεν
γῆς ὀλέσας ψυχὴν κείσομαι ὥστε λίθος
ἄφθογγος, λείψω δ᾿ ἐρατὸν φάος ἠελίοιο·
ἔμπης δ᾿ ἐσθλὸς ἐὼν ὄψομαι οὐδὲν ἔτι.


“A reputation alone is a great evil for people—an investigation is best.
Many who are unexamined have a reputation for good deeds.”

δόξα μὲν ἀνθρώποισι κακὸν μέγα, πεῖρα δ᾿ἄριστον·
πολλοὶ ἀπείρητοι δόξαν ἔχουσ᾿ ἀγαθῶν.


“It is easier to make something bad from good than good from bad.
Stop trying to teach me. I am not the right age to learn.”

“ῥήιον ἐξ ἀγαθοῦ θεῖναι κακὸν ἢ ᾿κ κακοῦ ἐσθλόν.”
—μή με δίδασκ᾿· οὔτοι τηλίκος εἰμὶ μαθεῖν.


“It is impossible to undo the things that have past
Let your worry be guarding what happens next.”

ἀλλὰ τὰ μὲν προβέβηκεν, ἀμήχανόν ἐστι γενέσθαι
ἀργά· τὰ δ᾿ ἐξοπίσω, τῶν φυλακὴ μελέτω.

Royal MS 16 F II

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