To Suffer As Odysseus Did

Theognis, Elegies 991-992

“Sometimes you will lament what you suffer; at other times
You’ll delight in what you do: a different man is able at different times.”

ἄλλοτέ τοι πάσχων ἀνιήσεαι, ἄλλοτε δ᾿ ἔρδων
χαιρήσεις· δύναται δ᾿ ἄλλοτε ἄλλος ἀνήρ.


“Evil action is certainly easy for people, Kurnos;
And the completion of something good is hard.”

ῥηϊδίη τοι πρῆξις ἐν ἀνθρώποις κακότητος,
τοῦ δ᾿ ἀγαθοῦ χαλεπή, Κύρνε, πέλει παλάμη


“Don’t remind me of my troubles. I have suffered as Odysseus did
When he returned after ascending from Hades’ great home,
The one who also killed the suitors with a pitiless heart,
Filled with joy for his wedded wife Penelope
Who was waiting for him so long, staying alongside his dear son
Until he embarked on the shores and the vales of his land.”

Μή με κακῶν μίμνησκε· πέπονθά τοι οἷά τ’ ᾿Οδυσσεύς,
ὅστ’ ᾿Αίδεω μέγα δῶμ’ ἤλυθεν ἐξαναδύς,
ὃς δὴ καὶ μνηστῆρας ἀνείλατο νηλέι θυμῶι,
Πηνελόπης εὔφρων κουριδίης ἀλόχου,
ἥ μιν δήθ’ ὑπέμεινε φίλωι παρὰ παιδὶ μένουσα,
ὄφρα τε γῆς ἐπέβη δείλ’ ἁλίους τε μυχούς.

Image result for medieval manuscript odysseus
From John Lydgate’s “Troy Book”

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