Speech, Silence, and Scoundrels

Euripides, Orestes 638-9

“Speak since you have spoken well. There is a time when silence
Is stronger than speech, but sometimes speech is stronger than silence.”

λέγ᾿· εὖ γὰρ εἶπας· ἔστιν οὗ σιγὴ λόγου
κρείσσων γένοιτ᾿ ἄν, ἔστι δ᾿ οὗ σιγῆς λόγος.


“Long speeches are preferable to short ones.”

τὰ μακρὰ τῶν σμικρῶν λόγων / ἐπίπροσθέν ἐστι


“The masses are terrible whenever they have scoundrels as leaders”

δεινὸν οἱ πολλοί, κακούργους ὅταν ἔχωσι


“Whenever someone who has sweet speech but bad intentions
Persuades the majority, it is a great disaster for a state.
But when people who have the best outcomes in mind advise
They are eventually, if not immediately, helpful”

ὅταν γὰρ ἡδύς τις λόγοις φρονῶν κακῶς
πείθῃ τὸ πλῆθος, τῇ πόλει κακὸν μέγα·
ὅσοι δὲ σὺν νῷ χρηστὰ βουλεύουσ᾿ ἀεί,
κἂν μὴ παραυτίκ᾿, αὖθίς εἰσι χρήσιμοι

Orestes fleeing from the Furies, Bissen 1848

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