οἴμοι, not Alas, but FML, WTF, or SMH?

Euripides, Andromache 385-386

“Shit, what a bitter choice of lives
You have give me. If I win, I am tortured.
If I do not, I stand unlucky still.”

οἴμοι, πικρὰν κλήρωσιν αἵρεσίν τέ μοι
βίου καθίστης: καὶ λαχοῦσά γ᾽ ἀθλία
καὶ μὴ λαχοῦσα δυστυχὴς καθίσταμαι.

Sophocles, Trachinae 1230-1231

“Shit. It is bad to get angry with one who is sick
But it is hard to see someone thinking like this.”

οἴμοι. τὸ μὲν νοσοῦντι θυμοῦσθαι κακόν,
τὸ δ᾿ ὧδ᾿ ὁρᾶν φρονοῦντα τίς ποτ᾿ ἂν φέροι;

οἴμοι is often translated as “alas” but no one really says that anymore. Of course, there are other “untranslatable” particles that get alased: αἰαῖ, αἰαῖ, ὦ τάλας φεῦ, παπαῖ ( double it for fun φεῦ , παπαῖ φεῦ, “alas, oh, alas”); φεῦ is also “oh”, which seems pretty weak. We also find τάλας, οἴμοι μοι (trans. in the Loeb as “alas, alas”), ἰὼ ἰὼ (alas, alas in Loeb Aeschylus).

I tend to see all of these as something pitifully profane. When I spell out the profanities, some get upset. Recent comments on twitter reaffirm my belief that modern text-speak is a good substitution. But there is nuance here! The first example, in modern abbrevatory, would probably be FML while the second strikes me more as SMH.

Quintus Smyrnaeus, Posthomerica 5.465

“FML. Why do the gods hate me so much?”

“Ὤ μοι ἐγώ, τί νυ τόσσον ἀπέχθομαι ἀθανάτοισιν;

My proposed working Lexicon of compressed exasperation (here’s a glossary for the uncool):

αἰαῖ: FFS; sometimes, SMH

ἐέ: Ugh; also, K+FM

ἰὼ: SSSD; FML; WTF; cf.  ἰοὺ ἰοὺ, commonly “alas and alack”, ant. LOL and ROFL

οἴμοι: FML; SML; see φεῦ

παπαῖ: FFS; WTF; ant. LMFAO; cf. ἀπαπαῖ φεῦ, perhaps sense of GTFO+WTF

τάλας: FM; FML; cf. τάλας ἐγώ =WTF+FML vel. sim.

φεῦ: WTF; SMH; SML;  but κακῶς φεῦ=οἴμοι:

ὦ: OMG

Ὤ μοι ἐγώ: FML

ὢ πόποι: difficult, but IMHO+GF; also, WTF

taking suggestions to improve and expand

So, Euripides fr. 300

“WTF!?! But, really, FML? I have really suffered mortal fate.”

οἴμοι· τί δ᾿ οἴμοι; θνητά τοι πεπόνθαμεν.

Lucian, Gout 297

“WTF! FFS! This hurts! I am ruined!”

Οἴμοι, παπαῖ γε, τείρομαι, διόλλυμαι,

Aristophanes, Acharnians 1081

“FML. Shit luck! You’re laughing at me.”

οἴμοι κακοδαίμων, καταγελᾷς ἤδη σύ μου.

Epictetus, Encheiridion 26

“WTF! FML!”

“οἴμοι, τάλας ἐγώ!”

Euripides, Iphigenia 136-7

“FML, I lost my mind.
SMH, I have fallen into ruin”

οἴμοι, γνώμας ἐξέσταν
αἰαῖ, πίπτω δ᾿ εἰς ἄταν.

Lament for Icarus, Herbert Draper

 

There’s room for this in Latin too, but much less….

Leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s