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