Justice & Real Estate

Aeschylus, Agamemnon, 763-781

Old wrong has a way of begetting new wrong
In the lives of bad people.
It happens unexpectedly,
Whenever the day marked for the birth comes.
Old wrong then begets a god
Indomitable and unyielding;
black Calamity for houses,
Profane in her audacity.
She is the image of her parents.

In contrast, Justice shines
In smoke-choked homes
and honors the upright man.
Gold-daubed mansions, unclean hands within,
These she quits, eyes averted, for pious houses.
She does not honor wealth’s tinsel might with praise.
She brings all things to their conclusion.

φιλεῖ δὲ τίκτειν ὕβρις
μὲν παλαιὰ νεά-
ζουσαν ἐν κακοῖς βροτῶν
ὕβριν τότ ἢ τόθ, ὅτε τὸ κύ-
ριον μόλῃ φάος τόκου,
δαίμονά τε τὰν ἄμαχον ἀπόλεμον,
ἀνίερον θράσος μελαί-
νας μελάθροισιν Ἄτας,
εἰδομέναν τοκεῦσιν.

Δίκα δὲ λάμπει μὲν ἐν
δυσκάπνοις δώμασιν,
τὸν δʼ ἐναίσιμον τίει.
τὰ χρυσόπαστα δʼ ἔδεθλα σὺν
πίνῳ χερῶν παλιντρόποις
ὄμμασι λιποῦσ ὅσια προσέβα
του δύναμιν οὐ σέβουσα πλού-
του παράσημον αἴνῳ:
πᾶν δʼ ἐπὶ τέρμα νωμᾷ.

color photograph of oil painting. a ramshackle old house at twilight, in mostly yellows and browns
Vincent van Gogh. The Cottage.
Oil on Canvas. 1885.
Van Gogh Museum. Amsterdam.

Larry Benn has a B.A. in English Literature from Harvard College, an M.Phil in English Literature from Oxford University, and a J.D. from Yale Law School. Making amends for a working life misspent in finance, he’s now a hobbyist in ancient languages and blogs at featsofgreek.blogspot.com.

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