Praise? What Praise?

Pindar, Olympian Ode 11

There’s a time when man’s greatest need is wind,
and there’s a time when it’s waters from the sky,
the rainy offspring of clouds.
But when an individual toils and prevails
dulcet hymns are where his future fame begins
and testify to his great achievements.

Lavish is the praise offered up
for Olympic victors. My tongue would lead the way,
but here too, it’s only because of god
a man’s art blossoms.
Now then, son of Archestratus, know this:
Hagesidamus, because of your boxing,

as an adornment of your golden-olives crown
I will shout a sweet song
which recognizes your Western Lokrian tribe.
Go join the revels there, O muses!
I promise you will not encounter a host
unwelcoming and unschooled in beauty,
but one quite wise, and spear-fighting at that.
I can promise, for neither flame-colored fox
nor loud-roaring lions change their natural ways.

ἔστιν ἀνθρώποις ἀνέμων ὅτε πλείστα
χρῆσις, ἔστιν δ᾽ οὐρανίων ὑδάτων,
ὀμβρίων παίδων νεφέλας:
εἰ δὲ σὺν πόνῳ τις εὖ πράσσοι, μελιγάρυες ὕμνοι
ὑστέρων ἀρχὰ λόγων
τέλλεται καὶ πιστὸν ὅρκιον μεγάλαις ἀρεταῖς.
ἀφθόνητος δ᾽ αἶνος Ὀλυμπιονίκαις
οὗτος ἄγκειται. τὰ μὲν ἁμετέρα
γλῶσσα ποιμαίνειν ἐθέλει,
ἐκ θεοῦ δ᾽ ἀνὴρ σοφαῖς ἀνθεῖ πραπίδεσσιν ὁμοίως.
ἴσθι νῦν, Ἀρχεστράτου
παῖ, τεᾶς, Ἁγησίδαμε, πυγμαχίας ἕνεκεν
κόσμον ἐπὶ στεφάνῳ χρυσέας ἐλαίας
ἁδυμελῆ κελαδήσω,
Ζεφυρίων, Λοκρῶν γενεὰν ἀλέγων.
ἔνθα συγκωμάξατ᾽: ἐγγυάσομαι
ὔμμιν, ὦ Μοῖσαι, φυγόξενον στρατὸν
μηδ᾽ ἀπείρατον καλῶν,
ἀκρόσοφον δὲ καὶ αἰχματὰν ἀφίξεσθαι. τὸ γὰρ
ἐμφυὲς οὔτ᾽ αἴθων ἀλώπηξ
οὔτ᾽ ἐρίβρομοι λέοντες διαλλάξαντο ἦθος.

Where’s the Praise?

In Pindar’s cosmos, contingency reigns. Neither wind nor rain, whatever the need, can be counted on. The athlete isn’t assured success (it depends on the god), and if he attains it, his greatest need (an enduring and relied-upon hymn) may go unmet (it too depends on the god). That seems to be the point of the priamel: the athlete, like those who rely on specific weather, might be frustrated in their greatest need.

It’s against this backdrop that we should interpret the singer’s promise to the Muses. It’s not irrelevant that the promise is couched in the language of oaths (ἐγγυάσομαι: I promise, I pledge); after all, the ambitious claims for the hymn were too (πιστὸν ὅρκιον: literally “a reliable oath”). Those claims were of course undermined by the singer’s reminder about contingency.

And so we should read the gnomic statement about fox and lion as also unreliable. Fox and lion are constant, just as the character of Western Lokrians is constant. What the ode has not done is identify a constant in an inconstant world. Rather, claims of predictability should have been sufficiently undermined by now that we hear irony in the lines, or perhaps a test of whether we have absorbed the ode’s lesson.

I ask where’s the praise in the ode, precisely because the singer who questions his ability to hymn the Olympic victor, by extension undermines his praise of the athletes tribe as well.

Black figure vase: two boxers face each other with hands held high
Black figure amphora.
Athens, 550-500 BCE.
British Museum.

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.

Careless Eating With Family

Seneca, Thyestes, 1031-1042

Atreus:
You have what remains of your children.
What does not remain, you have that too.

Thyestes:
Which is it: are they sprawled-out food for screeching birds?
Are they being devoured by monsters?
Or are they feed for wild animals?

Atreus:
You’ve dined on your children yourself,
in a profane feast.

Thyestes:
. . . What words suffice for me?
I can make out their cut-off heads, torn-off hands,
feet ripped from shattered legs–
This is what their glutton of a father could not swallow!
Their entrails churn inside me; wrong now locked in me
struggles with no way out, yet seeks escape.

Atreus:
Quidquid e natis tuis
superest habes, quodcumque non superest habes.

Thyestes:
Utrumne saevis pabulum alitibus iacent,
an beluis vorantur, an pascunt feras?

Atreus:
Epulatus ipse es impia natos dape.

Thyestes:
. . . quae verba sufficient mihi?
abscisa cerno capita et avulsas manus
et rupta fractis cruribus vestigia:
hoc est quod avidus capere non potuit pater.
volvuntur intus viscera et clausum nefas
sine exitu luctatur et quaerit fugam.

Red line drawing of large man eating a lot, alone at a table
Fernando Botero.
Man Eating. 2001.
Private collection.

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.

What Color Will the Child Be?

“[There were] concerns and conversations about how dark [Archie’s] skin might be when he’s born.”–Meghan, Duchess of Sussex

“I was a bit shocked. That was right at the beginning . . . ’What will the kids look like?’”–Harry, Duke of Sussex

Aristotle. History of Animals. VII.6

“Children look like their parents or their ancestors, though in some instances they look like none of them at all. Parents even pass their features through multiple generations, as was the case with the woman in Sicily who committed adultery with a black man: her daughter was not born black, but her daughter’s child was.”

Καὶ ἐοικότες δὲ τοῖς γεννήσασιν ἢ τοῖς ἄνωθεν γονεῦσιν, ὁτὲ δ’οὐδὲν οὐδενί.
Ἀποδίδωσι δὲ καὶ διὰ πλειόνων γενῶν, οἷον ἐν Σικελίᾳ ἡ τῷ Αἰθίοπι μοιχευθεῖσα· ἡ μὲν γὰρ θυγάτηρ ἐγένετο οὐκ Αἰθίοψ, τὸ δ’ ἐκ ταύτης.

Asclepiades. Greek Anthology. 5.210

Didyme grabbed me with her eyes.
I melt, wax near fire, seeing her beauty.
So what if she’s black!
Coals are too, but we heat them
And they glow like rosebuds!

Τὠφθαλμῷ Διδύμη με συνήρπασεν: ὤμοι, ἐγὼ δὲ
τήκομαι, ὡς κηρὸς πὰρ πυρί, κάλλος ὁρῶν.
εἰ δὲ μέλαινα, τί τοῦτο; καὶ ἄνθρακες: ἀλλ᾽ὅτε κείνους
θάλψωμεν, λάμπους᾽ ὡς ῥόδεαι κάλυκες.

Picture of Meghan and Harry and their baby.
Getty Images

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.

Born of the Same Mother

Pindar. Nemean Ode 6. 1-7.

Men and gods are kin–we draw breath
From one mother, men and gods.
Yet, a critical property separates us:
Men are nothing, but gods have bronze heaven
As their ever-secure seat.

Still, we do somewhat resemble immortals,
Whether in our vast mind or our form,
Although neither by day nor by night
Do we know what course
Destiny has set down for us to run.

In Pindar’s Greek, it is δύναμις, a word most commonly translated as “power,” which separates gods and men. I was unsure what “power” he had in mind, but the scholia’s interpretation was clarifying.

The scholia points out that “unchangeability” (ἀμετάβλητος) is the gods’ defining characteristic. It then goes on to state:

“The critical δύναμις of the gods separates us from one another . . . The consequence is that the race of men is easily destroyed, but the race of gods is inalterable, secure, and immortal.”

In light of the scholia, I think a better translation of δύναμις, in this instance, is “property.” Hence my translation, “a critical property separates us . . .”

Pindar:

ἓν ἀνδρῶν, ἓν θεῶν γένος: ἐκ μιᾶς δὲ πνέομεν
ματρὸς ἀμφότεροι: διείργει δὲ πᾶσα κεκριμένα
δύναμις, ὡς τὸ μὲν οὐδέν, ὁ δὲ χάλκεος ἀσφαλὲς αἰὲν ἕδος
μένει οὐρανός. ἀλλά τι προσφέρομεν ἔμπαν ἢ μέγαν
νόον ἤτοι φύσιν ἀθανάτοις,
καίπερ ἐφαμερίαν οὐκ εἰδότες οὐδὲ μετὰ νύκτας
ἄμμε πότμος
αντιν᾽ ἔγραψε δραμεῖν ποτὶ στάθμαν.

Scholia:

διαχωρίζει δὲ ἀπ ἀλλήλων ἡμᾶς ἡ ὡρισμένη δύναμις τῶν θεῶν . . . ὥστε τὸ μὲν τῶν ἀνθρώπων εὐδιάφθορον εἶναι γένος, τὸ δὲ τῶν θεῶν ἐν ἀσφαλεῖ καὶ βεβαίῳ καὶ ἀφθαρσίᾳ τυγχάνειν.

Oil painting of woman nude from chest down, lying on a bed or couch
Gustave Courbet. L’Origin du Monde. 1866.
Musee d’Orsay.

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.

 

The Lowly Fish

Philo. On the Creation. XXI. 65-66.

“Of the forms of life, the most undeveloped and least formed is the race of fish, and the most complete and the best in all respects is the race of humans. Situated between the two (fish and men) are animals which live on land and in the air, for these have souls which are more perceptive than those found in fish but less sharp than those found in humans.

Of living things, God created fish first. Their essence, however, is more that of a body than that of a living thing. In a way they are alive and not alive. They are capable of movement yet lacking in life. The principle of life is scattered in them as if by chance and solely for the preservation of their bodies–just as they say salt is put on meat to prevent it easily spoiling.”

φυχής γάρ ή μέν άργοτάτη καΐ ήκιστα τετυπωμένη τω γένει τών Ιχθύων προσκεκλήρωται, ή δ ‘ ακριβέστατη και κατά πάντα άριστη τω τών ανθρώπων, ή δ’άμφοΐν μεθόριος τω τών χερσαίων και αεροπόρων αύτη γάρ αίσθητικωτέρα μέν έστι τής έν Ιχθύσιν, αμυδρότερα δέ τής έν άνθρώποις. διό τών έμφύχων πρώτους έγέννησεν ιχθύας, πλέον μετέχοντας σωματικής ή φυχικής ουσίας, τρόπον τινά ζώα καΐ ού ζώα, κινητά άφυχα, προς αυτό μόνον τήν τών σωμάτων διαμονήν παρασπαρέντος αύτοΐς του φυχοειδοΰς, καθάπερ φασι τούς άλας τοις κρέασιν, Ινα μή ραδίως φθείροιντο.

Still life with white table cloth and whole fish in the upper right hand corner. To the right are oysters. To the left are a copper pot and a lemon
Edouard Manet. Fish (Still Life). 1864.
Art Institute of Chicago.

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.

The Problem With Too Much

Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 1211-1223

Chorus:
The man who jettisons moderation
And desires more life than is his right
Is tending an absurdity.
That’s quite clear to me.

Long days gather up much,
Drawing pain closer in the process.
Nowhere will you see pleasure
When a man falls into more life than is right.

But, relief comes to one and all in the end
When, without wedding song, lyre, or dance,
Hades’ dispensation at last appears:
Death.

ὅστις τοῦ πλέονος μέρους
χρῄζει τοῦ μετρίου παρεὶς
ζώειν, σκαιοσύναν φυλάσσων
ἐν ἐμοὶ κατάδηλος ἔσται.
ἐπεὶ πολλὰ μὲν αἱ μακραὶ
ἁμέραι κατέθεντο δὴ
λύπας ἐγγυτέρω, τὰ τέρποντα
δ᾽ οὐκ ἂν ἴδοις ὅπου,
ὅταν τις ἐς πλέον πέσῃ
τοῦ δέοντος: ὁ δ᾽ ἐπίκουρος ἰσοτέλεστος,
Ἄϊδος ὅτε μοῖρ᾽ ἀνυμέναιος
ἄλυρος ἄχορος ἀναπέφηνε,
θάνατος ἐς τελευτάν.

Scholia on line 1211 (The man who desires more life than his right):

“The chorus is clear . . . about the greed of men, and what the chorus says is like what Hesiod says: ‘Fools don’t know how much half is more than the whole.’ This gets to Oedipus’s misfortune.”

ὅστις τοῦ πλέονος μέρους: κατάδηλός ἐστιν ὁ χορὸς ἐν ταὐτῷ ἀναφωνῶν καὶ ἀλληγορῶν περὶ τῆς τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἀπληστίας καὶ ἔοικε τῷ παρʼ Ἡσιόδῳ νήπιοι οὐδὲ ἴσασιν ὅσῳ πλέον ἥμισυ παντός” τείνει δὲ ταῦτα εἰς τὴν δυσποτμίαν Οἰδίπου”

Black and white picture of a marble sculpture of an old man, partly shirtless, holding a lamb in one hand and a walking stick in another
c.180 B.C. Marble sculpture.
Palazzo dei Conservatori, Rome

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.

When Plato Met Jesus

A text known as “Questions and Answers on Various Theological matters” (Interrogationes et responsiones de diversis capitibus a diversis propositae) is attributed to Saint Anastasius of Sinai, a 7th-century CE Alexandrian ecclesiastic.

The work contains the following entry:

Now, it is recorded in antique traditions that a particular learned man often cursed the philosopher Plato. So, Plato appeared to him in sleep, and said:

“Man, stop cursing me. You hurt only yourself. I was a sinner; I don’t deny it. But the reality is this: when Christ came down to Hades no one believed in him sooner than I did.”

When you hear this, don’t think that repentance in Hades is a common occurrence. For only once did it happen that Christ descended beneath the earth to examine those who, having departed from life, were asleep.

The text is reproduced in Patrologiae Cursus Completus (1865). 174.
Καὶ νῦν φέρεται εἰς ἀρχαίας παραδόσεις, ὅτι τις σχολαστικὸς πολλὰ κατηράσατο τὸν Πλάτωνα τὸν φιλόσοφον. Φαίνεται οὖν αὐτῷ καθ’ ὕπνους ὁ Πλάτων λέγων· Ἄνθρωπε, παῦσαι τοῦ καταρᾶσθαί με, σεαυτὸν γὰρ βλάπτεις, ὅτι μὲν ἄνθρωπος ἁμαρτωλὸς γέγονα· οὐκ ἀρνοῦμαι. Πλὴν κατελθόντος τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐν τῷ ᾅδῃ, ὄντως οὐδεὶς ἐπίστευσε πρὸ ἐμοῦ εἰς αὐτόν. Ταῦτα δὲ ἀκούων, μὴ νομίσῃς εἶναι πάντοτε ἐν τῷ ᾅδῃ μετάνοιαν· ἅπαξ γὰρ καὶ μόνον τοῦτο γέγονεν, ὅτι Χριστὸς ἐν τοῖς καταχθονίοις κατελήλυθε, τοὺς ἀπ’ αἰῶνος κεκοιμημένους ἐπισκέψασθαι.

Pre-modern religious painting with Jesus on the left near an arch and a crowd of people on the right responding to him. There is a devil at his feet, perhaps defeated.
Duccio. Descent into Hell. c.1308-1311.
Museo dell’Opera Metropolitana del Duomo.
Siena.

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.

Pindar: When Men Shine

Pindar. Pythian Odes. 8. 88-97.

A man fresh from some handsome win
In a time of plenty,
Takes flight, hope-propelled,
On wings of manly accomplishment.
He’s intent on more than riches.

Men’s joy swells fast, and fast it falls to earth
Disturbed by an adverse pronouncement.

Beings for a day. What is anyone?
What is someone not? A shadow’s dreaming,
That’s man. Yet, when the light of Zeus issues,
Men shine radiant and life is kind.

ὁ δὲ καλόν τι νέον λαχὼν
ἁβρότατος ἔπι μεγάλας
ἐξ ἐλπίδος πέταται
ὑποπτέροις ἀνορέαις, ἔχων
κρέσσονα πλούτου μέριμναν. ἐν δ᾽ ὀλίγῳ βροτῶν
τὸ τερπνὸν αὔξεται: οὕτω δὲ καὶ πίτνει χαμαί,
ἀποτρόπῳ γνώμᾳ σεσεισμένον.

ἐπάμεροι: τί δέ τις; τί δ᾽ οὔ τις; σκιᾶς ὄναρ
ἄνθρωπος. ἀλλ᾽ ὅταν αἴγλα διόσδοτος ἔλθῃ,
λαμπρὸν φέγγος ἔπεστιν ἀνδρῶν καὶ μείλιχος αἰών.

Black vase with a white square for the painting. An Athlete in simple lines carries a tripod on his head
Greek terracotta amphora depicting an athlete
carrying off his prize (a tripod).
c.550 B.C.
Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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.

Paul’s Divided Self

Paul, Letter to the Romans, 7.14-25.

We know that the law is spiritual, but I am flesh sold under sin.

I don’t understand the things I do: for I don’t do what I want, but what I hate. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I’m acknowledging that the law is good. Then it’s no longer I who am responsible, but sin that dwells in me.

I know that the good does not dwell in me (in my flesh, that is), since I have the capacity to want the good, but I can’t actually do what is right. I don’t do the good I want to do; I do the evil I don’t want to do. And if I’m doing what I don’t want to be doing, it’s no longer I who am responsible, but sin that dwells in me.

With that, I arrive at this law: when I want to do good, evil is at hand. I rejoice in God’s law in my core, but I see another law in my limbs, one which wages war against the law of my mind, and I see myself captured by the law of sin which dwells in my limbs.

I am a miserable man! Who will rescue me from this body of death?

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our lord!

I am a slave to God’s law with my mind but a slave to the law of sin with my flesh.

οἴδαμεν γὰρ ὅτι ὁ νόμος πνευματικός ἐστιν: ἐγὼ δὲ σάρκινός εἰμι,πεπραμένος ὑπὸ τὴν ἁμαρτίαν. ὃ γὰρ κατεργάζομαι οὐ γινώσκω: οὐ γὰρ ὃ θέλω τοῦτο πράσσω, ἀλλ᾽ ὃμισῶ τοῦτο ποιῶ. εἰ δὲ ὃ οὐ θέλω τοῦτο ποιῶ, σύνφημι τῷ νόμῳ ὅτι καλός. Νυνὶ δὲ οὐκέτι ἐγὼ κατεργάζομαι αὐτὸ ἀλλὰ ἡ ἐνοικοῦσα ἐν ἐμοὶἁμαρτία. οἶδα γὰρ ὅτι οὐκ οἰκεῖ ἐν ἐμοί, τοῦτ᾽ ἔστιν ἐν τῇ σαρκί μου, ἀγαθόν: τὸγὰρ θέλειν παράκειταί μοι, τὸ δὲ κατεργάζεσθαι τὸ καλὸν οὔ: οὐ γὰρ ὃ θέλω ποιῶ ἀγαθόν, ἀλλὰ ὃ οὐ θέλω κακὸν τοῦτο πράσσω. εἰ δὲ ὃ οὐ θέλω τοῦτο ποιῶ, οὐκέτι ἐγὼ κατεργάζομαι αὐτὸ ἀλλὰ ἡοἰκοῦσα ἐν ἐμοὶ ἁμαρτία. Εὑρίσκω ἄρα τὸν νόμον τῷ θέλοντι ἐμοὶ ποιεῖν τὸ καλὸν ὅτι ἐμοὶ τὸκακὸν παράκειται: συνήδομαι γὰρ τῷ νόμῳ τοῦ θεοῦ κατὰ τὸν ἔσω ἄνθρωπον, βλέπω δὲ ἕτερον νόμον ἐν τοῖς μέλεσίν μου ἀντιστρατευόμενον τῷ νόμῳτοῦ νοός μου καὶ αἰχμαλωτίζοντά με [ἐν] τῷ νόμῳ τῆς ἁμαρτίας τῷ ὄντι ἐντοῖς μέλεσίν μου. ταλαίπωρος ἐγὼ ἄνθρωπος: τίς με ῥύσεται ἐκ τοῦ σώματος τοῦ θανάτου τούτου; χάρις δὲ τῷ θεῷ διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν. ἄρα οὖν αὐτὸςἐγὼ τῷ μὲν νοῒ δουλεύω νόμῳ θεοῦ, τῇ δὲ σαρκὶ νόμῳ ἁμαρτίας.

a marble statue of a man in robes , set in a sconce.
Statute of Saint Paul. 1420-30.
Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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.

Ariadne: A Woman Wronged

Catullus 64. 52-70.

Looking out from Dia’s wave-thudding shores
she sees Theseus and his fleet ships drawing away,
Ariadne does, her heart full of savage rage.

She still cannot believe what she’s been seeing
since shaking off hoodwinking sleep and finding
her luckless self deserted on a lonely shore:

the thoughtless youth putting oar to water, fleeing,
and letting slip to squally winds his empty vows.

It’s him the far-off sad-eyed daughter of Minos
gazes upon, Bacchant-like, from sea-tangled rocks,
gazes upon and swells with upsurges of grief.

She did not clasp to her fair head the fine headpiece,
keep her bossom veiled in her delicate robes
or her milky breasts encircled with the smooth band–

All these things, from all her person, fell haphazard
at her feet, and with them the salty waves sported.
But not for headpiece or flowing robes did she care.

Theseus, it was on you, with all her heart,
all her soul, and all her mind, that she hung, hopeless.

Racine. Phedre. 87-89.

So many others; their names escape even him,
Those too credulous spirits whom his flame deceived:
Ariadne on the rocks reciting wrongs done her . . .

Catullus

namque fluentisono prospectans litore Diae,
Thesea cedentem celeri cum classe tuetur
indomitos in corde gerens Ariadna furores,
necdum etiam sese quae visit visere credit,
utpote fallaci quae tum primum excita somno
desertam in sola miseram se cernat harena.
immemor at iuvenis fugiens pellit vada remis,
irrita ventosae linquens promissa procellae.
quem procul ex alga maestis Minois ocellis,
saxea ut effigies bacchantis, prospicit, eheu,
prospicit et magnis curarum fluctuat undis,
non flavo retinens subtilem vertice mitram,
non contecta levi uelatum pectus amictu,
non tereti strophio lactentis vincta papillas,
omnia quae toto delapsa e corpore passim
ipsius ante pedes fluctus salis alludebant.
sed neque tum mitrae neque tum fluitantis amictus
illa vicem curans toto ex te pectore, Theseu,
toto animo, tota pendebat perdita mente.

Racine

Tant d’autres, dont les noms lui sont même échappés,
Trop crédules esprits que sa flamme a trompés ;
Ariane aux rochers contant ses injustices . . .

Oil painting of a light skinned woman looking to her right, viewer's left. Her hair is disheveled and her clothing is falling off. The background is dark
Ariadne.
Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792).
Private Collection.

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.