“The knowledge of man has countless forms—
whether learned in some prophetic art
or allotted the Graces’ honor,
the wise man certainly flourishes with golden hope.
Another man aims his dabbled bow at boys.
Others fortify their hearts in the field
Or with herds of cattle.
But the future bears ends that make the path of fortune
This thing is best: to be a noble man
envied by many men.
I know something about wealth’s great power:
It makes even the most useless man useful.
But why do I pilot my great tongue so
and drive off the road?
When the moment of victory is appointed for mortals,
only then the wise man must…[ ]
With flutes [pay back the favor of the gods]
And mingle [among those who may envy]
… Μυρίαι δ’ ἀνδρῶν ἐπιστᾶμαι πέλονται·
ἦ γὰρ σ[ο]φὸς ἢ Χαρίτων τιμὰν λελογχὼς
ἐλπίδι χρυσέᾳ τέθαλεν
ἤ τινα θευπροπίαν ἰ-
δώς· ἕτερος δ’ ἐπὶ παισὶ
ποικίλον τόξον τιταίνει·
οἱ δ’ ἐπ’ ἔργοισίν τε καὶ ἀμφὶ βοῶν ἀ[γ]έλαις
θυμὸν αὔξουσιν. Τὸ μέλλον
δ’ ἀκρίτους τίκτει τελευτάς,
πᾶ τύχα βρίσει. Τὸ μὲν κάλλιστον, ἐσθλὸν
ἄνδρα πολλῶν ὑπ’ ἀνθρώπων πολυζήλωτον εἶμεν·
οἶδα καὶ πλούτου μεγάλαν δύνασιν,
ἃ καὶ τ[ὸ]ν ἀχρεῖον τί[θησ]ι
χρηστόν. Τί μακρὰν γ̣[λ]ῶ[σ]σαν ἰθύσας ἐλαύνω
ἐκτὸς ὁδοῦ; Πέφαται θνατοῖσι νίκας
The last few lines of this poem are completely fragmentary. In italics I put in something just to complete the sentence. I think that the reference to flutes probably indicates some ritual celebration, but I also wanted the end to repeat the note of warning about the mutability of fortune. Any other suggestions?
“I once heard someone saying—and I just now remembered it—that like is most hostile to like and the good is hostile to the good. Indeed, I believe that he furnished Hesiod as a witness, since he says that “a potter rivals a potter, a singer a singer, and a beggar a beggar” and he says that this is the same by necessity with everything else, especially when something is very similar, they are filled with envy, competitiveness, and enmity. But things that are unlike one another are filled with love.”
῎Ηδη ποτέ του ἤκουσα λέγοντος, καὶ ἄρτι ἀναμιμνῄσκομαι, ὅτι τὸ μὲν ὅμοιον τῷ ὁμοίῳ καὶ οἱ ἀγαθοὶ τοῖς ἀγαθοῖς πολεμιώτατοι εἶεν· καὶ δὴ καὶ τὸν ῾Ησίοδον ἐπήγετο μάρτυρα, λέγων ὡς ἄρα—
καὶ κεραμεὺς κεραμεῖ κοτέει καὶ ἀοιδὸς ἀοιδῷ
καὶ πτωχὸς πτωχῷ,
καὶ τἆλλα δὴ πάντα οὕτως ἔφη ἀναγκαῖον εἶναι μάλιστα τὰ ὁμοιότατα ἄλληλα φθόνου τε καὶ φιλονικίας καὶ ἔχθρας ἐμπίμπλασθαι, τὰ δ’ ἀνομοιότατα φιλίας·
I am not quite sure that Hesiod would agree to this interpretation:
Hes. Fr. 264
“Good men flock to the tables of good men on their own.”
αὐτόματοι δ’ ἀγαθοὶ ἀγαθῶν ἐπὶ δαῖτας ἵενται.
And, because of my age, I cannot even think “opposites attract” without hearing this:
“For the sake of truth one must shove envy aside with both hands and praise any mortal who does well.”
χρὴ δ᾿ ἀλαθείας χάριν
αἰνεῖν, φθόνον ἀμφ[οτέραισιν
εἴ τις εὖ πράσσοι βροτῶ[ν
“Envy is stronger than pity”
κρέσσον γὰρ οἰκτιρμοῦ φθόνος
Pindar reflects on human nature. But he might not be lamenting. As Hesiod says, the ‘good’ type of strife makes a man envy his neighbor’s goods–and work harder as a consequence (Works and Days, 21-26):
εἰς ἕτερον γάρ τίς τε ἴδεν ἔργοιο χατίζων
πλούσιον, ὃς σπεύδει μὲν ἀρόμεναι ἠδὲ φυτεύειν
οἶκόν τ’ εὖ θέσθαι· ζηλοῖ δέ τε γείτονα γείτων
εἰς ἄφενος σπεύδοντ’· ἀγαθὴ δ’ ῎Ερις ἥδε βροτοῖσιν.
καὶ κεραμεὺς κεραμεῖ κοτέει καὶ τέκτονι τέκτων,
καὶ πτωχὸς πτωχῷ φθονέει καὶ ἀοιδὸς ἀοιδῷ.