aleator classicus

Reading at Random in Classical Literature

Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus 607-613

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After arriving in Athens, the blinded Oedipus, former king of Thebes, talks to a sympathetic Theseus, king of Athens, and reflects on reversals of fortune.

ὦ φίλτατ’ Αἰγέως παῖ, μόνοις οὐ γίγνεται
θεοῖσι γῆρας οὐδὲ κατθανεῖν ποτε.
τὰ δ’ ἄλλα συγχεῖ πάνθ’ ὁ παγκρατὴς χρόνος.
φθίνει μὲν ἰσχὺς γῆς, φθίνει δὲ σώματος,
θνῄσκει δὲ πίστις, βλαστάνει δ’ ἀπιστία,
καὶ πνεῦμα ταὐτὸν οὔποτ’ οὔτ’ ἐν ἀνδράσιν
φίλοις βέβηκεν οὔτε πρὸς πόλιν πόλει.
τοῖς μὲν γὰρ ἤδη, τοῖς δ’ ἐν ὑστέρῳ χρόνῳ
τὰ τερπνὰ πικρὰ γίγνεται καὖθις φίλα.

Most dear son of Aegeus, only for the gods is there no old age and no dying ever. But all-powerful Time confounds every other thing. A country’s strength wanes, the body’s strength wanes, good faith dies, distrust sprouts up, and never does the same spirit remain between friends or between one city and another, since, for some men now and for others in time to come, pleasant relationships turn to bitterness – and then turn again to friendship.

Written by aleatorclassicus

July 3, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Sophocles

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