Just In Time For the Holidays: Elegiac Advice On Drinking


Theognis, 497-498

“Wine makes the mind of a foolish man and a wise similarly light
Whenever either drinks more than the limit.”

ἄφρονος ἀνδρὸς ὁμῶς καὶ σώφρονος οἶνος, ὅταν δὴ
πίνῃ ὑπὲρ μέτρον, κοῦφον ἔθηκε νόον.


“Skilled men recognized gold and silver in fire
But wine exposes a man’s mind
Even when he is wise should he drink beyond the limit,
[wine] makes shameful even one who used to be wise.”

ἐν πυρὶ μὲν χρυσόν τε καὶ ἄργυρον ἴδριες ἄνδρες
γινώσκουσ᾿, ἀνδρὸς δ᾿ οἶνος ἔδειξε νόον,
καὶ μάλα περ πινυτοῦ, τὸν ὑπὲρ μέτρον ἤρατο πίνων
ὥστε καταισχῦναι καὶ πρὶν ἐόντα σοφόν.


“Drinking is double-edged for wretched mortals:
Thirst weakens your limbs and drunkenness is mean.
I’ll walk a fine line: you won’t persuade me
Not to drink nor to get too drunk.

Δισσαί τοι πόσιος κῆρες δειλοῖσι βροτοῖσιν,
δίψα τε λυσιμελὴς καὶ μέθυσις χαλεπή·
τούτων δ’ ἂν τὸ…

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