Just In Time For the Holidays: Elegiac Advice On Drinking


SENTENTIAE ANTIQUAE

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.

499-502

“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.

837-840

“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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