Euenus


Many men tend to contradict on every point, but contradicting rightlyís out of vogue. Well, as for them thereís one old saw thatís all we need: Ďyou can keep your opinion, Iíll keep mine.í But the intelligent are soon persuadable by reason, and theyíre easiest to teach. 1

Bacchus is measured best not too much, nor too small Ė that causes either gloom or mania. He likes to make a foursome with three water-nymphs: thatís when heís best equipped for bedding up, for if he blows too strong, he turns desire away, and plunges you in sleep Ė next thing to death. 2

I hold that not the smallest part of being wise is knowing truly what each man is like. 3

Resolve combined with wisdom brings much benefit; without it, it brings harm and misery. 4

Often menís anger will lay bare their hidden mind; insanity is nowhere near so bad. 5

A son means either fear or pain full-time. 6

Contumely, which brings no gain and none the less does wrong. 7

Detain not any of these guests against his will, nor urge departure if he wants to stay; donít wake him up, Simonides, if one of us, well laced with wine, falls prey to gentle sleep, and donít insist he sleep, if he is wide awake: compulsionís always disagreeable. If someone wants to drink, let slaves stand by to pour; one doesnít get a nice time every night. But Iíll go home Ė Iíve had my measure of sweet wine Ė and think of sleep, that frees us from all ills. Iíve reached the stage where wine sits sweetest in a man: Iím neither sober, nor unduly drunk. When someone overshoots the measure of his drink, heís no more in control of tongue and mind. He says wild things that make the sober blush Ė and feels no shame in anything he does while drunk Ė a level-headed man before, but now a fool. Take note of this, and do not drink too much, but either rise before youíre drunk (donít let your greed bully you like some wretched daily help) or, if you stay, donít drink. But no, you always chirp this foolish ĎFill her up!í Thatís why youíre drunk. Yes, oneís a loving-cup, anotherís been set up, oneís good for the godsí libation, oneís a sconce Ė you canít say no. In truth, your championís he that drinks cup after cup and yet says nothing rude. Well, stay and make good talk beside your mixing-bowl; avoid disputes as long as ever you may; speak openly, let all hear what you say to one: that way a party turns out not half bad. 8a

If I had wealth, Simonides, as once I had, Iíd not feel bad in high-class company; but now I see it pass me by, and Iíve no voice, from want, though Iíd have judged better than most that weíre adrift, our white sails shipped before the storm, upon the Melian sea in blackest night. They canít agree to bale out, while the waves wash in on both sides. We can scarce hope to survive, the way theyíre going on: theyíve sacked the excellent helmsman who always kept such skilful watch; theyíre plundering the cargo, and all orderís gone; thereís no more sharing out on equal terms; the porters rule; rogues lord it over men of worth. I fear the sea may swallow up the ship. There, thatís my coded message to the upper class; and even a hick may grasp it, if heís smart. 8b

Alas, I love a soft-skinned lad, who shows me up to all our friends against my every wish. Iíll bear it unconcealed Ė oneís often forced to things; itís no bad-looking boy Iíve fallen for. Boy-loveís a pleasure; after all, once Kronosí son, king of immortals, fell for Ganymede, seized him and took him to Olympus, gave him rank divine, with all his lovely boyhoodís bloom. Therefore, Simonides, donít wonder if I too am found in thrall to a delightful lad. 8c

I hold it is long practice, friend, and this constitutes human nature in the end. 9

The cleverest and most stupid thing is - time. pg. 10

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