Loud-thundering Zeus controls the outcome, lad, in everything, and makes it how he wants. Men have no foresight, but from day to day they live like cattle, knowing not at all how God will bring each matter to its end; yet everybody feeds on hope and trust throughout his vain endeavors. Some await tomorrow, some the turning of the seasons; there’s no man does not think he’ll reach next year the Wealth-god’s darling, and society’s. But one is overtaken by old age before he makes his goal, others succumb to grim diseases, others slain in war Hades escorts below dark earth, while some die out at sea, by tempests buffeted and the salt purple deep’s unending waves, when they can make no living on the land; others again fasten themselves a noose and leave the sunlight by their own grim choice. So we are spared no ill, but numberless dangers and hurts for which we cannot plan exist for mortals. If I had my way, we would not cling to sorrow, or so long torment ourselves by dwelling on our woes. 1

When someone died, we would not think of him – if we had any sense – more than a day. 2

For we have time enough for being dead; for living, just a few unhappy years. 3

No life is wholly free from fault or harm. 4

… runs like an unweaned colt beside its dam. 5

A wife? There’s nothing better a man can get than a good one – and nothing ghastlier than a bad. 6

God made diverse the ways of womankind. One he created from a hairy sow; in her house everything’s a mess of filth rolling about untidy on the floor, and she herself, unwashed, in dirty clothes, eats herself fat and wallows in the muck. One from a wicked vixen he created, expert in every trick. She misses nothing so long as it’s bad, or even if it’s good: what’s good she mostly denigrates, what’s bad she praises. But her moods are changeable. One from a bith: a slut, that by herself gets pregnant; wants to hear and wants to know every damned thing, peers everywhere and prowls and yelps although there’s no one to be seen. The man can’t make her stop, neither with threats nor if he speaks with gentle words, not even if she’s sitting among guests, but all the time he has this hopeless blight. Another the Olympians shaped from earth and gave a man: a lame duck, ignorant of good and ill alike. The only skill she knows is eating – oh, and when God sends a frost, to pull her chair up to the fire. Another from the sea: she has two moods. One day she sparkles and her face is bright; a guest who sees her will pay compliments, “no finer, fairer wife in all the world!” Another day she’s insupportable to look at or go near to, raging mad like a bitch over her puppies, savagely at odds with friends and enemies alike – just as the sea sometimes stands motionless and harmless, a delight to those who sail, in summertime, but sometimes rages wild with thunderous swell rampaging to and fro. That’s what this kind of woman’s like – in mood, I mean; there’s no resemblance in her looks! Another from an obstinate grey ass, that after thwacks and curses just consents and does the minimum. And then she eats in the shadows, eats at the hearth, all night, all day; and likewise hungry for the act of love she welcomes anyone that comes along. One from a weasel – miserable breed, with no fair feature or desirable or lovely or delightful to her name. She’s quite resourceless in the bed of love, making the passenger seasick. She’s a pest to neighbors with her thieving; often, too, she eats the food that was for sacrifice. A fancy mare was mother to another, who baulks at chores or anything that’s hard and wouldn’t touch a millstone, life a sieve, or clear the shit out, or sit at the stove for fear of soot; and yet compels a man to love her. Twice a day she takes a bath, or three times, some days; then she puts on scent. Her long, lush hair is always combed, and decked with flowers: hah, this sort of woman makes a lovely sight for others, but a plague for the man she belongs to, that’s to say unless he’s some big tyrant or some sceptred king whose heart takes pride in suchlike fripperies. One from a monkey: quite the deadest loss that Zeus has given us, this one. Ugly face – the whole town sniggers when this sort goes past; short in the neck; in all her movements stiff, fixed legs, no bum. Poor sod, who cuddles that! And like a monkey, she knows all the tricks and tropes, oh yes, but doesn’t like a joke. She’d do no good to anyone, but looks and thinks all day how she can do most harm. One from a bee: he’s lucky who gets her, for she’s the only one on whom no blame alights. Wealth grows and prospers at her hands. Bound in affection with her husband she grows old, her children handsome and esteemed. Among all women she stands out; a charm divine surrounds her. She does not enjoy sitting with women when they talk of sex. Of all the wives that Zeus bestows on men, this kind’s the finest and most sensible. But all those other breeds, by Zeus’s design, exist and ever will abide with men. Yes, the worst pestilence Zeus ever made is women. Even if they look to be a helpmeet, yet the master suffers most: the man who keeps a woman in his house never gets through a whole day in good cheer, nor will he soon drive Hunger from his door, that hostile lodger, hateful deity. When with his household he seems most content, whether by God’s grace or on man’s account, she finds some fault, and girds herself for war. Where there’s a woman, they may not be keen even to welcome in a visitor. I’ll tell you, she that looks the best-behaved in fact is the most rotten of them all, for while her man gawps fondly at her, oh, the neighbor’s merriment, another dupe! Yes, when the talk’s of wives, each man will praise his own and criticize the other bloke’s, but we don’t realize it’s equal shares. For Zeus made wives as his worst pestilence and fettered us in bonds unbreakable. It’s long been so: remember those who fought round Troy’s old city for a woman’s sake and found a home in Hades, [and again those others who were murdered at their hearth. 7

Do not be proud of never washing, nor a water-maniac; grow no bushy beard, nor wrap your body in a filthy cloak. 10a

To tunny squid's a meal, to gudgeon, shrimps. 15

Gods easily give men the wrong idea. 42

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