Quotations by Sophocles


TECMESSA: Kindness gives birth to kindness.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Ajax

Alt. trans.:
  • "For it is always kindness which breeds kindness." [tr. Garvie (1998), ll. 522-23]
  • "Kindness begets kindness." [tr. Golder & Pevear (1999), l. 584]
  • "'Tis kindness that still begets kindness." [tr. Jebb (1917), ll. 521-22]
  • "For kindness begets kindness evermore." [tr. Trevelyan (1919)]
Added on 8-Oct-20 | Last updated 8-Oct-20
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If you have done terrible things, you must endure terrible things; for thus the sacred light of injustice shines bright.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Ajax, l. 11
Added on 22-Sep-08 | Last updated 22-Sep-08
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Hush! Check those words. Do not cure ill with ill and make your pain still heavier than it is.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Ajax, l. 362
Added on 8-Sep-08 | Last updated 8-Sep-08
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A wise doctor does not mutter incantations over a sore that needs the knife.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Ajax, l. 581.
Added on 24-Nov-08 | Last updated 24-Nov-08
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TECMESSA: Ignorant men
Don’t know what good they hold in their hands until
They’ve flung it away.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Ajax, l. 964 [tr. Moore (1959)]

Alt trans.:
  • “Men of perverse opinion do not know / The excellence of what is in their hands, / Till some one dash it from them.” [George Young (1888)]
  • "Men of ill judgement oft ignore the good / That lies within their hands, till they have lost it."
  • "For those who are base in judgement do not know the good they hold in their hands until they cast it off."
Added on 2-Jun-08 | Last updated 17-Aug-16
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No other touchstone can test the heart of a man,
The temper of his mind and spirit, till he be tried
In the practice of authority and rule.

[ἀμήχανον δὲ παντὸς ἀνδρὸς ἐκμαθεῖν
ψυχήν τε καὶ φρόνημα καὶ γνώμην, πρὶν ἂν
ἀρχαῖς τε καὶ νόμοισιν ἐντριβὴς φανῇ.]

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Antigone, l. 175ff [Creon] (441 BC) [tr. Watling (1947)]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.:

There is no man whose soul and will and meaning
Stand forth as outward things for all to see,
'Till he has shown himself by practice versed
In ruling under law and making laws.
[tr. Donaldson (1848)]

But hard it is to learn
The mind of any mortal or the heart,
Till he be tried in chief authority.
Power shows the man.
[tr. Campbell (1873)]

Yet 'tis no easy matter to discern
The temper of a man, his mind and will,
Till he be proved by exercise of power.
[tr. Storr (1859)]

Now, it is impossible to know fully any man's character, will, or judgment, until he has been proved by the test of rule and law-giving.
[tr. Jebb (1891)]

Never can man be known.
His mind, his will, his passion ne'er appear,
Till power and office call them forth.
[tr. Werner (1892)]

No man can be fully known, in soul and spirit and mind, until he hath been seen versed in rule and law-giving.
[tr. Jebb (1917)]

I am aware, of course, that no Ruler can expect complete loyalty from his subjects until he has been tested in office.
[tr. Fitts/Fitzgerald (1939)]

You cannot learn of any man the soul,
the mind, and the intent until he shows
his practice of the government and law.
[tr. Wyckoff (1954)]

There is no art that teaches us to know
The temper, mind, or spirit of any man
Until he has been proved by government
And lawgiving.
[tr. Kitto (1962)]

Of course you cannot know a man completely,
his character, his principles, sense of judgment,
not till he's shown his colors, ruling the people,
making laws. Experience, there's the test.
[tr. Fagles (1982), l. 194ff]

No man has a mind that can be fully known,
In character or judgment, till he rules and makes law.
[tr. Woodruff (2001)]

Now, there is no way to learn thoroughly the essence
of the whole man as well as his thought and judgment
until he has been seen engaged in ruling and making laws.
[tr. Tyrell/Bennett (2002)]

It’s impossible
to really know a man, to know his soul,
his mind and will, before one witnesses
his skill in governing and making laws.
[tr. Johnston (2005), ll. 198-201]

It is impossible to really learn a man’s
mind, thought and opinion before he’s been initiated
into the offices and laws of the state.
[tr. @sentantiq (2020)]
Added on 30-Jun-08 | Last updated 21-Dec-20
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Fine, Haemon.
That’s how you ought to feel within your heart,
subordinate to your father’s will in every way.
That’s what a man prays for: to produce good sons —
a household full of them, dutiful and attentive,
so they can pay his enemy back with interest
and match the respect their father shows his friend.
But the man who rears a brood of useless children,
what has he brought into the world, I ask you?
Nothing but trouble for himself, and mockery
from his enemies laughing in his face.

[οὕτω γάρ, ὦ παῖ, χρὴ διὰ στέρνων ἔχειν,
γνώμης πατρῴας πάντ᾽ ὄπισθεν ἑστάναι.
τούτου γὰρ οὕνεκ᾽ ἄνδρες εὔχονται γονὰς
κατηκόους φύσαντες ἐν δόμοις ἔχειν,
ὡς καὶ τὸν ἐχθρὸν ἀνταμύνωνται κακοῖς
καὶ τὸν φίλον τιμῶσιν ἐξ ἴσου πατρί.
ὅστις δ᾽ ἀνωφέλητα φιτύει τέκνα,
τί τόνδ᾽ ἂν εἴποις ἄλλο πλὴν αὑτῷ πόνους
φῦσαι, πολὺν δὲ τοῖσιν ἐχθροῖσιν γέλων]

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Antigone, l. 639 ff (Act 3) [Creon] (441 BC) [tr. Fagles (1982), l. 712ff]
    (Source)

Original Greek. Alt. trans.:

Well spoken: so right-minded sons should feel,
In all deferring to a father's will.
For 'tis the hope of parents they may rear
A brood of sons submissive, keen to avenge
Their father's wrongs, and count his friends their own.
But who begets unprofitable sons,
He verily breeds trouble for himself,
And for his foes much laughter.
[tr. Storr (1859)]

That, O my son! should be thy constant mind,
In all to bend thee to thy father's will.
Therefore men pray to have around their hearths
Obedient offspring, to requite their foes
With harm, and honour whom their father loves;
But he whose issue proves unprofitable,
Begets what else but sorrow to himself
And store of laughter to his enemies?
[tr. Campbell (1873)]

Yes, my son, this is the spirit you should maintain in your heart -- to stand behind your father's will in all things. It is for this that men pray: to sire and raise in their homes children who are obedient, that they may requite their father's enemy with evil and honor his friend, just as their father does. But the man who begets unhelpful children -- what would you say that he has sown except miseries for himself and abundant exultation for his enemies?
[tr. Jebb (1891), l. 640ff]

Yea, this, my son, should be thy heart's fixed law, -- in all things to obey thy father's will. 'Tis for this that men pray to see dutiful children grow up around them in their homes, -- that such may requite their father's foe with evil, and honour, as their father doth, his friend. But he who begets unprofitable children -- what shall we say that he hath sown, but troubles for himself, and much triumph for his foes?
[tr. Jebb (1917)]

Good. That is the way to behave: subordinate
Everything else, my son, to your father’s will
This is what a man prays for, that he may get
Sons attentive and dutiful in his house,
Each one hating his father’s enemies,
Honoring his father’s friends. But if his sons
Fail him, if they turn out unprofitably,
What has he fathered but trouble for himself
And amusement for the malicious?
[tr. Fitts/Fitzgerald (1939), l. 503ff]

Rightly said.
Your father’s will should have your heart’s first place.
Only for this do fathers pray for sons
Obedient, loyal, ready to strike down
Their father’s foes, and love their father’s friends.
To be the father of unprofitable sons
Is to be the father of sorrows, a laughingstock
To all one’s enemies.
[tr. Watling (1947), l. 540ff]

And that’s how it should always be, my son! Everything should give way to a father’s wish because that’s why a father hopes to have many children: so that they can inflict upon his enemies whatever hard punishment they can and treat his friends with the same honour as he does. Whereas the father who brings to the world worthless children, well, how would that be different to having brought about the birth of innumerable pains and cause for his enemies to ridicule him?
[tr. Theodoridis (2004)]

Indeed, my son,
that’s how your heart should always be resolved,
to stand behind your father’s judgment
on every issue. That’s what men pray for --
obedient children growing up at home
who will pay back their father’s enemies,
evil to them for evil done to him,
while honouring his friends as much as he does.
A man who fathers useless children --
what can one say of him except he’s bred
troubles for himself, and much to laugh at
for those who fight against him?
[tr. Johnston (2005), l. 724ff]

There's a good boy. So should you hold at heart
and stand behind your father all the way.
It is for this men pray they may beget
households of dutiful obedient sons,
who share alike in punishing enemies,
and give due honor to their father's friends.
Whoever breeds a child that will not help
what has he sown but trouble for himself,
and for his enemies laughter full and free?
[tr. Wyckoff (1954)]

Yes, you should always be disposed this way in your breast, boy,
to assume your post behind your father’s judgments
in all things. For this reason, men pray to beget
and have sons in their households who listen,
that they may both repay an enemy with evils
and honor the philos equally with the father.
Whoever produces useless children,
what could you say about him except that he begets
hardship for himself and great mockery for his enemies.
[tr. Tyrell/Bennett (2002)]
Added on 17-Dec-20 | Last updated 21-Dec-20
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CREON: Am I to rule for others, or myself?
HAEMON: A State for one man is no State at all.
CREON: The State is his who rules it, so ’tis held.
HAEMON: As monarch of a desert thou wouldst shine.

Κρέων: ἄλλῳ γὰρ ἢ ‘μοὶ χρή με τῆσδ᾽ ἄρχειν χθονός;
Αἵμων: πόλις γὰρ οὐκ ἔσθ᾽ ἥτις ἀνδρός ἐσθ᾽ ἑνός.
Κρέων: οὐ τοῦ κρατοῦντος ἡ πόλις νομίζεται;
Αἵμων: καλῶς γ᾽ ἐρήμης ἂν σὺ γῆς ἄρχοις μόνος.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Antigone, l. 736 ff (441 BC) [tr. Storr (1859)]
    (Source)

Original Greek. Alt. trans.:

CREON: Shall other men prescribe my government?
HAEMON: One only makes not up a city, father.
CREON: Is not the city in the sovereign's hand?
HAEMON: Nobly you'd govern as the desert's king.
[tr. Campbell (1873)]

CREON: Am I to rule this land by the will of another than myself?
HAEMON: That is no city, which belongs to one man.
CREON: Does not the city by tradition belong to the man in power?
HAEMON: You would make a fine monarch in a desert.
[tr. Jebb (1891)]

CREON: My voice is the one voice giving orders in this City!
HAIMON: It is no City if it takes orders from one voice.
CREON: The State is the King!
HAIMON: Yes, if the State is a desert.
[tr. Fitts/Fitzgerald (1939)]

CREON: No, I am king, and responsible only to myself.
HAEMON: A one-man state? What sort of state is that?
CREON: Why, does not every state belong to its ruler?
HAEMON: You’d be an excellent king -- on a desert island.
[tr. Watling (1947), ll. 632 ff]

CREON: Am I to rule by other mind than mine?
HAEMON: No city is property of a single man.
CREON: But custom gives possession to the ruler.
HAEMON: You'd rule a desert beautifully alone.
[tr. Wyckoff (1954)]

CREON: Am I to rule for them, not for myself?
HAEMON: That is not government, but tyranny.
CREON: The king is lord and master of his city.
HAEMON: Then you had better rule a desert island!
[tr. Kitto (1962)]

CREON: Am I to rule this land for others -- or myself?
HAEMON: It's no city at all, owned by one man alone.
CREON: What? The city is the king's -- that's the law!
HAEMON: What a splendid king you'd make of a desert island --
you and you alone.
[tr. Fagles (1982)]

CREON: So I should rule this country for someone other than myself?
HAEMON: A place for one man alone is not a city.
CREON: A city belongs to its master. Isn't that the rule?
HAEMON: Then go be ruler of a desert, all alone. You'd do it well.
[tr. Woodruff (2001)]

CREON: Should I govern the city for others and not for me?
HAEMON: There is no city that belongs to one man.
CREON: So a city does not belong to the man who governs it?
HAEMON: One man alone can only govern an empty city.
[tr. Theodoridis (2004)]

CREON: Am I to rule this land at someone else’s whim or by myself?
HAEMON: A city which belongs to just one man is no true city.
CREON: According to our laws, does not the ruler own the city?
HAEMON: By yourself you’d make an excellent king but in a desert.
[tr. Johnston (2005)]

CREON: Should I rule the land for anyone other than myself?
HAEMON: There is no city that is one man’s.
CREON: Is not the city considered to belong to the ruling man?
HAEMON: Nobly you could rule an empty land, alone.
[tr. Tyrell/Bennett (2002)]

Also:
  • "The state which belongs to one man is no state at all." [tr. @sentantiq (2020)]
  • "A state is not a state if it belongs to one man."
Added on 5-Jan-09 | Last updated 22-Dec-20
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O my son!
These are no trifles! Think: all men make mistakes,
But a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong,
And repairs the evil. The only crime is pride.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Antigone, l. 1022ff [Tiresias] (441 BC) [tr. Fitts/Fitzgerald (1939), ll. 803ff]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.:

Then take these things to heart, my son: for error
Is as the universal lot of man;
But whenso'er he errs, that man no longer
Is witless or unblessed, who, having fallen
Into misfortune, seeks to mend his ways
And is not obstinate: the stiffneckt temper
Must oft plead guilty to the charge of folly.
[tr. Donaldson (1848)]

Now, then, my son, take thought. A man may err;
But he is not insensate or foredoomed
To ruin, who, when he hath lapsed to evil,
Stands not inflexible, but heals the harm.
The obstinate man still earns the name of fool.
[tr. Campbell (1873)]

O ponder this, my son. To err is common
To all men, but the man who having erred
Hugs not his errors, but repents and seeks
The cure, is not a wastrel nor unwise.
No fool, the saw goes, like the obstinate fool.
[tr. Storr (1859)]

Think, therefore, on these things, my son. All men are liable to err. But when an error is made, that man is no longer unwise or unblessed who heals the evil into which he has fallen and does not remain stubborn. Self-will, we know, invites the charge of foolishness.
[tr. Jebb (1891)]

Consider this, my son! and, O remember,
To err is human; 'tis the common lot
Of frail mortality; and he alone
Is wise and happy, who, when ills are done,
Persists not, but would heal the wound he made.
[tr. Werner (1892)]

Think, then, on these things, my son. All men are liable to err; but when an error hath been made, that man is no longer witless or unblest who heals the ill into which he hath fallen, and remains not stubborn. Self-will, we know, incurs the charge of folly.
[tr. Jebb (1917)]

Mark this, my son: all men fall into sin.
But sinning, he is not forever lost
Hapless and helpless, who can make amends
And has not set his face against repentance.
Only a fool is governed by self-will.
[tr. Watling (1939)]

Think of these things, my son. All men may err
but error once committed, he's no fool
nor yet unfortunate, who gives up his stiffness
ad cures the trouble he has fallen in.
Stubbornness and stupidity are twins.
[tr. Wyckoff (1954)]

Be warned, my son, No man alive is free
From error, but the wise and prudent man
When he has fallen into evil courses
Does not persist, but tries to find amendment ....
[tr. Kitto (1962)]

Take these things to heart, my son, I warn you.
All men make mistakes, it is only human.
But once the wrong is done, a man
can turn his back on folly, misfortune too,
if he tries to make amends, however low he's fallen,
and stops his bullnecked ways. Stubbornness
brands you for stupidity -- pride is a crime
[tr. Fagles (1982), l. 1131ff]

Therefore, think about this, child. For men,
all of them, it is common to make mistakes.
Whenever he does make a mistake, that man is still not
foolish or unhappy who, fallen into evil,
applies a remedy and does not become immovable.
Stubborn self-will incurs a charge of stupidity.
[tr. Tyrell/Bennett (2002)]

Understand this: All men make mistakes. But when they do, it would be a wise and well acting man who corrected that mistake and moved on rather than stayed there stubbornly and unrepentant. The stubborn man is rewarded with more errors.
[tr. Theodoridis (2004)]

Consider this, my son.
All men make mistakes -- that's not uncommon.
But when they do, they’re no longer foolish
or subject to bad luck if they try to fix
the evil into which they’ve fallen,
once they give up their intransigence.
Men who put their stubbornness on show
invite accusations of stupidity.
[tr. Johnston (2005), l. 1138ff]

Therefore, think on these things, my child; for every human being makes mistakes, but when he has made a mistake, that man is no longer foolish and unhappy who remedies the evil into which he has fallen and is not stubborn. Obstinacy brings the charge of stupidity.
[tr. Thomas (2005)]

Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 21-Dec-20
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TIRESIAS: Oh god, is there a man alive who knows, who actually believes …
CREON: What now? What earth-shattering truth are you about to utter?
TIRESIAS: … just how much a sense of judgment, wisdom is the greatest gift we have?
CREON: Just as much, I’d say, as a twisted mind is the worst affliction known.
TIRESIAS: You’re the one who’s sick, Creon, sick to death.

[Τειρεσίας: φεῦ. ἆρ᾽ οἶδεν ἀνθρώπων τις, ἆρα φράζεται,
Κρέων: τί χρῆμα; ποῖον τοῦτο πάγκοινον λέγεις;
Τειρεσίας: ὅσῳ κράτιστον κτημάτων εὐβουλία;
Κρέων: ὅσῳπερ, οἶμαι, μὴ φρονεῖν πλείστη βλάβη.
Τειρεσίας: ταύτης σὺ μέντοι τῆς νόσου πλήρης ἔφυς.]

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Antigone, l. 1048ff (441 BC) [tr. Fagles (1982), l. 1162ff]
    (Source)

Original Greek. Alternate translations:

TEIRESIAS: Oh! What man is there that knows? who that considers --
KREON: In what? thou askest comprehensive questions.
TEIRESIAS: How far the best of goods good counsel is?
KREON: As far as folly is the greatest loss.
TEIRESIAS: Well, though, at least hast caught that grievous ailment.
[tr. Donaldson (1848), l. 1015]

TEIRESIAS: Alas! doth any know and lay to heart --
CREON: Is this the prelude to some hackneyed saw?
TEIRESIAS: How far good counsel is the best of goods?
CREON: True, as unwisdom is the worst of ills.
TEIRESIAS: Thou art infected with that ill thyself.
[tr. Campbell (1873)]

TIRESIAS: Ah! where is wisdom? who considereth?
CREON: Wherefore? what means this universal doubt?
TIRESIAS: How far the best of riches is good counsel!
CREON: As far as folly is the mightiest bane.
TIRESIAS: Yet thou art sick of that same pestilence.
[tr. Storr (1859)]

TEIRESIAS: Alas! Does any man know, does any consider --
CREON: What is this? What universal truth are you announcing?
TEIRESIAS: -- by how much the most precious of our possessions is the power to reason wisely?
CREON: By as much, I think, as senselessness is the greatest affliction.
TEIRESIAS: Yet you came into being full of that disease.
[tr. Jebb (1891)]

TEIRESIAS: Alas! Doth any man know, doth any consider ...
CREON: Whereof? What general truth dost thou announce?
TEIRESIAS: How precious, above all wealth, is good counsel.
CREON: As folly, I think, is the worst mischief.
TEIRESIAS: Yet thou art tainted with that distemper.
[tr. Jebb (1917)]

TEIRESIAS: Ah Creon! Is there no man left in the world --
CREON: To do what? -- Come, let’s have the aphorism!
TEIRESIAS: No man who knows that wisdom outweighs any wealth?
CREON: As surely as bribes are baser than any baseness.
TEIRESIAS: You are sick, Creon! You are deathly sick!
[tr. Fitts/Fitzgerald (1939), l. 825ff]

TEIRESIAS: Ah, is there any wisdom in the world?
CREON: Why, what is the meaning of that wide-flung taunt?
TEIRESIAS: What prize outweighs the priceless worth of prudence?
CREON: Ay, what indeed? What mischief matches the lack of it?
TEIRESIAS: And there you speak of your own symptom, sir.
[tr. Watling (1947)]

TEIRESIAS: Alas! What man can tell me, has he thought at all ...
CREON: What hackneyed saw is coming from your lips?
TEIRESIAS: How better than all wealth is sound good counsel.
CREON: And so folly worse than anything.
TEIRESIAS: And you're infected with that same disease.
[tr. Wyckoff (1954)]

TEIRESIAS: Does any man reflect, does any know ...
CREON: Know what? Why do you preach at me like this?
TEIRESIAS: How much the greatest blessing is good counsel?
CREON: As much, I think, as folly is his plague.
TEIRESIAS: Yet with this plague you are yourself infected.
[tr. Kitto (1962)]

TIRESIAS: This is very sad: Does any human being know, or even question ...
CREON: What's this? More of your great "common knowledge"?
TIRESIAS: How powerful good judgment is, compared to wealth.
CREON: Exactly. And no harm compares with heedlessness.
TIRESIAS: Which runs through you like the plague.
[tr. Woodruff (2001)]

TIRESIAS: Pheu, does any man know, does he consider ...
CREON: Just what? What old saw are you saying?
TIRESIAS: by how much the best of possessions is good counsel?
CREON: By as much, I suppose, as not to have sense is the greatest harm.
TIRESIAS: You certainly were full of this sickness.
[tr. Tyrell/Bennett (2002)]

TEIRESIAS: Is there no one who ... does no one know ... Speak up! Speak up!
CREON: What? What are you trying to say to us?
TEIRESIAS: What? What I’m trying to tell you, Creon, is that man’s best endowment is wisdom.
CREON: Just as idiocy is our worst curse.
TEIRESIAS: You’re possessed by this illness to the full.
[tr. Theodoridis (2004)]

TEIRESIAS: Alas, does any man know or think about ...
CREON: Think what? What sort of pithy common thought are you about to utter?
TEIRESIAS: ... how good advice is valuable -- worth more than all possessions.
CREON: I think that’s true, as much as foolishness is what harms us most.
TEIRESIAS: Yet that’s the sickness now infecting you.
[tr. Johnston (2005)]

TIRESIAS: Does any man know, does any consider ...
CREON: What thing? What great aphorism will you speak?
TIRESIAS: ... how much prudence is the greatest of possessions?
CREON: As much as stupidity is the worst hurt?
TIRESIAS: You certainly seem full of this disease.
[tr. Thomas (2005)]
Added on 25-Feb-21 | Last updated 25-Feb-21
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CREON: Prophecies? All your tribe wants is to make money.
TIRESIAS: And what about tyrants? Filthy lucre is all you want!

[Κρέων: τὸ μαντικὸν γὰρ πᾶν φιλάργυρον γένος.
Τειρεσίας: τὸ δ᾽ ἐκ τυράννων αἰσχροκέρδειαν φιλεῖ.]

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Antigone, l. 1055ff (441 BC) [tr. Woodruff (2001)]
    (Source)

Argument between Creon, the king, and Teiresias, his seer. Original Greek. Alternate translations:

KREON: The race of seers is wholly given to pelf.
TEIRESIAS: The tyrant-race is given to filthy lucre.
[tr. Donaldson (1848)]

CREON: Prophets are all a money-getting tribe.
TEIRESIAS: And kings are all a lucre-loving race.
[tr. Campbell (1873)]

CREON: Desire of money is the prophet's plague.
TIRESIAS: And ill-sought lucre is the curse of kings.
[tr. Storr (1859)]

CREON: Yes, for the prophet-clan was ever fond of money.
TEIRESIAS: And the race sprung from tyrants loves shameful gain.
[tr. Jebb (1891)]

CREON: Your prophetic race are lovers all of gold.
TIRESIAS: Tyrants are so, howe'er illgotten.
[tr. Werner (1892)]

CREON: Well, the prophet-tribe was ever fond of money.
TEIRESIAS: And the race bred of tyrants loves base gain.
[tr. Jebb (1917)]

CREON: The generation of prophets has always loved gold.
TEIRESIAS: The generation of kings has always loved brass.
[tr. Fitts/Fitzgerald (1939)]

CREON: I say all prophets seek their own advantage.
TEIRESIAS: All kings, I say, seek gain unrighteously.
[tr. Watling (1947)]

CREON: Well, the whole crew of seers are money-mad.
TEIRESIAS: And the whole tribe of tyrants grab at gain.
[tr. Wyckoff (1954)]

CREON: Prophets have always been too fond of gold.
TEIRESIAS: And tyrants, of the shameful use of power.
[tr. Kitto (1962)]

CREON: You and the whole breed of seers are mad for money!
TIRESIAS: And the whole race of tyrants lusts for filthy gain.
[tr. Fagles (1982), l. 1171ff]

CREON: Yes, for the whole family of prophets is philos to silver.
TIRESIAS: And the family of absolute rulers holds disgraceful profits as philoi.
[tr. Tyrell/Bennett (2002)]

CREON: The whole race of prophets loves money.
TEIRESIAS: And the kings love their shameful profits.
[tr. Theodoridis (2004)]

CREON: The tribe of prophets --
all of them -- are fond of money.
TEIRESIAS: And kings?
Their tribe loves to benefit dishonestly.
[tr. Johnston (2005), l. 1180ff]
Added on 4-Mar-21 | Last updated 4-Mar-21
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I’ll have no dealings
With law-breakers, critics of the government:
Whoever is chosen to govern should be obeyed ––
Must be obeyed, in all things, great and small,
Just and unjust! O Haimon,
The man who knows how to obey, and that man only,
Knows how to give commands when the time comes.
You can depend on him, no matter how fast
The spears come: he’s a good soldier, he’ll stick it out.
Anarchy, anarchy! Show me a greater evil!
This is why cities tumble and the great houses rain down,
This is what scatters armies!
No, no: good lives are made so by discipline.
We keep the laws then, and the lawmakers.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Antigone, l. 665ff [Creon] (441 BC) [tr. Fitts/Fitzgerald (1939), l. 525ff]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.:

But whoso wantonly
Or strains the laws or sets about dictating
To those who rule, it is not possible
That such a one should ever earn my praise.
No! when a city constitutes a chief,
It well befitteth all men to obey
His great or small, just or unjust behests.
And I should confidently trust that he,
Whose law is such, would from fixed habitude
Both wisely rule and loyally obey.
he too, when posted in the battled line,
Amid the storm of fight, would keep his ground,
Brave and unswerving by his comrade's side.
There is no greater ill than disobedience.
'Tis this which ruins cities: this it is
Which works the downfall of a noble house.
And when, in battle, spear is locked with spear,
'Tis this again which breaks and routes the phalanx.
But when men keep the line, their discipline
For the most part ensures their safety. Thus,
It is our duty still to aid the laws.
[tr. Donaldson (1848)]

But he who overbears the laws, or thinks
To overrule his rulers, such as one
I never will allow. Whome'er the State
Appoints must be obeyed in everything,
But small and great, just and unjust alike.
I warrant such a one in either case
Would shine, as King or subject; such a man
Would in the storm of battle stand his ground,
A comrade leal and true; but Anarchy --
What evils are not wrought by Anarchy!
She ruins States, and overthrows the home,
She dissipates and routs the embattled host;
While discipline preserves the ordered ranks.
Therefore we must maintain authority.
[tr. Campbell (1873)]

But he that wantonly defies the law,
Or thinks to dictate to authority,
Shall have no praise from me. What power soe'er
The city hath ordained, must be obeyed
In little things and great things, right or wrong.
The man who so obeys, I have good hope
Will govern and be governed as he ought,
And in the storm of battle at my side
Will stand a faithful and a trusty comrade.
But what more fatal than the lapse of rule?
This ruins cities, this lays houses waste,
This joins with the assault of war to break
Full numbered armies into hopeless rout;
And in the unbroken host 'tis nought but rule
That keeps those many bodies from defeat,
I must be zealous to defend the law.
[tr. Storr (1859)]

But if anyone oversteps and does violence to the laws, or thinks to dictate to those in power, such a one will never win praise from me. No, whomever the city may appoint, that man must be obeyed in matters small and great and in matters just and unjust. And I would feel confident that such a man would be a fine ruler no less than a good and willing subject, and that beneath a hail of spears he would stand his ground where posted, a loyal and brave comrade in the battle line. But there is no evil worse than disobedience. This destroys cities; this overturns homes; this breaks the ranks of allied spears into headlong rout. But the lives of men who prosper upright, of these obedience has saved the greatest part. Therefore we must defend those who respect order.
[tr. Jebb (1891)]

But if any one transgresses, and does violence to the laws, or thinks to dictate to his rulers, such an on can win no praise from me. No, whomsoever the city may appoint, that man must be obeyed, in little things and great, in just things and unjust; and I should feel sure that one who thus obey would be a good ruler no less than a good subject, and in the storm of spears would stand his ground where he was set, loyal and dauntless at his comrade's side. But disobedience is the worst of evils. This it is that ruins cities; this makes homes desolate; by this, the ranks of allies are broken into headlong rout; but, of the lives whose course is fair, the greater part owes safety to obedience. Therefore we must support the cause of order.
[tr. Jebb (1917), l. 661ff]

To transgress
Or twist the law to one’s own pleasure, presume
To order where one should obey, is sinful,
And I will have none of it.
He whom the State appoints must be obeyed
To the smallest matter, be it right -- or wrong.
And he that rules his household, without a doubt,
Will make the wisest king, or, for that matter,
The staunchest subject. He will be the man
You can depend on in the storm of war,
The faithfullest comrade in the day of battle.
There is no more deadly peril than disobedience;
States are devoured by it, homes laid in ruins,
Armies defeated, victory turned to rout.
While simple obedience saves the lives of hundreds
Of honest folk. Therefore, I hold to the law,
And will never betray it.
[tr. Watling (1947), l. 559ff]

But whoever steps out of line, violates the laws
or presumes to hand out orders to his superiors,
he'll win no praise from me. But that man
the city places in authority, his orders
must be obeyed, large and small,
right and wrong. Anarchy --
show me a greater crime in all the earth!
She, she destroys cities, rips up houses,
breaks the ranks of spearmen into headlong rout.
But the ones who last it out, the great mass of them
owe their lives to discipline. Therefore
we must defend the men who live by law.
[tr. Fagles (1982), l. 741ff]

So, if someone goes too far and breaks the law,
Or tries to tell his masters what to do,
He will have nothing but contempt from me.
But when a city takes a leader, you must obey,
Whether his commands are trivial, or right, or wrong.
But reject one man ruling another, and that's the worst.
Anarchy tears up a city, divides a home,
Defeats an alliance of spears.
But when people stay in line and obey,
Their lives and everything else are safe.
For this reason, order must be maintained.
[tr. Woodruff (2001), l. 662ff]

He who violates the laws of the gods and his city, or wants to command its leaders, will never gain my respect. We must obey those whom the city has ordained to be its leaders. We should obey them, unquestioningly, in all things, minor or great, those we agree with and those we oppose. I believe such a man would govern well and he’d also be an obedient servant; and he’d stay at his post even in the hurricane of war, honourably, bravely defending his country. There’s no worse evil than anarchy. Anarchy destroys nations, my son. Anarchy destroys homes. Anarchy turns the spears of allies into fleeing cowards. Those men left standing, the survivors, have been saved by discipline. That’s why each man must protect, with all his might, law and order.
[tr. Theodoridis (2004)]

But anyone who’s proud
and violates our laws or thinks he’ll tell
our leaders what to do, a man like that
wins no praise from me. No. We must obey
whatever man the city puts in charge,
no matter what the issue -- great or small,
just or unjust. For there’s no greater evil
than a lack of leadership. That destroys
whole cities, turns households into ruins,
and in war makes soldiers break and run away.
When men succeed, what keeps their lives secure
in almost every case is their obedience.
That’s why they must support those in control.
[tr. Johnston (2005), l. 757ff ]
Added on 7-Jan-21 | Last updated 7-Jan-21
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More quotes by Sophocles

And power must ne’er be yielded to a woman.
For if we must succumb, ’twere better far
To crouch before a man; and thus at least
No one could taunt us with a woman’s rule.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Antigone, l. 679ff [Creon] (441 BC) [tr. Donaldson (1848)]
    (Source)

Alternate translations:

And yield to title to a woman's will.
Better, if needs be, men should cast us out
Than hear it said, a woman proved his match.
[tr. Campbell (1873)]

And not go down before a woman's will.
Else, if I fall, 'twere best a man should strike me;
Lest one should say, 'a woman worsted him.'
[tr. Storr (1859)]

And in no way can we let a woman defeat us. It is better to fall from power, if it is fated, by a man's hand, than that we be called weaker than women.
[tr. Jebb (1891)]

We will not yield
To a weak woman; if we must submit,
At least we will be conquered by a man,
Nor by a female arm thus fall inglorious.
[tr. Werner (1892)]

In no wise suffer a woman to worst us. Better to fall from power, if we must, by a man's hand; then we should not be called weaker than a woman.
[tr. Jebb (1917)]

And no woman shall seduce us. If we must lose,
Let's lose to a man, at least! Is a woman stronger than we?
[tr. Fitts/Fitzgerald (1939), ll. 539-40]

... not let myself be beaten by a woman.
Better, if it must happen, that a man
should overset me.
I won't be called weaker than womankind.
[tr. Wyckoff (1954)]

We must not be
Defeated by a woman. Better far
Be overthrown, if need be, by a man
Than to be called the victim of a woman.
[tr. Kitto (1962)]

Never let some woman triumph over us.
Better to fall from power, if fall we must,
at the hands of a man -- never be rated
inferior to a woman, never.
[tr. Fagles (1982)]

And there must be no surrender to a woman.
No! If we call, better a man should take us down.
Never say that a woman bested us!
[tr. Woodruff (2001), l. 669 ff]

Defeat by a woman must never happen.
It is better, if it is bound to happen, to be expelled by a man.
We could not be called "defeated by women" -- could not.
[tr. Tyrell/Bennett (2002), l. 678ff]

Under no circumstances must he allow a woman to defeat him. It would be best -- if needs be -- to be defeated by a man, rather then allow it to be said that women have taken over.
[tr. Theodoridis (2004)]

And never let some woman beat us down.
If we must fall from power, let that come
at some man's hand -- at least, we won't be called
inferior to any woman.
[tr. Johnston (2005), l. 770ff]
Added on 14-Jan-21 | Last updated 14-Jan-21
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I think, for what my young opinion’s worth,
That good as it is to have infallible wisdom,
Since this is rarely found, the next best thing
Is to be willing to listen to wise advice.

[γνώμη γὰρ εἴ τις κἀπ᾽ ἐμοῦ νεωτέρου
πρόσεστι, φήμ᾽ ἔγωγε πρεσβεύειν πολὺ
φῦναι τὸν ἄνδρα πάντ᾽ ἐπιστήμης πλέων:
εἰ δ᾽ οὖν, φιλεῖ γὰρ τοῦτο μὴ ταύτῃ ῥέπειν,
καὶ τῶν λεγόντων εὖ καλὸν τὸ μανθάνειν.]

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Antigone, l. 719ff [Haemon] (441 BC) [tr. Watling (1947)]
    (Source)

Original Greek. Alternate translations:

For, if grounded maxims
May find their utterance e'en in me your son,
I dare be bold to say 'tis better far
That understanding should be born in man:
But if this may not be: -- and, to say sooth,
The common scale inclines not thus, -- 'tis well
To learn from any one who reasons soundly.
[tr. Donaldson (1848)]

For, if one young in years may claim some sense,
I'll say 'tis best of all to be endowed
With absolute wisdom; but, if that's denied,
(And nature takes not readily that ply)
Next wise is he who lists to sage advice.
[tr. Campbell (1873)]

If any judgement hath informed my youth,
I grant it noblest to be always wise,
But, -- for omniscience is denied to man --
Tis good to hearken to admonishment.
[tr. Storr (1859)]

For if even from me, a younger man, a worthy thought may be supplied, by far the best thing, I believe, would be for men to be all-wise by nature. Otherwise -- since most often it does not turn out that way -- it is good to learn in addition from those who advise you well.
[tr. Jebb (1891)]

For if I, a younger man, may offer my thought, it were far best, I ween, that men should be all-wise by nature; but, otherwise -- and oft the scale inclines not so -- 'tis good also to learn from those who speak aright.
[tr. Jebb (1917)]

I know I am young; but please let me say this: The ideal condition
Would be, I admit, that men should be right by instinct;
But since we are all too likely to go astray,
The reasonable thing is to learn from those who can teach.
[tr. Fitts/Fitzgerald (1939), l. 578ff]

Young as I am, if I may give advice,
I'd say it would be best if men were born
perfect in wisdom, but failing this
(which often fails) it can be no dishonor
to learn from others when they speak good sense.
[tr. Wyckoff (1954)]

If one who is still young can speak with sense,
Then I would say that he does best who has
Most understanding; second best, the man
Who profits from the wisdom of another.
[tr. Kitto (1962)]

I'm young, I know, but let me offer this:
it would be best by far, I admit,
if a man were born infallible, right by nature.
If not -- and things don't often go that way --
it's best to learn from those with good advice.
[tr. Fagles (1982), l. 805ff]

For if an opinion comes up from me, a younger person,
I say it is by far best that a man be born filled with
wisdom. If he is not, for the scale does not usually so incline,
to learn from those speaking competently is a noble thing.
[tr. Tyrell/Bennett (2002)]

I’m younger, I know but I still might be able to judge what’s right and I say that it’s a good thing for a man to be born with all possible wisdom but still -- because it’s not such a common thing -- to be able to learn from others.
[tr. Theodoridis (2004)]

For if I, as a younger man, may state
my views, I’d say it would be for the best
if men by nature understood all things --
if not, and that is usually the case,
when men speak well, it good to learn from them.
[tr. Johnston (2005)]

Even though I'm young, a good idea might come from me: It would be best by far that man be born full of all the knowledge there is, but, if it usually happens not to turn out that way, to learn from those who speak well is a good substitute.
[tr. Thomas (2005)]

Added on 28-Jan-21 | Last updated 28-Jan-21
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CHORUS: It won’t do you any harm, my Lord, to listen to him and see if what he says is wise. And you, too Haemon. Because both of you spoke well.
CREON: At our age? Should we allow a young little rooster to teach us wisdom?
HAEMON: Justice only. Young or old, one does not look at years but deeds.

Χορός: ἄναξ, σέ τ᾽ εἰκός, εἴ τι καίριον λέγει,
μαθεῖν, σέ τ᾽ αὖ τοῦδ᾽: εὖ γὰρ εἴρηται διπλῇ.
Κρέων: οἱ τηλικοίδε καὶ διδαξόμεσθα δὴ
φρονεῖν ὑπ᾽ ἀνδρὸς τηλικοῦδε τὴν φύσιν;
Αἵμων: μηδὲν τὸ μὴ δίκαιον: εἰ δ᾽ ἐγὼ νέος,
οὐ τὸν χρόνον χρὴ μᾶλλον ἢ τἄργα σκοπεῖν.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Antigone, l. 724ff (441 BC) [tr. Theodoridis (2004)]
    (Source)

Original Greek. Alternate translations:

CHORUS: Sire, thou shouldst learn where he has hit the mark:
Thou too from him: for both have spoken well.
KREON: And shall we, in our riper age, receive
Lessons in prudence from his youthful mind?
HÆMON: Is nought but what is just. If I am young,
'Tis meet to scan my purpose, not my years.
[tr. Donaldson (1848)]

CHORUS: If he says aught in season, heed him, King.
Heed thou thy sire too; both have spoken well.
CREON: What, would you have us at our age be schooled,
Lessoned in prudence by a beardless boy?
HAEMON: I plead for justice, father, nothing more.
Weigh me upon my merit, not my years.
[tr. Campbell (1873)]

CHORUS: My lord, 'twere wise, if thou wouldst learn of him
In reason; and thou, Haemon, from thy sire!
Truth lies between you.
CREON: Shall our age, forsooth,
Be taught discretion by a peevish boy?
HAEMON: Only in what is right. Respects of time
Must be outbalanced by the actual need.
[tr. Storr (1859)]

CHORUS: My king, it is right, if he speaks something appropriate, that you should learn from him and that you, in turn, Haemon, should learn from your father. On both sides there have been wise words.
CREON: Men of my age -- are we, then, to be schooled in wisdom by men of his?
HAEMON: Not in anything that is not right. But if I am young, you should look to my conduct, not to my years.
[tr. Jebb (1891)]

CHORUS: O King! if right the youth advise, 'tis fit
That thou shouldst listen to hi: so to thee
Should he attend, as best may profit both.
CREON: And have we lived so long, then, to be taught,
At last, our duty by a boy like thee?
HÆMON: Young though I am, I still may judge aright;
Wisdom in action lies and not in years.
[tr. Werner (1892)]

CHORUS: Sire, 'tis meet that thou shouldest profit by his words, if he speaks aught in season, and thou, Haemon, by thy father's; for on both parts there hath been wise speech.
CREON: Men of my age -- are we indeed to be schooled, then, by men of his?
HAEMON: In nothing that is not right; but if I am young, thou shouldest look to my merits, not to my years.
[tr. Jebb (1917)]

CHORAGOS: You will do well to listen to him, King,
If what he says is sensible. And you, Haimon,
Must listen to your father. -- Both speak well.
CREON: You consider it right for a man of my years and experience
To go to school to a boy?
HAIMON: It is not right
If I am wrong. But if I am young, and right,
What does my age matter?
[tr. Fitts/Fitzgerald (1939)]

CHORUS: There is something to be said, my lord, for this point of view,
And for yours as well; there is so much to be said on both sides.
CREON: Indeed! Am I to take lessons at my time of life
From a fellow of his age?
HAEMON: No lesson you need to be ashamed of.
It isn’t a question of age, but of right and wrong.
[tr. Watling (1947), l. 620ff]

CHORUS: Lord, if your son has spoken to the point
you should take his lesson. He should do the same.
Both sides have spoken well.
CREON: At my age I'm to school my mind by his?
This boy instructor is my master, then?
HAEMON: I urge no wrong. I'm young, but you should watch
my actions, not my years, to judge of me.
[tr. Wyckoff (1954)]

CHORUS: My lord, he has not spoken foolishly;
You each can learn something from the other.
CREON: What? Men of our age go to school again
And take a lesson from a very boy?
HAEMON: If it is worth the taking. I am young,
But think what should be done, not of my age.
[tr. Kitto (1962)]

LEADER: You'd do well, my lord, if he's speaking to the point,
to learn from him, and you, my boy, from him.
You are both talking sense.
CREON: So,
men our age, we're to be lectured, are we? --
schooled by a boy his age?
HAEMON: Only in what is right. But if I seem young,
look less to my years and more to what I do.
[tr. Fagles (1982)]

CHORUS: Sir, you should learn from him, if he is on the mark.
And you, Haemon, learn from your father. Both sides spoke well.
CREON: Do you really think, at our age,
We should be taught by a boy like him?
HAEMON: No. Not if I am in the wrong. I admit I'm young;
That's why you should look at what I do, not my age.
[tr. Woodruff (2001)]

CORYPHAEUS: Lord, it is fair, if he says something to the point, for you to learn,
and in turn for you from him. It has been well said well twice.
CREON: Are we at our age to be taught
in exercising good sense by a man of his age?
HAEMON: Yes, in nothing that is not just. Even if I am young,
you should not see my years more than my deeds.
[tr. Tyrell/Bennett (2002)]

CHORUS LEADER: My lord, if what he’s said is relevant,
it seems appropriate to learn from him,
and you too, Haemon, listen to the king.
The things which you both said were excellent.
CREON: And men my age -- are we then going to school
to learn what’s wise from men as young as him?
HAEMON: There’s nothing wrong in that. And if I’m young,
don’t think about my age -- look at what I do.
[tr. Johnston (2005), l. 820ff]

CHORUS: My lord, if someone speaks in season, you should learn, and you also, for both sides have spoken well.
CREON: At our age, taught reason by a man so young?
HAEMON: Taught nothing that is not just! If I am young, I do not need more time to study what's right.
[tr. Thomas (2005)]
Added on 4-Feb-21 | Last updated 4-Feb-21
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In battle the victory goes to Love;
Prizes and properties fall to Love.
Love dallies the night
On a girl’s soft cheeks,
Ranges across the sea,
Lodges in wild meadows.
O Love, no one can hide from you:
You take gods who live forever,
You take humans who die in a day,
And they take you and go mad.

[Ἔρως ἀνίκατε μάχαν, Ἔρως, ὃς ἐν κτήμασι πίπτεις,
ὃς ἐν μαλακαῖς παρειαῖς νεάνιδος ἐννυχεύεις,
φοιτᾷς δ᾽ ὑπερπόντιος ἔν τ᾽ ἀγρονόμοις αὐλαῖς:
καί σ᾽ οὔτ᾽ ἀθανάτων φύξιμος οὐδεὶς
οὔθ᾽ ἁμερίων σέ γ᾽ ἀνθρώπων. ὁ δ᾽ ἔχων μέμηνεν.]

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Antigone, l. 781ff [Chorus] (441 BC) [tr. Woodruff (2001)]
    (Source)

Original Greek. Alternate translations:

Love! in the fight invincible:
Love! whose attacks at once enslave:
Who on the young maid's delicate cheeks thy nightly vigils keepest:
Who roamest o'er the main and mid the rustic cots!
None can escape thee, -- neither Gods immortal,
Nor men whose lives are fleeting as the day:
He raves whom thou possessest.
[tr. Donaldson (1848)]

Love resistless in fight, all yield at a glance of thine eye,
Love who pillowed all night on a maiden's cheek dost lie,
Over the upland holds. Shall mortals not yield to thee?
Mad are thy subjects all.
[tr. Campbell (1873)]

Love, never foiled in fight!
1 Warrior Love, that on Wealth workest havoc!
Love, who in ambush of young maid's soft cheek
All night keep'st watch!--Thou roamest over seas.
In lonely forest homes thou harbourest.
Who may avoid thee? None!
Mortal, Immortal,
All are o'erthrown by thee, all feel thy frenzy.
[tr. Storr (1859)]

Love, the unconquered in battle, Love, you who descend upon riches, and watch the night through on a girl's soft cheek, you roam over the sea and among the homes of men in the wilds. Neither can any immortal escape you, nor any man whose life lasts for a day. He who has known you is driven to madness.
[tr. Jebb (1891)]

Love, unconquered in the fight, Love, who makest havoc of wealth, who keepest thy vigil on the soft cheek of a maiden; thou roamest over the sea, and among the homes of dwellers in the wilds; no immortal can escape thee, nor any among men whose life is for a day; and he to whom thou hast come is mad.
[tr. Jebb (1917)]

Love, unconquerable
Waster of rich men, keeper
Of warm lights and all-night vigil
In the soft face of a girl:
Sea-wanderer, forest-visitor!
Even the pure Immortals cannot escape you,
And mortal man, in his one day’s dusk,
Trembles before your glory.
[tr. Fitts/Fitzgerald (1939)]

Where is the equal of Love?
Where is the battle he cannot win,
The power he cannot outmatch?
In the farthest corners of earth, in the midst of the sea,
He is there; he is here
In the bloom of a fair face
Lying in wait;
And the grip of his madness
Spares not god or man.
[tr. Watling (1947), l. 675ff]

Love unconquered in fight, love who falls on our havings.
You rest in the bloom of a girl's unwithered face.
You cross the sea, you are known in the wildest lairs.
Not the immortal gods can fly,
nor men of a day. Who has you within him is mad.
[tr. Wyckoff (1954)]

Invincible, implacable Love,
O Love, that makes havoc of all wealth;
That peacefully keeps his night-watch
On tender cheek of a maiden:
The Sea is no barrier, nor
Mountainous waste to Love's flight; for
No one can escape Love's domination,
Man, no, nor immortal god.
Love's Prey is possessed by madness.
[tr. Kitto (1962)]

Love, never conquered in battle
Love the plunderer laying waste the rich!
Love standing the night-watch
guarding a girl's soft cheek,
you range the seas, the shepherds' steadings off in the wilds --
not even the deathless gods can flee your onset,
nothing human born for a day --
whoever feels your grip is driven mad.
[tr. Fagles (1982), l. 879ff]

Eros, undefeated in battle,
Eros, who falls upon possessions,
who, in the soft cheeks of a young girl,
stays the night vigil,
who traverses over seas
and among pastoral dwellings,
you none of the immortals can escape,
none of the day-long mortals, and
he who has you is maddened.
[tr. Tyrell/Bennett (2002)]

Love! You are beyond wars, beyond any place you fall!
You make nests out of the soft cheeks of young girls for your slumber
and you hover over the oceans and distant lands
and no immortal god, nor mortal man with his measured days escapes you!
And then, you catch and your catch becomes insane!
[tr. Theodoridis (2004)]

O Eros, the conqueror in every fight,
Eros, who squanders all men’s wealth,
who sleeps at night on girls’ soft cheeks,
and roams across the ocean seas
and through the shepherd’s hut --
no immortal god escapes from you,
nor any man, who lives but for a day.
And the one whom you possess goes mad.
[tr. Johnston (2005), l. 894]

Love, unconquered in battle, Love, who attacks wealth, who sleeps on a young girl's soft cheek and wanders beyond the sea and in the wilderness: There is no escape from you for immortals or men who live but for a day; he who has you is mad. [tr. Thomas (2005)]
Added on 11-Feb-21 | Last updated 11-Feb-21
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And the winner will be desire,
Shining in the eyes of a bride,
An invitation to bed,
A power to sweep across the bounds of what is Right.
For we are only toys in your hands,
Divine, unbeatable Aphrodite.

[νικᾷ δ᾽ ἐναργὴς βλεφάρων ἵμερος εὐλέκτρου
νύμφας, τῶν μεγάλων πάρεδρος ἐν ἀρχαῖς
θεσμῶν. ἄμαχος γὰρ ἐμπαίζει θεὸς, Ἀφροδίτα.]

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Antigone, l. 795ff [Chorus, Antistrophe] (441 BC) [tr. Woodruff (2001)]
    (Source)

Original Greek. Alternate translations:

Triumphantly prevails
The heart-compelling eye of winsome bride,
Compeer of mighty Law
Thronèd, commanding.
Madly thou mockest men, dread Aphrodite.
[tr. Storr (1859)]

But victory belongs to radiant Desire swelling from the eyes of the sweet-bedded bride. Desire sits enthroned in power beside the mighty laws. For in all this divine Aphrodite plays her irresistible game.
[tr. Jebb (1891)]

Victorious is the love-kindling light from the eyes of the fair bride; it is a power enthroned in sway beside the eternal laws; for there the goddess Aphrodite is working her unconquerable will.
[tr. Jebb (1917)]

And none has conquered but Love!
A girl’s glance working the will of heaven:
Pleasure to her alone who mock us,
Merciless Aphrodite.
[tr. Fitts/Fitzgerald (1939), l. 653ff]

For the light that burns in the eyes of a bride of desire
Is a fire that consumes.
At the side of the great gods
Aphrodite immortal
Works her will upon all.
[tr. Watling (1947), l. 687ff]

Desire looks clear from the eyes of a lovely bride:
power as strong as the founded world.
For there is the goddess at play whom no man can fight.
[tr. Wyckoff (1954)]

The kindling light of Love in the soft
Eye of a bride conquers, for Love sits on his
throne, one of the great Powers;
Nought else can prevail against
Invincible Aphrodite.
[tr. Kitto (1962)]

Love alone the victor --
warm glance of the bride triumphant, burning with desire!
Throned in power, side-by-side with the mighty laws!
Irresistible Aphrodite, never conquered --
Love, you mock us for your sport.
[tr. Fagles (1982), l. 890ff]

Desire radiant from the eyelids
of a well-bedded bride prevails,
companion in rule with the gods’ great
ordinances. She against whom none may battle,
the goddess Aphrodite, plays her games.
[tr. Tyrell/Bennett (2002)]

You, Love!
Through the lashes of a lusty bride, Passion, you win the day, scorning the great laws which hold sway over the whole world.
Because Aphrodite is invincible!
[tr. Theodoridis (2004)]

The bride’s desire seen glittering in her eyes --
that conquers everything, its power
enthroned beside eternal laws, for there
the goddess Aphrodite works her will,
whose ways are irresistible.
[tr. Johnston (2005), l. 905ff]

Added on 18-Feb-21 | Last updated 18-Feb-21
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But if I am to die before my time, I count that a gain. When anyone lives as I do, surrounded by evils, how can he not carry off gain by dying?

[εἰ δὲ τοῦ χρόνου
πρόσθεν θανοῦμαι, κέρδος αὔτ᾽ ἐγὼ λέγω.
ὅστις γὰρ ἐν πολλοῖσιν ὡς ἐγὼ κακοῖς
ζῇ, πῶς ὅδ᾽ Οὐχὶ κατθανὼν κέρδος φέρει]

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Antigone, ll. 460 ff [Antigone] (441 BC) [tr. Jebb (1891)]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.:

But if I am to die before my time, I count that a gain: for when any one lives, as I do, compassed about with evils, can such an one find aught but gain in death?
[tr. Jebb (1917)]

And if my time is shortened, this to me
Is gain indeed. For whoso lives, as I live,
Beset with many sorrows, how does he
Not win by dying?
[tr. Donaldson (1848)]

If death
Is thereby hastened, I shall count it gain
For death is gain to him whose life, like mine,
Is full of misery.
[tr. Storr (1859)]

And now, if I fall
A little sooner, 'tis the thing I wish.
To thou, who live in misery like me,
Believe me, King, 'tis happiness to die.
[tr. Werner (1892)]

But if I die young, all the better:
People who live in misery like mine
Are better dead.
[tr. Woodruff (2001)]

I knew that my death was imminent, of course I did, and even if it came sooner, I would still think it a good thing because when one lives in such a dreadful misery why should he not think death to be a good thing?
[tr. Theodoridis (2004)]

And if I have to die
before my time, well, I count that a gain.
When someone has to live the way I do,
surrounded by so many evil things,
how can she fail to find a benefit
in death?
[tr. Johnston (2005), l. 521ff]

If I die
before my time, I say it is a gain.
Who lives in sorrows many as are mine
how shall he not be glad to gain his death?
[tr. Wyckoff]

But if
I shall die before my time, I declare it a profit,
for whoever lives beset, as I do, by many things evil,
how does he not gain profit by dying?
[tr. Tyrrell/Bennett]
Added on 13-Nov-20 | Last updated 20-Nov-20
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For thee — if this my deed seems foolishness,
The fool has caught the foolish in her folly.

[σοὶ δ᾽ εἰ δοκῶ νῦν μῶρα δρῶσα τυγχάνειν,
σχεδόν τι μώρῳ μωρίαν ὀφλισκάνω.]

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Antigone, ll. 469-70 [Antigone] (441 BC) [tr. Donaldson (1848)]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.:

And if my present actions are foolish in your sight, it may be that it is a fool who accuses me of folly.
[tr. Jebb (1891)]

And if in this thou judgest me a fool,
Methinks the judge of folly's not acquit.
[tr. Storr (1859)]

This to thee may seem
Madness and folly; if it be, 'tis fit
I should act thus; it but resembles thee.
[tr. Werner (1892)]

But you! You think
I've been a fool? It takes a fool to think that.
[tr. Woodruff (2001)]

If you think I’m a mindless woman then perhaps it's a mindless man who recognises a mindless woman.
[tr. Theodoridis (2004)]

If you think what I’m doing now is stupid,
perhaps I’m being charged with foolishness
by someone who’s a fool.
[tr. Johnston (2005), ll. 531-33]

And if you think my acts are foolishness
the foolishness may be in a fool's eye.
[tr. Wyckoff]
Added on 19-Nov-20 | Last updated 19-Nov-20
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CREON: A foe, though dead, should as a foe be treated still.
ANTIGONE: My love shall go with them, but not my hate.

Κρέων: οὔτοι ποθ᾽ οὑχθρός, οὐδ᾽ ὅταν θάνῃ, φίλος.
Ἀντιγόνη: οὔτοι συνέχθειν, ἀλλὰ συμφιλεῖν ἔφυν.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Antigone, ll. 522-523 (441 BC) [tr. Werner (1892)]
    (Source)

Original Greek. Alt. trans.:

KREON: The foe is ne'er a friend -- not e'en in death.
ANTIGONE: My heart is love's co-mate, not hatred's partner.
[tr. Donaldson (1848)]

CREON: Not even death can make a foe a friend.
ANTIGONE: My nature is for mutual love, not hate.
[tr. Storr (1859)]

CREON: You do not love someone you have hated, not even after death.
ANTIGONE: It is not my nature to join in hate, but in love.
[tr. Jebb (1891)]

CREON: A foe is never a friend -- not even in death.
ANTIGONE: 'Tis not my nature to join in hating, but in loving.
[tr. Jebb (1917)]

CREON: An enemy is an enemy, even dead.
ANTIGONE: It is may nature to join in love, not hate.
[tr. Fitts/Fitzgerald (1939)]

CREON: An enemy can't be a friend, even when dead.
ANTIGONE: My way is to share my love, not share my hate.
[tr. Watling (1947), ll. 441-42]

CREON: No enemy will become a friend in the Underworld.
ANTIGONE: I am for sharing love, not hatred.
[tr. Theodoridis (2004)]

CREON: An enemy
can never be a friend, not even in death.
ANTIGONE: But my nature is to love. I cannot hate.
[tr. Johnston (2005), ll. 596-98]

CREON: An enemy is not a friend, even when dead.
ANTIGONE: I cannot share their hate, only their love.
[tr. Thomas]
Added on 12-Dec-20 | Last updated 12-Dec-20
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ISMENE: What? You will kill your own son’s bride?
CREON: Why not? There are other fields for him to plough.

[Ἰσμήνη: ἀλλὰ κτενεῖς νυμφεῖα τοῦ σαυτοῦ τέκνου;
Κρέων: ἀρώσιμοι γὰρ χἀτέρων εἰσὶν γύαι.]

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Antigone, ll. 568-569 (441 BC) [tr. Jebb (1891)]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.:

ISMENE: What! wilt though slay thine own son's bridal hopes!
KREON: The glebes of other women may be ploughed.
[tr. Donaldson (1848)]

ISMENE: What, wilt thou slay thy own son's plighted bride?
CREON: Aye, let him raise him seed from other fields.
[tr. Storr (1859)]

ISMENE: But your own son’s bride!
CREON: There are places enough for him to push his plow.
[tr. Fitts/Fitzgerald (1939), c. l. 455]

ISMENE: But she is Haemon's bride -- and can you kill her?
CREON: Is she the only woman he can bed with?
[tr. Kitto (1962)]

ISMENE: But will you really kill the bride of your son?
CREON: There's other ground for him to plow, you know.
[tr. Woodruff (2001)]

ISMENE: Will you kill your son’s bride-to-be?
CREON: There is much more fertile land in the world for my son, Haemon.
[tr. Theodoridis (2004)]

ISMENE: But will you kill your own son's promised bride?
CREON: Oh, there are other furrows for his plough.
[tr. Wyckoff]

ISMENE: You would kill the bride of your own son?
CREON: There are other fields just as fertile.
[tr. Thomas]

ISMENE: But in that case you will kill your own son’s nuptial rites?
CREON: Yes, the fields of others are fit for the plow.
[tr. Tyrell/Bennett]
Added on 3-Dec-20 | Last updated 3-Dec-20
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Then, do not have one mind, and one alone
that only your opinion can be right.
Whoever thinks that he alone is wise,
his eloquence, his mind, above the rest,
come the unfolding, shows his emptiness.

[μή νυν ἓν ἦθος μοῦνον ἐν σαυτῷ φόρει,
ὡς φὴς σύ, κοὐδὲν ἄλλο, τοῦτ᾽ ὀρθῶς ἔχειν.
ὅστις γὰρ αὐτὸς ἢ φρονεῖν μόνος δοκεῖ,
ἢ γλῶσσαν, ἣν οὐκ ἄλλος, ἢ ψυχὴν ἔχειν,
οὗτοι διαπτυχθέντες ὤφθησαν κενοί.]

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Antigone, ll. 705-709 ff [Haemon] (441 BC) [tr. Wyckoff]
    (Source)

Original Greek. Alt. trans.:

Then cleave not solely to this principle --
Thy words, no other man's, are free from error.
For whoso thinks that he alone is wise,
That his discourse and reason are unmatched,
He, when unwrapt, displays his emptiness.
[tr. Donaldson (1848)]

Therefore, my father, cling not to one mood,
And deem not thou art right, all others wrong.
For whoso thinks that wisdom dwells with him,
That he alone can speak or think aright,
Such oracles are empty breath when tried.
[tr. Storr (1859)]

Do not, then, bear one mood only in yourself: do not think that your word and no other, must be right. For if any man thinks that he alone is wise -- that in speech or in mind he has no peer -- such a soul, when laid open, is always found empty.
[tr. Jebb (1891)]

Oh, do not, then, retain thy will
And still believe no sense but thine
Can judge aright; the man who proudly thinks
None but himself or eloquent or wise,
By time betrayed is branded for an idiot.
[tr. Werner (1892)]

Wear not, then, one mood only in thyself; think not that thy word, and thine alone, must be right. For if any man thinks that he alone is wise, -- that in speech, or in mind, he hath no peer, -- such a soul, when laid open, is ever found empty.
[tr. Jebb (1917)]

I beg you, do not be unchangeable:
Do not believe that you alone can be right.
The man who thinks that,
The man who maintains that only he has the power
To reason correctly, the gift to speak, to soul ––
A man like that, when you know him, turns out empty.
[tr. Fitts/Fitzgerald (1939), ll. 564 ff]

Therefore I say,
Let not your first thought be your only thought.
Think if there cannot be some other way.
Surely, to think your own the only wisdom,
And yours the only word, the only will,
Betrays a shallow spirit, an empty heart.
[tr. Watling (1947), ll. 602 ff]

And now, don't always cling to the same anger,
Don't keep saying that this, and nothing else, is right.
If a man believes that he along has a sound mind,
And no one else can speak or think as well as he does,
Then, when people study him, they'll find an empty book.
[tr. Woodruff (2001)]

So, don’t be so single-minded. You said it yourself quite rightly: he who thinks that he’s the only one with a brain or a tongue or a soul, if you open him up you’ll find that he’s a hollow man.
[tr. Theodoridis (2004)]

So don’t let your mind dwell on just one thought,
that what you say is right and nothing else.
A man who thinks that only he is wise,
that he can speak and think like no one else,
when such men are exposed, then all can see
their emptiness inside.
[tr. Johnston (2005), ll. 799 ff]

Do not wear one and only one frame of mind in yourself,
that what you say, and nothing else, is right.
Whoever imagines that he and he alone has sense
or has a tongue or an essence that no other has,
these men, when unfolded, are seen to be empty.
[tr. Tyrell/Bennett]
Added on 15-Sep-08 | Last updated 21-Nov-20
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No,
it’s no disgrace for a man, even a wise man,
to learn many things and not to be too rigid.
You’ve seen trees by a raging winter torrent,
how many sway with the flood and salvage every twig,
but not the stubborn — they’re ripped out, roots and all.

[ἀλλ᾽ ἄνδρα, κεἴ τις ᾖ σοφός, τὸ μανθάνειν
πόλλ᾽, αἰσχρὸν οὐδὲν καὶ τὸ μὴ τείνειν ἄγαν.
ὁρᾷς παρὰ ῥείθροισι χειμάρροις ὅσα
δένδρων ὑπείκει, κλῶνας ὡς ἐκσῴζεται,
τὰ δ᾽ ἀντιτείνοντ᾽ αὐτόπρεμν᾽ ἀπόλλυται.]

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Antigone, ll. 710-714 [Haemon] (441 BC) [tr. Fagles (1982), l. 794ff]
    (Source)

Ancient Greek. Alternate translations:

But that a man, how wise soe'er, should learn
In many things and slack his stubborn will,
This is no derogation. When the streams
Are swollen by mountain-torrents, thou hast seen
That all the trees wich bend them to the flood
Preserve their branches from the angry current,
While those which stem it perish root and branch.
[tr. Donaldson (1848)]

The wisest man will let himself be swayed
By others' wisdom and relax in time.
See how the trees beside a stream in flood
Save, if they yield to force, each spray unharmed,
But by resisting perish root and branch.
[tr. Campbell (1873)]

'Tis no disgrace even to the wise to learn
And lend an ear to reason. You may see
The plant that yields where torrent waters flow
Saves every little twig, when the stout tree
Is torn away and dies.
[tr. Storr (1859)]

No, even when a man is wise, it brings him no shame to learn many things, and not to be too rigid. You see how the trees that stand beside the torrential streams created by a winter storm yield to it and save their branches, while the stiff and rigid perish root and all?
[tr. Jebb (1891)]

True wisdom will be ever glad to learn,
And not too fond of power. Observe the trees,
That bend to wintry torrents, how their boughs
Unhurt remain; while those that brave the storm,
Uprooted torn, shall wither and decay.
[tr. Werner (1892)]

No, though a man be wise, 'tis no shame for him to learn many things, and to bend in season. Seest thou, beside the wintry torrent's course, how the trees that yield to it save every twig, while the stiff-necked perish root and branch?
[tr. Jebb (1917)]

It is not reason never to yield to reason!
In flood time you can see how some trees bend,
And because they bend, even their twigs are safe,
While stubborn trees are torn up, roots and all
[tr. Fitts/Fitzgerald (1939), l. 570ff]

It is no weakness for the wisest man
To learn when he is wrong, know when to yield.
So, on the margin of a flooded river
Trees bending to the torrent live unbroken,
While those that strain against it are snapped off.
[tr. Watling (1947), l. 608ff]

A man, though wise, should never be ashamed
of learning more, and must unbend his mind.
Have you not seen the trees beside the torrent,
the ones that bend them saving every leaf,
while the resistant perish root and branch?
[tr. Wyckoff (1954)]

There's no disgrace, even if one is wise,
In learning more, and knowing when to yield.
See how the trees that grow beside a torrent
Preserve their branches, if they bend; the others,
Those that resist, are torn out, root and branch.
[tr. Kitto (1962)]

But a wise man can learn a lot and never be ashamed;
He knows he does not have to be rigid and close-hauled.
You've seen trees tossed by a torrent in a flash flood:
If they bend, they're saved, and every twig survives,
But if they stiffen up, they're washed out from the roots.
[tr. Woodruff (2001)]

But for a man, even if he is wise, to go on learning
many things and not to be drawn too taut is no shame.
You see how along streams swollen from winter floods
some trees yield and save their twigs,
but others resist and perish, root and branch.
[tr. Tyrell/Bennett (2002)]

On the contrary, it is no shame for even a wise man to continue learning. Nor should a man be obstinate. One can see the trees on the heavy river-banks. Those that bend with the rushing current, survive, whereas those bent against it are torn, roots and all.
[tr. Theodoridis (2004)]

For any man,
even if he’s wise, there’s nothing shameful
in learning many things, staying flexible.
You notice how in winter floods the trees
which bend before the storm preserve their twigs.
The ones who stand against it are destroyed,
root and branch.
[tr. Johnston (2005), l. 804ff]

No, it's no disgrace for a man, even a wise man, to learn many things and not to be too rigid. You see how, in the winter storms, the trees yield that save even their twigs, but those who oppose it are destroyed root and branch.
[tr. Thomas (2005)]
Added on 21-Jan-21 | Last updated 21-Jan-21
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But dreadful is the mysterious power of fate — there is no deliverance from it by wealth or by war, by towered city, or dark, sea-beaten ships.

[ἀλλ᾽ ἁ μοιριδία τις δύνασις δεινά:
οὔτ᾽ ἄν νιν ὄλβος οὔτ᾽ Ἄρης, οὐ πύργος, οὐχ ἁλίκτυποι
κελαιναὶ νᾶες ἐκφύγοιεν.]

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Antigone, ll. 951-53, Strophe 1 (Stasimon 4) [Chorus] (441 BC) [tr. Jebb (1891)]
    (Source)

Original Greek. Alt. trans.:

Strange are the ways of Fate, her power
Nor wealth, nor arms withstand, nor tower;
Nor brass-prowed ships, that breast the sea
From Fate can flee.
[tr. Storr (1859)]

No power in wealth or war
Or tough sea-blackened ships
Can prevail against untiring Destiny!
[tr. Fitts/Fitzgerald (1939), ll. 744-46]

There is no tower.
So high, no armory so great,
No ship so swift, as is the power
Of man's inexorable fate.
[tr. Watling (1947)]

Mysterious, overmastering, is the power of Fate,
From this, nor wealth nor force of arms
Nor strong encircling city-walls
Nor storm-tossed ship can give deliverance.
[tr. Kitto (1962)]

Fate has a terrible power
That nothing escapes, not wealth,
Not warfare, not a fortress tower,
Not even black ships beating against the sea.
[tr. Woodruff (2001)]

Fate's power, though, is mighty, and neither Lords of lands nor Ares nor castles nor flighty ships well-beaten by the waves can escape her.
[tr. Theodoridis (2004)]

But the power of fate is full of mystery.
There’s no evading it, no, not with wealth,
or war, or walls, or black sea-beaten ships.
[tr. Johnston (2005)]

But the power of fate (whatever it may be) is terrible and wonderful.
Neither wealth nor Ares,
no tower, no dark ships
beaten by the sea can escape it.
[tr. Tyrell/Bennett]
Added on 27-Jul-08 | Last updated 22-Nov-20
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Death is not the worst evil, but rather when we wish to die and cannot.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Electra, l. 1007

Alt. trans.: "For death is not the worst, but when one wants to die and is not able even to have that."
Added on 16-Jun-08 | Last updated 17-Aug-16
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Do not grieve yourself too much for those you hate, nor yet forget them utterly.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Electra, l. 177
Added on 27-Oct-08 | Last updated 27-Oct-08
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Do nothing secretly; for Time sees and hears all things, and discloses all.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Hipponous, frag. 280

Alt. trans.: "Hide nothing, for time, which sees all and hears all, exposes all." (Cited as "Fragments, l. 284 (Hipponoos)")

Added on 25-Aug-08 | Last updated 25-Aug-08
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It was my care to make my life illustrious not by words more than by deeds.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Oedipus at Colonus, l. 1143
Added on 29-Sep-08 | Last updated 29-Sep-08
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One word
Frees us of all the weight and pain of life:
That word is love.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Oedipus at Colonus, l. 1616
Added on 20-Oct-08 | Last updated 20-Oct-08
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What you cannot enforce,
Do not command!

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Oedipus at Colonus, l. 839 [tr. Fitzgerald (1941)]
Added on 31-Aug-15 | Last updated 31-Aug-15
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The keenest sorrow is to recognize ourselves as the sole cause of all our adversities.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Oedipus Rex, l. 1231

Alt. trans. "The greatest griefs are those we cause ourselves."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Let every man in mankind’s frailty
Consider his last day; and let none
Presume on his good fortune until he find
Life, at his death, a memory without pain.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Oedipus Rex, l. 1529 (concluding words)

Young translation:
And of no moral say
"That man is happy," till
Vexed by no grievous ill
He pass Life's goal.
Added on 9-Jun-08 | Last updated 9-Jun-08
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Wisdom is a curse when wisdom does nothing for the man who has it.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Oedipus Rex, l. 316 [Teiresias]

Alt trans: "How dreadful knowledge of the truth can be When there's no help in truth!"
Added on 4-Aug-08 | Last updated 13-Apr-09
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The truth is always the strongest argument.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Phaedra, frag. 737
Added on 11-Aug-08 | Last updated 11-Aug-08
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Fortune is not on the side of the faint-hearted.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Phaedra, fragment 842

Also "Fortune never helps the fainthearted" [Fragments, l. 666]
Added on 23-Jun-08 | Last updated 17-Aug-16
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As many as are involved in misery of their own choosing, such as you, for them there is no forgiveness nor pity.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Philoctetes, l. 1319
Added on 15-Dec-08 | Last updated 15-Dec-08
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Sleep, ignorant of pain, sleep, ignorant of grief, may you come to us blowing softly, kindly, kindly come, king.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Philoctetes, l. 827.
    (Source)

Alt. trans.: "Come, blowing softly, Sleep, that know'st not pain, / Sleep, ignorant of grief, / Come softly, surely, kingly sleep, and bless ...." [E. H. Plumptre (1871)]
Added on 8-Dec-08 | Last updated 17-Aug-16
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I would rather miss the mark acting well than win the day acting basely.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Philoctetes, l. 94
Added on 14-Jul-08 | Last updated 14-Jul-08
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Well one must learn
By doing the thing; for though you think you know it
You have no certainty, until you try.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Trachiniae [The Women of Trachis], [First Lady] [tr. Young]

Full text.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Don’t you know that silence supports the accuser’s charge?

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Trachiniae [The Women of Trachis], l. 813.
Added on 18-Aug-08 | Last updated 18-Aug-08
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Rash indeed is he who reckons on the morrow, or haply on days beyond it; for tomorrow is not, until today is past.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Trachiniae, l. 943
Added on 17-Aug-16 | Last updated 17-Aug-16
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Rash indeed is he who reckons on the morrow, or haply on days beyond it; for tomorrow is not, until today is past.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Trachiniae, l. 943
Added on 7-Sep-16 | Last updated 7-Sep-16
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So here I come,
Unwilling to the unwilling well I wot:
For no one loves the bearer of bad tidings.

[πάρειμι δ᾽ ἄκων οὐχ ἑκοῦσιν, οἶδ᾽ ὅτι:
στέργει γὰρ οὐδεὶς ἄγγελον κακῶν ἐπῶν.]

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Antigone, ll. 276-277 [Guard] (441 BC) [tr. Donaldson (1848)]
    (Source)

Original Greek. Alt. trans:

So here I am unwilling and withal
Unwelcome; no man cares to hear ill news.
[tr. Storr (1859)]

So here I stand, as unwelcome to you as I am unwilling, I well know. For no man delights in the bearer of bad news.
[tr. Jebb (1891)]

And I come
To pour my news, unwilling, into ears
Unwilling to receive it; for I know
None ever loved the messenger of ill.
[tr. Werner (1892)]

So here I am,
No happier to be here than you are to have me:
Nobody likes the man who brings bad news.
[tr. Fitts/Fitzgerald (1939)]

So here I am,
As much against my will as yours, I’m sure;
A bringer of bad news expects no welcome.
[tr. Watling (1947), ll. 229ff]

And therefore I am come
Unwilling and, for certain, most unwelcome:
Nobody loves the bringer of bad news.
[tr. Kitto (1962)]

I didn't want to come. And you sure didn't want to see me:
No one loves the man who brings bad news.
[tr. Woodruff (2001)]

That’s why I’m now here,
not of my own free will or by your choice.
I know that -- for no one likes a messenger
who comes bearing unwelcome news with him.
[tr. Johnston (2005), ll. 318 ff]

So here I am unwilling,
quite sure you people hardly want to see me.
Nobody likes the bearer of bad news.
[tr. Wyckoff]

So here I am, unwilling -- I know well -- among the unwilling, for no one cherishes the messenger of evil words.
[tr. Thomas]

I do not want to be here. Those here do not want me,
I know. Nobody loves the messenger of bad news.
[tr. Tyrell/Bennett]
Added on 21-Jul-08 | Last updated 21-Nov-20
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The best, wherever we are, to follow still
The customs of the country.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Fragments, #674 [tr. E. Pumptre (1865)]
Added on 11-Aug-09 | Last updated 11-Aug-09
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Whoever neglects the arts when he is young has lost the past and is dead to the future.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Fragments, l. 304 (Minos)
Added on 26-Jan-09 | Last updated 26-Jan-09
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A fearful man is always hearing things.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Fragments, l. 58 (Acrisius)

Alt trans: "To the man who is afraid, everything rustles."
Added on 3-Nov-08 | Last updated 3-Nov-08
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No one who errs unwillingly is evil.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Fragments, l. 582 [Tyro]
Added on 10-Nov-08 | Last updated 10-Nov-08
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It is the task of a good man to help those in misfortune.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Fragments, l. 661.
Added on 27-Nov-08 | Last updated 27-Nov-08
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No treaty is ever an impediment to a cheat.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Fragments, l. 671.
Added on 17-Nov-08 | Last updated 17-Nov-08
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If my body is enslaved, still my mind is free.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Fragments, l. 677
Added on 12-Jan-09 | Last updated 12-Jan-09
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What house, bloated with luxury, ever became prosperous without a woman’s excellence?

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Fragments, l. 679
Added on 19-Jan-09 | Last updated 19-Jan-09
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If you were to offer a thirsty man all wisdom, you would not please him more than if you gave him a drink.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Fragments, l. 702
Added on 1-Dec-08 | Last updated 1-Dec-08
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If one begins all deeds well, it is likely that they will end well too.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Fragments, l. 715.
Added on 22-Dec-08 | Last updated 31-Aug-15
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A soul that is kind and intends justice discovers more than any sophist.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Fragments, l. 88 (Aletes)
Added on 6-Oct-08 | Last updated 6-Oct-08
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All a man’s affairs become diseased when he wishes to cure evils by evils.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Fragments, l. 98.
Added on 7-Jul-08 | Last updated 7-Jul-08
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