Tuesday, February 17, 2004

I have, after considerable thought and after reading Jess's bit on Socrates, come to the rather inevitable conclusion that hemlock was too good for him.

But seeing as we're on the classics, here's Sophocles on being a Blade.

Now once more, drenched with dew,
I walk about; lie down, but no dreams visit me.
Sleep's enemy, fear, stands guard beside me, to forbid
My eyes one instant's closing. If I sing some tune -
Since music's the one cure prescribed for heartsickness -
Why, then I weep, to think how changed this house is now
From splendour of old days, ruled by its rightful lord.
So may the gods be kind and grant release from trouble,
And send the fire to cheer this dark night with good news.

I guess his glass was half-empty, too.

He also had a few words to say about Nick Montgomery .

Come, look on him, and weep.

About Wendy, he was quite specific.

As byword for abhorrence
Another name is named:

He must also have been present on an occasion when the Blades played host to visitors from S6. I think they must have upset him.

Out of this temple! I command you, go at once!
Quit my prophetic sanctuary, lest you feel
The gleaming snake that darts winged from my golden bow,
And painfully spew forth the black foam that you suck
From the sour flesh of murderers. What place have you
Within these walls? Some pit of punishments, where heads
Are severed, eyes torn out, throats cut, manhood unmanned,
Some hell of maimings, mutilations, stonings, where
Bodies impaled on stakes melt the mute air with groans -
Your place is there! Such are the feasts you love, for which
Heaven loathes you. Is not this the truth, proclaimed in you
By every feature? Find some blood-gorged lion's den,
There make your seemly dwelling, and no more rub off
Your foulness in this house of prayer and prophecy.
Away! Graze other fields, you flock unshepherded!
No god loves such as you!

Blimey! He also had a word or two of advice for our Neil.

Wealth and honour will attend
Love of goodness gladly held;
Virtue free and uncompelled
Fears no harsh untimely end.
But the man whose stubborn soul
Steers a rash defiant course
Flouting every law's control -
He in time will furl perforce,
Late repenting, when the blast
Shreds his sail and snaps his mast.

10 out of 10 for the translator, I think there.

And in case you are beginning to entertain a soupcon of a smidgen of a particle of a scintilla of an iota of a suspicion that either Sophocles was alone in his Bladeness or that my classical education only encompassed Greeks whose names began with S, here's Euripedes on last year's play-off final.

Happy are those who never knew
Gladness, whose birth embraced misfortune,
Steeling their souls to endure adversity -
My still-remembering heart envies their stubborn will!
From joy to tears - this cruel exchange
Weighs down the mortal spirit with long despair.

And Aeschylus was quite emphatic about the source of Wendy's plight an' all.

'The hand of Zeus has cast
The proud from their high place!'
This may we say, and trace
That hand from first to last.
As Zeus foreknowing willed,
So was their end fulfilled.

Next time, we'll be looking at "Five Go off in a Caravan" and relating it to early Existentialism. Nature, nurture or Nietzsche?

Wrap up warm, now!

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