Tom (goliard) wrote,
Tom
goliard

ὁ βίος καὶ αἱ δόξαι τοῦ καλοῦ κἀγαθοῦ Τριστράμου Σανδίου

Here, for your entertainment, is the opening of Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy, followed by a translation into Ancient Greek. (The rendering is perhaps a bit wooden in places; suggested improvements will be welcomed.) (Take that, Andrew Wilson!)



I wish either my father or my mother, or indeed both of them, as they were in duty both equally bound to it, had minded what they were about when they begot me; had they duly consider'd how much depended upon what they were then doing;--that not only the production of a rational Being was concerned in it, but that possibly the happy formation and temperature of his body, perhaps his genius and the very cast of his mind;--and, for aught they knew to the contrary, even the fortunes of his whole house might take their turn from the humours and dispositions which were then uppermost;--Had they duly weighed and considered all this, and proceeded accordingly,--I am verily persuaded I should have made a quite different figure in the world, from that in which the reader is likely to see me.--Believe me, good folks, this is not so inconsiderable a thing as many of you may think it;--you have all, I dare say, heard of the animal spirits, as how they are transfused from father to son, &c. &c.--and a great deal to that purpose:--Well, you may take my word, that nine parts in ten of a man's sense or his nonsense, his successes and miscarriages in this world depend upon their motions and activity, and the different tracks and trains you put them into, so that when they are once set a-going, whether right or wrong, 'tis not a half-penny matter,--away they go cluttering like hey-go mad; and by treading the same steps over and over again, they presently make a road of it, as plain and as smooth as a garden-walk, which, when they are once used to, the Devil himself sometimes shall not be able to drive them off it.

εἴθ᾽ ὤφελον μᾶλλόν τι ἐπιμελείας ποιεῖσθαι γεννῶντές με, εἴθ᾽ ὁ πατὴρ εἴθ᾽ ἡ μήτηρ ἔιτε καὶ ἀμφότεροι (προσῆκε γὰρ ἴσως ἀμφοῖν)· εἴπερ γὰρ ἐνεθυμοῦντο, ὡς δὴ ἔχρη, τὰ εξαρτώμενα ἐξ οὗ ἐποίουν μεγάλα ὄντα, ὡς οὐ μόνον γεννηθησομένου ἐκ τούτου ἀνθρώπου λόγον ἔχοντος, ἀλλ᾽ ἴσως καὶ τῆς τοῦ σώματος τούτου εὐφυΐας καὶ τοῦ ἤθους αὐτοῦ καὶ τοῦ τρόπου τοῦ νοῦ, καὶ δὴ καὶ πάντων τῶν τῷ γένει αὐτοῦ μελλόντων συντεύξεσθαι (ὅσον γ᾽ αὐτοὺς εἰδέναι), πάντων τούτων ἀφορμὴν ληψομένων ἐκ τῶν τότε κρατουσῶν ὀργῶν τε καὶ διαθέσεων—εἰ οὖν ταῦτα φροντίζοντες προὐχώρουν, πέπεισμαι ἔγωγε καὶ ὑπερπέπεισμαι πολύ τε κάλλιον ἂν πεπραγέναι ἐν οἷς βεβίωκα καὶ ἀλλοῖός τις ἂν φανεῖσθαι ὢν ὑμῖν, ὦ φίλοι ἀκροαταί, ἢ μέλλω δήπου τῷ ὄντι φαίνεσθαι.

σάφα γὰρ ἴστε, ὦ βέλτιστοι, οὐ μικρόν τι τοῦτ᾽ ἐστίν, καίπερ ἄλλως που ἡγουμένων ὑμῶν τῶν πλείστων. ἀκηκόατε δὴ πάντες κατὰ τὸ εἰκὸς τῶν συμφύτων πνευμάτων, ὅπως διαχεῖται ἐκ τοῦ πατρὸς εἰς τὸν παῖδα, καὶ πολλὰ ἄλλα τοιαῦτα· ἐγὼ οὖν ἐθέλω νὴ Δία περὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς περιδόσθαι, εἰ μὴ τὰ ἐννέα μέρη τῶν τ᾽ εὐτυχιῶν τινος καὶ τῶν δυστυχιῶν, τῶν τε σωφροσυνῶν καὶ τῶν ἀφροσυνῶν, ἐκ τῆς τούτων γε ῥοπῆς φύεται καὶ ἐκ τῶν πορειῶν αἷς ἐξορμῴη τις αὐτά· ὥστ᾽ εἰσάπαξ ὁρμηθέντα, εἴτ᾽ εὖ ἀπευθυσμένα τυγχάνει ὄντα εἴτε καὶ μή, οὐδὲν διαφέρει, ἀλλ᾽ ἐμπλήκτως ἀπᾴττει καὶ πολλάκις τρίβοντα τὰ αύτὰ ἴχνη τελευτῶντα ὁδὸν ποιεῖ, ψιλὴν καὶ εὔπορον οὖσαν ὥσπερ ἁμαξιτόν· ἐξ ἧς ἤδη εἰθισμένα οὐκ ἔστι δαίμων οὐδεὶς ὅστις ἂν δύναιτο ἐκτρέπειν αὐτά.
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