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Iambic Poetry

παύσειε δ᾿ ἄν μιν οὔτ᾿ ἀπειλήσας ἀνήρ, οὐδ᾿ εἰ χολωθεὶς ἐξαράξειεν λίθῳ ὀδόντας, οὐδ᾿ ἂν μειλίχως μυθεόμενος, οὐδ᾿ εἰ παρὰ ξείνοισιν ἡμένη τύχῃ, 20ἀλλ᾿ ἐμπέδως ἄπρηκτον αὐονὴν ἔχει.

τὴν δὲ πλάσαντες γηΐνην Ὀλύμπιοι ἔδωκαν ἀνδρὶ πηρόν· οὔτε γὰρ κακὸν οὔτ᾿ ἐσθλὸν οὐδὲν οἶδε τοιαύτη γυνή· ἔργων δὲ μοῦνον ἐσθίειν ἐπίσταται. 25κὤταν κακὸν χειμῶνα ποιήσῃ θεός, ῥιγῶσα δίφρον ἄσσον ἕλκεται πυρός.

τὴν δ᾿ ἐκ θαλάσσης, ἣ δύ᾿ ἐν φρεσὶν νοεῖ· τὴν μὲν γελᾷ τε καὶ γέγηθεν ἡμέρην· ἐπαινέσει μιν ξεῖνος ἐν δόμοις ἰδών· 30“οὐκ ἔστιν ἄλλη τῆσδε λωΐων γυνὴ ἐν πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποισιν οὐδὲ καλλίων.” τὴν δ᾿ οὐκ ἀνεκτὸς οὐδ᾿ ἐν ὀφθαλμοῖς ἰδεῖν οὔτ᾿ ἄσσον ἐλθεῖν, ἀλλὰ μαίνεται τότε ἄπλητον ὥσπερ ἀμφὶ τέκνοισιν κύων, 35ἀμείλιχος δὲ πᾶσι κἀποθυμίη ἐχθροῖσιν ἶσα καὶ φίλοισι γίνεται· ὥσπερ θάλασσα πολλάκις μὲν ἀτρεμὴς ἕστηκ᾿, ἀπήμων, χάρμα ναύτῃσιν μέγα, θέρεος ἐν ὥρῃ, πολλάκις δὲ μαίνεται 40βαρυκτύποισι κύμασιν φορεομένη. ταύτῃ μάλιστ᾿ ἔοικε τοιαύτη γυνὴ ὀργήν· φυὴν δὲ πόντος ἀλλοίην ἔχει.

306

Semonides

stop her with threats, nor even if in anger he should knock out her teeth with a stone, nor can he by speaking to her soothingly, not even if she happens to be sitting among guests, but she constantly keeps up her yapping which nothing can be done about.

Another the Olympians fashioned from earth and gave her maimed to her man; for such a woman knows neither what is bad nor what is good. The only thing she knows how to do is to eat. And whenever the god sends harsh winter, she shivers and draws her chair nearer the fire.3

Another is from the sea, a woman with a twofold mind. One day she sparkles and is happy. A guest who sees her in the house will praise her: “there is no other woman better than this among all mankind nor one more beautiful.” But another day she is unbearable even to look at or come close to; then she rages, unapproachable as a bitch round her pups, implacable and at odds with everyone, friends and enemies alike. Just as the sea often stands without a ripple, harmless, a great joy to sailors, in the season of summer, but often rages, tossed about by the loud-crashing waves, such a woman seems very much like this in temperament. The sea has a variable nature.4

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.semonides-fragments.1999