HODOI ELEKTRONIKAI
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DION CHRYSOSTOME, Au peuple d'Alexandrie (discours 32; traduction anglaise)

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Texte grec :

[32,45] ἐκεῖνος μὲν παίζων καὶ καταγελῶν οὐ φαύλου πράγματος, ὡς ἐγὼ δοκῶ, ταῦτα ἔλεγεν. περὶ δὲ ὑμῶν τί ἄν τις ἔχοι λέγειν; καὶ γὰρ ὑμεῖς ὅταν συνέλθητε, πυκτεύετε, βοᾶτε, ῥιπτεῖτε, ὀρχεῖσθε, ποίῳ χρισάμενοι φαρμάκῳ; δῆλον ὅτι τῷ τῆς ἀνοίας· ὡς οὐκ ἦν ὑμῖν ἐπιεικῶς αὐτὰ ὁρᾶν. μὴ γὰρ τοῦτό 〈με〉 οἴεσθε λέγειν ὡς οὐ χρὴ καὶ τὰ τοιαῦτα γίγνεσθαι ἐν ταῖς πόλεσι· χρὴ γὰρ ἴσως καὶ ἀναγκαῖόν ἐστι διὰ τὴν τῶν πολλῶν ἀσθένειαν καὶ σχολήν· ἴσως δὲ καὶ τῶν βελτιόνων εἰσὶν οἱ δεόμενοι διατριβῆς τινος καὶ παραμυθίας ἐν τῷ βίῳ· δεῖ δὲ μετὰ κόσμου καὶ σχήματος πρέποντος ἀνθρώποις ἐλευθέροις. οὐ γὰρ παρὰ τοῦτο οὔτε τῶν ἵππων οὐδεὶς δραμεῖται βράδιον οὐδὲ χεῖρον ᾄσεταί τις τῶν ᾀδόντων, ἂν εὐσχημονῆτε ὑμεῖς. νυνὶ δὲ τὸ μὲν τῶν ἡνιόχων τινὰ ἐκπεσεῖν ἐκ τοῦ δίφρου δεινὸν ἡγεῖσθε καὶ συμφορὰν πασῶν μεγίστην· αὐτοὶ δὲ ἐκπίπτοντες ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου τοῦ προσήκοντος καὶ τῆς ἀξίας τῆς ἑαυτῶν οὐ φροντίζετε. κἂν μὲν ὑμῖν ὁ κιθαρῳδὸς ἐκμελῶς ᾄδῃ καὶ παρὰ τὸν τόνον, συνίετε· αὐτοὶ δὲ παντελῶς ἔξω τῆς ἁρμονίας τῆς κατὰ φύσιν γιγνόμενοι καὶ σφόδρα ἀμούσως ἔχοντες οὐ διαφέρεσθε. καίτοι πόσοι διὰ ταῦθ´ ὑμῶν ἀπολώλασιν; ἀδοξοῦσι μὲν γὰρ πάντες. * αἱ δὲ Σειρῆνες ἄλλο τι ἐποίουν, ὡς ὁ μῦθός φησιν, οὐκ ἀπώλλυον τοὺς σφόδρα ἡσθέντας αὐταῖς; ἀλλ´ ἐκεῖναι μὲν ἐν ἐρήμῳ ἦσαν πελάγει καὶ μακρὰν ἀπῳκισμέναι καθ´ αὑτὰς ἐπὶ σκοπέλου τινός, ὅπου μηδεὶς ῥᾳδίως παρέβαλλε· κἀκεῖ δ´ ὁ νοῦν ἔχων ἐσώθη καὶ μεθ´ ἡσυχίας ἤκουσεν. αὗται δὲ σχεδὸν ἐν μέσῳ τῆς οἰκουμένης ἐν τῇ πολυανθρωποτάτῃ πασῶν πόλει τοιαῦτα ἐργάζονται, μὰ Δί´ οὐ δι´ αὑτῶν τινα ἡδονὴν ἢ δύναμιν, ἀλλὰ διὰ τὴν ὑμετέραν ἀβελτερίαν. διὰ τί γὰρ ἔξω παραπλησίως ἀκούονται τοῖς ἄλλοις καὶ πολλάκις ἀηδεῖς ἔδοξαν; μὴ τὰ ὦτα ἐπαλήλιπται τῶν ἐκεῖ; τί οὖν τοῦτο δείκνυσι; μὰ Δί´ οὐ μουσικῆς ἰσχὺν οὐδ´ ὑπερβολὴν τέχνης, ἀλλ´ ἀκροατῶν κουφότητα καὶ πόλεως ἀσθένειαν. φασὶ γοῦν ἤδη τινὰς τῶν ἀπολωλότων διὰ τὴν τοιαύτην πρόφασιν νεανιεύσασθαι, μὴ παραιτουμένους τὸν θάνατον, ἀλλὰ προσλιπαροῦντας, ὅπως ἀκούσωσιν ἐπὶ πλέον. τοῦτο δ´ ἐστὶ θαυμαστὸν ἐπ´ ὀνείδει καὶ καταγέλωτι τῆς πόλεως, εἰ παρὰ μὲν τοῖς ἄλλοις ἀριστεῖς καὶ τυραννοκτόνοι μνημονεύονται, σωτηρίας ἕνεκεν τῶν πατρίδων ἐπιδιδόντες αὑτούς· παρὰ δὲ ὑμῖν ὑπὲρ χορδῆς τοῦτο πάσχουσι καὶ δι´ ἡδονὴν μικράν, μᾶλλον δὲ δόξαν κενήν. οὐ γὰρ ἡδόμενοι τοσοῦτον ὅσον οἰόμενοι καὶ βουλόμενοι προΐενται σφᾶς αὐτούς. τοσαύτη δ´ ἐστὶ δυστυχία τῶν ταλαιπώρων, ὥστε ἀνδρεῖον ἡγοῦνται τὸ πάντων ἀνανδρότατον καὶ σεμνὸν τὸ αἴσχιστον. ἑλοίμην γὰρ ἂν ἔγωγε λῃστεύων ἀποθανεῖν ἢ διὰ τοιαύτην αἰτίαν. τὸ μὲν γάρ ἐστιν ἀνδρὸς πονηροῦ θάνατος, τὸ δὲ ἀνδραπόδου δυστυχοῦς. κἀκεῖνος μὲν ἀδικηθεὶς ἴσως ἐπὶ τοῦτο ἦλθεν, ὑπὲρ τοὺς νόμους ἀμύνασθαι πειρώμενος, καὶ τάχα τι καὶ γενναῖον ἐδύνατο πρᾶξαι μὴ τοιούτου τυχὼν δαίμονος· ὁδὶ δὲ κραυγῇ μόνον καὶ ἀνοίᾳ 〈διὰ〉 δυστυχῆ φθόγγον καὶ κακὴν ἔγκλισιν καὶ τὰς ἐκμελεῖς καμπὰς καὶ λήρους καὶ κυνισμοὺς καὶ ὀλέθρους ἀκλεῶς ἀπολλύμενος. ἔστι δὲ ὁ τοιοῦτος μυίας θάνατος. καὶ γὰρ ἐκείναις ὅ, τι ἂν γευσαμέναις γλυκὺ φανῇ, πρὸς τούτῳ διαφθείρονται.

Traduction française :

[32,45] Anacharsis was jesting and making sport about no trifling matter, it seems to me, when he said these things ; but what might a visitor say about yourselves? For as soon as you get together, you set to work to box and shout and hurl and dance — smeared with what drug ? Evidently with the drug of folly; as if you could not watch the spectacle sensibly ! For I would not have you think I mean that even such performances should not take place in cities; for perhaps they should, and it may be necessary, because of the frailty of the masses and their idle habits ; and possibly even among better people too there are those who need some diversion and amusement in life, but they should take it with decorum and as befits free men. For it will not cause any of the horses to run more slowly or any of the singers to sing less pleasingly if you preserve a due decorum. But as things are now, if one of the charioteers fails from his chariot, you think it terrible and the greatest of all disasters, whereas when you yourselves fall from the decorum that befits you and from the esteem you should enjoy, you are unconcerned. And if you hear the harpist sing out of tune or off pitch, you are well aware of it, whereas when you yourselves utterly abandon the harmony prescribed by nature and are most discordant, you are quite indifferent. And yet how many here have met destruction because of these allurements ? Loss of reputation, at any rate, everyone has suffered. And did the Sirens do anything else according to the story? Did they not regularly destroy those who took extravagant delight in them ? Yet the Sirens dwelt in a lonely sea and far away, all by themselves, on a lofty cliff, where no one could easily approach ; and even there the man of sense escaped in safety and heard them with composure. These entertainers of Alexandria, however, ply their trade in what is practically the centre of the civilized world and in the most populous city of all, not, by Zeus, because of any charm or power of their own, but rather because of your fatuity. For why is it that outside Alexandria they produce an impression quite like that produced by the usual run of performers, nay, frequently have been thought to be unpleasant? Can it be that the ears of the people in those places have been stopped ? What, then, does their success with you signify? Not, by Zeus, musical power or artistic pre-eminence, but rather the shallowness of you listeners and the weakness of your city. It is said, at any rate, that some who have already met their ruin through such a cause, instead of trying by entreaty to escape their death, with youthful bravado have implored the privilege of listening to their destroyers even more. And here is an amazing thing which brings reproach and ridicule upon the city—that whereas elsewhere nobles and tyrannicides are held in memory because they gave their lives for the salvation of the fatherland, with you it is for a bit of catgut that men meet their fate and because of an enjoyment that is fleeting, or, more properly, a fancy that has no substance. For it is not through real enjoyment so much as through wishful thinking that these men sacrifice their lives. And so great is the misfortune of the poor wretches, that they regard as manly what is most unmanly of all, and as dignified what is most shameful. Why, I would rather be put to death for robbery than for such a cause. For in the one case it is the death of a bad man but a man, in the other of a slave in hard luck. The one possibly came to such a pass because he had been wronged and was striving to get redress over and above the laws, and it may be that he might have achieved something actually noble, had he not encountered such an evil genius ; but the other came to his inglorious end merely through shouting and a frenzy caused by an ill-starred voice and a wicked nod of the head, by dissonant variations and nonsense and a cynical, pestilential behaviour. But such is the death of a fly ! For whatever tastes sweet to the fly is the thing at which it meets destruction.





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Dernière mise à jour : 25/10/2007