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

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Texte grec :

[32,55] ἀλλ´ οὐχ ὑμεῖς, ἀλλ´ ἐκπεπληγμένοι κάθησθε, ἀναπηδᾶτε τῶν ὀρχηστῶν μᾶλλον, συντείνεσθε ὑπὸ τῶν ᾀσμάτων· τοὺς μὲν γὰρ ἄλλους ἀνθρώπους ἡ μέθη πρὸς ᾠδὴν τρέπει καὶ ὄρχησιν· παρ´ ὑμῖν δὲ τοὐναντίον ἐστίν. ἡ γὰρ ᾠδὴ μέθην ἐμποιεῖ καὶ παράνοιαν. οἴνου μὲν οὖν τοιαύτη φύσις, τὸ μὴ δύνασθαι σωφρονεῖν, ἀλλὰ πολλὰ δυσχερῆ πράττειν ἀναγκάζεσθαι τοὺς σκαιῶς αὐτῷ καὶ ἀμέτρως χρωμένους· ὑπὸ δὲ ᾠδῆς σφαλλομένους καὶ πολὺ κάκιον ἔχοντας τῶν παροινούντων εὐθὺς ἀπὸ τῆς ἀρχῆς, οὐχ ὥσπερ ἐν τῷ πότῳ προϊόντας, οὐκ ἔστιν ἄλλους ἰδεῖν. παρὰ μὲν γὰρ ἐνίοις τῶν βαρβάρων μέθην φασὶ γίγνεσθαι πραεῖαν δι´ ἀτμοῦ θυμιαμάτων τινῶν· ἔπειτα χαίρουσι καὶ ἀνίστανται γελῶντες καὶ πάντα ποιοῦσιν ὅσα ἄνθρωποι πεπωκότες, οὐ μέντοι κακὸν οὐδὲν ἀλλήλους ἐργάζονται· τῶν δὲ Ἑλλήνων ὑμεῖς μόνοι δι´ ὤτων καὶ φωνῆς αὐτὸ πάσχετε, μᾶλλον δὲ ληρεῖτε ἐκείνων {κάκιον} καὶ παραφέρεσθε καὶ μᾶλλον ἐοίκατε κραιπαλῶσιν. καίτοι τὰ τῶν Μουσῶν καὶ τὰ τοῦ Ἀπόλλωνος ἤπια δῶρα καὶ προσηνῆ. τὸν μὲν γὰρ Παιήονα καὶ Ἀλεξίκακον προσαγορεύουσιν, ὡς ἀποτρ έποντα τῶν κακῶν καὶ ὑγίειαν ἐμποιοῦντα ταῖς ψυχαῖς καὶ σώμασιν, οὐ νόσον οὐδὲ μανίαν· τὰς δὲ παρθένους, ὡς ἂν αἰδουμένας τε καὶ σώφρονας. ἥ τε μουσικὴ θεραπείας ἕνεκα τοῖς ἀνθρώποις εὑρῆσθαι δοκεῖ τῶν παθῶν καὶ μάλιστα δὴ μεταστρέφειν ψυχὰς ἀπηνῶς καὶ ἀγρίως διακειμένας. διὰ τοῦτο καὶ τῶν φιλοσόφων ἔνιοι πρὸς λύραν αὑτοὺς ἡρμόσαντο ἕωθεν, ἀποπαύοντες τῆς διὰ τῶν ὀνειράτων ταραχῆς. καὶ θεοῖς μετὰ μέλους θύομεν, ἵνα εὔτακτοι καὶ καθεστηκότες ὦμεν. ἕτερος δὲ αὖ τρόπος αὐλοῦ τε καὶ ᾠδῆς ἐν πένθεσιν, ἰωμένων οἶμαι τὸ σκληρὸν καὶ ἄτεγκτον τοῦ πάθους, θηλυτέραν δὲ τὴν λύπην ἐργαζομένων δι´ ᾠδῆς λανθανούσης μετὰ γόων, ὥσπερ οἱ ἰατροὶ τὰ φλεγμαίνοντα τῶν ἑλκῶν ὑγραίνοντες καὶ μαλακοποιοῦντες ἀνώδυνα ἔθηκαν. οὐχ ἧττον δὲ καὶ περὶ συνουσίας ἔδοξε πρέπειν ἡ μουσικῆς δύναμις, ἁρμονίαν καὶ τάξιν αὐτόματον ταῖς ψυχαῖς ἐπεισάγουσα καὶ τὸ σφαλερὸν τῆς ἐν οἴνῳ τέρψεως παραμυθουμένη μετὰ ξυγγενοῦς δυνάμεως, ὥσπερ αὐτῷ συγκεραννύμενον ἐμμελὲς γίγνεται καὶ μέτριον. ταῦτα δὴ πάντα ἀνέστραπται νῦν καὶ μεθέστηκεν εἰς τοὐναντίον. οὐ γὰρ ἐκ Μουσῶν, ἀλλ´ ἐκ Κορυβάντων τινῶν κατέχεσθε, καὶ πιστὰ ποιεῖτε τὰ τῶν ποιητῶν μυθολογήματα· ὡς ἐκεῖνοί γε παρεισάγουσι Βάκχας τινὰς μαινομένας ὑπὸ μέλους καὶ Σατύρους· οὐκοῦν ὑμῖν τὰ τῶν νεβρίδων τε καὶ θύρσων ἐνδεῖ καὶ τὸ λέοντας φέρειν ἐν ταῖς ἀγκάλαις· τὰ δὲ ἄλλα καὶ πάνυ μοι δοκεῖτε ἐοικέναι Νύμφαις καὶ Σατύροις. ἱλαροί τε γὰρ ἀεὶ καὶ φιλογέλωτες καὶ φιλορχησταί· πλὴν οὐκ αὐτόματος ὑμῖν ἀναβλύει διψήσασιν ὁ οἶνος ἐκ πέτρας ποθέν τινος ἢ νάπης, οὐδὲ γάλα καὶ μέλι δύνασθε εὐχερῶς οὕτως ἔχειν ‘ἄκροισι δακτύλοισι διαμῶντες χθόνα’· ἀλλ´ οὐδὲ τὸ ὕδωρ ὑμῖν ἀφικνεῖται δεῦρο αὐτόματον οὐδὲ τὴν μᾶζαν ἔχετε ἐν ἐξουσίᾳ δήπουθεν, ἀλλὰ καὶ ταύτην ἐκ τῆς τῶν κρειττόνων χειρὸς λαμβάνετε· ὥστε ἴσως καιρὸς ἦν ὑμᾶς παύσασθαι βακχειῶν καὶ προσέχειν μᾶλλον αὑτοῖς. νυνὶ δὲ ἂν μόνον ἀκούσητε χορδῆς, ὥσπερ σάλπιγγος ἀκηκοότες, οὐκέτι δύνασθε εἰρήνην ἄγειν.

Traduction française :

[32,55] But not so with you ; on the contrary, you sit dumbfounded, you leap up more violently than the hired dancers, you are made tense with excitement by the songs : for while other people are moved to song and dance by drink, with you the opposite is true—song is the occasion of drunkenness and frenzy. So while wine's natural effect is as we have seen, producing inability to preserve one's self-control, but on the contrary forcing those who use it stupidly and in excess to commit many distasteful acts, yet men intoxicated by song and in far worse condition than those who are crazed by wine—and what is more, at the very start and not by easy stages as at a drinking party—such men, I say, are to be found nowhere but in Alexandria. Among certain barbarians, it is true, we are told that a mild kind of intoxication is produced by the fumes of certain incense when burned. After inhaling it they are joyful and get up and laugh, and behave in all respects like men who have been drinking, and yet without doing injury to one another; but of the Greeks you alone reach that state through ears and voice, and you talk more foolishly than do those barbarians, and you stagger worse and are more like men suffering the after-effects of a debauch. And yet the arts of the Muses and Apollo are kindly gifts and pleasing. For Apollo is addressed as Healer and as Averter-of-Evil, in the belief that he turns men aside from misfortune and implants health in soul and body, not sickness or madness ; and the Muses are called maidens, implying their modesty and their chastity. Furthermore, music is believed to have been invented by men for the healing of their emotions, and especially for transforming souls which are in a harsh and cavage state. That is why even some philosophers attune themselves to the lyre at dawn, thereby striving to quell the confusion caused by their dreams. And it is with song that we sacrifice to the gods, for the purpose of insuring order and stability in ourselves. And there is, moreover, a different type of song, accompanied by the flute, that is employed at time of mourning, as men attempt, no doubt, to heal the harshness and the relentlessness of their grief and to mitigate the pain by means of song, song that operates scarce noticed amid lament, just as physicians, by bathing and softening wounds that are inflamed, remove the pain. And the spell of music has been deemed no less appropriate also in social gatherings, because it brings harmony and order spontaneously into the soul and along with a kindred influence abates the unsteadiness that comes from delight in wine—I mean that very influence blended with which the unsteadiness itself is brought into tune and tempered to moderation. All this, of course, in the present instance has been reversed and changed to its opposite. For it is not by the Muses but by a kind of Corybantes that you are possessed, and you lend credibility to the mythologizings of the poets, since they do indeed bring upon the scene creatures called Bacchants, who have been maddened by song, and Satyrs too. No doubt in your case the fawn-skin and the thyrsus are lacking, nor do you, like the Bacchants, bear lions in your arms; yet in all else you do appear to me to be quite comparable to Nymphs and Satyrs. For you are always in merry mood, fond of laughter, fond of dancing; only in your case when you are thirsty wine does not bubble up of its own accord from some chance rock or glen, nor can you so readily get milk and honey by scratching the ground with the tips of your fingers ; on the contrary, not even water comes to you in Alexandria of its own accord, nor is bread yours to command, I fancy, but that too you receive from the hand of those who are above you; and so perhaps it is high time for you to cease your Bacchic revels and instead to turn your attention to yourselves. But at present, if you merely hear the twang of the harp-string, as if you had heard the call of a bugle, you can no longer keep the peace.





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Dernière mise à jour : 25/10/2007