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

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Texte grec :

[32,5] τοῦτο γὰρ ἀεὶ ὁρᾶτε καὶ περὶ τοιαῦτά ἐστε, ἀφ´ ὧν νοῦν μὲν ἢ φρόνησιν ἢ δικαίαν διάθεσιν ἢ πρὸς θεοὺς εὐσέβειαν οὐκ ἔστι κτήσασθαι, ἔριν δὲ ἀμαθῆ καὶ φιλοτιμίαν ἄμετρον καὶ κενὴν λύπην καὶ χαρὰν ἀνόητον καὶ λοιδορίαν καὶ δαπάνην. λέγω δὲ ταῦτα οὐκ ἀποτρέπων οὐδὲ καταλύειν κελεύων τὰς τοιαύτας ψυχαγωγίας καὶ ἀπάτας τῆς πόλεως· μαινοίμην γὰρ ἄν· ἀλλ´ ἀξιῶν ὑμᾶς, ὥσπερ τούτοις ἑτοίμως καὶ συνεχῶς αὑτοὺς παρέχετε, οὕτω καὶ λόγου χρηστοῦ ποτε ἀκοῦσαι καὶ τὴν ἐπὶ τῷ συμφέροντι δέξασθαι παρρησίαν· ἐπεὶ καὶ τοὺς Ἀθηναίους, ὧν μικρῷ πρότερον ἐμνήσθην, οὐ πάντως εὑρήσομεν ἁμαρτάνοντας· ἀλλὰ τοῦτό γε ἐκεῖνοι καὶ πάνυ καλῶς ἐποίουν, ὅτι τοῖς ποιηταῖς ἐπέτρεπον μὴ μόνον τοὺς κατ´ ἄνδρα ἐλέγχειν, ἀλλὰ καὶ κοινῇ τὴν πόλιν, εἴ τι μὴ καλῶς ἔπραττον· ὥστε σὺν πολλοῖς ἑτέροις καὶ τοιαῦτα ἐν ταῖς κωμῳδίαις λέγεσθαι· δῆμος πυκνίτης, δύσκολον γερόντιον, ὑπόκωφον, καὶ τί δ´ ἔστ´ Ἀθηναίοισι πρᾶγμ´ ἀπώμοτον; καὶ ταῦτα ἤκουον ἑορτάζοντες καὶ δημοκρατούμενοι, καὶ οὐ μόνον τῶν σφετέρων πολιτῶν, εἴ τινα ἤθελον πρὸς ὀργὴν ἀπολέσαι τῶν ταῦτα λεγόντων, κύριοι καθεστηκότες, ἀλλὰ καὶ τῶν ἄλλων Ἑλλήνων ἄρχοντες, καὶ ἐξὸν αὐτοῖς, εἰ ἐβούλοντο, μηδὲν ἀηδὲς ἀκούειν. ὑμῖν δὲ οὔτε χορός ἐστι τοιοῦτος οὔτε ποιητὴς οὔτε ἄλλος οὐδείς, ὃς ὑμῖν ὀνειδιεῖ μετ´ εὐνοίας καὶ φανερὰ ποιήσει τὰ τῆς πόλεως ἀρρωστήματα. τοιγαροῦν ὅταν ποτὲ φαίνηται τὸ πρᾶγμα, προθύμως δέχεσθαι δεῖ καὶ τότε νομίζειν ἑορτὴν ἄγειν, ἀλλὰ μὴ βαρύνεσθαι, κἂν ἄρα, δυσωπεῖσθαι ἐξειπεῖν, πηνίκα παύσεται; καὶ πότε εἴσεισι θαυματοποιὸς ἢ λῆρος ἢ τοιοῦτος ἕτερος; ἐκεῖνο μὲν γάρ, ὅπερ εἶπον, ἀεὶ ὑμῖν πάρεστι, καὶ οὐ δέος μήποτε ἐπιλίπῃ· τῶν δὲ τοιούτων λόγων, δι´ οὓς ἄνθρωποι εὐδαιμονοῦσι καὶ κρείττους καὶ σωφρονέστεροι γίγνονται καὶ βέλτιον οἰκεῖν δύνανται τὰς πόλεις, οὐ πολλάκις ἀκηκόατε· οὐ βούλομαι γὰρ εἰπεῖν, ἀνήκοοί ἐστε. καὶ τοῦτο ἴσως οὐ δι´ ὑμᾶς· δηλώσετε δέ, ἂν ἀνάσχησθε τήμερον· ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον παρὰ τοὺς καλουμένους φιλοσόφους. οἱ μὲν γὰρ αὐτῶν ὅλως εἰς πλῆθος οὐκ ἴασιν οὐδὲ θέλουσι διακινδυνεύειν, ἀπεγνωκότες ἴσως τὸ βελτίους ἂν ποιῆσαι τοὺς πολλούς· οἱ δ´ ἐν τοῖς καλουμένοις ἀκροατηρίοις φωνασκοῦσιν, ἐνσπόνδους λαβόντες ἀκροατὰς καὶ χειροήθεις ἑαυτοῖς. τῶν δὲ Κυνικῶν λεγομένων ἔστι μὲν ἐν τῇ πόλει πλῆθος οὐκ ὀλίγον, καὶ καθάπερ ἄλλου τινὸς πράγματος καὶ τούτου φορὰ γέγονε· νόθον μέντοι γε καὶ ἀγεννὲς ἀνθρώπων οὐθέν, ὡς εἰπεῖν, ἐπισταμένων, ἀλλὰ χρείων τροφῆς· οὗτοι δὲ ἔν τε τριόδοις καὶ στενωποῖς καὶ πυλῶσιν ἱερῶν ἀγείρουσι καὶ ἀπατῶσι παιδάρια καὶ ναύτας καὶ τοιοῦτον ὄχλον, σκώμματα καὶ πολλὴν σπερμολογίαν συνείροντες καὶ τὰς ἀγοραίους ταύτας ἀποκρίσεις. τοιγαροῦν ἀγαθὸν μὲν οὐδὲν ἐργάζονται, κακὸν δ´ ὡς οἷόν τε τὸ μέγιστον, καταγελᾶν ἐθίζοντες τοὺς ἀνοήτους τῶν φιλοσόφων, ὥσπερ ἂν παῖδάς τις ἐθίζοι διδασκάλων καταφρονεῖν, καὶ δέον ἐκκόπτειν τὴν ἀγερωχίαν αὐτῶν οἱ δ´ ἔτι αὔξουσιν.

Traduction française :

[32,5] That indeed is the nature of what you regularly see, and you are devoted to interests from which it is impossible to gain intelligence or prudence or a proper disposition or reverence toward the gods, but only stupid contention, unbridled ambition, vain grief, senseless joy, and raillery and extravagance. In saying these things I am not trying to divert you from such entertainments and pastimes of your people or bidding you put an end to them—I should be mad to attempt that—but I am asking, that just as you devote yourselves readily and constantly to that sort of thing, so you should at length listen to an honest speech and welcome a frankness whose aim is your own welfare. Why even the Athenians, to whom I referred a moment ago, we shall find to have been not always in error. On the contrary, at least this custom of theirs was very much to their credit—that they gave their poets licence to take to task, not merely persons individually, but even the state at large, in case the people were doing something unseemly. Accordingly, among many other illustrations that might be cited, we find in their comedies utterances such as these : "Old Demos of Pnyxtown, testy Little old man, A bit inclined to deafness", and "What deed is there that Athens would abjure"? And, moreover, they listened to these sayings while holding high festival, even during the democratic regime, at a time when they were not only in complete control of their own citizens, in case they desired in a fit of anger to destroy anyone who used such language, but also when they exercised authority over the other Greeks as well, so that they might have avoided listening to anything disagreeable, had they so desired. But you have no such critic, neither chorus nor poet nor anyone else, to reprove you in all friendliness and to reveal the weaknesses of your city. Therefore, whenever the thing does at last appear, you should receive it gladly and make a festival of the occasion instead of being vexed; and even if vexed, you should be ashamed to call out, " When will the fellow stop ? " or " When is a juggler coming on ? " or " Rubbish ! " or some such thing. For, as I have said, that sort of entertainment you always have in stock and there is no fear that it will ever fail you ; but discourses like this of mine, which make men happier and better and more sober and better able to administer effectively the cities in which they dwell, you have not often heard—for I do not care to say that you would not listen to them. And perhaps this situation is not of your making, but you will show whether it is or not if you bear with me today ; the fault may lie rather at the door of those who wear the name of philosopher. For some among that company do not appear in public at all and prefer not to make the venture, possibly because they despair of being able to improve the masses ; others exercise their voices in what we call lecture-halls, having secured as hearers men who are in league with them and tractable. And as for the Cynics, as they are called, it is true that the city contains no small number of that sect, and that, like any other thing, this too has had its crop—persons whose tenets, to be sure, comprise practically nothing spurious or ignoble, yet who must make a living — still these Cynics, posting themselves at street-corners, in alley-ways, and at temple-gates, pass round the hat and play upon the credulity of lads and sailors and crowds of that sort, stringing together rough jokes and much tittle-tattle and that low badinage that smacks of the market-place. Accordingly they achieve no good at all, but rather the worst possible harm, for they accustom thoughtless people to deride philosophers in general, just as one might accustom lads to scorn their teachers, and, when they ought to knock the insolence out of their hearers, these Cynics merely increase it.





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Dernière mise à jour : 25/10/2007