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

βελτίους



Texte grec :

[32,15] καθόλου γὰρ οὐδὲν εὔδαιμον οὐδ´ ὠφέλιμον, ὃ μὴ κατὰ γνώμην καὶ δύναμιν τῶν θεῶν ἀφικνεῖται πρὸς ἡμᾶς, ἀλλὰ πανταχῇ πάντων ἀγαθῶν αὐτοὶ κρατοῦσι καὶ διανέμουσι δαψιλῶς τοῖς ἐθέλουσι δέχεσθαι· τὰ κακὰ δὲ ἀλλαχόθεν, ὡς ἐξ ἑτέρας τινὸς πηγῆς ἔρχεται {τῶν} πλησίον οὔσης παρ´ ἡμῖν, ὥσπερ ἐπὶ τοῦδε τοῦ ὕδατος τὸ μὲν σῷζον καὶ τρέφον καὶ γόνιμον ὄντως ἄνωθέν ποθεν ἐκ δαιμονίου τινὸς πηγῆς κάτεισι, τοὺς ῥυπαροὺς δὲ ὀχετοὺς καὶ δυσώδεις αὐτοὶ ποιοῦμεν καὶ ἀφ´ ἡμῶν οὗτοι ἵστανται. διὰ γὰρ ἀνθρώπων ἄνοιαν καὶ τρυφὴν καὶ φιλοτιμίαν δυσχερὴς ὁ βίος καὶ μεστὸς ἀπάτης, πονηρίας, λύπης, μυρίων ἄλλων κακῶν. τούτων δὲ ἓν ἴαμα καὶ φάρμακον ἐποίησαν οἱ θεοὶ παιδείαν καὶ λόγον, ᾧ διὰ βίου μέν τις χρώμενος καὶ συνεχῶς ἦλθέ ποτε πρὸς τέλος ὑγιὲς καὶ εὔδαιμον· οἱ δὲ σπανίως καὶ διὰ χρόνου ποτὲ περιτυχόντες ἄλλοτε μὲν ζώους´ ἑτερήμεροι, ἄλλοτε δ´ αὖτε τεθνᾶσιν· ὅμως δὲ ἤδη ποτὲ ἐξαισίων δεινῶν ἐπικειμένων αὐτοῖς ἀπετράπησαν. οἱ δὲ διὰ παντὸς ἄπειροι τοῦ φαρμάκου τούτου καὶ μηδέποτε σωφρονοῦντι λόγῳ τὰς ἀκοὰς ὑπέχοντες ὁλοκλήρως ἄθλιοι μηδεμίαν σκέπην μηδὲ προβολὴν ἔχοντες ἀπὸ τῶν παθῶν, ἀλλ´ ἐν ἀκαλύπτῳ καὶ ταλαιπώρῳ βίῳ χειμαζόμενοι, καθάπερ σκάφει σαθρῷ καὶ λελυμένῳ πάντων ἐν ἀγνώμονι γνώμῃ καὶ πονηρίᾳ. συμβαίνει δὲ τοὺς κακίστους καὶ ἀτυχεστάτους ὡς πορρωτάτω φεύγειν ἀπὸ τοῦ λόγου καὶ μὴ ἐθέλειν ἀκούειν, μηδ´ ἂν βιάζηταί τις, ὥσπερ οἶμαι καὶ τῶν ἑλκῶν τὰ δυσχερῆ λίαν οὐκ ἐᾷ προσάψασθαι, καὶ τοῦτο αὐτὸ σημεῖόν ἐστι τοῦ πάνυ πονήρως αὐτὰ ἔχειν. οἱ δὲ τοιοῦτοι παρ´ ἑτέρους ἴασιν ἰατροὺς οὐχ ἑκόντες ἰσχυροτέρους. διττὴ γὰρ θεραπεία κακίας καὶ πρόνοια, καθάπερ τῶν ἄλλων νόσων· ἡ μὲν ἐοικυῖα διαίτῃ καὶ φαρμάκοις, ἡ δὲ καύσει καὶ τομῇ, προσήκουσα μᾶλλον ἄρχουσι καὶ νόμοις καὶ δικασταῖς, οἳ τὸ περιττὸν δὴ καὶ ἀνίατον ἐξαιροῦσι. βελτίους δέ εἰσιν οἱ μὴ ῥᾳδίως αὐτὸ πράττοντες. τὴν δὲ ἑτέραν ἐπιμέλειαν ἔργον εἶναί φημι τῶν δυναμένων διὰ πειθοῦς καὶ λόγου ψυχὰς πραΰνειν καὶ μαλάττειν. οὗτοι δὲ σωτῆρές εἰσι καὶ φύλακες τῶν οἵων τε σώζεσθαι, πρὶν ἐλθεῖν εἰς τέλος τὴν πονηρίαν εἴργοντες καὶ κατέχοντες. δεῖ μὲν οὖν ἑκατέρων ταῖς πόλεσι, πολὺ δὲ ἐπιεικεστέρων τῶν ἐν ταῖς ἐξουσίαις. κολάζειν μὲν γὰρ προσήκει φειδόμενον, διδάσκειν δὲ μὴ φειδόμενον· καὶ χρηστοῦ μέν ἐστιν ἡγεμόνος συγγνώμη, φιλοσόφου δὲ κακοῦ μὴ πικρὸν εἶναι. τὸ μὲν γὰρ τῆς τιμωρίας σκληρὸν ἀπόλλυσι, τὸ δὲ τοῦ λόγου πικρὸν σῴζειν πέφυκε. κινδυνεύει μέντοι πολλή τις εἶναι σπάνις ὑμῖν τῶν 〈τὸ〉 ὕστερον ἐπισταμένων. οὔτε γὰρ χρήματα αὐτοῖς οὔτε δύναμις περιγίγνεται διὰ τούτου, ἀλλ´ ἀπέχθεια μᾶλλον καὶ λοιδορία καὶ προπηλακισμός· ὧν ἴσως οὐκ ἔδει φροντίζειν· τοιγαροῦν διὰ τὴν ἐκείνων ἀναχώρησιν καὶ σιωπὴν ἐρίδων ὑμῖν φύεται πλῆθος καὶ δικῶν καὶ βοὴ τραχεῖα καὶ γλῶτται βλαβεραὶ καὶ ἀκόλαστοι, κατήγοροι, συκοφαντήματα, γραφαί, ῥητόρων ὄχλος, καθάπερ οἶμαι δι´ ἔνδειαν ἰατρῶν ἢ {δι´} ἀπειρίαν πλείους οἱ θάπτοντες γίγνονται.

Traduction française :

[32,15] For, in general, there is no good fortune, no benefit, that does not reach us in accordance with the will and the power of the gods ; on the contrary the gods themselves control all blessings everywhere and apportion lavishly to all who are ready to receive ; but evils come from quite a different source, as it were from some other fount close beside us. Take for example the water of Alexandria—that which keeps us alive and nourishes us and is truly the author of our being : it descends from some region up above, from some divine fount; whereas the filthy, evil-smelling canals are our own creation, and it is our fault that such things exist. For it is through man's folly and love of luxury and ambition, that life comes to be vexations and full of deceit, wickedness, pain, and countless other ills. However, for these maladies one remedy and cure has been provided by the gods, to wit, education and reason, and the man who throughout life employs that remedy with consistency comes at last to a healthy, happy end; but those who encounter it rarely and only after long intervals, "Alternate live one day, are dead the next". But, nevertheless, there have been occasions when even such persons have been turned aside when portentous disasters were impending. But those who are wholly unacquainted with the remedy of which I speak, and never give ear to chastening reason, are utterly wretched, having no refuge or defence against their sufferings, "But storm-tossed on the sea of life they drift, Devoid of shelter and in misery", as if embarked upon a rotten and wholly shattered hulk, amidst a sea of senseless opinion and misery. And it so happens that it is the most depraved and unfortunate men who flee the farthest from the voice of reason and will not listen to it, not even if you try to force them—just as, I fancy, those sores which are especially distressing shrink from the touch, and that in itself is a sign of their extremely bad condition. But such sufferers will have to visit a different kind of physician, however unwillingly, whose treatment will be more drastic. For there are two systems for the treatment of vice and its prevention, just as there are for maladies in general: the one may be likened to dieting and drugs, and the other resembles cautery and the knife, this being more suitable for the use of magistrates and laws and jurymen, that is, for those whose business it is to remove growths that are abnormal and incurable. But much to be preferred are those who do not lightly resort to removal. The other treatment is, I claim, the proper function of men who have the power through persuasion and reason to calm and soften the soul. These indeed are saviours and guardians of all who can be saved, confining and controlling vice before it reaches its final stage. It is true, no doubt, that both types of practitioners are required by the state, but the type to be found in public office should be much the milder of the two. For in administering punishment one should be sparing, but not so in imparting instruction ; and a good prince is marked by compassion, a bad philosopher by lack of severity. For while the harshness of the one in punishing destroys, the other's severity of speech is by nature salutary. It is likely, however, that you have a great dearth of men who are expert in the latter branch of healing ; for its practitioners gain neither wealth nor power thereby, but rather hatred, abuse, and reviling, though perhaps one should pay no more attention to such things. Accordingly, when the philosophers quit the field and are silent, there springs up among you a multitude of quarrels and lawsuits, harsh cries, tongues that are mischievous and unrestrained, accusers, calumnies, writs, a horde of professional pleaders—just as, I suspect, the lack of physicians, or else their incompetence, accounts for the increase in number of the undertakers !





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Dernière mise à jour : 25/10/2007