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

ἁλμυρὸν



Texte grec :

[32,20] καὶ τούτων ἐν ἀρχῇ μὲν ᾐτιασάμην τοὺς μὴ παριόντας εἰς τὸ πλῆθος μηδὲ τολμῶντας ὑμῖν διαλέγεσθαι, ἀλλὰ σεμνοὺς μὲν εἶναι βουλομένους, ἀνωφελεῖς δ´ ὁρωμένους καὶ ὁμοίους τοῖς ἀγεννέσι τῶν ἀθλητῶν, οἳ τὰς παλαίστρας ἐνοχλοῦσι καὶ τὰ γυμνάσια χειρονομοῦντες καὶ παλαίοντες, εἰς δ´ τὸ στάδιον οὐκ ἐθέλουσιν ἰέναι, τὸν ἥλιον καὶ τὰς πληγὰς ὑφορώμενοι. τὸ μέντοι πρᾶγμα δυσχερὲς ὄντως καὶ δι´ ὑμᾶς. οὐ γὰρ ῥᾴδιον ἐνεγκεῖν τοσοῦδε πλήθους θόρυβον οὐδὲ μυριάσιν ἀνθρώπων ἀπείροις ἐναντίον βλέψαι χωρὶς ᾠδῆς καὶ κιθάρας. τοῦτο μὲν γὰρ ἀλεξιφάρμακόν ἐστι πρὸς τὸν δῆμον ὑμῶν, καθάπερ στέαρ φασὶν ἐνίων ζῴων ὠφελεῖν πρός τι τῶν χαλεπῶν. ἐγὼ γοῦν, εἰ ἦν ᾠδικός, οὐκ ἂν δεῦρο εἰσῆλθον δίχα μέλους τινὸς ἢ ᾄσματος. νῦν δὲ τούτου μὲν ἀπορῶ τοῦ φαρμάκου· θεὸς δ´, ὅπερ ἔφην, θαρρῆσαί μοι παρέσχεν, ὅς τε καὶ ἄλκιμον ἄνδρα φοβεῖ καὶ ἀφείλετο νίκης ῥηιδίως, τοτὲ δ´ αὐτὸς ἐποτρύνει καὶ ἀνώγει. εἰ οὖν τὰ τοῦ Ἑρμοῦ ἔπη κἀγὼ λέγοιμι πρὸς ὑμᾶς, ὡς ἐκεῖνος ἐν Ὀδυσσείᾳ πεποίηται Καλυψοῖ ἀπολογούμενος ὑπὲρ τῆς ἀγγελίας, ἣν ἀηδῆ οὖσαν ἐκόμιζε, τάχ´ 〈ἂν〉 ληρεῖν με φαίητε, ῥητέα δ´ ὅμως· Ζεὺς ἐμέ γ´ ἠνώγει δεῦρ´ ἐλθέμεν οὐκ ἐθέλοντα· τίς δ´ ἂν ἑκὼν τοσσόνδε διαδράμοι ἁλμυρὸν ὕδωρ ἄσπετον; οὐδέ τις ἄγχι βροτῶν πόλις. ἐκεῖνος μὲν θεὸς ὢν καὶ πετόμενος δυσχεραίνει τὰ κύματα καὶ τὸ πέλαγος καὶ τὴν μεταξὺ τῶν πόλεων {καὶ τῶν} ἀνθρώπων ἐρημίαν· ἐγὼ δὲ ἄνθρωπος οὐδεὶς οὐδαμόθεν ἐν τριβωνίῳ φαύλῳ μήτε ᾄδειν ἡδὺς μήτε μεῖζον ἑτέρου φθεγγόμενος, οὐκ ἄρα ἔδεισα τὸν ὑμέτερον θροῦν οὐδὲ τὸν γέλωτα οὐδὲ τὴν ὀργὴν οὐδὲ 〈τοὺς〉 συριγμοὺς οὐδὲ τὰ σκώμματα, οἷς πάντας ἐκπλήττετε καὶ πανταχοῦ πάντων ἀεὶ περίεστε καὶ ἰδιωτῶν καὶ βασιλέων; καὶ ταῦτα ἀκούων Ὁμήρου τε καὶ τῶν ἄλλων ποιητῶν ὑμνούντων ἀεὶ τὸν ὄχλον ὡς χαλεπόν τε καὶ ἀπειθῆ καὶ πρὸς ὕβριν ἕτοιμον, τοῦ μὲν οὕτω λέγοντος· κινήθη δ´ ἀγορή, ὡς κύματα μακρὰ θαλάσσης πόντου Ἰκαρίοιο, τὰ μέν τ´ Εὖρός τε Νότος τε ὤρορ´ ἐπαΐξας πατρὸς Διὸς ἐκ νεφελάων· ἑτέρου δὲ πάλιν αὖ, δῆμος ἄστατον κακόν, καὶ θαλάσσῃ πάνθ´ ὅμοιον ὑπ´ ἀνέμου ῥιπίζεται. καὶ γαληνὸς * εντηχω παν * πνεῦμα βραχὺ κορύσσεται. κἄν τις αἰτία γένηται, τὸν πολίτην κατέπιεν. τάχ´ 〈ἂν〉 οὖν καὶ ὑμεῖς ἐμὲ τῷ θορύβῳ καταπίοιτε καὶ τῇ ταραχῇ, βουλόμενον ὑμᾶς ὠφελεῖν. μείναντες δὲ καὶ ἀκούσαντες διὰ τέλους πᾶσι θαυμαστοὶ δόξετε, καὶ οὐ μόνον κρουμάτων ἔμπειροι καὶ ὀρχημάτων, ἀλλὰ καὶ λόγων φρονίμων, ἵνα κἀμοὶ πρὸς τοὺς αἰτιωμένους καὶ καταγιγνώσκοντας, ὅτι δεῦρο εἰσῆλθον, ᾖ δικαίως ἀπολογεῖσθαι· αἰτιάσονται γάρ, εὖ ἴστε, καὶ φήσουσι δοξοκόπον εἶναι καὶ μαινόμενον, ὅστις ἐμαυτὸν ὄχλῳ καὶ θορύβῳ παρέβαλον· ὅπως οὖν ἔχω λέγειν ὅτι οὐ πᾶν πλῆθος ἀσελγές ἐστιν οὐδὲ ἀνήκοον, οὐδὲ ἀπὸ παντὸς δεῖ τοὺς πεπαιδευμένους φεύγειν.

Traduction française :

[32,20] In my opening remarks also I laid the blame for this upon the philosophers who will not appear before the people or even deign to converse with you, but, while wishing to maintain their dignity, are seen to be of no utility, and like those degenerate athletes who are a nuisance to wrestling-schools and gymnasia with their make-believe sparring and wrestling, but refuse to enter the stadium, viewing with suspicion the sun's heat and the blows. However, the trouble becomes truly difficult because of you. For it is not easy to endure the uproar of such a crowd as this, or to face countless thousands of human beings without the support of song and lyre. For music is an antidote in dealing with the populace of your city, just as, we are told, the fat of certain creatures is beneficial in dealing with one of the serious disorders. I, for instance, had I the gift of song, should not have come here before you without some tune or lay. But the truth is, I lack that magic spell; yet a god, as I said, has given me courage, the god "Who routs with ease at times the hero brave And robs him of his conquest, then again Himself doth urge and cheer to victory". If, then, in addressing you I were to use the words of Hermes as he is portrayed in the Odyssey, excusing himself to Calypso for the unpleasant message that he bore for her, no doubt you would declare that I was talking nonsense, and yet speak them I must : "Zeus bade me hither come, though I was loath ; For who of his own choosing would traverse The salty sea so vast, unspeakable ? Nor is there near a town of mortal men". If Hermes, a god and a winged god besides, complains of the waves and the sea and the lack of cities and men on the way, was I, a mere mortal, a nobody from nowhere, clad in a mean cloak, with no sweetness of song and a voice no louder than common, not afraid of your noise, your laughter, your anger, your hissing, your rough jokes—the means by which you terrify all men and always dominate men everywhere, both private citizens and princes—and that too, though I hear Homer and the other poets constantly singing of the mob as being cruel and unruly and prone to violence ? This is what Homer has to say : "Then stirred was the assembly, as the sea Sends forth long billows on the Icarian deep, Billows the Southeast wind doth raise, with force Rushing from out the clouds of Father Zeus" ; and here are the words of another : "Unstable and evil is the populace, And wholly like the sea : beneath the gale 'Tis fanned to fury; should a calm ensue, A little pull doth ruffle it. So let Some charge be made, the victim is engulfed". So you too perhaps might engulf me with your uproar and your turmoil, in spite of my desire to serve you. But if you wait and hear me through, all men will think you wonderful, and will give you credit for acquaintance, not alone with twanging lyres and dancing feet, but with words of wisdom too, that I also may thus have a just defence to offer those who blame and condemn me for coming here ; for they will blame me, you may be sure, and will say that I am a notoriety-hunter and a madman to have thus exposed myself to the mob and its hubbub. Let me, then, be able to assert that not every populace is insolent and unwilling to listen, and that not every gathering of the people must be avoided by men of cultivation.





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Dernière mise à jour : 25/10/2007