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

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Texte grec :

[32,30] ἴδετε δὲ αὑτοὺς ἐν τῷ παρόντι καὶ ὅταν τὰ συνήθη θεωρῆτε, οἷοί ἐστε. ἐμοὶ γὰρ νῦν μὲν ἀξιοθέατοι δοκεῖτε εἶναι καὶ ἰδιώταις καὶ βασιλεῦσι, καὶ οὐδείς ἐστιν ὃς οὐκ ἂν εἰσελθὼν καταπλαγείη τε ὑμᾶς καὶ τιμήσειεν· {ὥστε, εἰ μηδὲν ἄλλο, τοῦτό γε ὑμῖν ὁ λόγος παρέσχηκεν οὐ μικρόν, μίαν ὥραν σωφρονῆσαι. καὶ γὰρ τοῖς νοσοῦσι μεγάλη ῥοπὴ πρὸς σωτηρίαν μικρὸν ἡσυχάσασιν.} ἐν δὲ ταῖς ἄλλαις σπουδαῖς, ὅταν ὑμῖν ἐμπέσῃ τὸ τῆς ἀταξίας πνεῦμα, ὥσπερ ἂν τραχὺς ἄνεμος κινήσῃ θάλατταν ἰλυώδη καὶ ῥυπαράν, ἀτεχνῶς οἶμαι καθ´ Ὅμηρον ὁρᾶται ἀφρός τε καὶ ἄχνη καὶ φυκίων πλῆθος ἐκχεομένων· ὡσαύτως δὴ καὶ παρ´ ὑμῖν σκώμματα, πληγαί, γέλως. τίς ἂν οὖν τοὺς οὕτω διακειμένους ἐπαινέσειεν; οὐ γὰρ διὰ τοῦτο καὶ τοῖς ἄρχουσιν εὐτελέστεροι φαίνεσθε; καὶ πρότερόν τινα εἰρηκέναι φασί· τὸ δὲ Ἀλεξανδρέων πλῆθος τί ἂν εἴποι τις, οἷς μόνον δεῖ παραβάλλειν τὸν πολὺν ἄρτον· οὕτω γὰρ εἰρῆσθαι πολὺ βέλτιον· καὶ θέαν ἵππων· ὡς τῶν γε ἄλλων οὐδενὸς αὐτοῖς μέλει. οὐ γὰρ ὑμεῖς μέν, ἄν τις ἀσχημονῇ τῶν μειζόνων ἐν τῷ μέσῳ πάντων ὁρώντων, καταφρονήσετε αὐτοῦ καὶ νομιεῖτε οὐδενὸς ἄξιον, κἂν μυριάκις ὑμῶν ἔχῃ τινὰ ἐξουσίαν, αὐτοὶ δὲ δύνασθε σεμνοὶ δοκεῖν καὶ σπουδαῖοι τοιαῦτα πράττοντες. οὐκ ἴστε ὅτι ὥσπερ ἡγεμὼν καὶ βασιλεὺς ὅταν προέλθῃ, τότε σαφέστατα ὁρᾶται καὶ δεῖ μηδὲν ἀγεννὲς μηδὲ αἰσχρὸν ποιεῖν· παραπλησίως καὶ δῆμος, ὅταν εἰς ταὐτὸ προέλθῃ καὶ ἀθρόος γένηται; χρὴ μὲν γὰρ οἶμαι καὶ τὸν ἄλλον χρόνον σωφρονεῖν ὑμᾶς· ἀλλ´ ὅμως ὅ,τι ἂν πράττῃ τις καθ´ αὑτόν, οὐ κοινόν ἐστι τοῦτο οὐδὲ τῆς πόλεως· ἐν τῷ θεάτρῳ δὲ βλέπεται τὸ δημόσιον ἦθος. ὑμεῖς δὲ μάλιστα ἐνταῦθα ἀφυλάκτως ἔχετε καὶ προήσεσθε τὴν δόξαν τῆς πόλεως· ὥσπερ αἱ κακαὶ γυναῖκες, δέον αὐτάς, κἂν οἴκοι μὴ σωφρονῶσιν, ἔξω γε προϊέναι κοσμίως, αἱ δὲ μάλιστα ἐν ταῖς ὁδοῖς {πλεῖστα} ἁμαρτάνουσιν. τί οὖν; τάχα ἐρεῖ τις, τοῦτο μόνον ἁμαρτάνομεν, τὸ φαύλως θεωρεῖν; καὶ περὶ τούτου μόνου λέγεις ἡμῖν, ἄλλο δ´ οὐθέν; * δέδοικα ἅμα τὸ περὶ πάντων ἐπεξελθεῖν. * {καίτοι τάχα φήσει τις ὡς πολλὰ λέγων οὐδὲν ὑμῖν συμβεβούλευκα οὐδὲ εἴρηκα σαφῶς, ἐφ´ ᾧ μάλιστα ἐπιτιμῶ· τοῦτο δὲ ἔργον εἶναι τοῦ διδάσκοντος. ἐγὼ δὲ καὶ νῦν μὲν ἡγοῦμαι πολλὰ καὶ χρήσιμα εἰρηκέναι τοῖς προσέχουσι καὶ περὶ θεοῦ καὶ περὶ δήμου φύσεως καὶ περὶ τοῦ δεῖν ἀκούειν, κεἰ μὴ πείθεσθε, λόγων. τοῦτο γὰρ οἶμαι καὶ ἀναγκαιότατον ἦν, παρασκευάσαι πρῶτον ὑμᾶς ὑπομένοντας ἀκούειν. ὥστ´, εἰ μηδὲν ἄλλο παρέσχηκεν ὑμῖν μέγα ὁ λόγος, τοῦτο γοῦν ὅτι τοσοῦτον χρόνον κάθησθε σωφρονοῦντες. καὶ γὰρ τοῖς νοσοῦσι μεγάλη ῥοπὴ πρὸς σωτηρίαν μικρὸν ἡσυχάσασιν.} καὶ μὴν περί γε τῶν ἄλλων τὸ μὲν πάντα ἐπεξελθεῖν, καὶ ταῦτα ἐν ἡμέρᾳ μιᾷ, καὶ τελέως ὑμᾶς ἀναγκάσαι καταγνῶναι τῆς κακίας καὶ τῶν ἁμαρτημάτων οὐ δυνατόν· οὐδ´ εἴ μοι δέκα μὲν γλῶσσαι, δέκα δὲ στόματ´ εἶεν, φωνὴ δ´ ἄρρηκτος, χάλκεον δέ μοι ἦτορ ἐνείη· εἰ μὴ Ὀλυμπιάδες Μοῦσαι, Διὸς αἰγιόχοιο θυγατέρες, μνησαίαθ´ ὅση κακότης παρὰ πᾶσιν, οὐχ ὑμῖν μόνοις.

Traduction française :

[32,30] But consider yourselves at this moment and then what you are like when you are watching the performances to which you are accustomed. For, to my mind, you now appear to be a sight worth seeing, for kings as well as for plain citizens, and there is nobody who would not admire and honour you as soon as he came into your presence ; and so if this address of mine has accomplished nothing else, it has at any rate rendered you this service, and no small one—one hour of sobriety ! As, for instance, it is of critical importance toward the recovery of the sick to have had a brief interval of calm. However, amid the varied activities which occupy your attention, whenever there falls upon you the blast of turbulence, as when a harsh gale stirs up a muddy, slimy sea, as Homer says, we see froth and scum and a mass of seaweed being cast up on the beach, so exactly with you, I fancy, we find jibes and fisticuffs and laughter. Who, pray, could praise a people with such a disposition? Is not that the reason why even to your own rulers you seem rather contemptible ? Someone already, according to report, has expressed his opinion of you in these words : " But of the people of Alexandria what can one say, a folk to whom you need only throw plenty of bread and a ticket to the hippodrome, since they have no interest in anything else ? " Why, inasmuch as, in case a leading citizen misbehaves publicly in the sight of all, you will visit him with your contempt and regard him as a worthless fellow, no matter if he has authority a thousand times as great as yours, you yourselves cannot succeed in maintaining a reputation for dignity and seriousness so long as you are guilty of like misconduct. Do you not know, that just as a prince or king is most conspicuous when he appears in public and therefore should do nothing ignoble or disgraceful at such a time, the populace also is in like case when it too appears in public and forms a throng ? One ought, of course, in my opinion, to behave with sobriety at other times as well; still whatever a man does privately does not concern the general public or the state, but in the theatre the people's character is revealed. But with you it is there above all that you are off your guard and will prove traitors to the good name of your city : you act like women of low repute, who, however wanton they may be at home, should behave with decorum when they go abroad, and yet it is especially in the streets that they are most guilty of misconduct. "How now," perhaps someone will say, " is that our only fault, our bad behaviour at the theatre ? Is that all you have to say to us and nothing more ?" I dread the thought of attacking all your failings in one indictment. And yet perhaps someone will claim that, despite my long harangue, I have given you no advice and have not made clear what it is I criticize you for most; and that such is the function of anyone who offers instruction. But for my own part I believe that I have already made many valuable observations—at least for those of you who have been listening—regarding the god, the nature of the demos, and your duty to listen to counsel even though you are not convinced by what is said. For the most urgent need of all, I fancy, was that I should first put you into a frame of mind to listen patiently. And so, if my address has accomplished nothing else of much importance to you, I have this at least to my credit, that for this space of time you have kept your seats in self-restraint. For, let me remind you, with the sick it is of critical importance toward recovery to have had a brief interval of calm. And, on my word, to examine into all your failings, and that too in one day's time, and to force you to condemn utterly all your vice and your shortcomings, is not within my power, "E'en though I had ten tongues, as many mouths, A voice unyielding, in my breast a heart Of bronze ; unless the heavenly Muses, sprung From Aegis-bearing Zeus, should call to mind The varied evils found in all mankind", and not in you alone.





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Dernière mise à jour : 25/10/2007