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DION CHRYSOSTOME, Sur la royauté (discours 1; traduction anglaise)


Texte grec :

[1,20] πῶς οὖν εἰκὸς τὰ μὲν ἄφρονα καὶ ἀγνώμονα εἰδέναι καὶ φιλεῖν τοὺς ἐπιμελουμένους, τὸ δὲ πάντων συνετώτατον καὶ μάλιστα ἀποδοῦναι χάριν ἐπιστάμενον ἀγνοεῖν καὶ ἐπιβουλεύειν; ἀλλὰ γὰρ ἀνάγκη τὸν ἥμερον καὶ φιλάνθρωπον βασιλέα μὴ μόνον φιλεῖσθαι ὑπ´ ἀνθρώπων, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐρᾶσθαι. ταῦτ´ οὖν εἰδὼς καὶ φύσει τοιοῦτος ὤν, ἵλεων καὶ πρᾷον παρέχει τὴν ψυχὴν πᾶσιν, ἅτε πάντας ἡγούμενος εὔνους καὶ φίλους. (21) καὶ μὲν δὴ οἴεται δεῖν πλέον ἔχειν διὰ τὴν ἀρχὴν οὐ τῶν χρημάτων οὐδὲ τῶν ἡδονῶν, ἀλλὰ τῆς ἐπιμελείας καὶ τῶν φροντίδων· ὥστε καὶ φιλόπονος μᾶλλόν ἐστιν ἢ πολλοὶ τῶν ἄλλων φιλήδονοι καὶ φιλοχρήματοι. ἐπίσταται γὰρ ὅτι αἱ μὲν ἡδοναὶ τοὺς ἀεὶ συνόντας τά τε ἄλλα λυμαίνονται καὶ ταχὺ ποιοῦσιν ἀδυνάτους πρὸς αὑτάς, οἱ δὲ πόνοι τά τε ἄλλα ὠφελοῦσι καὶ ἀεὶ μᾶλλον παρέχουσι δυναμένους πονεῖν. (22) οὐκοῦν μόνῳ ἔξεστιν αὐτῷ τοὺς μὲν στρατιώτας συστρατιώτας προσειπεῖν, τοὺς δὲ συνήθεις φίλους, μὴ καταγελῶντα τοῦ ὀνόματος τῆς φιλίας· πατέρα δὲ τῶν πολιτῶν καὶ τῶν ἀρχομένων οὐ λόγῳ κεκλῆσθαι μόνον, ἀλλὰ τοῖς ἔργοις τοῦτο ἐπιδείκνυσθαι· δεσπότης δὲ οὐχ ὅπως τῶν ἐλευθέρων, ἀλλὰ μηδὲ τῶν δούλων χαίρει καλούμενος· (23) βασιλεύειν γὰρ οὐχ αὑτοῦ χάριν οἴεται μᾶλλον ἑνὸς ὄντος ἢ τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἁπάντων. καὶ τοίνυν εὐεργετῶν ἥδεται πλείω τῶν εὐεργετουμένων, καὶ μόνης ταύτης ἐστὶ τῆς ἡδονῆς ἀκόρεστος. τὰ μὲν γὰρ ἄλλα τῆς βασιλείας ἀναγκαῖα νενόμικεν, τὸ δὲ τῆς εὐεργεσίας μόνον ἑκούσιόν τε καὶ εὔδαιμον. (24) καὶ τῶν μὲν ἀγαθῶν ἀφειδέστατός ἐστιν, ὡς οὐδέποτε ἐπιλειψόντων, κακοῦ δὲ ἧττον αἴτιος γίγνεσθαι πέφυκεν ἤπερ ὁ ἥλιος τοῦ σκότους. ὃν οἱ μὲν ἰδόντες καὶ συγγενόμενοι οὐκ ἐθέλουσιν ἀπολιπεῖν, οἱ δὲ ἀκούοντες ἐπιθυμοῦσιν ἰδεῖν μᾶλλον ἢ παῖδες ἀγνοουμένους πατέρας ἀνευρεῖν.

Traduction française :

[1,20] How then would it be conceivable that, while beings devoid of intelligence and reason recognize and love those who care for them, that creature which is by far the most intelligent and best understands how to repay kindness with gratitude should fail to recognize, nay, should even plot against, its friends ? No indeed ! For of necessity the kindly and humane king is not only beloved but even adored by his fellow-men. And because he knows this and is by nature so inclined, he displays a soul benignant and gentle towards all, inasmuch as he regards all as loyal and as his friends. (21) The good king also believes it to be due to his position to have the larger portion, not of wealth or of pleasures, but of painstaking care and anxieties ; hence he is actually more fond of toil than many others are of pleasure or of wealth. For he knows that pleasure, in addition to the general harm it does to those who constantly indulge therein, also quickly renders them incapable of pleasure, whereas toil, besides conferring other benefits, continually increases a man's capacity for toil. He alone, therefore, may call his soldiers " fellow-soldiers " and his associates " friends " without making mockery of the word friendship ; and not only may he be called by the title " Father " of his people and his subjects, but he may justify the title by his deeds. In the title " master," however, he can take no delight, nay, not even in relation to his slaves, much less to his free subjects; for he looks upon himself as being king, not for the sake of his individual self, but for the sake of all men. Therefore he finds greater pleasure in conferring benefits than those benefited do in receiving them, and in this one pleasure he is insatiable. For the other functions of royalty he regards as obligatory ; that of benefaction alone he considers both voluntary and blessed. Blessings he dispenses with the most lavish hand, as though the supply were inexhaustible ; but of anything hurtful, on the contrary, he can no more be the cause than the sun can be the cause of darkness. Men who have seen and associated with him are loath to leave him, while those who know him only by hearsay are more eager to see him than children are to find their unknown fathers.

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Dernière mise à jour : 22/11/2007