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Carpe Diem

November 22, 2011

τί δεῖ καλῆς γυναικός, εἰ μὴ τὰς φρένας χρηστὰς ἔχοι.

So quod Euripides (fr. 212); Smyth (2360) translates “What boots the beauty of a woman if she have not a mind that is chaste?”  and I will not presume to better him.  After all, how would I come up with a verb as excellent as “boots”? — and I surely would have forgotten to properly express the predicative position of χρηστὰς. Not to mention his bold use of the English subjunctive.

It has been the task of the entire carpe diem tradition to persuade us to bracket the μὴ; after all, what boots the beauty of a woman if she have a mind that is chaste?  Nothing at all, surely: the worms, or worse, her husband will enjoy it.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. linebrick permalink*
    November 22, 2011 6:03 pm

    boots?

  2. November 22, 2011 11:08 pm

    This should perhaps be the textbook example for how reversing an oppressive ideology is sometimes the furthest thing from escaping it.

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