Hugiainein

Ὑγιαίνειν μὲν ἄριστον ἀνδρὶ θνητῷ,
δεύτερον δὲ καλὸν φυὰν γενέσθαι,
τὸ τρίτον δὲ πλουτεῖν ἀδόλως,
καὶ τὸ τέταρτον ἡβᾶν μετὰ τῶν φίλων.

ᾀσθέντος δὲ τούτου καὶ πάντων ἡσθέντων ἐπ’ αὐτῷ καὶ μνημονευσάντων ὅτι καὶ ὁ καλὸς Πλάτων αὐτοῦ μέμνηται ὡς ἄριστα εἰρημένου [Gorg. 451e] ὁ Μυρτίλος ἔφη Ἀναξανδρίδην αὐτὸ διακεχλευακέναι τὸν κωμῳδιοποιὸν ἐν Θησαυρῷ λέγοντα οὕτως [fr. 18 K.-A.]·

ὁ τὸ σκόλιον εὑρὼν ἐκεῖνος, ὅστις ἦν,
τὸ μὲν ὑγιαίνειν πρῶτον ὡς ἄριστον ὂν
ὠνόμασεν ὀρθῶς· δεύτερον δ’ εἶναι καλόν,
τρίτον δὲ πλουτεῖν, τοῦθ’, ὁρᾷς, ἐμαίνετο·
μετὰ τὴν ὑγίειαν γὰρ τὸ πλουτεῖν διαφέρει·
καλὸς δὲ πεινῶν ἐστιν αἰσχρὸν θηρίον.

(Athenaeus, Deipn. 15.694e-f)

To be healthy is best for mortal man, second is to be handsome in body, third is to be wealthy without trickery, fourth, to be young with one’s friends.

When this song had been sung and everyone had enjoyed it and commented that the excellent Plato mentions it as a splendid composition (Gorg. 451e)*, Myrtilus pointed out that the comic poet Anaxandrides made fun of it in his Treasure in these lines:

The man who devised the scolion, whoever he was, was right to name health first as the best thing; but when he put a handsome body second and wealth third he was out of his mind, of course, for wealth is next best to health: a handsome man who is hungry is an ugly beast.

* The scholiast on Plato says it was sometimes attributed to Simonides (see fr. 651), sometimes to Epicharmus (cf. fr. 262 Kaibel); Clement of Alexandria ascribed it to Simonides and Aristotle, Stobaeus to an unknown Sclerias.

(tr. David A. Campbell, with his note)

Note: K.-A. = R. Kassel & C. Austin (edd.), Poetae Comici Graeci, vol. II, Berlin / New York 1991.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s