August 10th, 2011

Decline

By David Hayes.

"In case of rams and horses, Kurnus, / We seek the highest class, / And select the finest specimens / Of ass to breed with ass."

A new translation of Theognis 183-92.

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In case of rams and horses, Kurnus,

We seek the highest class,

And select the finest specimens

Of ass to breed with ass.

But the noble man no longer cares

To marry from the best

He takes his bride from foul stock

For feathering his nest.

Nor does a lady refuse to bed

The lowest of the low

If he displays a bank account

That’s very well-endowed.

Does this explain, Polypaus’ son,

Your sense of the decline

Of the lineage of Megara,

Your beloved town and mine?

It all comes down to money, Kurnus:

It’s fucking with our genes,

And the child is neither high nor low

But a shapeless in-between.

David Hayes is an assistant professor at the European College of Liberal Arts in Berlin.

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