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.
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.