This site is supported by Nobility Studios.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
  • entries
    40
  • comments
    64
  • views
    33,595

Solon to Croesus from Plutarch in Durant

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

Entry posted

399 views

Croesus asked Solon if he thought him (Croesus) a happy man, arrayed as he was in his kingly best. According to Plutarch, as quoted in The Life of Greece, here's Solon's reply:

The gods, O King, have given the Greeks all other gifts in moderate degree; and so our wisdom, too, is a cheerful and a homely, not a noble and kingly, wisdom; and this, observing the numerous misfortunes that attend all conditions, forbids us to grow insolent upon present enjoyment, or to admire any man's happiness that may yet, in course of time, suffer change. For the uncertain future has yet to come, with every possible variety of fortune; and him only to whom the divinity has continued happiness unto the end do we call happy; to salute as happy one that is still in the midst of life and hazard we think as little safe and conclusive as to crown and proclaim as victorious the wrestler that is as yet in the ring.

The above reminded me of Shelley:

OZYMANDIAS

I met a traveller from an antique land

Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,

Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown

And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,

The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.

And on the pedestal these words appear:

"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"

Nothing beside remains: round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,

The lone and level sands stretch far away.


Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0


2 Comments

Posted

AllBlue,the first time I read this poem, I was about 14 and not at all impressed by poetry, but a few years later, soon after I had read D.H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers, I returned, for reasons I cannot remember now, and falling head over heels over this poem, and over the years I have remembered the whole text. And while I loved the atmospheric quality about the poem, I now see greater and deeper value in this text. The traveller himself is a wonder, who travels the "lone and level sands" that are "boundless and bare". But more than the passing of greatness of Ozymandias, is the grandeur of the artist's sculpture. I am trying to lead back to my Blog, The Joyful Act, to Ozymandias' claim that he is king of kings, but this alone is nothing without the declaration, and similarly with the sculptor, whose art must now beg for some recognition, from a traveller, whose barren tale must be heard by the "I" in order for it to be of any value or import. The point you raised about the 'pure act' is a good one, and I have no answer to it. If there is a 'pure act', it surely must be the act of creation itself, an act made from the nothingness within the ether. But even this, even this inaugural act is a presentiment of what is to come, an expectation of an 'audience'.

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted

The traveller himself is a wonder, who travels the "lone and level sands" that are "boundless and bare". But more than the passing of greatness of Ozymandias, is the grandeur of the artist's sculpture. ... whose art must now beg for some recognition, from a traveller, whose barren tale must be heard by the "I" in order for it to be of any value or import. An excellent observation, niven! You've expanded the meaning of the poem for me. Your statement that a 'pure act' is "the act of creation itself, an act made from the nothingness within the ether. But even this, even this inaugural act is a presentiment of what is to come, an expectation of an 'audience'," could imply that the original expansion of the universe included future expectations. This could preclude the possibility of a 'pure act.' A case could be made that there can never be a 'pure act.' I don't know, though. Although the human mind is part of the universe and was created by the confluence of various components of the universe, consciousness is different from everything else in the universe. So maybe that means anything is possible in the realm of consciousness.

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now