Monday, October 22, 2007

511. Excerpt from Oedipus - Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Translated from the Greek by Ted Hughes
Act Five. Chorus draws the moral: fate cannot be avoided

Fate is the master of everything ... it is vain to fight against fate
from the beginning to the end the road is laid down
human scheming is futile ... worries are futile ... prayers are futile
sometimes a man wins ... sometimes he loses
who decides whether he loses or wins
it has all been decided long ago elsewhere
it is destiny
not a single man can alter it
all he can do is let it happen
the good luck the bad luck everything that happens
everything that seems to toss our days up and down
it is all there from the first moment
it is all there ... tangled in the knotted mesh of causes
helpless to change itself
even the great god lies there entangled
helpless in the mesh of causes
and the last day lies there tangled with the first
a man's life is a pattern on the floor ... like a maze
it is all fixed ... he wanders in the pattern
no prayer can alter it
or help him to escape it ... nothing

then fear can be the end of him
a man's fear of his fate is often his fate
leaping to avoid it ... he meets it

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