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from the September 2011 issue: Homage

Timon vs. Newton

Τίμων καὶ Νεύτων

Timon and Newton were arguing about fruit.
Netwon said: "I prefer the apple
since I discovered gravity while peacefully dozing
under the shade of an apple tree."
Timon shot back with stinging words:
"Newton, you're an idiot, a fool
and utterly conceited in your intelligence.
By Zeus, do you know how to bring owls to Athens!
Your argument reveals nothing new.
All the still corpses that dangled from the branches
of my fig tree fell straight to the ground,
but, unlike Icarus, not one of them ever flew away.
So, for me, the fig is what you call 'gravity,'
and next time you doze beneath a tree
I will awaken you with a barrage of apples!"

“Timon kai Neuton” copyright Christopher Kontonikolis. By arrangement with the author. Translation copyright 2011 by Andrew Barrett. All rights reserved.

Τίμων καὶ Νεύτων

Τίμων καὶ Νεύτων ποτ’ ἐρίζετον εἵνεκ’ ὀπωρῶν.
Μῆλον ἄριστον, ἔφη Νεύτων, ὅτι μοι βαρυτῆτα
δεῖξέ ποθ’ εὕδοντι γλυκέως σκιερᾷ ὑπὸ μηλέῃ.
Τὸν δ’ ἀπαμειβόμενος προσέφη Τίμων κακόμυθος
σκαιέ, δοκησίσοφ’, ἠλίθιε, βλάξ, σχέτλιε Νεύτων,
νὴ Δία, γλαῦκας ἔοικε κομίζειν κλεινὸν ἐς ἄστυ
ὡς λόγος• οὐδὲν γὰρ καινὸν φαίνεις περὶ τούτων.
οἱ γὰρ ἀπαγξάμενοι ἀπὸ συκέης πάντες ἔραζε
νεκροὶ κ’ ἄπνοες ἐκ κλώνων ὀρθοὶ τανύοντο,
ἄλλος δ’ ὡς Ἴκαρος τούτων οὐδείς ποτ’ ἀπέπτη•
συκῆ ἄρα προέφηνέ μοι ἣν σὺ καλεῖς βαρυτῆτα.
Σῦκον ἄριστον ἐγὼ καλέω, σὺ δ’ ἐὰν ἐθέλῃσθα
εὗδ’ ὑπὸ δένδρον, ἐγὼ δ’ ἐγερῶ σ’ αὖ μηλοβολήσας!

 
 

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