30 April, 2011

Cantina Quote o' The Week: Archilochus

The fox knows many tricks, the hedgehog only one.  One good one.
-Archilochus, Iambi et Elgi Graeci

This will always and forever be one of my favorite ancient Greek quotes of all time.  Of course, I knew bugger all about hedgehogs when I first heard it.  Now I know what he was referring to:

Much later, thanks to Terry Pratchett, I also learned that the hedgehog can never be buggered at all.

You may remember Archilochus from one of his more famous poems on battlefield valor:
Some barbarian is waving my shield,
since I was obliged to
leave that perfectly good piece of equipment behind
under a bush.
But I got away, so what does it matter?
Life seemed somehow more precious.
Let the shield go; I can buy another one equally good.
An eminently practical man, rather like the hedgehog he admired.

1 comment:

Chris Rhetts said...

Apropos of nothing in particular, but brought to my mind by your posting of a 2500 year old Greek poem, this lovely verse attributed to Sappho:


Children astray to their mothers, and goats to the herd,
Sheep to the shepherd, through twilight the wings of the bird,
All things that morning has scattered with fingers of gold,
All things thou bringest, O Evening! at last to the fold.


This appears to be so liberal an interpretation of the original, by one H. de Vere Stacpoole, that it constitutes something of a collaboration (By collaborators divided in time by over 2000 years!). I found it, with many others, here: