Thursday, March 31, 2016

"Hymn to Technological Man"

From Sophocles' Antigone, the Chorus' 'Hymn to Technological Man':

There are many strange and wonderful things,
          but nothing more strangely wonderful than man.
          He moves across the white-capped ocean seas                           
          blasted by winter storms, carving his way
          under the surging waves engulfing him.
          With his teams of horses he wears down
          the unwearied and immortal earth,
          the oldest of the gods, harassing her,
          as year by year his ploughs move back and forth.                                  
          He snares the light-winged flocks of birds,
          herds of wild beasts, creatures from deep seas,
          trapped in the fine mesh of his hunting nets.
          O resourceful man, whose skill can overcome                            
          ferocious beasts roaming mountain heights.                                          
          He curbs the rough-haired horses with his bit
          and tames the inexhaustible mountain bulls,
          setting their savage necks beneath his yoke.
          He’s taught himself speech and wind-swift thought,
          trained his feelings for communal civic life,
          learning to escape the icy shafts of frost,
          volleys of pelting rain in winter storms,
          the harsh life lived under the open sky.
          That’s man—so resourceful in all he does.                                  
410      [360]
          There’s no event his skill cannot confront—
          other than death—that alone he cannot shun,
          although for many baffling sicknesses
          he has discovered his own remedies.
          The qualities of his inventive skills
          bring arts beyond his dreams and lead him on,
          sometimes to evil and sometimes to good.
          If he treats his country’s laws with due respect
          and honours justice by swearing on the gods,
          he wins high honours in his city.                                                  
          But when he grows bold and turns to evil,                                            
          then he has no city. A man like that—
          let him not share my home or know my mind.

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