310 (English, original)

An original translation

Soc: Yes, and I talked and listened quite a lot.
Com: So why don’t you tell us about the conversation, if nothing’s stopping you? Let this boy* get up, and you sit right here.
Soc: Sure, and you’ll do me a favor by listening.
Com: You’ll do us a favor by talking.
Soc: Call it a two-way favor, then. Here’s what happened.

Last night, when it was nearly morning, Hippocrates, the one who’s Apollodorus’ son and Phason’s brother, rapped on my door very loudly with his cane. When someone opened it for him, he rushed straight inside and boomed, “Socrates, are you awake or asleep?”
And since I recognized his voice, I said, “Well, Hippocrates, is the news bad?”
“Nothing but good news,” he said.
“You should tell me. What is it? Why have you shown up at this time of night?”
“Protagoras,” he said, standing beside me, “is here.”
“He came the day before yesterday. Did you only just find out?”
“I swear, only last evening.”
And as he groped about in the dark for the bed and sat beside my feet, he said, “Yesterday evening, I was coming back pretty late from Oenoe. My boy* Satyrus, you see, had run away from me – Just when I was about to tell you that I was after him, something made me forget – Anyway, when I got back and we had dinner and were about to turn in, that’s when my brother told me that Protagoras is here. I was set to come straight to you, but I thought it was too late at night. As soon as I’d had enough sleep to not be so tired, I got up straightaway and came over here.”
Recognizing how fierce and excited he was, I said, “What’s it to you? Protagoras has done you wrong, has he?”
He laughed and said, “For god’s sake, Socrates, only because he’s wise and doesn’t make me so.”
“But I swear, if you pay him and talk him round, he will.”
“Oh god, if it was only about that, I wouldn’t spare any of my money or my friends’. But I came to you now so you’ll talk all this over with him for me. I’m too young, and I’ve never even seen or heard Protagoras. I was just a little boy last time he was in town. Come on, Socrates. Everyone speaks highly of this man and says he’s a very talented speaker…”

* The term ‘boy’ is here used of slaves without regard to their age, as in the antebellum South.

3 Responses to 310 (English, original)

  1. Calendula says:

    Last night, when it was nearly morning, Hippocrates, the one who’s Apollodorus’ son and Phason’s brother, rapped on my door very loudly with his cane. When someone opened it for him, he rushed straight inside and boomed, “Socrates, are you awake or asleep?” And since I recognized his voice, I said, “Well, Hippocrates, is the news bad?” — it is fun reconstructing how does one go about visiting somebody in the small hours in Athens: first you bang at the door, then “someone” (a slave? a woman?) has to let you in, then you stop in front of the bedroom of the person you are visiting, and call as politely as you can.
    What do you think, why is Hippocrates described both as Apollodorus’ son and Phason’s brother?

    • Dhananjay says:

      No great reason, I suspect. Compare Iliad 13.694-5 where Medon is introduced as son of Oileus and brother of Ajax. Also note that Phason is the one who tells Hippocrates that Protagoras is in town, so the double introduction does a bit of foreshadowing as well.

  2. Nakul says:

    Re: ‘Oh god, if only it was just that, I wouldn’t spare any of my money or my friends’.’

    ‘If only it was just that’ gives the optative sense rather than the antecedent of a conditional. Did you mean ‘If it was* only just that’? And I suggest ‘if that’s all it took’ or ‘if it was only about that [i.e. the money]’.

    Also, ‘For god’s sake’ and ‘I swear’ are baffling when you just read the English through. I have no suggestions though, I’m afraid.

    * Or ‘were’. But that would be unAmerican…

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