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Three Millennia of Greek Literature


St. Basil the Great - Bilingual Anthology


from St Basil's Letters, the Second Letter, * § 2. Translated by B. Jackson * Greek Fonts ||| St Basil Home Page


The Original Greek New Testament
E must strive after a quiet mind. As well might the eye ascertain an object put before it while it is wandering restless up and down and sideways, without fixing a steady gaze upon it, as a mind, distracted by a thousand worldly cares, be able clearly to apprehend the truth. He who is not yet yoked in the bonds of matrimony is harassed by frenzied cravings, and rebellious impulses, and hopeless attachments; he who has found his mate is encompassed with his own tumult of cares; if he is childless, there is desire for children; has he children? anxiety about their education, attention to his wife, care of his house, oversight of his servants, misfortunes in trade, quarrels with his neighbours, lawsuits, the risks of the merchant, the toil of the farmer. Each day, as it comes, darkens the soul in its own way; and night after night takes up the day's anxieties, and cheats the mind with illusions in accordance.

ἐν ἡσυχίᾳ τὸν νοῦν ἔχειν πειρᾶσθαι

Ἐν ἡσυχίᾳ τὸν νοῦν ἔχειν πειρᾶσθαι προσήκει. ὡς γὰρ ὀφθαλμὸν περιαγόμενον συνεχῶς καὶ νῦν μὲν ἐπὶ τὰ πλάγια περιφερόμενον͵ νῦν δὲ πρὸς τὰ ἄνω καὶ κάτω πυκνὰ μεταστρεφόμενον͵ ἰδεῖν ἐναργῶς τὸ ὑποκείμενον οὐχ οἷόν τε͵ ἀλλὰ χρὴ προσερεισθῆναι τὴν ὄψιν τῷ ὁρωμένῳ͵ εἰ μέλλοι ἐναργῆ ποιεῖσθαι τὴν θέαν, οὕτω καὶ νοῦν ἀνθρώπου ὑπὸ μυρίων τῶν κατὰ τὸν κόσμον φροντίδων περιελκόμενον ἀμήχανον ἐναργῶς ἐνατενίσαι τῇ ἀληθείᾳ. ἀλλὰ τὸν μὲν οὔπω τοῖς δεσμοῖς τοῦ γάμου κατεζευγμένον λυσσώδεις ἐπιθυμίαι καὶ ὁρμαὶ δυσκάθεκτοι καὶ ἔρωτές τινες δυσέρωτες ἐκταράσσουσι· τὸν δὲ ἤδη συγκαθειργμένον ὁμοζύγῳ ἕτερος θόρυβος τῶν φροντίδων ἐκδέχεται· ἐν ἀπαιδίᾳ͵ παίδων ἐπιθυμία͵ ἐν τῇ κτήσει τῶν παίδων͵ παιδοτροφίας μέριμνα· γυναικὸς φυλακή͵ οἴκου ἐπιμέλεια͵ οἰκετῶν προστασίαι͵ αἱ κατὰ τὰ συμβόλαια βλάβαι͵ οἱ πρὸς τοὺς γείτονας διαπληκτισμοί͵ αἱ ἐν τοῖς δικαστηρίοις συμπλοκαί͵ τῆς ἐμπορίας οἱ κίνδυνοι͵ αἱ τῆς γεωργίας διαπονήσεις. πᾶσα ἡμέρα ἰδίαν ἥκει φέρουσα τῆς ψυχῆς ἐπισκότησιν. αἱ νύκτες͵ τὰς μεθημερινὰς φροντίδας παραλαμβάνουσαι͵ ἐν ταῖς αὐταῖς φαντασίαις ἐξαπατῶσι τὸν νοῦν.

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