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Insolence

ὕβρις φυτεύει τύραννον·
ὕβρις, εἰ πολλῶν ὑπερπλησθῇ μάταν,
ἃ μὴ ’πίκαιρα μηδὲ συμφέροντα,
ἀκρότατον εἰσαναβᾶσ’
αἶπος ἀπότομον ὤρουσεν εἰς ἀνάγκαν,
ἔνθ’ οὐ ποδὶ χρησίμῳ
χρῆται. τὸ καλῶς δ’ ἔχον
πόλει πάλαισμα μήποτε λῦσαι θεὸν αἰτοῦμαι.
θεὸν οὐ λήξω ποτὲ προστάταν ἴσχων.

εἰ δέ τις ὑπέροπτα χερσὶν ἢ λόγῳ πορεύεται,
δίκας ἀφόβητος οὐδὲ δαιμόνων ἕδη σέβων,
κακά νιν ἕλοιτο μοῖρα,
δυσπότμου χάριν χλιδᾶς,
εἰ μὴ τὸ κέρδος κερδανεῖ δικαίως
καὶ τῶν ἀσέπτων ἔρξεται
ἢ τῶν ἀθίκτων θίξεται ματᾴζων.
τίς ἔτι ποτ᾽ ἐν τοῖσδ᾽ ἀνὴρ θεῶν βέλη
εὔξεται ψυχᾶς ἀμύνειν;

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Translation:

Insolence breeds the tyrant; Insolence, once blindly gorged with plenty, with things which are not fit or good, when it hath scaled the crowning height leaps on the abyss of doom, where it is served not by the service of the foot. But that rivalry which is good for the state I pray that the god may never quell: the god ever will I hold my champion.

But whoso walks haughtily in deed or word, unterrified by Justice, revering not the shrines of gods, may an evil doom take him for his miserable pride, if he will not gain his gains fairly, if he will not keep himself from impieties, but must lay wanton hands on things inviolable. In such case, what man can boast any more that he shall ward the arrows of anger from his life?

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Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus

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