Morning Thought

Zeus, who guided men to think,
who has laid it down that wisdom,
comes alone through suffering.
Still there drips in sleep against the heart
grief of memory; against
our pleasure we are temperate.
From the gods who sit in grandeur
grace comes somehow violent.

Aeschylus, trans. Lattimore, Agamemnon, ll. 176-183.

6 Replies to “Morning Thought”

  1. I first read that quote in “Franny and Zooey.” I think it went like this, there:

    Even in our sleep, pain which we cannot forget
    falls drop by drop upon the heart,
    until, against our will,
    comes wisdom
    through the awful grace of God.

    Apparently, Robert Kennedy used this quote on the night of Martin Luther King’s assassination, when informing the crowd he was speaking to in Indianapolis about the murder.

  2. See? In 1968, it wasn’t considered “bad form” to use, in ordinary daily life and speaking, a literary reference from ancient Greece.

    That came later.

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