The Lucky Ones
The Chorus in Euripedes’ Medea, as translated by J. Michael Walton, demonstrates that humans have grappled with childlessness for millennia: And I say this. Those who miss out On the experience, Who never have children, They’re the lucky ones. They never know, the childless— They never have the chance— What a child may bring. Joy or grief, grief or joy. The childless never see That first sweet enchantment Shrivel with time into despair. How to bring them up. How to have something leave them. Will they turn out frivolous? Will they turn out decent? There’s no predicting; and no end to it. But worst, the worst Of any human experience. You become prosperous: they grow— Good children, fine young people— And then some accident… Death steals them away, Spirits them underground. How does anyone survive that? Why make yourself vulnerable, Mortals to be toyed with by gods? J. Michael Walton, “Versions or Perversions: Last Call for the Playwrights?” Arion: A Journal of Humanities and the Classics, 23, no. 1 (Spring/Summer 2015), 163-164. Lines 1090-1115.