Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Infinite was the time - Leonidas

O man, infinite was the time before you came to the light,
and infinite will be the time to come in Hades.
What is the portion of life that remains to you, but a pin-prick,
or if there be aught tinier than a pin-prick?
A little life and a sorrowful is yours; for even that little is not sweet,
but more odious than death the enemy.
Men built as you are, of such a frame of bones,
why do you lift yourselves up to the air and the clouds?
See, man, how little use it is;
for at the end of the thread, a worm seated on the loosely woven vesture
reduces it to a thing like a skeleton leaf, a thing more hateful than a cobweb.*
Enquire of yourself at the dawn of every day, O man, what your strength is
and learn to lie low, content with a simple life;
ever remembering in your heart, as long as you dwell among the living,
from what stalks of straw you are pieced together.

Leonidas (540-480 BC) Greece
Translated by by W.R.Paton
Source: Leonidas of Tarentum: Epigrams
* The original Greek is somewhat corrupt here so the translation is approximate

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