Friday, August 26, 2005



Walter Savage Landor (1775-1864), From Moschus:
Ah! When the mallow in the croft dies down,
  Or the pale parsley or the crisped anise,
Again they grow, another year they flourish;
  But we, the great, the valiant, and the wise,
Once covered over in the hollow earth,
  Sleep a long, dreamless, unawakening sleep.
This is from Moschus' Lament for Bion. Andrew Lang (1844-1912) rendered the same lines in prose thus:
Ah me, when the mallows wither in the garden, and the green parsley, and the curled tendrils of the anise, on a later day they live again, and spring in another year; but we men, we, the great and mighty, or wise, when once we have died, in hollow earth we sleep, gone down into silence; a right long, and endless, and unawakening sleep.
Since Bion lived later than Moschus, modern scholars attribute the lament not to Moschus but to an unnamed disciple of Bion.

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