Friday, June 12, 2009


Inexorable Death

Aeschylus, fragment 161 Nauck (tr. Andrew Lang):
Of all Gods Death alone
Disdaineth sacrifice:
No man hath found or shown
The gift that Death would prize.
In vain are songs or sighs,
Paean, or praise, or moan,
Alone beneath the skies
Hath Death no altar-stone!

μόνος θεῶν γὰρ Θάνατος οὐ δώρων ἐρᾷ
οὐδ᾽ ἄν τι θύων οὐδ᾽ ἐπισπένδων ἄνοις,
οὐδ᾽ ἔστι βωμὸς οὐδὲ παιωνίζεται·
μόνου δὲ Πειθὼ δαιμόνων ἀποστατεῖ.
The same, tr. Herbert Weir Smyth:
For alone of gods Death does not love gifts, nor by sacrificing or by pouring libations could you accomplish anything. He has no altar and the paean is not sung to him; of the gods, from him alone Persuasion stands apart.
Already in Homer, Iliad 9.158:
Hades is unyielding and not to be prevailed over.

Ἀΐδης τοι ἀμείλιχος ἠδ᾽ ἀδάμαστος.
Related post: Ineffectual Prayers.

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