Saturday, August 01, 2009


The Voyage of Life

Palladas, Greek Anthology 10.65, tr. W.R. Paton:
Life is a perilous voyage; for often we are tempest-tossed in it and are in a worse case than shipwrecked men. With Fortune at Life's helm we sail uncertainly as on the open sea, some on a fair voyage, others the reverse: but all alike reach one harbour under the earth.
The same, tr. Tony Harrison:
Life's an ocean-crossing where winds howl
and the wild sea comes at us wave after wave.

With Fortune our pilot, weather fair or foul,
all alike drop anchor in the grave.
The same, tr. T.R. Glover:
Life is a dangerous voyage; storm-winds fling us
  Where worse than shipwrecked mariners we lie;
Chance, the one pilot of man's life, will bring us
  Chance knoweth where as o'er the seas we fly.
Some meet good weather; others ill have found;
All make the common anchorage underground.
The original Greek:
Πλοῦς σφαλερὸς τὸ ζῇν· χειμαζόμενοι γὰρ ἐν αὐτῷ
  πολλάκι ναυηγῶν πταίομεν οἰκτρότερα.
τὴν δὲ Τύχην βιότοιο κυβερνήτειραν ἔχοντες,
  ὡς ἐπὶ τοῦ πελάγους, ἀμφίβολοι πλέομεν,
οἱ μὲν ἐπ' εὐπλοΐην, οἱ δ' ἔμπαλιν· ἀλλ' ἅμα πάντες
  εἰς ἕνα τὸν κατὰ γῆς ὅρμον ἀπερχόμεθα.
Philip Galle, Charon in his Boat with Passengers

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