Palladas, Greek Anthology
10.60, tr. W.R. Paton:
You are wealthy. And what is the end of it? When you depart do you trail your riches after you as you are pulled to your tomb? You gather wealth spending time, but you cannot pile up a heavier measure of life.
The same, tr. J.W. Mackail:
Thou art rich, and what of it in the end? as thou departest, dost thou drag thy riches with thee, pulling them into the coffin? Thou gatherest riches at expense of time, and thou canst not heap up more exceeding measures of life.
The same, tr. T.R. Glover:
Get riches, and what then? the coffin's lid
The company of thy coffer will forbid;
Add wealth and time subtract; and what remains?
Life not an hour longer for thy pains.
The same, tr. Tony Harrison:
So, Mr. Moneybags, you're loaded? So?
You'll never take it with you when you go.
You've made your pile but squandered time. Grown old
you can't gloat over age like hoarded gold.
The original Greek:
Πλουτεῖς· καὶ τί τὸ λοιπόν; ἀπερχόμενος μετὰ σαυτοῦ
τὸν πλοῦτον σύρεις, εἰς σορὸν ἑλκόμενος;
τὸν πλοῦτον συνάγεις δαπανῶν χρόνον· οὐ δύνασαι δὲ
ζωῆς σωρεῦσαι μέτρα περισσότερα.
A commonplace, but a true one, worth keeping in mind. Here are some parallels from other ancient writers:
- Ecclesiastes 2.18: Yea, I hated all my labor which I had taken under the sun; because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me.
- Sirach 14.4: He that gathereth by defrauding his own soul gathereth for others, that shall spend his goods riotously.
- Theognis 726: No one comes to the house of Hades with his possessions. (χρήματ' ἔχων οὐδεὶς ἔρχεται εἰς Ἀΐδεω.)
- Menander, fragment 301 Kock (lines 5-7): Immortality is not for sale, not even if you were to gather together the famous talents of Tantalus. But you will die and you will leave these things to others. (ἀθανασίας δ᾽ οὐκ ἔστιν, οὐδ᾽ ἂν συναγάγηις / τὰ Ταντάλου τάλαντ᾽ ἐκεῖνα λεγόμενα· / ἀλλ' ἀποθανῆι καὶ ταῦτα καταλείψεις τισίν.)
- Horace, Odes 2.3.17-20: You will leave behind your expensive pastures and your city house and your country villa which the Tiber flows by; you will leave them behind, and your heir will possess your riches piled up high. (cedes coemptis saltibus et domo / villaque flavus quam Tiberis lavit, / cedes et exstructis in altum / divitiis potietur heres.)
- Horace, Odes 2.14.25-28: Your heir, more worthy [than you], will use up your Caecuban wines, kept under a hundred locks; he will spill on the floor the proud wine, better than [that served] at high priests' feasts. (absumet heres Caecuba dignior / servata centum clavibus et mero / tinguet pavimentum superbo, / pontificum potiore cenis.)
- Horace, Odes 3.24.62: He hurries to gain money for the benefit of an unworthy heir. (indignoque pecuniam / heredo properet.)
- Horace, Satires 2.3.122-123: Are you guarding this, you god-forsaken old man, so that your son can drink it up, or even your freedman heir? (filius aut etiam haec libertus ut ebibat heres, / dis inimice senex, custodis?)
- Horace, Epistles 2.2.175-179: Since everlasting possession is given to no one, and one heir follows the heir of yet another heir like water flowing over water, what good are estates and storehouses? What good are pastures in Lucania joined to pastures in Calabria, if Death harvests the great along with the small and cannot be bribed by gold? (sic, quia perpetuus nulli datur usus, et heres / heredem alterius velut unda supervenit undam, / quid vici prosunt aut horrea? quidve Calabris / saltibus adiecti Lucani, si metit Orcus / grandia cum parvis, non exorabilis auro?)
- Propertius 3.5.13-14: You won't carry any riches to the waters of Acheron: fool, you will ride naked in the hellish boat. (haud ullas portabis opes Acherontis ad undas: / nudus in infera, stulte, vehere rate.)
- Ovid, Tristia 5.14.12: The rich man's shade will carry nothing to his grave. (nil feret ad Manes divitis umbra suos.)
- Martial 8.44.9: Snatch, heap up, carry off, possess: it must be left behind. (rape, congere, aufer, posside: reliquendum est.)
- Lucian (Greek Anthology 10.41.5-8, tr. W.R. Paton): But if a man wears himself out over accounts, ever eager to heap wealth on wealth, his labour shall be like that of the bee in its many-celled honeycomb, for others shall gather the honey.
- 1 Timothy 6.7: For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. (οὐδὲν γὰρ εἰσηνέγκαμεν εἰς τὸν κόσμον, ὅτι οὐδὲ ἐξενεγκεῖν τι δυνάμεθα.)
- Anonymous (Greek Anthology 11.166, tr. W.R. Paton): All say you are rich, but I say you are poor, for, Apollophanes, their use is the proof of riches. If you take your share of them, they are yours, but if you keep them for your heirs, they are already someone else's.
- Lucilius (Greek Anthology 11.294, tr. W.R. Paton): Thou hast the wealth of a rich man, but the soul of a pauper, thou who art rich for thy heirs and poor for thyself.