Saturday, July 30, 2011


Youth and Old Age

Euripides, Heracles 637-654 (tr. E.P. Coleridge):
Dear to me is youth, but old age is ever hanging o'er my head, a burden heavier than Aetna's crags, casting its pall of gloom upon my eyes. Oh! never may the wealth of Asia's kings tempt me to barter for houses stored with gold my happy youth, which is in wealth and poverty alike most fair! But old age is gloomy and deathly; I hate it; let it sink beneath the waves! Would it had never found its way to the homes and towns of mortal men, but were still drifting on for ever down the wind.

ά νεότας μοι φίλον· ἄ-
χθος δὲ τὸ γῆρας αἰεί
βαρύτερον Αἴτνας σκοπέλων
ἐπὶ κρατὶ κεῖται, βλεφάρῳ
σκοτεινὸν φάος ἐπικαλύψαν.
μή μοι μήτ' ᾿Ασιήτιδος
τυραννίδος ὄλβος εἴη,
μὴ χρυσοῦ δώματα πλήρη
τᾶς ἥβας ἀντιλαβεῖν,
ἃ καλλίστα μὲν ἐν ὄλβῳ,
καλλίστα δ' ἐν πενίᾳ.
τὸ δὲ λυγρὸν φόνιόν τε γῆ-
ρας μισῶ· κατὰ κυμάτων δ'
ἔρροι, μηδέποτ' ὤφελεν
θνατῶν δώματα καὶ πόλεις
ἐλθεῖν, ἀλλὰ κατ' αἰθέρ' αἰ-
εὶ πτεροῖσι φορείσθαι.


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