Tuesday, October 18, 2011


How Long?

Bion of Smyrna, fragment 8, lines 8-14, preserved in Stobaeus 4.16.15 (tr. J.D. Reed):
But since the gods have agreed for one span of life to come
for humans, and that short and lesser than all things,
how long, O wretches, are we to work at toils and tasks?
And how long are we to cast our soul into profits and into crafts,
forever desiring much more wealth?
Have we then all indeed forgotten that we are mortal,
and that we have been allotted a brief time by Fate?

εἰ δὲ θεοὶ κατένευσαν ἕνα χρόνον ἐς βίον ἐλθεῖν
ἀνθρώποις, καὶ τόνδε βραχὺν καὶ μείονα πάντων,
ἐς πόσον, ἆ δειλοί, καμάτως κεἰς ἔργα πονεῦμες,
ψυχὰν δ̓ ἄχρι τίνος ποτὶ κέρδεα καὶ ποτὶ τέχνας
βάλλομες ἱμείροντες ἀεὶ πολὺ πλείονος ὄλβω;
ἦ λαθόμεθ̓ ἄρα πάντες, ὅτι θνατοὶ γενόμεσθα,
χὠς βραχὺν ἐκ Μοίρας λάχομες χρόνον;

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