Mimnermus


What's life, what's joy, without love's heavenly gold? I hope I die when I no longer care for secret closeness, tender favors, bed, which are the rapturous flowers that grace youth's prime for men and women. But when painful age comes on, that makes a man loathsome and vile, malignant troubles ever vex his heart; seeing the sunlight gives him joy no more. He is abhored by boys, by women scorned: so hard a thing god made old age to be. But we are like the leaves that flowery spring puts forth, quick spreading in the sun's warm light: for a brief span of time we take our joy in our youth's bloom, the future, good or ill, kept from us, while the twin dark Dooms stand by, one bringing to fulfillment harsh old age, the other, death. The ripeness of youth's fruit is short, short as the sunlight on the earth, and once this season of perfection's past, it's better to be dead than stay alive. All kinds of worry come. One man's estate is failing, and there's painful poverty; another has no sons - the keenest need one feels as one goes down below the earth; sickness wears down another's heart. There's none Zeus does not give a multitude of ills.

Most handsome once, perhaps, but when his season's past, he's loathed and slighted even by his sons.

He gave Tithonus an unending bane, old age, that is more frightful than harsh death.

The sweat runs down me, and my heart's a-flutter, seeing my generation in its bloom of joy and beauty. Oh, it ought to last for longer! But it's fleeting as a dream, our precious youth; in no time ugly, harsh, hateful old age is looming over us, unvalued, that enveloping deforms past recognition, dims both sight and mind.

I pray my fated death may catch me hale and hearty at threescore years.

Enjoy yourself. As for the wretched townsfolk, some will speak ill of you - but only some.

Let us be honest, you and me. It is the rightest thing to be.

we settled at fair Colophon with rude agression, bringers of harsh insolence.

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2009