Mimnermus fr. 1
what is life, and what pleasure is there, without golden Aphrodite?
let me die when I stop caring about these things:
secret love, and gentle gifts, and the bed.
things like these are the blooms of youth –
delicious to men and women alike.
but then old age comes bounding.
always it makes a man a disfigured thing, a base thing.
ugly cares press at his soul nonstop.
when he looks on the rays of the sun, no joy.
no, instead boys hate him,
and women, they scorn him.
such are the ways god made old age a pain in the ass.
τίς δὲ βίος, τί δὲ τερπνὸν ἄτερ χρυσῆς Ἀφροδίτης,
τεθναίην ὅτε μοι μηκέτι ταῦτα μέλοι,
κρυπταδίη φιλότης καὶ μείλιχα δῶρα καὶ εὐνή,
οἷ᾽ ἥβης ἄνθ εα γίγνεται ἁρπαλέα
ἀνδράσιν ἠδὲ γυναιξίν: ἐπεὶ δ᾽ ὀδυνηρὸν ἐπέλθῃ
γῆρας, ὅ τ᾽ αἰσχρὸν ὁμῶς καὶ κακὸν ἄνδρα τιθεῖ,
αἰεί μιν φρένας ἀμφὶ κακαὶ τείρουσι μέριμναι,
οὐδ᾽ αὐγὰς προσορῶν τέρπεται ἠελίου,
ἀλλ᾽ ἐχθρὸς μὲν παισίν, ἀτίμαστος δὲ γυναιξίν,
οὕτως ἄργαλέον γῆρας ἔθηκε θεός.
Larry Benn has a B.A. in English Literature from Harvard College, an M.Phil in English Literature from Oxford University, and a J.D. from Yale Law School. Making amends for a working life misspent in finance, he’s now a hobbyist in ancient languages and blogs at featsofgreek.blogspot.com.