Don’t Stop Thinking about…Tomorrow?

Simonides, Fr. 20

“As long as any person holds on to the beloved flower of youth,
Their heart is light, because they imagine many things are endless.
No one young thinks they will grow old and die.
The healthy person doesn’t spare a thought for sickness either.

Fools have minds like this, because they don’t understand
That mortals have only a short time for youth and life too.
You, learn these things and hold on to the end of your time,
Taking pleasure in the good things in your mind.”

θνητῶ⎦ν δ’ ὄ⎣φρα τις⎦ ἄνθος ἔχη⎣ι πολυήρατον ἥβης,
κοῦφο⎦ν ἔχω⎣ν θυμ⎦ὸν πόλλ’ ἀτέλεσ⎣τα νοεῖ·
οὔ⎦τε γὰρ ἐλπ⎣ίδ’ ἔχ⎦ει γηρασέμεν ⎣οὔτε θανεῖσθαι,
οὐδ’, ὑ⎦γιὴς ὅτα⎣ν ἦι, φ⎦ροντίδ’ ἔχει κ⎣αμάτου.
νή⎦πιοι, οἷς ταύ⎣τηι⎦ κεῖται νόος, ο⎣ὐδὲ ἴσασιν
ὡς χρό⎦νος ἔ⎣σθ’ ἥβη⎦ς καὶ βιότου ὀλ⎣ίγος
θνη⎦τοῖς. ἀλλὰ ⎣σὺ⎦ ταῦτα μαθὼν ⎣βιότου ποτὶ τέρμα
ψυχῆι τῶν⎦ ἀγαθῶν τλῆθι χα⎣ριζόμενος.

A cleaner version of the text:

θνητῶν δ’ ὄφρα τις ἄνθος ἔχῃ πολυήρατον ἥβης,
κοῦφον ἔχων θυμὸν πόλλ’ ἀτέλεστα νοεῖ.
οὔτε γὰρ ἐλπίδ’ ἔχει γηρασέμεν οὐδὲ θανεῖσθαι,
οὐδ’ ὑγιὴς ὅταν ᾖ, φροντίδ’ ἔχει καμάτου.
νήπιοι, οἷς ταύτῃ κεῖται νόος· οὐδὲ ἴσασιν
ὡς χρόνος ἔσθ’ ἥβης καὶ βιότοι’ ὀλίγος
θνητοῖς· ἀλλὰ σὺ ταῦτα μαθὼν βιότου ποτὶ τέρμα
ψυχῇ τῶν ἀγαθῶν τλῆθι χαριζόμενος.

N.B.This fragment is preserved in Stobaeus’ Extracts, under a section entitled “Concerning life, that it is brief and cheap and full of worry” ΠΕΡΙ ΤΟΥ ΒΙΟΥ, ΟΤΙ ΒΡΑΧΥΣ ΚΑΙ ΕΥΤΕΛΗΣ ΚΑΙ ΦΡΟΝΤΙΔΩΝ ΑΝΑΜΕΣΤΟΣ.

Edvard Munch, “Old age” 1908

Leave a Reply