Archilochus, With Mixed Messages on Grief

Archilochus, fr. 15= Stob. 4.56.30

“Perikles, no citizen will find fault with our painful mourning
Not even when the whole state is celebrating its feasts.
That’s the kind of people the wave of the resounding sea
Took from us, and our lungs are swollen with pain.

Well, the gods have given us strong resilience
For medicine: different people have pain at different times,
And now it is ours: we recoil from a bloody wound but
Later it will belong to others. Come, hold fast,
Push off weakening grief.”*

κήδεα μὲν στονόεντα, Περίκλεες, οὔτε τις ἀστῶν
μεμφόμενος θαλίῃς τέρψεται οὐδὲ πόλις·
τοίους γὰρ κατὰ κῦμα πολυφλοίσβοιο θαλάσσης
ἔκλυσεν, οἰδαλέους δ᾿ ἀμφ᾿ ὀδύνῃς ἔχομεν
πνεύμονας. ἀλλὰ θεοὶ γὰρ ἀνηκέστοισι κακοῖσιν,
ὦ φίλ᾿, ἐπὶ κρατερὴν τλημοσύνην ἔθεσαν
φάρμακον. ἄλλοτε ἄλλος ἔχει τόδε· νῦν μὲν ἐς ἡμέας
ἐτράπεθ᾿, αἱματόεν δ᾿ ἕλκος ἀναστένομεν,
ἐξαῦτις δ᾿ ἑτέρους ἐπαμείψεται. ἀλλὰ τάχιστα
τλῆτε, γυναικεῖον πένθος ἀπωσάμενοι.

*I decided to leave the misogyny out of this translation, but it is still there! The adjective here in Greek is gunaikeion, or,” womanly”

File:Greek - Fragment of a Grave Relief for the Daughter of Kleomachos - Walters 23174.jpg

7 thoughts on “Archilochus, With Mixed Messages on Grief

      1. he is saying that it is not shame to cry. as some women cry when delivering. babies from a bloody wound 🙏
        and there is only air in our lungs…
        misanthropy, maybe?

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