The Road to Happiness

Bacchylides, frr. 11, 12, 13 [Stob. 4. 44. 16 + 46 +Stob. 4. 34. 24]

“There’s one border, one road for mortals to happiness:
If someone can make it to the end of life
With a spirit unburdened by grief.

But someone who tends to countless worries in their mind,
Plucking at their heart day and night,
Always over future things,
Has toil without fruit.

What’s the point in disturbing your thoughts any more
with tears that come to nothing?”

[fr. 13]
Well, god assigned labors to all mortals
Different ones, for different people.”

εἷς ὅρος, μία βροτοῖσίν ἐστιν εὐτυχίας ὁδός,
θυμὸν εἴ τις ἔχων ἀπενθῆ δύναται
διατελεῖν βίον· ὃς δὲ μυρία
μὲν ἀμφιπολεῖ φρενί,
τὸ δὲ παρ᾿ ἆμάρ τε <καὶ> νύκτα μελλόντων
χάριν αἰὲν ἰάπτεται
κέαρ, ἄκαρπον ἔχει πόνον.

τί γὰρ ἐλαφρὸν ἔτ᾿ ἐστὶν ἄπρακτ᾿
ὀδυρόμενον δονεῖν

Fr. 13
πάντεσσι <γὰρ> θνατοῖσι δαιμων
ἐπέταξε πόνους ἄλλοισιν ἄλλους.

Color photograph of oil painting. Woman in boat with other figures, including a baby and a winged cupid
Constance Mayer, “the Dream of Happiness” 1819 from Wikimedia Commons

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