“Don’t make any of these citizens your friend, Polypaides
At least not in your heart for any real need.
But seem to be friendly to all in your speech,
While sharing your business with no one, especially not
Anything serious. For then, you would know the thoughts of vile men,
How there is nothing trustworthy in their actions,
But they adore tricks, deceptions, and conspiracies,
Just like people who cannot be saved.”
“Lord, son of Leto, child of Zeus, I will never
Forget you when beginning or ending my song.
But I sing you first and last and in the middle too
Hear me now and grant me good things.
Lord Phoebus, when the goddess Leto first gave birth to you,
The finest of the gods, she was holding close to the palm tree
with her slight arms, next to the curve of the lake—
and all of Delos was overwhelmed with a divine scent
as the expansive earth laughed beneath,
and the see delighted in its salty depths.
Artemis, slayer of beasts, daughter of Zeus, the one
Agamemnon honored with a temple as he sailed to Troy in swift ships
Hear me as I pray to you—ward off the evil spirts of death.
It is a minor thing for you, goddess; but a big deal for me.”
Muses and Graces, daughters of Zeus, who once
Went to the marriage of Kadmos and sang this beautiful line:
“Whatever is beautiful is loved; and what isn’t beautiful isn’t loved’
That’s the line that rang from your immortal mouths.”
“If someone praises you for as long as you see him
But lashes you with an evil tongue when you are apart,
That kind of man is not a very good friend at all.
He’s the kind who speaks smoothly with his tongue, but harbors different thoughts.
Let me have that kind of friend who knows his companion
And puts up with him when he’s mean or in a rage,
Like a brother. But you, friend, keep these things your heart
And you will remember me in future days.”
“One can survive the ruin from counterfeit silver and gold
Kurnos—and a wise person can easily discover it.
But if a dear friend’s mind is hidden in his chest
When he is false and he has a deceptive heart,
Well this the most counterfeit thing god has made for mortals
And it is the most painful thing of all to recognize.
For you cannot know the mind of a man or a woman
Before you investigate them, like an animal under a yoke—
And you cannot imagine what they are like at the right time
Since the outer image often misleads your judgment.”
“Dude, let’s be friends with each other at a distance.
With the exception of wealth, there’s too much of any good thing.
But we can be friends for a long time, just spend time with different men
Who have a better grasp of your mind.”
“Helios was allotted labor for all days–
He and his horse never have
A break after rosy-toed Dawn
Leaves Ocean and ascends the Sky.
A curved, much-loved bed carries him
Across the waves, crafted by Hephaestus’ hands
Made of dear gold, with wings, he deeply sleeps
Above the water’s surface, from the land of the Hesperides
To the Ethiopians’ home, where his chariot and horses
Wait until dawn arrives, newly-born,
When Hyperion’s son climbs into his second car…
“I wouldn’t celebrate or even mention a man
For the strength of his feet or his wrestling,
Not even if he had a Cyclopean size and strength
And could conquer the gods’ Thracian Northwind
And not even if he were better looking than Tithonos
And wealthier than Midas and Kinyras,
Not even if he were more royal than the Tantalid Pelops
And had a tongue more persuasive than Adrastus
And possessed fame for everything except rushing courage.
No man proves good in a war
If he cannot endure seeing bloody murder,
And can strike out while standing near the enemy.
This is virtue, this is the best prize among human beings,
The noblest thing for a young man to win.
This is a shared good for the whole state and the people,
When a man stands firm among the front ranks,
Relentless, completely forgetful of shameful retreat,
Offering up his life and enduring heart,
Ready with an encouraging word for the man next to him.
This man proves to be good in war.
Then he quickly turns aside the threatening ranks
Of the enemy soldiers and the battle’s wave is fueled by his passion.
And should he fall among the first ranks, losing his life,
He brings fame to his city, people, and father,
Stabbed through many times around the chest
And embossed shield, straight through his armor.
The young and the old mourn for him alike
And the whole city feels harsh grief from longing,
Yet his grave and children are well known to all
Along with his children’s children and generations to come.
His noble fame will never die, nor his name
But he will be immortal even though under the earth,
Whoever the man is raging Ares slays in his moment of excellence
As he stands fast and struggles for his land and children.
But if he escapes the fate of a sorrowful death,
And claims victory to vouchsafe his boastful spear,
Everyone will honor him, the young and the old alike,
And he will go to Hades, after living life well.
He will be prominent among his people as he ages,
No one will dream of slighting his respect and due:
All the young men give their places at the bench to him,
And yield to him, along with his peers and elders.
May everyone now try to reach the peak
Of that virtue, never giving up in war.
“Kyrnos, this city is pregnant and I am afraid she will bear a man
Meant to correct our evil arrogance.
The citizens are still sane, but the leaders have changed
And have fallen into great evil.
Good people, Kyrnos, have never yet destroyed a city,
But whenever it pleases wicked men to commit outrage,
They corrupt the people and issue legal judgment in favor of the unjust,
For the sake of their own private profit and power.
Don’t expect this city to stay peaceful for very long
Even if it is not at a moment of great peace now,
When these deeds are dear to evil men,
As their profit accrues with public harm.
Civil conflicts and murder of kin comes from this,
And tyrants do too: may this never bring our city pleasure.”
“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.”
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.
“Is the governor positioning himself for a White House run in 2024?”–Politico, June 23, 2022
Excellence and beauty attend few men.
Blessed is the one to whom fate grants both.
Everybody honors him: Gen Y, his peers,
And old boomers all make way for him.
With age he becomes more distinguished
Among his countrymen, and none of them
Wants to disrespect or cost him his due.
“Aristotle doesn’t merely praise Plate in the piece he wrote about him, but he also delivers praise in the elegies he composed for Eudemus, writing as follows:
[missing line of dactylic hexameter]
“Once he came to Kekrops’ famous plain
He reverently built an altar for the sacred friendship
Of a man whom it is not right for the evil to praise
Who alone or first of mortals demonstrated clearly
Through his own life and the practices of his words
That the good person and the happy person are the same.
And now there is no way for anyone to do the same things again.”