“A celebration is the best medicine
For labors completed well, and yet
Songs, those wise daughters of the Muses,
Bewitch our minds when they touch them.
Not even hot water makes the limbs as supple
As praise can when it’s partnered with a lyre.
For the word lives a longer life than deeds,
At least the one the tongue lures from the depths of thought
With the Graces’ good fortune.”
“I am easily convinced to send
A glorifying word to Hiero, one [not outside] the path—
For this is how the roots of good things grow full
And may Zeus, the greatest father, safeguard them
Immoveable in peace.”
“Yet when the maiden [Athena] rescued that dear man [Perseus]
From his labors, she composed a song with every note of the pipes,
So she might recall the resounding wail elicited from *Euryale’s
Gasping cheeks with musical instruments.
The goddess created this, but she made it for mortal men to possess
And she named it the tune of many heads,
The well-famed reminder of the contests that attract people,
The sound that issues through fine bronze and reeds
That grow near to the city of beautiful dancing grounds,
The city of the Graces, in the precinct of Kephisos, trusty audiences for dancers.
If humankind has any happiness at all, it never shows up
Without hard work. But what is fated cannot be escaped–
A god will make it happen, maybe today, but
There will be a time that finds someone completely surprised
And give them one thing, but not yet another.”
She invented an aulos melody and handed it over for humans and named it the “many headed song”. This is because there were many hissing heads of snakes around [Euryale’s] head.
Some people call this many-headed and explain that there were fifty men in the chose that performed the song as an aulete led them. Others claim that the heads are preludes. They claim that an ode is made up of many preludes and that Olympos was the first to invent them”
“The swallow has come, has come,
Bringing us the best weather
The most wonderful time of the year,
White on its stomach and
White on its back–
Why don’t you toss out
From your well-stocked house
A cup of wine,
And a basket of cheese and wheat?
That bird won’t decline
A bit of flatbread either.
Should we leave or take something?
If you’re going to give us something, great!
If not, we won’t leave you alone.
We will steal your door
Or maybe your threshold or
Your wife who is sitting indoors.
She’s small. We’ll carry her easily.
Would you give us something? Could you give us something big?
Open up, open the door to the swallow.
We aren’t old men, but little kids.”
Love, unbeatable in war,
Love, who ravishes wealth,
Who in the soft cheeks
Of girls keeps vigil,
And who roams the seas
And rustic hideaways:
Gods can’t elude you,
Nor can mortal men.
Who admits you goes mad.
You wrench just men’s minds
Into shameful wrongs.
(This family strife between men,
It’s you who stirred it.)
Desire, clear in the eyes
Of a fetching bride, prevails.
Beside the great laws.
“There are many kinds of useful notions in this book,
Against a friend or an enemy, when speaking in court or assembly
Addressing a scoundrel or someone good and noble, for a stranger
Or someone in a rage, for someone drunk, or violent
Or anything bad that happens–this book has a sharp point for them.
It also has wise sayings– whoever heeds them becomes
Better and readier for every situation.
You don’t need to say a lot, just one of these words.
Steer any subject to whichever one of them fits.
Even though I was ready for many things, I used to be blamed
Because I was long winded, and could not give my opinion concisely.
So I listened to this complaint and I composed this craft
So that anyone may say “Epicharmus was a smart dude.
He spoke many clever ideas in short verses and now
He is letting us try to speak briefly as he does too!”
Everyone who learns these things will appear to be wise,
He won’t talk nonsense ever, if he remembers every word.
If someone is annoyed by something in these words,
Not because he has acted wrongly or is in disagreement with them,
Let him know that it is a good misfortune to nurture a broadly-informed mind.”
“Sing of Artemis, Muse, the far-shooter’s sister,
The archer maiden, Apollo’s playmate.
She has her horses drink from the reed-growing Meles,
Then drives her chariot quickly through Smyrna
To vine-growing Klaros, where Silverbow Apollo
Is seated, waiting for the far-shooting Archer.
Greetings to you and all goddesses with my song.
I begin to sing you and with your strength.
Now that I have begun, I turn to a different hymn.”
“I am singing of glorious Artemis with her golden missile,
That reverent maiden, the deer-shooting archer,
The twin sister of Apollo, the god of the golden sword.
She delights in hunting through the shaded mountains
And the peaks shaped by winds, aiming her golden bow
And releasing deadly, sorrowful shots. The mountains
Tremble at her passing; the forests echo terribly
From the cries of the beasts. The earth itself bristles
Along with the fish-filled sea. But with her courageous heart
She takes every turn, bringing murder to the wild creatures.
But when the animal watcher, the archer, is pleased
And has lightened her mind, she packs up her bent bow
And returns to her dear brother’s great home,
Joining Phoebus Apollo in the rich realm of the Delphians,
To help guide the Muses and Graces in their beautiful dance.
That’s where she hangs up her back-curved bow and leaves
Her arrows, putting a gorgeous gown over her skin
And leading the chorus out to sing in immortal voices
A hymn for fine-ankled Leto, how she bore two children
By far the best of the immortals in wisdom and deeds.
Greetings, children of Zeus and fine-haired Leto.
I will keep you in my memory with another song too.”