Fragment 58 (a)
The Muses, scattering violets from their skirts,
bring lovely gifts: children, be quick to seize them;
reach for the high-tuned lyre,
companion to our songs.
But as for me:
my skin, once smooth, old age
has now assaulted, and my hair from black
has turned to white.
My spirit burdens me;
my knees that once
were nimble in the dance as little fawns
no longer bear me up.
For all these things I sigh and sigh:
but what am I to do?
there is no power
can make a human cease to age.
For proof: the legend runs
how once, moved by desire, Dawn of the rosy arms
swept up Tithonus and transported him
into the farthest regions of the earth.
Handsome he was, and young,
but all the same,
as time went by, grey age caught up with him:
and he who had for wife a Deathless One.
translated by Gillian Spraggs
Source: augmentation and reconstruction of Fragment 58 as published by M. L. West
in Times Literary Supplement No. 5334, June 24 2005
© Gillian Spraggs, 2005, 2006
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last modified 24 November, 2006