Gillian Spraggs
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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
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© Gillian Spraggs, 2005, 2006
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