Greek Anthology: Book 9


This selection from Book 9 of the Greek Anthology contains all the epigrams written before the middle of the first century A.D., as listed in three editions:
(H)     A.S.F.Gow & D.L.Page, "The Greek Anthology: Hellenistic Epigrams"
(Ph)   A.S.F.Gow & D.L.Page, "The Greek Anthology: The Garland of Philip and Some Contemporary Epigrams"
(F)     D.L.Page, "Further Greek Epigrams"
The labels in green are the numbers assigned to the epigrams in one of these editions. The labels in red are their numbers within the Anthology.

Translations of most of the epigrams are already available elsewhere, as indicated by the links. The translations of the remaining epigrams are taken from the edition by W.R.Paton (1916-18), but have been modified to remove some of the archaic language.   Click on G to go to the Greek text of each epigram.

[1] POLYAENUS OF SARDIS   { Ph 1 }   G

A cruel viper struck the nursing udder of a doe which had newly calved as it hung down full of milk. Her fawn sucked the teat contaminated by poison, and from the fatal wound imbibed bitter milk charged with venom ill to cure. Death was transferred from mother to child, and at once by pitiless fate the breast bereft the young one of the gift of life that it owed to the womb.


A viper, the most murderous of noxious beasts, injected her venom into the udder, swollen with milk, of a doe that had just calved, and the kid, sucking its mother's poisoned milk, drank up her death.



[4] CYLLENIUS   { F 1 }   G

I, the wild pear-tree of the thicket, a denizen of the wilderness where the wild beasts feed, once bearing plenty of bastard fruit, have had foreign shoots grafted on me, and flourish now no longer wild, but loaded with a crop that is not my natural one. Gardener, I am deeply grateful for your pains, owing it to you that I now am enrolled in the tribe of noble fruit-trees.

[7] JULIUS POLYAENUS   { Ph 1 }   G

Zeus, who rulest the holy land of Corcyra, though your ears be ever full of the fears of suppliants or the thanks of those whose prayers you have heard, yet hearken to me, too, and grant me by a true promise that this be the end of my exile, and that I may dwell in my native land, my long labours over.

[8] JULIUS POLYAENUS   { Ph 2 }   G

Hope ever makes the period of our days steal away, and the last dawn surprises us with many projects unaccomplished.

[9] JULIUS POLYAENUS   { Ph 3 }   G

Often when I have prayed to you, Zeus, you have granted me the welcome gift of fair weather till the end of my voyage. Give it me on this voyage, too ; save me and bear me to the haven where toil ends. The delight of life is in our home and country, and superfluous cares make life not life but vexation.






The blind beggar supported the lame one on his feet, and gained in return the help of the other's eyes. Thus the two incomplete beings fitted into each other to form one complete being, each supplying what the other lacked.

[13] PLATO THE YOUNGER   { F 1 }   G

A blind man carried a lame man on his back, lending him his feet and borrowing from him his eyes.





[15] Anonymous   { F 4 }   G

Probably on a Picture of Love

You who seek to set fire itself ablaze, who desire to light your lovely lamp at night, take you light here from my soul, for that which is afire within me sends forth fierce flames.



[17] GERMANICUS CAESAR   { F 1 }   G

Once a hare from the mountain height leapt into the sea in her effort to escape from a dog's cruel fangs. But not even thus did she escape her fate ; for at once a sea-dog seized her and bereft her of life. Out of the fire, as the saying is, you fell into the flame. Of a truth Fate reared you to be a meal for a dog either on the land or in the sea.

[18] GERMANICUS CAESAR   { F 2 }   G

On the Same

One dog captured me after another. What is strange in that ? Beasts of the water and beasts of the land have like rage against me. Henceforth, you hares, may the sky be open to your course. But I fear you, Heaven ; you too have a dog among your stars.



[20] Anonymous   { F 61a }   G

On the same as epigram 19

I, Sir, who once gained the crown on the banks of Alpheius, and was twice proclaimed victor by the water of Castalia ; I, who was announced the winner at Nemea, and formerly, as a colt, at Isthmus ; I, who ran swift as the winged winds - see me now, how in my old age I turn the rotating stone driven in mockery of the crowns I won.

[21] Anonymous   { F 61b }   G

I, Pegasus, attach blame to you, my country Thessaly, breeder of horses, for this unmerited end of my days. I, who was led in procession at Pytho and Isthmus ; I, who went to the festival of Nemean Zeus and to Olympia to win the Arcadian olive-twigs, now drag the heavy weight of the round Nisyrian *   mill-stone, grinding fine from the ears the fruit of Demeter.

*   Nisyros, a volcanic island near Cos, famous for its mill-stones.













[28] POMPEIUS (or MARCUS THE YOUNGER)   { Ph 2 }   G

Though I, Mycenae, am but a heap of dust here in the desert, though I am meaner to look at than any chance rock, he who gazes on the famous city of Ilium, whose walls I trod underfoot and emptied all the house of Priam, shall know thence how mighty I was of old. If my old age has used me ill, the testimony of Homer is enough for me.



[30] BASSUS (or ZELOTUS)   { Ph 11 }   G

I am a pine-tree broken by the wind on land. Why do you send me to the sea, a spar shipwrecked before sailing ?

[31] ZELOTUS (or BASSUS)   { F 1 }   G

Why, shipwrights, do you entrust to the sea this pine, which the strong south-wester tore up by the roots from the mountain side ? I shall make no lucky hull at sea, I, a tree which the winds hate. On land I already experienced the ill-fortune of the sea.

[32] Anonymous   { F 58 }   G

I was a newly-built ship on the surf-beaten beach, and had not yet touched the grey waves. But the sea would not be kept waiting for me ; the wild flood rose and carried me away from the firm shore, an unhappy bark indeed . . . to whom the stormy waves were fatal both on land and at sea.

[33] CYLLENIUS   { F 2 }   G

Before I was a ship I perished. What more could I have suffered if I had become familiar with the deep ? Alas, every bark meets its end by the waves !





[36] SECUNDUS   { Ph 1 }   G

I, the ship which had traversed the paths of the limitless ocean, and swum so often through the grey waves; I, whom neither the black east wind overwhelmed nor the fierce swell raised by the winter south-westers drove on shore, am now shipwrecked in the flames, and reproach the faithless land, in sore need now of the waters of my sea.

[37] TULLIUS FLACCUS   { Ph 7 }   G

On a Fountain called Quiet Fount

A. "Draw water from me in silence."   B. "Why ?"   A. "Stop drawing."   B. "Wherefore ?"   A. "Mine is the sweet drink of Quiet."   B. "You are a disagreeable fountain."   A. "Taste me and you will see I am still more disagreeable."   B. "Oh what a bitter stream !"   A. "Oh what a chatterbox !"

[38] Anonymous   { F 80 }   G

If you are a man, stranger, draw water from this fountain ; but if you are effeminate by nature, on no account drink me. I am a male drink, and only please men ; but for those naturally effeminate their own nature is water. *  

*   This seems to be a vindication of the fountain of Salmacis near Halicarnassus, the water of which had the reputation of making men effeminate.

[39] PLATO (or MUSICIUS?)   { F 7 }   G

Cypris to the Muses : "Honour Aphrodite, you maidens, or I will arm Love against you."   And the Muses to Cypris : "Talk that twaddle to Ares. Your brat has no wings to fly to us."

[40] ZOSIMUS OF THASOS   { F 5 }   G

On the Shield *   of one Anaximenes

Not only in combats and in the battle din do I protect the spirit of valiant Anaximenes ; but in the sea, too, when the waves broke up his ship, I was a shield to save him, clinging to me in swimming as if I were a plank. On sea and land alike I am his hope and stay, having saved my bold master from two different deaths.

*   Presumably in this and the following epigrams a shield made of leather or wicker is meant.

[42] JULIUS LEONIDAS   { F 16 }   G

I, Myrtilus, escaped two dangers by the help of one weapon ; the first by fighting bravely with it, the second by swimming with its support, when the north-west wind had sunk my ship. I was saved and now possess a shield proved both in war and on the waves.


The simple covering of my cloak is enough for me ; and I, who feed on the flowers of the Muses, shall never be the slave of the table. I hate witless wealth, the nurse of flatterers, and I will not stand in attendance on one who looks down on me. I know the freedom of scanty fare.


A man finding gold left his halter, but the man who had left the gold and did not find it, hanged himself with the halter he found.

[45] STATYLLIUS FLACCUS   { Ph 9 }   G

One man found the gold and the other lost it. He who found it threw it away, and he who did not find it hanged himself with the dismal halter.



[47] Anonymous   { F 66 }   G

On a Goat that suckled a Wolf

It is not by my own will that I suckle the wolf at my own breast, but the shepherd's folly compels me to do it. Reared by me he will become a beast of prey to attack me. Gratitude cannot change nature.

[48] Anonymous   { F 67 }   G

Through love Zeus became a swan for Leda, a bull for Europa, a satyr for Antiope, and gold for Danae.

[51] PLATO   { F 15 }   G

Time brings everything ; length of years can change names, forms, nature, and fortune.

[52] CARPYLLIDES   { H 2 }   G

A man, angling on the beach with a hook attached to a fine hair line, brought to shore the hairless head of a shipwrecked man. Pitying the bodiless corpse, he dug a little grave with his hands, having no tool, and found there hidden a treasure of gold. Of a truth then righteous men lose not the reward of piety.

[53] NICODEMUS or BASSUS   { F 9 }   G

Hippocrates was the light of mankind ; whole peoples were saved by him, and there was a scarcity of dead in Hades.

[54] MENECRATES   { H 2 }   G

Everyone prays for old age when it is still absent, but finds fault with it when it comes. It is always better while it is still owing to us.


If anyone who has reached old age prays for life, he deserves to go on growing old for many decades.



[57] PAMPHILUS   { H 2 }   G

To the Nightingale { Philomela }

Why, unhappy daughter of Pandion, do you mourn all day long, uttering your twittering note ? Is it that regret is come upon you for your maidenhead, which Thracian Tereus took from you by dreadful force ?





[60] DIODORUS   { Ph 17 }   G

I, this tower on the rock in the sea, am Pharos, *   bearing the same name as the island and serving as a beacon for the harbour.

*   The lighthouse of Alexandria.

[61] Anonymous   { F 65 }   G

The Spartan woman, seeing her son hastening home in flight from the war and stripped of his armour, rushed to meet him, and driving a spear through his liver, uttered over the slain these words full of virile spirit : " Away with you to Hades, alien offspring of Sparta ! Away with you, since you were false to your country and your father ! "

[62] EUENUS OF ASCALON   { Ph 2 }   G

Strangers, the ash of ages has devoured me, holy Ilium, the famous city once renowned for my towered walls, but in Homer I still exist, defended by brazen gates. The spears of the destroying Achaeans shall not again dig me up, but I shall be on the lips of all Greece.





[65] Anonymous   { F 22 }   G

Leafy spring adorns the earth, the stars adorn the heavens, this land adorns Hellas, and these men their country.



[67] Anonymous   { F 57 }   G

The boy was crowning his stepmother's funeral stele, a tall column, thinking that in changing life for death she had changed her character. But it came down on the tomb and killed him. Stepsons, avoid even the tomb of your stepmother.

[68] Anonymous   { F 89 }   G

Stepmothers are always a curse to their step-children, and do not keep them safe even when they love them. Remember Phaedra and Hippolytus.


A stepmother's spite is ever mordant, and not gentle even in love. I know what befell chaste Hippolytus.









[74] Anonymous   { F 48 }   G

I was once the field of Achaemenides and am now Menippus', and I shall continue to pass from one man to another. For Achaemenides once thought he possessed me, and Menippus again thinks he does ; but I belong to no man, only to Fortune.

[75] EUENUS OF ASCALON   { Ph 3 }   G

{The Vine speaks}

Though you eat me to the root, billy-goat, I will yet bear fruit enough to provide a libation for you when you are sacrificed.






This and the two following are Isopsepha

Do not, master, find fault with me, the wild pear-tree, ever loaded with unripe fruit. For the pears which I ripen on my branches are pilfered by another than yourself, but the unripe ones remain hanging round their mother.


Of my own will I let my fruits be plucked, but when they are ripe. Stop throwing hard stones at me. Bacchus too will become angy with you for doing injury to his gift. Bear in mind the fate of Lycurgus.


O prophets who explore the paths of the stars, out on you, you false professors of a futile science ! Folly brought you to the birth, and Rashness was your mother, you poor wretches, who know not even your own disrepute.







[84] ANTIPHANES   { Ph 2 }   G

A shepherd saw the straying hull of a sea-tossed boat carried along shore by the fierce waves. He seized it with his hand, and it dragged its saviour into the deep sea, so bitter was its hatred of all mankind. Thus the shepherd met with the fate of a shipwrecked mariner. Alas ! both the woods and the harbour are put in mourning by that boat.











[90] ALPHEIUS OF MITYLENE   { Ph 1 }   G

To Poseidon

Lord of horses, who rule over the swift ships and the great precipitous rock of Euboea, grant a fair passage as far as the city of Ares {Rome} to your suppliants who loosed their moorings from Syria.







[94] ISIDORUS OF AEGAE   { Ph 5 }   G

Tynnichus once caught an octopus and threw it from the sea on to the land, fearing to be enchained by the creature's tentacles. But it fell on and twined itself round a sleeping hare that, poor thing, had just escaped from the hounds. The captive became captor, and Tynnichus threw the octopus back alive into the sea, taking the hare as its ransom. *  

*   cp. epigram 14.

[95] ALPHEIUS OF MITYLENE   { Ph 7 }   G

A domestic hen, the winter snow-flakes falling thick on her, gathered her chickens safely bedded under her wings till the cold shower from the sky killed her ; for she remained exposed, fighting against the clouds of heaven. Procne and Medea, blush for yourselves in Hades, learning from a hen what mothers ought to be.



[97] ALPHEIUS OF MITYLENE   { Ph 8 }   G

On Homer

We listen still to the lament of Andromache ; still we see Troy laid in ruins from her foundations and the battle-toil of Ajax, and Hector bound to the chariot and dragged under the battlements of the town - all through the verse of Maeonides, the poet whom not one country honours as its own, but all the lands of two continents.

[98] STATYLLIUS FLACCUS   { Ph 5 }   G

Your two Oedipuses and the relentless hate of Electra, and the Sun driven from heaven by the feast of Atreus, and your other writings that picture the many woes of princes in a manner worthy of the chorus of Dionysus, proved you, Sophocles, to be the chief of the company of tragic poets ; for you spoke with the very lips of the heroes.



[100] ALPHEIUS OF MITYLENE   { Ph 2 }   G

To Delos

Holy nurse of Leda's babes, whom Zeus anchored immovably in the Aegean main ! I swear, gracious lady, by your own gods, that I will not call you wretched or follow the verses of Antipater. *   I deem you blessed in that you received Phoebus, and that Artemis, after Olympus, calls no land her fatherland but you.

*   See 9.408.

[101] ALPHEIUS OF MITYLENE   { Ph 9 }   G

Few are the birth-places of the heroes that are still to be seen, and those yet left are not much higher than the soil. So, as I passed you by, did I recognise you, unhappy Mycenae, more waste than any goat-fold. The herds still point you out, and it was an old man who said to me, "Here stood once the city, rich in gold, that the Cyclopes built."

[102] ANTONIUS   { Ph 1 }   G

On the Same

I, once the stronghold of sky-mounting Perseus, I, the nurse of the star *   so cruel to the sons of Ilium, am left deserted now to be a fold for the goat-herds of the wilderness, and at length the spirit of Priam is avenged on me.

*   Of the Atreidae.

[103] MUNDUS MUNATIUS   { Ph 1 }   G

I, Mycenae, the city once so rich in gold, I who received into my walls the house of the Atreidae, sons of Heaven, I who sacked Troy that a god built, I who was the secure royal seat of the Greek demi-gods, lie here, the pasture of sheep and oxen, with naught of my greatness left but the name. Well has Nemesis borne you in mind, Ilium, since now, when Mycenae is no longer to be seen, you exist, and are a city.

[104] ALPHEIUS OF MITYLENE   { Ph 10 }   G

Argos, the talk of Homer, and you holy soil of Hellas, and you stronghold of Perseus once all golden, you are perished, and with you the light of those heroes who once levelled the god-built battlements of Troy. Now Troy is a city more powerful than ever and you are fallen and are pointed out as the stalls of lowing cattle.

[105] Anonymous   { F 60 }   G

I am a pine tree broken by the wind. Why make a ship of me who tasted on land the ship-wrecking gales ?


I am a ship that, after I had traversed so many leagues of sea, the fire burnt on the land that had stripped herself of her pine-trees to build me. I, whom the sea spared, perished on the shore. I found her who bore me more faithless than the sea. *  

*   For imitations of this see epigrams 34, 36 & 398.



[108] Anonymous   { Ph 3 }   G

Said Zeus to Love : " I will take away all your darts." Said the winged boy : " Thunder at me if you dare and I will make a swan of you again."

[109] JULIUS DIOCLES   { Ph 3 }   G

I know not whether to call you a shield, you, the faithful ally with whom I armed myself against many foes, or rather my little sea boat, since you supported me swimming from the doomed ship to the shore. In war I escaped the wrath of Ares, and on the sea that of Nereus, and in each case you were my defence.

[110] ALPHEIUS OF MITYLENE   { Ph 4 }   G

I crave not for deep-soiled fields nor wealth of gold such as was Gyges'. *   I love a self-sufficient life, Macrinus. The saying "nothing in excess" pleases me exceedingly.

*   King of Lydia.





[113] PARMENION   { Ph 8 }   G

The bugs fed on me with gusto till they were disgusted, but I myself laboured till I was disgusted, dislodging the bugs. *  

*   The play on words cannot be reproduced.

[114] PARMENION   { Ph 9 }   G

A child was peeping down from the very edge of a high tiled roof (Death has no fears for little children), when its mother from behind turned away its attention by showing it her breast. Thus one fount of milk twice bestowed life on her child.

[117] STATYLLIUS FLACCUS   { Ph 6 }   G

When Pyrrhus on his father's high-piled tomb celebrated in his honour the mournful wedding of Polyxena, thus did Cissean Hecabe *  bewail the murder of her children, tearing the hair from her tear-worn head : "Once you dragged dead Hector tied to your chariot wheels, and now you are dead you accept the blood of Polyxena. Achilles, why is your wrath so sore against the fruit of my womb ? Not even in death are you gentle to my children."

*   According to some writers, Hecabe was the daughter of Cisseus.

[122] EUENUS (?)   { Ph 5 }   G

To a Swallow

Honey-nurtured child of Athens, is it a prattling cicada that your prattling self has caught and carries for a feast to your winged brood ? Do you, the chatterer, prey on the chatterer ; you, the winged, on the winged ; you, the guest of summer, on the guest of summer ? Will you not drop it at once ; it is neither meet nor just that singers should perish by mouths skilled in song.



A she-goat rushing to browse on a wild pear recovered her sight from the tree, and lo ! was no longer blind in one eye. For the sharp thorn pricked the one eye. See how a tree benefited more than the surgeon's skill. *  

*   We are told by Aelian that goats when suffering from dimness of sight caused by suffusion, themselves prick the eye with a thorn.

[130] Anonymous   { F 64 }   G

{ The Olive-tree speaks }

I am the plant of Pallas. Why do you clasp me, you branches of Bacchus ? Away with the clusters ! I am a maiden and drink no wine.

[131] Anonymous   { F 59 }   G

I was a sturdy pine on the mountain ridge, and the rainy south wind tore me up by the roots. Then out of me was built a ship to fight again with the winds. O men, you never flinch from anything.


{to the Emperor Hadrian}

The half of me is dead, and starvation is subduing the other half. Save, Sire, a musical semitone of me. *  

{The Emperor's Reply thereto}

You wrong both Pluto and the Sun by looking still on the latter and failing to go to the former.

*   i.e. half at least of my learned self.

[142] Anonymous   { F 79 }   G

We worship horned Pan, the walker on the crags, the leader of the Nymphs, who dwells in this house of rock, praying him to look with favour on all us who came to this constant fountain and quenched our thirst.





[145] Anonymous   { F 41 }   G

Diogenes the cynic, on his arrival in Hades, after his wise old age was finished, laughed when he saw Croesus. Spreading his cloak on the ground near the king, who once drew great store of gold from the river {Pactolus}, he said : " Now, too, I take up more room than you ; for all I had I have brought with me, but you, Croesus, have nothing."

[147] ANTAGORAS OF RHODES   { H 2 }   G

Come, O come, you initiated, to the temple of Demeter, fearing not the winter floods. So safe a bridge for you hath Xenocles, the son of Xeinis, thrown across this broad river. *  

*   The bridge was over the Cephisus on the road to Eleusis. Xenocles' services in building it are mentioned in an inscription.









[157] Anonymous   { F 85 }   G

Who said Love was a god ? We see that no work of the gods is evil, but he smiles at the blood of men. Does he not bear in his hand a sword swift to slay ? Look at the incredible trophies of this deed of blood prompted by a god. The mother, with her child, lies slain, and on their bodies the man stoned by sentence of the law. This that we see is not the work of Hades or of Ares, but the work of Love. This is how the boy plays. *  

*   Jealousy would appear to have been the motive of the crime.

[158] Anonymous   { F 56 }   G

Three girls once drew lots for fun, who first should go to Hades. Thrice they threw the die, and the cast of all fell on one. She made mockery of the lot, which nevertheless was her true destiny. For, unhappy girl, she slipped and fell from the house-top afterwards, as none could have foreseen, and went to Hades even as the lot had lighted on her. A lot tells no falsehood when it is an evil one ; but as for better chance neither the prayers of mortals nor their hands can attain it.

[159] Anonymous   { F 62 }   G

One, seeing at the cross-roads the skull of a dead man, wept not at the presentation of the fate common to all men, but stooping, picked up in his right hand a stone and threw it at the skull. The stone, a dumb thing in appearance, yet breathed vengeance ; for, hitting the bone, it bounded off and blinded the thrower, robbing him of his sweet sight. Until his death he was punished, and wept for his foolish excellence of aim.



[162] Anonymous   { F 63 }   G

On a Pen

1 was a reed, a useless plant, bearing neither figs, nor apples, nor grapes ; but a man initiated me into the mysteries of Helicon, fashioning thin lips for me and excavating in me a narrow channel. Ever since, when I sip black liquor, I become inspired, and utter every variety of words with this dumb mouth of mine.

[163] Anonymous   { F 88 }   G

Through the hail of spears from the flames of Troy the hero Aeneas bore off his father, a holy burden for a son, calling to the Argives : "Hands off! The old man is no great gain in war, but a great gain to his bearer."





[184] Anonymous   { F 36a }   G

Pindar, holy mouth of the Muses, and you, Bacchylides, garrulous Siren, and you, Aeolian graces of Sappho ; pen of Anacreon, and you, Stesichorus, who in your works didst draw off Homer's stream ; honeyed page of Simonides, and you, Ibycus, who didst cull the sweet bloom of Persuasion and of the love of lads ; sword of Alcaeus, that often shed the blood of tyrants, defending his country's laws, and you nightingales of Alcman, singing ever of maidens ; look kindly on me, you authors and finishers of all lyric song.

[185] Anonymous   { F 32 }   G

These be the verses and sonorous iambics of Archilochus, the venom of wrath and terrible invective.



[187] Anonymous   { F 42 }   G

The bees themselves, culling the varied flowers of the Muses, bore off the honey to your lips ; the Graces themselves bestowed their gift on you, Menander, endowing your dramas with fluent felicity. You live for ever, and Athens from you derives glory that reaches to the clouds of heaven.

[189] Anonymous   { F 33 }   G

Go, you ladies of Lesbos, whirling as you foot it delicately, to the splendid sanctuary of bull-faced Hera, there to dance a lovely measure to the goddess ; and for you Sappho, holding her golden lyre, shall strike up the tune. You are blessed, indeed, in that dance's delight ; verily you shall think that you listen to the sweet singing of Calliope herself.

[190] Anonymous   { F 38 }   G

On Erinna's poem "The Spindle"

This is the Lesbian honeycomb of Erinna, and though it be small, it is all infused with honey by the Muses. Her three hundred lines are equal to Homer, though she was but a child of nineteen years. Either plying her spindle in fear of her mother, or at the loom, she stood occupied in the service of the Muses. As much as Sappho excels Erinna in lyrics, so much does Erinna excel Sappho in hexameters.


The bucolic poems were once scattered, but are now all in one fold, in one flock.

[213] Anonymous   { F 44 }   G

On Nicander

Colophon, too, is conspicuous among cities, for she nursed two sons of supreme wisdom, first Homer and afterwards Nicander, both dear to the heavenly Muses.



[216] HONESTUS OF CORINTH   { Ph 3 }   G

{ cp. Nos. 250, 253 }

You will cite the holy marriage of Harmonia, but that of Oedipus was unlawful. You will tell me of Antigone's piety, but her brothers were most wicked. Ino was made immortal, but Athamas was ill-fated. The lyre built the walls by its music, but the strains of the flute were fatal to them. *   So did Heaven compound the destiny of Thebes, mixing good and evil in equal portions.

*   Thebes is said to have been destroyed by Alexander to the accompaniment of the flute-player Ismenias.

[217] MUCIUS SCAEVOLA   { Ph 1 }   G

O goats, why, deserting the thyme and spurge and all the green pasture that is yours, do you start leaping round and round, wantonly butting at each other, prancing round shepherd Pan, the denizen of the forest? Give over that boxing, or the crook you detest may find its way to you from the goat-herd's hand.

[218] AEMILIANUS OF NICAEA   { Ph 2 }   G

Ah ! would that the waves of the wintry sea had engulfed me, wretched ship that I am, my load of living men now changed for one of corpses. I am ashamed of being saved. What does it profit me to come to harbour with no men in me to tie my hawsers ? Call me the dismal hull of Cocytus. I brought death to men - death, and they are shipwrecked inside the harbour. *  

*   How the whole crew of the ship had perished we are not told.

[219] DIODORUS OF SARDIS   { Ph 1 }   G

As, in days of old, Neoptolemus, the son of Achilles, sailed to Troy from the goat-pastures of Scyros, so among the sons of Aeneas doth their leader Nero *   return to the city of Remus, entering from the sea swift-flowing Tiber, a youth with the first down on his cheeks. The other's force was in his spear alone ; this youth is strong both in battle and in the schools.

*   Probably the son of Germanicus.

[220] THALLUS OF MILETUS   { Ph 5 }   G

See how the green plane-tree hides the mysteries of the lovers, canopying them with its holy foliage, and about its branches hang the clusters of the sweet vine, the season's delight. So, plane tree, may you ever flourish, and may your green foliage ever hide the comradeship of Aphrodite.









[225] HONESTUS   { Ph 4 }   G

Asopis fount and Pegasis are sister springs, the one a river-god's *   gift, the other a horse's, both gushing forth at a blow of the foot. The horse cut the veins of Helicon, the river those of Acrocorinth. How equally happy the heel's aim in each case !

*   Asopus. Pegasis is Castalia, cp. No. 230. For this origin of springs, cp. Theocr. Id. vii. 5.

[226] ZONAS OF SARDIS   { Ph 6 }   G

Go off, you tawny hive-bees, to feed on . . . or the crinkled leaves of the thyme, or the petals of the poppy, or the sun-dried berries of the vine, or violets, or the down that covers the apple. Take a pick at all, and mould your waxen vessels so that Pan, the saviour of the bees and keeper of the hives, may have a taste himself, and the beekeeper, smoking you out with his skilled hand, may leave a little portion for you also.







[230] HONESTUS   { Ph 5 }   G

You were sore tired by the ascent of great Helicon, but drank your fill of the sweet waters of the spring of Pegasus. Even so the labour of study is up-hill, but if you attain the summit you shall quaff the pleasant gift of the Muses.





[233] ERYCIUS   { Ph 9 }   G

As you were cutting the dry roots of old trees, unhappy Mindon, a spider nesting there attacked you from beneath and bit your left foot. The venom, spreading, devoured with black putrefaction the fresh flesh of your heel, and hence your sturdy leg was cut off at the knee, and a staff cut from a tall wild olive-tree supports you now on one leg.





[236] BASSUS LOLLIUS   { Ph 6 }   G

The inviolable oath of the Fates decreed that final sacrifice of Priam slaughtered on the Phrygian altar. But your holy fleet, Aeneas, is already safe in an Italian harbour, the prelude of your heavenly home. It was for the best that the towers of Troy fell ; for hence in arms arose the city that is queen of the world.

[237] ERYCIUS   { Ph 2 }   G

A. "Herdsman, tell me by Pan whose is this colossal statue of beech-wood to which you are pouring a libation of milk."   B. "The Tirynthian's *   who wrestled with the lion. Do you not see his bow, simpleton, and his club of wild olive ? All hail to you, calf-devouring Heracles, and guard this fold, that, instead of these few, my cattle may be ten thousand."

*   Heracles.















[245] ANTIPHANES   { Ph 3 }   G

By the unhappy marriage-bed of Petale at her bitter bridal stood Hades, not Hymen. For, as she fled alone through the darkness, dreading the first taste of the yoke of Cypris - a terror common to all maidens - the cruel watch-dogs killed her. We had hoped to see her a wife and suddenly we could hardly find her corpse.






If Dionysus had come revelling with the Maenads and Satyrs to holy Olympus, looking just as Pylades the great artist played him in dance, according to the true canons of the servants of the tragic Muse, Hera, the consort of Zeus, would have ceased to be jealous, and exclaimed : " Semele, you pretended that Bacchus was your son ; it was I who bore him."

[249] MACCIUS   { Ph 9 }   G

I am Pan; and established here at the top of the hill I keep watch over this leafy, green, climbing vine. If you desire my ripe fruit, traveller, I grudge it not, if it is to gratify your belly ; but if you lay your hand on me for the sake of robbery only, you shalt straightway feel on your head the weight of this knobbed staff.

[250] HONESTUS   { Ph 6 }   G

{ cp. Nos. 216, 253 }

I, Thebes, rose at the sound of the lyre, and sank in ruins at that of the flute. Alas for the Muse that was adverse to harmony ! They now lie deaf, the remains of my towers, once charmed by the lyre, the stones that took their places of their own accord in the muse-built walls, a gift that cost you, Amphion, no labour ; for with your seven-stringed lyre you built your seven-gated city.

[251] EUENUS   { Ph 1 }   G

Page-eater, the Muses' bitterest foe, lurking destroyer, ever feeding on your thefts from learning, why, black bookworm, dos you lie concealed among the sacred utterances, producing the image of envy ? Away from the Muses, far away ! Convey not even by the sight of you the suspicion of how they must suffer from ill-will.









[256] ANTIPHANES   { Ph 4 }   G

I thought that half of me was still alive, and that half produced one single apple on the highest branch. But the brute that ravages fruit-trees, the hairy backed caterpillar, envied me even the one, and ate it up. Envy's eyes are set on great wealth, but the creature who lays waste a little substance I must call worse even than Envy's self.




I who once gushed with abundance of sweet water, have now lost my nymphs *   even to the last drop. For the murderer washed his bloody hands in my water, and tainted it with the stain. Ever since the maidens have retired from the sunlight, exclaiming, " We nymphs mix with Bacchus alone, not with Ares."

*   My water.



[260] SECUNDUS OF TARENTUM   { Ph 2 }   G

I, Lais, who was once the love-dart that smote all, am Lais no longer, but a witness to all of the Nemesis of years. No, by Cypris ! - and what is Cypris to me now but an oath ? - Lais is no longer recognisable to Lais herself.


I, the vine who once was young and clothed in leafy shoots, I who bore bunches of swelling grapes, am now as old as you see. Look how Time overcomes us ! Even the vine's clusters know the wrinkles of old age.



























[275] MACEDONIUS   { Ph 2 }   G

Codrus killed the boar on land, and the swift deer he took in the blue waves of the sea. Were there beasts with wings too, Artemis would not have seen him empty-handed even in the air.







[279] BASSUS   { Ph 7 }   G

When, for the second time, *   Hades received from the bark of Lethe three hundred dead, all slain in war, he said : " The company is Spartan ; see how all their wounds are in front again, and war dwells in their breasts alone. Now, people of unvanquished Ares, hunger no more for battle, but rest in my sleep."

*   The first time was the battle of Thyreae.

















[288] GEMINUS   { Ph 2 }   G

I, this stone, heavy to the Athenians, am dedicated to Ares as a sign of the valour of Philip. Here stand I to insult Marathon and the deeds of sea-girt Salamis, which bow before the Macedonian spear. Swear by the dead now, Demosthenes, but I shall be heavy to living and dead alike. *  

*   Supposed to be on a trophy erected by Philip II to celebrate his victories over the Athenians. No such trophy ever existed. The reference is to Dem. De Cor. 208.

[289] BASSUS   { Ph 8 }   G

O rocks of Caphereus, fatal to ships, which destroyed the fleet of the Greeks on their home-coming from Troy, then when the lying beacon sent forth a flame darker than the night of hell, and every keel ran blindly on the sunken reefs, you were another Troy to Greece and more deadly than the ten years' war. Troy indeed they sacked, but Caphereus was invincible. Nauplius, then did Hellas weep tears which were a joy to you. *  

*   Nauplius, to revenge the death of his son Palamedes, lured the Greek navy by a false beacon on to the rocks of Caphereus in Euboea.





[292] HONESTUS   { Ph 7 }   G

Aristiŏn was burning the corpse of one son when she heard the other was shipwrecked. A double grief consumed a single heart. Alas ! Fate divided this mother in two, since she gave one child to fire and the other to cruel water.















[300] ADDAEUS   { Ph 7 }   G

Valiant Peucestes encountered on horseback the bull as it issued from the dreadful vale of Doberus. Like a mountain it rushed at him, but with his Paeonian spear he pierced its tender temples, and having despoiled its head of the pair of horns, ever as he quaffs the wine from them boasts of his enemy's death.

[301] SECUNDUS   { Ph 3 }   G

Why do you drive me, the slow-footed braying ass, round and round with the threshing horses? Is it not enough that, driven in a circle and blindfolded, I am forced to turn the heavy millstone ? But I must compete with horses too! Is the next task in store for me to plough the twisted earth with my neck's strength ?



[303] ADDAEUS   { Ph 8 }   G

To little Calathina, in labour with her puppies, Leto's daughter gave an easy delivery. Artemis hears not only the prayers of women, but knows how to save also the dogs, her companions in the chase.

[304] PARMENION   { Ph 10 }   G

On the Battle of Thermopylae

Three hundred valiant Spartan spears resisted the man who, transforming the paths of land and ocean, sailed over the dry land and marched on the sea, Shame on you, mountains and seas !















[312] ZONAS OF SARDIS   { Ph 7 }   G

Refrain, sir, from cutting the oak, the mother of acorns ; refrain, and lay low the old stone-pine, or the sea-pine, or this paliurus with many stems, or the holly-oak, or the dry arbutus. Only keep your axe far from the oak, for our grannies tell us that oaks were the first mothers. *  

*   Referring to the legend that men were sprung from oaks or rocks, cp. Hom. Od. xix.163.

epigrams 313-827

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