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PALLADAS


Enjoy the Present

Drink and be merry. What the morrow brings

No mortal knoweth: wherefore toil or run?

Spend while thou mayst, eat, fix on present things

Thy hopes and wishes: life and death are one.

One moment grasp life's goods; to thee they fall:

Dead, thou hast nothing, and another all.

Translation: Goldwin SMITH


Life is a Theatre

This life a theatre we well may call,

Where every actor must perform with art,

Or laugh it through, and make a farce of all,

Or learn to bear with grace his tragic part.

Translation: Robert BLAND


Think of your conception, you'll soon forget

Think of your conception, you'll soon forget

what Plato puffs you up with, all that

"immortality" and "divine life" stuff.

"Man, why dost thou think of Heaven? Nay

consider thine origins in common clay"

is one way of putting it, but not near blunt enough.

Think of your father, sweating, drooling, drunk,

you, his spark of lust, his spurt of spunk.

Translation: Tony HARRISON


Contentment in Old Age

The women mock me for being old,

Bidding me look at the wreck of my years in the mirror.

But I, as I approach the end of my life,

Care not whether I have white hair or black,

And with sweet-scented ointments

And crowns of lovely flowers and wine

I make heavy care to cease.


THE VOYAGE OF LIFE

Life is a dangerous voyage;

for tempest-tossed in it we often strike rock

more pitiably than shipwrecked men;

and having Chance as pilot of life,

we sail doubtfully as on the sea,

some on a fair voyage, and others contrariwise;

yet all alike we put into the one anchorage under earth.


THE BREATH OF LIFE

Breathing thin air into our nostrils,

we live and look on the torch of the sun,

all we who live what is called life; and are as organs,

receiving our spirits from quickening airs.

If one then chokes that little breath with his hand,

he robs us of life, and brings us down to Hades.

Thus being nothing we wax high in hardihood,

feeding on air from a little breath.


LACRIMAE RERUM

Weeping I was born and having wept I die,

and I found all my living amid many tears.

O tearful, weak, pitiable race of men,

dragged under earth and mouldering away!