Biography of Nicarchus
Nicarchus or Nicarch was a Greek poet and writer of the 1st century AD, best known for his epigrams, of which forty-two survive under his name in the Greek Anthology, and his satirical poetry. He was a contemporary of, and influence on, the better-known Latin writer Martial. A large proportion of his epigrams are directed against doctors. Some of his writings have been found at Oxyrhynchus in Egypt.
A fragment of Nicarchus:
The gloom of death is on the raven’s wing,
The song of death is in the raven’s cries:
But when Demophilus begins to sing,
The raven dies.
Stephanus was poor and a gardener, But now having got on well and become rich, He has suddenly turned into Philostephanus,
A Starry Seer
A starry seer's oracular abodes One sought, to know if he should sail for Rhodes, When thus the sage, 'I rede thee, let thy ship
The gloom of death is on the raven's wing, The song of death is in the raven's cries: But when Demophilus begins to sing,
The Old Prostitute
A handsome old woman (Who deny it?) You know she was,
Niconoe was once in her prime, I admit that, But her prime was when Deucalion looked on the vast waters. Of those times we have no knowledge, But of her now we know that she should seek
She that of old spun with Athene wise, NIcarete, Hath burned her looms and webs in sacrifice, Cypris, to thee! 'Begone!' she cries, 'ye starveling works that wasted Our flower in spring,'
No one, Charidemus, Can constantly sleep with his own wife And take heart-felt pleasure in it.
The birds of Stymphalus Vexed not so the Arcadians, As those dead thrushes vexed me With their dry bones,
No one, Charidemus,
Can constantly sleep with his own wife
And take heart-felt pleasure in it.
Our nature is so fond of titillation,
Such a luster after foreign flesh,
That it persists in seeking the illusion
Of a strange case.
translated by William Roger Paton