WHO, loving life, hath sought
To outrun the appointed span,
Shall be arraigned before my thought
What man is he that yearneth
For length unmeasured of days?
Folly mine eye discerneth
Encompassing all his ways.
O LOVE, thou art victor in fight: thou mak'st all things afraid;
Thou couchest thee softly at night on the cheeks of a maid;
A weary life is that the sailors lead,
To whom no gift from Heaven or Fortune sent
Could offer worthy recompense. Poor souls,
Adventuring traffic far on slender chance,
They save, or gain, or lose all utterly.
Soon will the clear-voiced flute return to you
With no unfitting strain,
But like a lyre with hymn
And song the Gods approve;
For, lo! the hero whom Zeus owns as son,
Fair Salamis, the billow's roar
Wanders around thee yet;
And sailors gaze upon thy shore
Firm in the Ocean set.
They took their stand where the appointed judges
Had cast their lots and ranged the rival cars.
O that 'twere mine to keep
An awful purity,
In words and deeds whose laws on high are set
Through heaven's clear æther spread,
Blessed are those whose life no woe doth taste!
For unto those whose house
The Gods have shaken, nothing fails of curse
Or woe, that creeps to generations far.