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View Diary: Books That Changed My Life--What Is Your Favorite Poem About Death? (94 comments)

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  •  Callimachus: “Heraclitus”, (8+ / 0-)
    They told me, Heraclitus, they told me you were dead;
    They brought me bitter news to hear and bitter tears to shed;
    I wept, as I remembered, how often you and I
    Had tired the sun with talking, and sent him down the sky.

    And now that thou art lying, my dear old Carian guest,
    A handful of grey ashes, long, long ago at rest,
    Still are thy pleasant voices, thy nightingales, awake;
    For Death, he taketh all away, but them he cannot take.

    The above is a translation by William Johnson Cory, (1823-92) of Callimachus XXXIV G-P (A.P. 7.80):

    Εἰπέ τις, Ἡράκλειτε, τεὸν μόρον ἐς δέ με δάκρυ
        ἤγαγεν ἐμνήσθην δ᾿ ὁσσάκις ἀμφότεροι
    ἠέλιον λέσχῃ κατεδύσαμεν. ἀλλὰ σὺ μέν που,
        ξεῖν᾿ Ἁλικαρνησεῦ, τετράπαλαι σποδιή,
    αἱ δὲ τεαὶ ζώουσιν ἀηδόνες, ᾗσιν ὁ πάντων
        ἁρπακτὴς Ἀίδης οὐκ ἐπὶ χεῖρα βαλεῖ.

    A literal translation: "Someone told me of your death, Heraclitus, and it moved me to tears, when I remembered how often the sun set on our talking. And you, my Halicarnassian friend, lie somewhere, gone long long ago to dust; but they live, your Nightingales, on which Hades who siezes all shall not lay his hand."

    Dick Cheney 2/14/10: "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . UID: 8519

    by Bob Love on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 06:39:13 AM PDT

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