Habet et cuiusque hominis aetas suam vesperam, quae simul atque advenit, iuventae gratia vertitur in taedium. ita senex quidam apud Alexidem: ἤδη γὰρ ὁ βίος οὑμὸς ἑσπέραν ἄγει [fr. 230 K-A], id est: mea quippe seram vita ducit vesperam. sub occasum autem solis incumbunt umbrae, unde Euripides: τί δ’ ἄλλο; φωνὴ καὶ σκιὰ γέρων ἀνήρ [fr. 509 N]. quid aliud atque vox et umbra vir senex?
(Erasmus, Adagia 2215)
And every man’s life has its evening, at whose onset the graces of youth change into weariness. There is an old man in Alexis, who says ‘For now the evening of my life draws on,’ and at the setting of the sun the shadows gather. Hence, as Euripides has it, ‘Old age: a voice, a shadow, and no more.’ (tr. Roger Aubrey Baskerville Mynors)
Ἀλλὰ γὰρ νόστου πρόφασις γλυκεροῦ
κώλυεν μεῖναι. φάτο δ’ Εὐρύπυλος Γαιαόχου παῖς ἀφθίτου Ἐννοσίδα
ἔμμεναι· γίνωσκε δ’ ἐπειγομένους· ἂν δ’ εὐθὺς ἁρπάξαις ἀρούρας
δεξιτερᾷ προτυχὸν ξένιον μάστευσε δοῦναι,
οὐδ’ ἀπίθησέ ἱν, ἀλλ’ ἥρως ἐπ’ ἀκταῖσιν θορών,
χειρί οἱ χεῖρ’ ἀντερείσαις δέξατο βώλακα δαιμονίαν.
πεύθομαι δ’ αὐτὰν κατακλυσθεῖσαν ἐκ δούρατος
ἐναλίαν βᾶμεν σὺν ἅλμᾳ
ἑσπέρας ὑγρῷ πελάγει σπομέναν. ἦ μάν νιν ὤτρυνον θαμά
λυσιπόνοις θεραπόντεσσιν φυλάξαι· τῶν δ’ ἐλάθοντο φρένες·
καί νυν ἐν τᾷδ’ ἄφθιτον νάσῳ κέχυται Λιβύας
εὐρυχόρου σπέρμα πρὶν ὥρας.
(Pindarus, Pyth. 4.32-43)
We spoke of the sweet necessity of return that stayed
our lingering. He named himself Eurypylos, son of the earthshaker immortal, Poseidon;
he understood our haste, but, tearing a clod from the soil,
proffered it in his right hand, a token of friendship.
The hero Euphamos disobeyed him not, but, vaulting ashore,
set hand in hand and accepted the magic piece of earth.
They tell me that, washed from the deck,
it has gone with the current,
at nightfall down the salt sea’s bending track. Indeed, over and again I charged
the grooms, easing their masters, to guard it well. But their hearts forgot.
And now the seed imperishable of wide
Libya is washed before its time to this island.
(tr. Richmond Lattimore)
“O dea, si prima repetens ab origine pergam,
et vacet annalis nostrorum audire laborum,
ante diem clauso componet Vesper Olympo.
nos Troia antiqua, si vestras forte per auris
Troiae nomen iit, diversa per aequora vectos
forte sua Libycis tempestas appulit oris.
sum pius Aeneas, raptos qui ex hoste Penatis
classe veho mecum, fama super aethera notus;
Italiam quaero patriam, et genus ab Iove summo.
bis denis Phrygium conscendi navibus aequor,
matre dea monstrante viam, data fata secutus;
vix septem, convulsae undis Euroque, supersunt;
ipse ignotus, egens, Libyae deserta peragro,
Europa atque Asia pulsus.”
(Vergil, Aen. 1.372-385)
“Goddess, if I’d retrace our story to its start,
if you had time to hear the saga of our ordeals,
before I finished the Evening Star would close
the gates of Olympus, put the day to sleep . . .
From old Troy we come—Troy it’s called, perhaps
you’ve heard the name—sailing over the world’s seas
until, by chance, some whim of the winds, some tempest
drove us onto Libyan shores. I am Aeneas, duty-bound.
I carry aboard my ships the gods of house and home
we seized from enemy hands. My fame goes past the skies.
I seek my homeland—Italy—born as I am from highest Jove.
I launched out on the Phrygian sea with twenty ships,
my goddess mother marking the way, and followed hard
on the course the Fates had charted. A mere seven,
battered by wind and wave, survived the worst.
I myself am a stranger, utterly at a loss,
trekking over this wild Libyan wasteland,
forced from Europe, Asia too, an exile—”
(tr. Robert Fagles)
Ἔσπερε πάντα φέρων ὄσα φαίνολις ἐσκέδασ’ αὔως
†φέρεις ὄϊν, φέρεις† αἶγα, φέρεις ἄπυ μάτερι παῖδα.
(Sappho, fr. 104 Campbell)
Hesperus, bringing everything that shining Dawn scattered, you bring the sheep, you bring the goat, you bring back the child to its mother.
(tr. Gillian Spraggs)
Tum vero universa contio accensa est, et a corporis custodibus initium factum, clamantibus discerpendum esse parricidam manibus eorum. id quidem Philotas, qui graviora supplicia metueret, haud sane iniquo animo audiebat; at rex in contionem reversus, sive ut in custodia quoque torqueret, sive ut diligentius cuncta cognosceret, concilium in posterum diem distulit et, quamquam in vesperam inclinabat dies, tamen amicos convocari iubet. et ceteris quidem placebat, Macedonum more obrui saxis, Hephaestio autem et Craterus et Coenus tormentis veritatem exprimendam esse dixerunt; et illi quoque qui aliud suaserant in horum sententiam transeunt.
(Quintus Curtius, Historiae Alexandri Magni 6.11.8-10)
Then truly the whole assembly was inflamed, and a beginning was made by the body-guards, who shouted that the traitor ought to be torn to pieces by their own hands. This indeed Philotas, who feared severer tortures, heard by no means reluctantly; but the king, having returned to the assembly, either that he might also torture him in prison, or that he might investigate the whole matter more carefully, adjourned the council to the following day, and although the time was approaching evening, he nevertheless ordered his friends to be called together. And the rest for their part recommended that Philotas be stoned to death, according to the ancient custom of the Macedonians, but Hephaestion and Craterus and Coenus said that the truth ought to be forced from him by torments; and those also who had recommended the other course went over to their opinion. (tr. John C. Rolfe)
Ἀχθείσης δὲ παιδίσκης πρὸς αὐτὸν* ὡς συναναπαυσομένης περὶ ἑσπέραν βαθεῖαν, ἠρώτησεν ὅ τι τηνικαῦτα; τῆς δὲ εἰπούσης, “περιέμενον γὰρ τὸν ἄνδρα κατακλῖναι,” πικρῶς ἐπετίμησε τοῖς παισὶν ὡς μικροῦ δι’ αὐτοὺς μοιχὸς γενόμενος.
* sc. Ἀλέξανδρον
(Plutarch, Apophthegmata Basileōn kai Stratēgōn 179e)
A girl was brought to him late in the evening with the intent that she should spend the night with him, and he asked her, “Why at this time?” She replied, “I had to wait to get my husband to go to bed”; whereupon Alexander bitterly rebuked his servants, since, owing to them, he had so narrowly escaped becoming an adulterer. (tr. Frank Cole Babbitt)
Ferimur per devia vastae
urbis et ingentem nocturnae caedis acervum
passim, ut quosque sacris crudelis vespera lucis
straverat, occulta speculamur nube latentes.
hic impressa toris ora exstantesque reclusis
pectoribus capulos magnarum et fragmina trunca
hastarum et ferro laceras per corpora vestes,
crateras pronos epulasque in caede natantes
cernere erat, iugulisque modo torrentis apertis
sanguine commixto redeuntem in pocula Bacchum.
hic iuvenum manus et nullis violabilis armis
turba senes, positique patrum super ora gementum
semineces pueri trepidas in limine vitae
(Statius, Theb. 5.248-261)
We take our way through byways of the deserted city, hiding in secret darkness, descrying everywhere a huge pile of the night’s massacre, as the cruel evening had laid them low in the sacred groves. Here could be seen faces pressed down on couches, sword hilts standing out from opened breasts, broken fragments of large spears and knife-torn clothes among the bodies, mixing bowls overturned, victuals swimming in gore, and Bacchus mixed with blood returning in torrents from severed throats into the wine cups. Here is a company of young men, here a gathering whom no weapons should violate, the old; and half-dead boys, placed on the faces of their moaning parents, sob out their trembling spirits on the threshold of life. (tr. David Roy Shackleton-Bailey)