Cur metuis mortem, cui nascimur? effuge longe,
quo Parthus, quo Medus Arabsque; ubi barbarus ales
nascitur, ac nobis iteratus fingitur orbis;
illic, nate, late: ibi te tua fata sequentur.
perpetuum nihil est, nihil est sine morte creatum:
lux rapitur et nox oritur, moriuntur et anni;
non est terra loco, quo res generaverat ante.
ipse pater mundi fertur tumulatus abisse
et fratris Stygii regnum mutatus obisse;
Bacchum fama refert Titanum ex arte perisse,
perque vadum Lethes Cererem Veneremque subisse.
cur ego de nato doleam, quem fata reposcunt?
cur ego non plangam, sicut planxere priores?
amisit natum Diomede, carpsit Agaue;
perdidit Althaea gnatum, dea perdidit Ino;
flevit Ityn Progne, dum colligit ilia cruda.
nam quaecumque tegit caeli vis vel vagus aër
labuntur, cedunt, moriuntur, contumulantur.
(Alcestis Barcinonensis 53-70)
Why are you afraid of death for which we all are born? Escape to the end of the world—there where the Parthian or Mede or Arab lives; there where the strange bird phoenix is born, so that mankind may imagine the birth of a new world-era. Go, son, and hide there: and there your fate will reach you! Nothing lasts forever, nothing is born free from death. Daylight wanes, and night takes its place; the seasons die, and even the (aging) Earth is no longer the same as she was when creating all things. The Father of the universe himself, they say, was buried and gone: he changed his shape and went down to visit the infernal realm of his brother. Bacchus perished—so the story goes—through the guile of the Titans, and both Ceres and Venus crossed the stream of Lethe. Why should I grieve for a son who is claimed by Destiny? Why should I be exempt from mourning when other mothers mourned in the past? Why, Diomede lost her son, and Agave tore hers asunder. Althaea killed her son, and so did the goddess Ino. Procne too bewailed Itys while collecting his bleeding entrails. For, whatever lives under the heavenly vault and the roaming wind perishes, passes away, dies, and is buried for good. (tr. Miroslav Marcovich)