Gēras

William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Le guêpier, 1892
William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Le guêpier (1892)

Τίς δὲ βίος, τί δὲ τερπνὸν ἄτερ χρυσέης Ἀφροδίτης;
τεθναίην, ὅτε μοι μηκέτι ταῦτα μέλοι,
κρυπταδίη φιλότης καὶ μείλιχα δῶρα καὶ εὐνή,
οἷ’ ἥβης ἄνθεα γίγνεται ἁρπαλέα
ἀνδράσιν ἠδὲ γυναιξίν· ἐπεὶ δ’ ὀδυνηρὸν ἐπέλθῃ
γῆρας, ὅ τ’ αἰσχρὸν ὁμῶς καὶ κακὸν ἄνδρα τιθεῖ,
αἰεί μιν φρένας ἀμφὶ κακαὶ τείρουσι μέριμναι,
οὐδ’ αὐγὰς προσορέων τέρπεται ἠελίου,
ἀλλ’ ἐχθρὸς μὲν παισίν, ἀτίμαστος δὲ γυναιξίν·
οὕτως ἀργαλέον γῆρας ἔθηκε θεός.
(Mimnermus, fr. 1)

What’s life, what’s joy, without love’s heavenly gold?
I hope I die when I no longer care
for secret closeness, tender favours, bed,
which are the rapturous flowers that grace youth’s prime
for men and women. But when painful age
comes on, that makes a man loathsome and vile,
malignant troubles ever vex his heart;
seeing the sunlight gives him joy no more.
He is abhorred by boys, by women scorned;
so hard a thing God made old age to be.
(tr. Martin Litchfield West)

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