Katakeisthe

spearspread1

Μέχρις τέο κατάκεισθε; κότ’ ἄλκιμον ἕξετε θυμόν,
ὦ νέοι; οὐδ’ αἰδεῖσθ’ ἀμφιπερικτίονας
ὧδε λίην μεθιέντες; ἐν εἰρήνηι δὲ δοκεῖτε
ἧσθαι, ἀτὰρ πόλεμος γαῖαν ἅπασαν ἔχει
. . .
καί τις ἀποθνήσκων ὕστατ’ ἀκοντισάτω.
τιμῆέν τε γάρ ἐστι καὶ ἀγλαὸν ἀνδρὶ μάχεσθαι
γῆς πέρι καὶ παίδων κουριδίης τ’ ἀλόχου
δυσμενέσιν· θάνατος δὲ τότ’ ἔσσεται, ὁππότε κεν δὴ
Μοῖραι ἐπικλώσωσ’. ἀλλά τις ἰθὺς ἴτω
ἔγχος ἀνασχόμενος καὶ ὑπ’ ἀσπίδος ἄλκιμον ἦτορ
ἔλσας, τὸ πρῶτον μειγνυμένου πολέμου.
οὐ γάρ κως θάνατόν γε φυγεῖν εἱμαρμένον ἐστὶν
ἄνδρ’, οὐδ’ εἰ προγόνων ᾖ γένος ἀθανάτων.
πολλάκι δηϊοτῆτα φυγὼν καὶ δοῦπον ἀκόντων
ἔρχεται, ἐν δ’ οἴκῳ μοῖρα κίχεν θανάτου.
ἀλλ’ ὁ μὲν οὐκ ἔμπης δήμῳ φίλος οὐδὲ ποθεινός,
τὸν δ’ ὀλίγος στενάχει καὶ μέγας, ἤν τι πάθῃ·
λαῷ γὰρ σύμπαντι πόθος κρατερόφρονος ἀνδρὸς
θνήσκοντος, ζώων δ’ ἄξιος ἡμιθέων·
ὥσπερ γάρ μιν πύργον ἐν ὀφθαλμοῖσιν ὁρῶσιν·
ἔρδει γὰρ πολλὼν ἄξια μοῦνος ἐών.
(Callinus, fr. 1)

How long are you going to lie idle? Young men, when will you have a courageous spirit? Don’t those who live round about make you feel ashamed of being so utterly passive? You think that you are sitting in a state of peace, but all the land is in the grip of war.*
. . . **
even as one is dying let him make a final cast of his javelin. For it is a splendid honour for a man to fight on behalf of his land, children, and wedded wife against the foe. Death will occur only when the Fates have spun it out. Come, let a man charge straight ahead, brandishing his spear and mustering a stout heart behind his shield, as soon as war is engaged. For it is in no way fated that a man escape death, not even if he has immortal ancestors in his lineage. Often one who has escaped from the strife of battle and the thud of javelins and has returned home meets with his allotted death in his house. But he is not in any case loved or missed by the people, whereas the other, if he suffer some mishap, is mourned by the humble and the mighty. All the people miss a stout-hearted man when he dies and while he lives he is the equal of demigods. For in the eyes of the people he is like a tower, since single-handed he does the deeds of many.

* Probably with the Cimmerians (cf. fr. 5).
** The meter shows that at least one verse is missing, probably more.

(tr. Douglas E. Gerber, with his notes)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s