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Title: Select Epigrams from the Greek Anthology
Author: - To be updated
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Select Epigrams from the Greek Anthology" ***

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By J. W. Mackail

First Published 1890 by Longmans, Green, and Co.

and Dagny, dagnyj@hotmail.com



                            J. W. MACKAIL

                  Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford.

                           PREPARER'S NOTE

  This book was published in 1890 by Longmans, Green, and Co.,
  London; and New York: 15 East 16th Street.

  The epigrams in the book are given both in Greek and in English.
  This text includes only the English. Where Greek is present in
  short citations, it has been given here in transliterated form and
  marked with brackets. A chapter of Notes on the translations has
  also been omitted.

                       {eti pou proima leuxoia}
                                     Meleager in /Anth. Pal./ iv. 1.

                Dim now and soil'd,
            Like the soil'd tissue of white violets
            Left, freshly gather'd, on their native bank.
                                     M. Arnold, /Sohrab and Rustum/.


The purpose of this book is to present a complete collection, subject
to certain definitions and exceptions which will be mentioned later,
of all the best extant Greek Epigrams. Although many epigrams not
given here have in different ways a special interest of their own,
none, it is hoped, have been excluded which are of the first
excellence in any style. But, while it would be easy to agree on
three-fourths of the matter to be included in such a scope, perhaps
hardly any two persons would be in exact accordance with regard to the
rest; with many pieces which lie on the border line of excellence, the
decision must be made on a balance of very slight considerations, and
becomes in the end one rather of personal taste than of any fixed

For the Greek Anthology proper, use has chiefly been made of the two
great works of Jacobs, which have not yet been superseded by any more
definitive edition: /Anthologia Graeca sive Poetarum Graecorum lusus
ex recensione Brunckii; indices et commentarium adiecit Friedericus
Iacobs/ (Leipzig, 1794-1814: four volumes of text and nine of indices,
prolegomena, commentary, and appendices), and /Anthologia Graeca ad
fidem codicis olim Palatini nunc Parisini ex apographo Gothano edita;
curavit epigrammata in Codice Palatino desiderata et annotationem
criticam adiecit Fridericus Jacobs/ (Leipzig, 1813-1817: two volumes
of text and two of critical notes). An appendix to the latter contains
Paulssen's fresh collation of the Palatine MS. The small Tauchnitz
text is a very careless and inaccurate reprint of this edition. The
most convenient edition of the Anthology for ordinary reference is
that of F. Dübner in Didot's /Bibliothèque Grecque/ (Paris, 1864), in
two volumes, with a revised text, a Latin translation, and additional
notes by various hands. The epigrams recovered from inscriptions have
been collected and edited by G. Kaibel in his /Epigrammata Graeca ex
labidibus conlecta/ (Berlin, 1878). As this book was going through the
press, a third volume of the Didot Anthology has appeared, edited by
M. Ed. Cougny, under the title of /Appendix nova epigrammatum veterum
ex libris at marmoribus ductorum/, containing what purports to be a
complete collection, now made for the first time, of all extant
epigrams not in the Anthology.

In the notes, I have not thought it necessary to acknowledge, except
here once for all, my continual obligations to that superb monument of
scholarship, the commentary of Jacobs; but where a note or a reading
is borrowed from a later critic, his name is mentioned. All important
deviations from the received text of the Anthology are noted, and
referred to their author in each case; but, as this is not a critical
edition, the received text, when retained, is as a rule printed
without comment where it differs from that of the MSS. or other

The references in the notes to Bergk's /Lyrici Graeci/ give the pages
of the fourth edition. Epigrams from the Anthology are quoted by the
sections of the Palatine collection (/Anth. Pal./) and the appendices
to it (sections xiii-xv). After these appendices follows in modern
editions a collection (/App. Plan./) of all the epigrams in the
Planudean Anthology which are not found in the Palatine MS.

I have to thank Mr. P. E. Matheson, Fellow of New College, for his
kindness in looking over the proofsheets of this book.



The Greek word "epigram" in its original meaning is precisely
equivalent to the Latin word "inscription"; and it probably came into
use in this sense at a very early period of Greek history, anterior
even to the invention of prose. Inscriptions at that time, if they
went beyond a mere name or set of names, or perhaps the bare statement
of a single fact, were necessarily in verse, then the single vehicle
of organised expression. Even after prose was in use, an obvious
propriety remained in the metrical form as being at once more striking
and more easily retained in the memory; while in the case of epitaphs
and dedications--for the earlier epigram falls almost entirely under
these two heads--religious feeling and a sense of what was due to
ancient custom aided the continuance of the old tradition. Herodotus
in the course of his History quotes epigrams of both kinds; and with
him the word {epigramma} is just on the point of acquiring its
literary sense, though this is not yet fixed definitely. In his
account of the three ancient tripods dedicated in the temple of Apollo
at Thebes,[1] he says of one of them, {o men de eis ton tripodon
epigramma ekhei}, and then quotes the single hexameter line engraved
upon it. Of the other two he says simply, "they say in hexameter,"
{legei en exametro tono}. Again, where he describes the funeral
monuments at Thermopylae,[2] he uses the words {gramma} and
{epigramma} almost in the sense of sepulchural epigrams; {epigegrammai
grammata legonta tade}, and a little further on, {epixosmesantes
epigrammasi xai stelesi}, "epitaphs and monuments". Among these
epitaphs is the celebrated couplet of Simonides[3] which has found a
place in all subsequent Anthologies.

In the Anthology itself the word does not however in fact occur till a
late period. The proem of Meleager to his collection uses the words
{soide}, {umnos}, {melisma}, {elegos}, all vaguely, but has no term
which corresponds in any degree to our epigram. That of Philippus has
one word which describes the epigram by a single quality; he calls his
work an {oligostikhia} or collection of poems not exceeding a few
lines in length. In an epitaph by Diodorus, a poet of the Augustan
age, occurs the phrase {gramma legei},[4] in imitation of the phrase
of Herodotus just quoted. This is, no doubt, an intentional archaism;
but the word {epigramma} itself does not occur in the collection until
the Roman period. Two epigrams on the epigram,[5] one Roman, the other
Roman or Byzantine, are preserved, both dealing with the question of
the proper length. The former, by Parmenio, merely says that an
epigram of many lines is bad--{phemi polustikhien epigrammatos ou xata
Mousas einai}. The other is more definite, but unfortunately ambiguous
in expression. It runs thus:

  {Pagxalon eot epigramma to distikhon en de parelthes
    tous treis rapsodeis xoux epigramma legeis}

The meaning of the first part is plain; an epigram may be complete
within the limits of a single couplet. But do "the three" mean three
lines or three couplets? "Exceeding three" would, in the one case,
mean an epigram of four lines, in the other of eight. As there cannot
properly be an epigram of three lines, it would seem rather to mean
the latter. Even so the statement is an exaggeration; many of the best
epigrams are in six and eight lines. But it is true that the epigram
may "have its nature", in the phrase of Aristotle,[6] in a single
couplet; and we shall generally find that in those of eight lines, as
always without exception in those of more than eight, there is either
some repetition of idea not necessary to the full expression of the
thought, or some redundance of epithet or detail too florid for the
best taste, or, as in most of the Byzantine epigrams, a natural
verbosity which affects the style throughout and weakens the force and
directness of the epigram.

The notorious difficulty of giving any satisfactory definition of
poetry is almost equalled by the difficulty of defining with precision
any one of its kinds; and the epigram in Greek, while it always
remained conditioned by being in its essence and origin an
inscriptional poem, took in the later periods so wide a range of
subject and treatment that it can perhaps only be limited by certain
abstract conventions of length and metre. Sometimes it becomes in all
but metrical form a lyric; sometimes it hardly rises beyond the
versified statement of a fact or an idea; sometimes it is barely
distinguishable from a snatch of pastoral. The shorter pieces of the
elegiac poets might very often well be classed as epigrams but for the
uncertainty, due to the form in which their text has come down to us,
whether they are not in all cases, as they undoubtedly are in some,
portions of longer poems. Many couplets and quatrains of Theognis fall
under this head; and an excellent instance on a larger scale is the
fragment of fourteen lines by Simonides of Amorgos,[7] which is the
exact type on which many of the later epigrams of life are moulded. In
such cases /respice auctoris animum/ is a safe rule; what was not
written as an epigram is not an epigram. Yet it has seemed worth while
to illustrate this rule by its exceptions; and there will be found in
this collection fragments of Mimnermus and Theognis[8] which in
everything but the actual circumstance of their origin satisfy any
requirement which can be made. In the Palatine Anthology itself,
indeed, there are a few instances[9] where this very thing is done. As
a rule, however, these short passages belong to the class of {gromai}
or moral sentences, which, even when expressed in elegiac verse, is
sufficiently distinct from the true epigram. One instance will
suffice. In the Anthology there occurs this couplet:[10]

  {Pan to peritton axaipon epei logos esti palaios
    os xai tou melitos to pleon esti khole}

This is a sentence merely; an abstract moral idea, with an
illustration attached to it. Compare with it another couplet[11] in
the Anthology:

  {Aion panta pserei dolikhos khronos oioen ameibein
    ounoma xai morpsen xai psuain ede tukhen}

Here too there is a moral idea; but in the expression, abstract as it
is, there is just that high note, that imaginative touch, which gives
it at once the gravity of an inscription and the quality of a poem.

Again, many of the so-called epideictic epigrams are little more than
stories told shortly in elegiac verse, much like the stories in Ovid's
Fasti. Here the inscriptional quality is the surest test. It is this
quality, perhaps in many instances due to the verses having been
actually written for paintings or sculptures, that just makes an
epigram of the sea-story told by Antipater of Thessalonica, and of the
legend of Eunomus the harp-player[12]; while other stories, such as
those told of Pittacus, of Euctemon, of Serapis and the murderer,[13]
both tend to exceed the reasonable limit of length, and have in no
degree either the lapidary precision of the half lyrical passion which
would be necessary to make them more than tales in verse. Once more,
the fragments of idyllic poetry which by chance have come down to us
incorporated in the Anthology,[14] beautiful as they are, are in no
sense epigrams any more than the lyrics ascribed to Anacreon which
form an appendix to the Palatine collection, or the quotations from
the dramatists, Euripides, Menander, or Diphilus,[15] which have also
at one time or another become incorporated with it.

In brief then, the epigram in its first intention may be described as
a very short poem summing up as though in a memorial inscription what
it is desired to make permanently memorable in any action or
situation. It must have the compression and conciseness of a real
inscription, and in proportion to the smallness of its bulk must be
highly finished, evenly balanced, simple, and lucid. In literature it
holds something of the same place as is held in art by an engraved
gem. But if the definition of the epigram is only fixed thus, it is
difficult to exclude almost any very short poem that conforms
externally to this standard; while on the other hand the chance of
language has restricted the word in its modern use to a sense which it
never bore in Greek at all, defined in the line of Boileau, /un bon
mot de deux rimes orné/. This sense was made current more especially
by the epigrams of Martial, which as a rule lead up to a pointed end,
sometimes a witticism, sometimes a verbal fancy, and are quite apart
from the higher imaginative qualities. From looking too exclusively at
the Latin epigrammatists, who all belonged to a debased period in
literature, some persons have been led to speak of the Latin as
distinct from the Greek sense of the word "epigram". But in the Greek
Anthology the epigrams of contemporary writers have the same quality.
The fault was that of the age, not of the language. No good epigram
sacrifices its finer poetical qualities to the desire of making a
point; and none of the best depend on having a point at all.

[1] Hdt. v. 59.

[2] Hdt. vii. 228.

[3] III. 4 in this collection.

[4] Anth. Pal. vi. 348.

[5] Ibid. ix. 342, 369.

[6] Poet. 1449 a. 14.

[7] Simon. fr. 85 Bergk.

[8] Infra, XII. 6, 17, 37.

[9] App. Plan. 16.

[10] Anth. Pal. ix. 50, 118, x. 113.

[11] Anth. Pal. ix. 51.

[12] Infra, IX. 14, II. 14.

[13] Anth. Pal. vii. 89, ix. 367, 378.

[14] Anth. Pal. ix. 136, 362, 363.

[15] Ibid. x. 107, xi. 438, 439.


While the epigram is thus somewhat incapable of strict formal
definition, for all practical purposes it may be confined in Greek
poetry to pieces written in a single metre, the elegiac couplet, the
metre appropriated to inscriptions from the earliest recorded
period.[1] Traditionally ascribed to the invention of Archilochus or
Callinus, this form of verse, like the epic hexameter itself, first
meets us full grown.[2] The date of Archilochus of Paros may be fixed
pretty nearly at 700 B.C. That of Callinus of Ephesus is perhaps
earlier. It may be assumed with probability that elegy was an
invention of the same early civilisation among the Greek colonists of
the eastern coast of the Aegean in which the Homeric poems flowered
out into their splendid perfection. From the first the elegiac metre
was instinctively recognised as one of the best suited for
inscriptional poems. Originally indeed it had a much wider area, as it
afterwards had again with the Alexandrian poets; it seems to have been
the common metre for every kind of poetry which was neither purely
lyrical on the one hand, nor on the other included in the definite
scope of the heroic hexameter. The name {elegos}, "wailing", is
probably as late as Simonides, when from the frequency of its use for
funeral inscriptions the metre had acquired a mournful connotation,
and become the /tristis elegeïa/ of the Latin poets. But the war-
chants of Callinus and Tyrtaeus, and the political poems of the
latter, are at least fifty years earlier in date than the elegies of
Mimnermus, the first of which we have certain knowledge: and in
Theognis, a hundred years later than Mimnermus, elegiac verse becomes
a vehicle for the utmost diversity of subject, and a vehicle so facile
and flexible that it never seems unsuitable or inadequate. For at
least eighteen hundred years it remained a living metre, through all
that time never undergoing any serious modification.[3] Almost up to
the end of the Greek Empire of the East it continued to be written, in
imitation it is true of the old poets, but still with the freedom of a
language in common and uninterrupted use. As in the heroic hexameter
the Asiatic colonies of Greece invented the most fluent, stately, and
harmonious metre for continuous narrative poetry which has yet been
invented by man, so in the elegiac couplet they solved the problem,
hardly a less difficult one, of a metre which would refuse nothing,
which could rise to the occasion and sink with it, and be equally
suited to the epitaph of a hero or the verses accompanying a birthday
present, a light jest or a great moral idea, the sigh of a lover or
the lament over a perished Empire.[4]

The Palatine Anthology as it has come down to us includes a small
proportion, less than one in ten, of poems in other metres than the
elegiac. Some do not properly belong to the collection, as for
instance the three lines of iambics heading the Erotic section and the
two hendecasyllabics at the end of it, or the two hexameters at the
beginning of the Dedicatory section. These are hardly so much
insertions as accretions. Apart from them there are only four non-
elegiac pieces among the three hundred and eight amatory epigrams. The
three hundred and fifty-eight dedicatory epigrams include sixteen in
hexameter and iambic, and one in hendecasyllabic; and among the seven
hundred and fifty sepulchral epigrams are forty-two in hexameter,
iambic, and other mixed metres. The Epideictic section, as one would
expect from the more miscellaneous nature of its contents, has a
larger proportion of non-elegiac pieces. Of the eight hundred and
twenty-seven epigrams no less than a hundred and twenty-nine are in
hexameter (they include a large number of single lines), twenty-seven
in iambic, and six others in various unusual metres, besides one (No.
703) which comes in strangely enough: it is in prose: and is the
inscription in commendation of the water of the Thracian river Tearos,
engraved on a pillar by Darius, transcribed from Herodotus, iv. 91.
The odd thing is that the collector of the Anthology appears to have
thought it was in verse. The Hortatory section includes a score of
hexameter and iambic fragments, some of them proverbial lines, others
extracts from the tragedians. The Convivial section has five-and-
twenty in hexameter, iambic, and hemiambic, out of four hundred and
forty-two. The Musa Stratonis, in which the hand of the Byzantine
editor has had a less free play, is entirely in elegiac. But the short
appendix next following it in the Palatine MS. consists entirely of
epigrams in various metres, chiefly composite. Of the two thousand
eight hundred and thirteen epigrams which constitute the Palatine
Anthology proper, (sections V., VI., VII., IX., X., and XI.), there
are in all a hundred and seventy-five in hexameter, seventy-seven in
iambic, and twenty-two in various other metres. In practise, when one
comes to make a selection, the exclusion of all non-elegiac pieces
leads to no difficulty.

Nothing illustrates more vividly the essential unity and continuous
life of Greek literature than this line of poetry, reaching from the
period of the earliest certain historical records down to a time when
modern poetry in the West of Europe had already established itself;
nothing could supply a better and simpler corrective to the fallacy,
still too common, that Greek history ends with the conquests of
Alexander. It is on some such golden bridge that we must cross the
profound gulf which separates, to the popular view, the sunset of the
Western Empire of Rome from the dawn of the Italian republics and the
kingdoms of France and England. That gulf to most persons seems
impassable, and it is another world which lies across it. But here one
sees how that distant and strange world stretches out its hands to
touch our own. The great burst of epigrammatic poetry under Justinian
took place when the Consulate of Rome, after more than a thousand
years' currency, at last ceased to mark the Western year. While
Constantinus Cephalas was compiling his Anthology, adding to the
treasures of past times much recent and even contemporary work,
Athelstan of England inflicted the great defeat on the Danes at
Brunanburh, the song of which is one of the noblest records of our own
early literature; and before Planudes made the last additions the
Divine Comedy was written, and our English poetry had broken out into
the full sweetness of its flower:

  Bytuene Mershe ant Averil
    When spray beginneth to springe,
  The lutel foul hath hire wyl
    On hyre lud to synge.[5]

It is startling to think that so far as the date goes this might have
been included in the Planudean Anthology.

Yet this must not be pressed too far. Greek literature at the later
Byzantine Court, like the polity and religion of the Empire, was a
matter of rigid formalism; and so an epigram by Cometas Chartularius
differs no more in style and spirit from an epigram by Agathias than
two mosaics of the same dates. The later is a copy of the earlier,
executed in a somewhat inferior manner. Even in the revival of poetry
under Justinian it is difficult to be sure how far the poetry was in
any real sense original, and how far it is parallel to the Latin
verses of Renaissance scholars. The vocabulary of these poets is
practically the same as that of Callimachus; but the vocabulary of
Callimachus too is practically the same as that of Simonides.

[1] The first inscriptions of all were probably in hexameter: cf. Hdt.
    v. 59.

[2] Horace, A. P., ll. 75-8, leaves the origin of elegiac verse in
    obscurity. When he says it was first used for laments, he probably
    follows the Alexandrian derivation of the word {elegos} from {e
    legein}. The /voti sententia compos/ to which he says it became
    extended is interpreted by the commentators as meaning amatory
    poetry. If this was Horace's meaning he chose a most singular way
    of expressing it.

[3] Mr. F. D. Allen's treatise /On Greek Versification in
    Inscriptions/ (Boston, 1888) gives an account of the slight
    changes in structure (caesura, etc.) between earlier and later

[4] Cf. infra, III. 2, VII., 4, X. 45, XII. 18, I. 30, IX. 23.

[5] From the Leominster MS. circ. A.D. 1307 (Percy Society, 1842).


The material out of which this selection has been made is principally
that immense mass of epigrams known as the Greek Anthology. An account
of this celebrated collection and the way in which it was formed will
be given presently; here it will be sufficient to say that, in
addition to about four hundred Christian epigrams of the Byzantine
period, it contains some three thousand seven hundred epigrams of all
dates from 700 B.C. to 1000 or even 1200 A.D., preserved in two
Byzantine collections, the one probably of the tenth, the other of the
fourteenth century, named respectively the Palatine and Planudean
Anthologies. The great mass of the contents of both is the same; but
the former contains a large amount of material not found in the
latter, and the latter a small amount not found in the former.

For much the greatest number of these epigrams the Anthology is the
only source. But many are also found cited by various authors or
contained among their other works. It is not necessary to pursue this
subject into detail. A few typical instances are the citations of the
epitaph by Simonides on the three hundred Spartans who fell at
Thermopylae, not only by Herodotus[1] but by Diodorus Siculus and
Strabo, the former in a historical, the latter in a geographical,
work: of the epigram by Plato on the Eretrian exiles[2] by
Philostratus in his Life of Apollonius: of many epigrams purporting to
be written by philosophers, or actually written upon them and their
works, by Diogenes Laërtius in his Lives of the Philosophers. Plutarch
among the vast mass of his historical and ethical writings quotes
incidentally a considerable number of epigrams. A very large number
are quoted by Athenaeus in that treasury of odds and ends, the
Deipnosophistae. A great many too are cited in the lexicon which goes
under the name of Suidas, and which, beginning at an unknown date,
continued to receive additional entries certainly up to the eleventh

These same sources supply us with a considerable gleaning of epigrams
which either were omitted by the collectors of the Anthology or have
disappeared from our copies. The present selection for example
includes epigrams found in an anonymous Life of Aeschylus: in the
Onamasticon of Julius Pollux, a grammarian of the early part of the
third century, who cites from many lost writings for peculiar words or
constructions: and from the works of Athenaeus , Diogenes Laërtius,
Plutarch, and Suidas mentioned above. The more famous the author of an
epigram was, the more likely does it become that his work should be
preserved in more than one way. Thus, of the thirty-one epigrams
ascribed to Plato, while all but one are found in the Anthology, only
seventeen are found in the Anthology alone. Eleven are quoted by
Diogenes Laërtius; and thirteen wholly or partially by Athenaeus,
Suidas, Apuleius, Philostratus, Gellius, Macrobius, Olympiodorus,
Apostolius, and Thomas Magister. On the other hand the one hundred and
thirty-four epigrams of Meleager, representing a peculiar side of
Greek poetry in a perfection not elsewhere attainable, exist in the
Anthology alone.

Beyond these sources, which may be called literary, there is another
class of great importance: the monumental. An epigram purports to be
an inscription actually carved or written upon some monument or
memorial. Since archaeology became systematically studied, original
inscriptions, chiefly on marble, are from time to time brought to
light, many of which are in elegiac verse. The admirable work of
Kaibel[3] has made it superfluous to traverse the vast folios of the
Corpus Inscriptionum in search of what may still be hidden there. It
supplies us with several epigrams of real literary value; while the
best of those discovered before this century are included in
appendices to the great works of Brunck and Jacobs. Most of these
monumental inscriptions are naturally sepulchral. They are of all ages
and countries within the compass of Graeco-Roman civilisation, from
the epitaph, magnificent in its simplicity, sculptured on the grave of
Cleoetes the Athenian when Athens was still a small and insignificant
town, to the last outpourings of the ancient spirit on the tombs
reared, among strange gods and barbarous faces, over Paulina of
Ravenna or Vibius Licinianus of Nîmes.[4]

It has already been pointed out by how slight a boundary the epigram
is kept distinct from other forms of poetry, and how in extreme cases
its essence may remain undefinable. The two fragments of Theognis and
one of Mimnermus included here[5] illustrate this. They are examples
of a large number like them, which are not, strictly speaking,
epigrams; being probably passages from continuous poems, selected, at
least in the case of Theognis, for an Anthology of his works.

The epigrams extant in literature which are not in the Anthology are,
with a few exceptions, collected in the appendix to the edition of
Jacobs, and are reprinted from it in modern texts. They are about four
hundred in number, and raise the total number of epigrams in the
Anthology to about four thousand five hundred; to these must be added
at least a thousand inscriptional epigrams, which increase year by
year as new explorations are carried on. It is, of course, but seldom
that these last have distinct value as poetry. Those of the best
period, indeed, and here the best period is the sixth century B.C.,
have always a certain accent, even when simplest and most matter of
fact, which reminds us of the palace whence they came. Their
simplicity is more thrilling than any eloquence. From the exotic and
elaborate word-embroidery of the poets of the decadence, we turn with
relief and delight to work like this, by a father over his son:

  {Sema pater Kleoboulos apepsthimeno Xenopsanto
    thexe tod ant aretes ede saopsrosunes}[6]

(This monument to dead Xenophantus his father Cleobulus set up, for
his valour and wisdom);

or this, on an unmarried girl:

  {Sema PHrasixleias xoure xexlesomai aiei
    anti gamou para theon touto lakhous onoma}[7]

(The monument of Phrasicleia; I shall for ever be called maiden,
having got this name from the gods instead of marriage.)

So touching in their stately reserve, so piercing in their delicate
austerity, these epitaphs are in a sense the perfection of literature,
and yet in another sense almost lie outside its limits. For the
workmanship here, we feel, is unconscious; and without conscious
workmanship there is not art. In Homer, in Sophocles, in all the best
Greek work, there is this divine simplicity; but beyond it, or rather
beneath it and sustaining it, there is purpose.

[1] Anth. Pal. vii. 249; Hdt. vii. 228.

[2] Ibid. vii. 256.

[3] Epigrammata Graeca ex lapidibus conlecta. Berlin, 1878.

[4] Infra, III. 35, 47; XI. 48.

[5] Infra, XII. 6, 17, 37.

[6] Corp. Inscr. Att. 477 B.

[7] Ibid. 469.


From the invention of writing onwards, the inscriptions on monuments
and dedicated offerings supplied one of the chief materials of
historical record. Their testimony was used by the earliest historians
to supplement and reinforce the oral traditions which they embodied in
their works. Herodotus and Thucydides quote early epigrams as
authority for the history of past times;[1] and when in the latter
part of the fourth century B.C. history became a serious study
throughout Greece, collections of inscribed records, whether in prose
or verse, began to be formed as historical material. The earliest
collection of which anything is certainly known was a work by
Philochorus,[2] a distinguished Athenian antiquary who flourished
about 300 B.C., entitled Epigramma Attica. It appears to have been a
transcript of all the ancient Attic inscriptions dealing with Athenian
history, and would include the verses engraved on the tombs of
celebrated citizens, or on objects dedicated in the temples on public
occasions. A century later, we hear of a work by Polemo, called
Periegetes, or the "Guidebook-maker," entitled {peri ton xata poleis
epigrammaton}.[3] This was an attempt to make a similar collection of
inscriptions throughout the cities of Greece. Athenaeus also speaks of
authors otherwise unknown, Alcetas and Menetor,[4] as having written
treatises {peri anathematon}, which would be collections of the same
nature confined to dedicatory inscriptions; and, these being as a rule
in verse, the books in question were perhaps the earliest collections
of monumental poetry. Even less is known with regard to a book "on
epigrams" by Neoptolemus of Paris.[5] The history of Anthologies
proper begins for us with Meleager of Gadara.

The collection called the Garland of Meleager, which is the basis of
the Greek Anthology as we possess it, was formed by him in the early
part of the first century B.C. The scholiast on the Palatine MS. says
that Meleager flourished in the reign of the last Seleucus ({ekhmasen
epi Seleukou tou eskhatou}). This is Seleucus VI. Epiphanes, the last
king of the name, who reigned B.C. 95-93; for it is not probable that
the reference is to the last Seleucid, Antiochus XIII., who acceded
B.C. 69, and was deposed by Pompey when he made Syria a Roman province
in B.C. 65. The date thus fixed is confirmed by the fact that the
collection included an epigram on the tomb of Antipater of Sidon,[6]
who, from the terms in which Cicero alludes to him, must have lived
till 110 or even 100 B.C., and that it did not include any of the
epigrams of Meleager's townsman Philodemus of Gadara, the friend of L.
Calpurnius Piso, consul in B.C. 58.

This Garland or Anthology has only come down to us as forming the
basis of later collections. But the prefatory poem which Meleager
wrote for it has fortunately been preserved, and gives us valuable
information as to the contents of the Garland. This poem,[7] in which
he dedicates his work to his friend or patron Diocles, gives the names
of forty-seven poets included by him besides many others of recent
times whom he does not specifically enumerate. It runs as follows:

"Dear Muse, for whom bringest thou this gardenful of song, or who is
he that fashioned the garland of poets? Meleager made it, and wrought
out this gift as a remembrance for noble Diocles, inweaving many
lilies of Anyte, and many martagons of Moero, and of Sappho little,
but all roses, and the narcissus of Melanippides budding into clear
hymns, and the fresh shoot of the vine-blossom of Simonides; twining
to mingle therewith the spice-scented flowering iris of Nossis, on
whose tablets love melted the wax, and with her, margerain from sweet-
breathed Rhianus, and the delicious maiden-fleshed crocus of Erinna,
and the hyacinth of Alcaeus, vocal among the poets, and the dark-
leaved laurel-spray of Samius, and withal the rich ivy-clusters of
Leonidas, and the tresses of Mnasalcas' sharp pine; and he plucked the
spreading plane of the song of Pamphilus, woven together with the
walnut shoots of Pancrates and the fair-foliaged white poplar of
Tymnes, and the green mint of Nicias, and the horn-poppy of Euphemus
growing on these sands; and with these Damagetas, a dark violet, and
the sweet myrtle-berry of Callimachus, ever full of pungent honey, and
the rose-campion of Euphorion, and the cyclamen of the Muses, him who
had his surname from the Dioscori. And with him he inwove Hegesippus,
a riotous grape-cluster, and mowed down the scented rush of Perses;
and withal the quince from the branches of Diotimus, and the first
pomegranate flowers of Menecrates, and the myrrh-twigs of Nicaenetus,
and the terebinth of Phaennus, and the tall wild pear of Simmias, and
among them also a few flowers of Parthenis, plucked from the blameless
parsley-meadow, and fruitful remnants from the honey-dropping Muses,
yellow ears from the corn-blade of Bacchylides; and withal Anacreon,
both that sweet song of his and his nectarous elegies, unsown honey-
suckle; and withal the thorn-blossom of Archilochus from a tangled
brake, little drops from the ocean; and with them the young olive-
shoots of Alexander, and the dark-blue cornflower of Polycleitus; and
among them he laid amaracus, Polystratus the flower of songs, and the
young Phoenician cypress of Antipater, and also set therein spiked
Syrian nard, the poet who sang of himself as Hermes' gift; and withal
Posidippus and Hedylus together, wild blossoms of the country, and the
blowing windflowers of the son of Sicelides; yea, and set therein the
golden bough of the ever divine Plato, shining everywhere in
excellence, and beside him Aratus the knower of the stars, cutting the
first-born spires of that heaven-high palm, and the fair-tressed lotus
of Chaeremon mixed with the gilliflower of Phaedimus, and the round
ox-eye of Antagoras, and the wine-loving fresh-blown wild thyme of
Theodorides, and the bean-blossoms of Phanias, and many newly-
scriptured shoots of others; and with them also even from his own Muse
some early white violets. But to my friends I give thanks; and the
sweet-languaged garland of the Muses is common to all initiate."

In this list three poets are not spoken of directly by name, but, from
metrical or other reasons, are alluded to paraphrastically. "He who
had his surname from the Dioscori" is Dioscorides; "the poet who sang
of himself as Hermes' gifts" is Hermodorus; and "the son of Sicelides"
is Asclepiades, referred to under the same name by his great pupil
Theocritus. The names of these forty-eight poets (including Meleager
himself) show that the collection embraced epigrams of all periods
from the earliest times up to his own day. Six belong to the early
period of the lyric poets, ending with the Persian wars; Archilochus,
who flourished about 700 B.C., Sappho and Erinna a century afterwards,
Simonides and Anacreon about 500 B.C., and a little later,
Bacchylides. Five more belong to the fourth century B.C., the period
which begins with the destruction of the Athenian empire and ends with
the establishment of the Macedonian kingdoms of the Diadochi. Of
these, Plato is still within the Athenian period; Hegesippus, Simmias,
Anyte, and Phaedimus, all towards the end of the century, mark the
beginning of the Alexandrian period. Four have completely disappeared
out of the Anthology as we possess it; Melanippides, a celebrated
writer of dithyrambic poetry in the latter half of the fifth century
B.C., of which a few fragments survive, and Euphemus, Parthenis, and
Polycleitus, of whom nothing whatever is known. The remaining thirty-
three poets in Meleager's list all belong to the Alexandrian period,
and bring the series down continuously to Meleager himself.

One of the epigrams in the Anthology of Strato[8] professes to be the
colophon {xoronis} to Meleager's collection; but it is a stupid and
clumsy forgery of an obviously later date, probably by Strato himself,
or some contemporary, and is not worth quoting. The proem to the
Garland is a work of great ingenuity, and contains in single words and
phrases many exquisite criticisms. The phrase used of Sappho has
become proverbial; hardly less true and pointed are those on Erinna,
Callimachus, and Plato. All the flowers are carefully and
appropriately chosen with reference to their poets, and the whole is
done with the light and sure touch of a critic who is also a poet

A scholiast on the Palatine MS. says that Meleager's Anthology was
arranged in alphabetical order {xata stoikheion}. This seems to mean
alphabetical order of epigrams, not of authors; and the statement is
borne out by some parts of the Palatine and even of the Planudean
Anthologies, where, in spite of the rearrangement under subjects,
traces of alphabetical arrangement among the older epigrams are still
visible. The words of the scholiast imply that there was no further
arrangement by subject. It seems most reasonable to suppose that the
epigrams of each author were placed together; but of this there is no
direct evidence, nor can any such arrangement be certainly inferred
from the state of the existing Anthologies.

The Scholiast, in this same passage, speaks of Meleager's collection
as an {epigrammaton stephanos}, and obviously it consisted in the main
of epigrams according to the ordinary definition. But it is curious
that Meleager himself nowhere uses the word; and from some phrases in
the proem it is difficult to avoid the inference that he included
other kinds of minor poetry as well. Too much stress need not be laid
on the words {umnos} and {aoide}, which in one form or another are
repeatedly used by him; though it is difficult to suppose that "the
hymns of Melanippides", who is known to have been a dithyrambic poet,
can mean not hymns but epigrams.[9] But where Anacreon is mentioned,
his {melisma} and his elegiac pieces are unmistakably distinguished
from each other, and are said to be both included; and this {melisma}
must mean lyric poetry of some kind, probably the very hemiambics
under the name of Anacreon which are extant as an appendix to the
Palatine MS. Meleager's Anthology also pretty certainly included his
own Song of Spring,[10] which is a hexameter poem, though but for the
form of verse it might just come within a loose definition of an
epigram. Whether it included idyllic poems like the Amor Fugitivus of
Moschus[11] it is not possible to determine.

Besides his great Anthology, another, of the same class of contents as
that subsequently made by Strato, is often ascribed to Meleager, an
epigram in Strato's Anthology[12] being regarded as the proem to this
supposed collection. But there is no external authority whatever for
this hypothesis; nor is it necessary to regard this epigram as
anything more than a poem commemorating the boys mentioned in it.
Eros, not Meleager, is in this case the weaver of the garland.

The next compiler of an Anthology, more than a century after Meleager,
was Philippus of Thessalonica. Of this also the proem is
preserved.[13] It purports to be a collection of the epigrammatists
since Meleager, and is dedicated to the Roman patron of the author,
one Camillus. The proem runs thus:

"Having plucked for thee Heliconian flowers, and cut the first-blown
blossoms of famous-forested Pieria, and reaped the ears from modern
pages, I wove a rival garland, to be like those of Meleager; but do
thou, noble Cantillus, who knowest the fame of the older poets, know
likewise the short pieces of the younger. Antipater's corn-ear shall
grace our garland, and Crinagoras like an ivy-cluster; Antiphilus
shall glow like a grape-bunch, Tullius like melilote, Philodemus like
marjoram: and Parmenio myrtle-berries: Antiphanes as a rose: Automedon
ivy, Zonas lilies, Bianor oak, Antigonus olive, and Diodorus violet.
Liken thou Euenus to laurel, and the multitude woven in with these to
what fresh-blown flowers thou wilt."

One sees here the decline of the art from its first exquisiteness.
There is no selection or appropriateness in the names of the flowers
chosen, and the verse is managed baldly and clumsily. Philippus' own
epigrams, of which over seventy are extant, are generally rather dull,
chiefly school exercises, and, in the phrase of Jacobs, /imitatione
magis quam inventione conspicua/. But we owe to him the preservation
of a large mass of work belonging to the Roman period. The date of
Philippus cannot be fixed very precisely. His own epigrams contain no
certain allusion to any date other than the reign of Augustus. Of the
poets named in his proem, Antiphanes, Euenus, Parmenio, and Tullius
have no date determinable from internal evidence. Antigonus has been
sometimes identified with Antigonus of Carystus, the author of the
{Paradokon Sunagoge}, who lived in the third century B.C. under
Ptolemy Philadelphus or Ptolemy Euergetes; but as this Anthology
distinctly professes to be of poets since Meleager, he must be another
author of the same name. Antipater of Thessalonica, Bianor, and
Diodorus are of the Augustan period; Philodemus, Zonas, and probably
Automedon, of the period immediately preceding it. The latest certain
allusion in the poems of Antiphilus is to the enfranchisement of
Rhodes by Nero in A.D. 53.[14] One of the epigrams under the name of
Automedon in the Anthology[15] is on the rhetorician Nicetas, the
teacher of the younger Pliny. But there are at least two poets of the
name, Automedon of Aetolia and Automedon of Cyzicus, and the former,
who is pre-Roman, may be the one included by Philippus. If so, we need
not, with Jacobs, date this collection in the reign of Trajan, at the
beginning of the second century, but may place it with greater
probability half a century earlier, under Nero.

In the reign of Hadrian the grammarian Diogenianus of Heraclea edited
an Anthology of epigrams,[16] but nothing is known of it beyond the
name. The Anthology contains a good deal of work which may be referred
to this period.

The first of the appendices to the Palatine Anthology is the {Paidike
Mousa} of Strato of Sardis. The compiler apologises in a prefatory
note for including it, excusing himself with the line of
Euripides,[17] {e ge sopsron ou diapstharesetai}. It was a new
Anthology of epigrams dealing with this special subject from the
earliest period downwards. As we possess it, Strato's collection
includes thirteen of the poets named in the Garland of Meleager
(including Meleager himself), two of those named in the Garland of
Philippus, and ten other poets, none of them of much mark, and most of
unknown date; the most interesting being Alpheus of Mitylene, who from
the style and contents of his epigrams seems to have lived about the
time of Hadrian, but may possibly be an Augustan poet. Strato is
mentioned by Diogenes Laërtius,[18] who wrote at the beginning of the
third century; and his own epigram on the physician Artemidorus
Capito,[19] who was a contemporary of Hadrian, fixes his approximate

How far we possess Strato's collection in its original form it is
impossible to decide. Jacobs says he cannot attempt to determine
whether Cephalas took it in a lump or made a selection from it, or
whether he kept the order of the epigrams. As they stand they have no
ascertainable principle of arrangement, alphabetical or of author or
of subject. The collection consists of two hundred and fifty-nine
epigrams, of which ninety-four are by Strato himself and sixty by
Meleager. It has either been carelessly formed, or suffered from
interpolation afterwards. Some of the epigrams are foreign to the
subject of the collection. Six are on women;[20] and four of these are
on women whose names end in the diminutive form, Phanion, Callistion,
etc., which suggests the inference that they were inserted at a late
date and by an ignorant transcriber who confused these with masculine
forms. For all the epigrams of Strato's collection the Anthology is
the only source.

In the three hundred years between Strato and Agathias no new
Anthology is known to have been made.

The celebrated Byzantine poet and historian Agathias, son of Mamnonius
of Myrina, came to Constantinople as a young man to study law in the
year 554. In the preface to his History he tells us that he formed a
new collection of recent and contemporary epigrams previously
unpublished,[21] in seven books, entitled {Kuklos}. His proem to the
Cyclus is extant.[22] It consists of forty-six iambics followed by
eighty-seven hexameters, and describes the collection under the
symbolism no longer of a flower-garden, but of a feast to which
different persons bring contributions ({ou stepsanos alla sunagoge}),
a metaphor which is followed out with unrelenting tediousness. The
piece is not worth transcription here. He says he includes his own
epigrams. After a panegyric on the greatness of the empire of
Justinian, and the foreign and domestic peace of his reign, he ends by
describing the contents of the collection. Book I. contains
dedications in the ancient manner, {os proterois makaressin aneimena}:
for Agathias was himself a Christian, and indeed the old religion had
completely died out even before Justinian closed the schools of
Athens. Book II. contains epigrams on statues, pictures, and other
works of art; Book III., sepulchral epigrams; Book IV., epigrams "on
the manifold paths of life, and the unstable scales of fortune,"
corresponding to the section of {Protreptika} in the Palatine
Anthology; Book V., irrisory epigrams; Book VI. amatory epigrams; and
Book VII., convivial epigrams. Agathias, so far as we know, was the
first who made this sort of arrangement under subjects, which, with
modifications, has generally been followed afterwards. His Anthology
is lost; and probably perished soon after that of Cephalas was made.

Constantinus Cephalas, a grammarian unknown except from the Palatine
MS., began again from the beginning. The scholiast to the Garland of
Meleager in that MS., after saying that Meleager's Anthology was
arranged in alphabetical order, goes on as follows:--"but
Constantinus, called Cephalas, broke it up, and distributed it under
different heads, viz., the love-poems separately, and the dedications
and epitaphs, and epideictic pieces, as they are now arranged below in
this book."[23] We must assume that with this rearranged Anthology he
incorporated those of Philippus and Agathias, unless, which is not
probable, we suppose that the Palatine Anthology is one enlarged from
that of Cephalas by some one else completely unknown.

As to the date of Cephalas there is no certain indication. Suidas
apparently quotes from his Anthology; but even were we certain that
these quotations are not made from original sources, his lexicon
contains entries made at different times over a space of several
centuries. A scholium to one of the epigrams[24] of Alcaeus of Messene
speaks of a discussion on it by Cephalas which took place in the
School of the New Church at Constantinople. This New Church was built
by the Emperor Basil I. (reigned 867-876). Probably Cephalas lived in
the reign of Constantine VII. Porphyrogenitus (911-959), who had a
passion for art and literature, and is known to have ordered the
compilation of books of excerpts. Gibbon gives an account of the
revival of learning which took place under his influence, and of the
relations of his Court with that of the Western Empire of Otto the

The arrangement in the Anthology of Cephalas is founded on that of
Agathias. But alongside of the arrangement under subjects we
frequently find strings of epigrams by the same author with no
particular connection in subject, which are obviously transcribed
directly from a collected edition of his poems.

Maximus Planudes, theologian, grammarian, and rhetorician, lived in
the early part of the fourteenth century; in 1327 he was appointed
ambassador to the Venetian Republic by Andronicus II. Among his works
were translations into Greek of Augustine's City of God and Caesar's
Gallic War. The restored Greek Empire of the Palaeologi was then fast
dropping to pieces. The Genoese colony of Pera usurped the trade of
Constantinople and acted as an independent state; and it brings us
very near the modern world to remember that while Planudes was the
contemporary of Petrarch and Doria, Andronicus III., the grandson and
successor of Andronicus II., was married, as a suitable match, to
Agnes of Brunswick, and again after her death to Anne of Savoy.

Planudes made a new Anthology in seven books, founded on that of
Cephalas, but with many alterations and omissions. Each book is
divided into chapters which are arranged alphabetically by subject,
with the exception of the seventh book, consisting of amatory
epigrams, which is not subdivided. In a prefatory note to this book he
says he has omitted all indecent or unseemly epigrams, {polla en to
antigrapso onta}. This {antograpso} was the Anthology of Cephalas. The
contents of the different books are as follows:

Book I.--{Epideiktika}, in ninety-one chapters; from the {Epideiktika}
of Cephalas, with additions from his {Anathematika} and {Protreptika},
and twelve new epigrams on statues.

Book II.--{Skoptika}, in fifty-three chapters; from the {Sumpotika kai
Skoptika} and the {Mousa Stratonos} of Cephalas, with six new

Book III.--{Epitumbia}, in thirty-two chapters; from the {Epitumbia}
of Cephalas, which are often transcribed in the original order, with
thirteen new epigrams.

Book IV.--Epigrams on monuments, statues, animals, and places, in
thirty-three chapters; some from the {Epideiktika} of Cephalas, but
for the greater part new.

Book V.--Christodorus' description of the statues in the gymnasium
called Zeuxippus, and a collection of epigrams in the Hippodrome at
Constantinople; from appendices to the Anthology of Cephalas.

Book VI.--{Anathematika}, in twenty-seven chapters; from the
{Anathematika} of Cephalas, with four new epigrams.

Book VII.--{Erotika}; from the {Erotika} of Cephalas, with twenty-six
new epigrams.

Obviously then the Anthology of Planudes was almost wholly taken from
that of Cephalas, with the exception of epigrams on works of art,
which are conspicuously absent from the earlier collection as we
possess it. As to these there is only one conclusion. It is impossible
to account for Cephalas having deliberately omitted this class of
epigrams; it is impossible to account for their re-appearance in
Planudes, except on the supposition that we have lost a section of the
earlier Anthology which included them. The Planudean Anthology
contains in all three hundred and ninety-seven epigrams, which are not
in the Palatine MS. of Cephalas. It is in these that its principal
value lies. The vitiated taste of the period selected later and worse
in preference to earlier and better epigrams; the compilation was made
carelessly and, it would seem, hurriedly, the earlier part of the
sections of Cephalas being largely transcribed and the latter part
much less fully, as though the editor had been pressed for time or
lost interest in the work as he went on. Not only so, but he mutilated
the text freely, and made sweeping conjectural restorations where it
was imperfect. The discrepancies too in the authorship assigned to
epigrams are so frequent and so striking that they can only be
explained by great carelessness in transcription; especially as
internal evidence where it can be applied almost uniformly supports
the headings of the Palatine Anthology.

Such as it was, however, the Anthology of Planudes displaced that of
Cephalas almost at once, and remained the only MS. source of the
anthology until the seventeenth century. The other entirely
disappeared, unless a copy of it was the manuscript belonging to
Angelo Colloti, seen and mentioned by the Roman scholar and
antiquarian Fulvio Orsini (b. 1529, d. 1600) about the middle of the
sixteenth century, and then again lost to view. The Planudean
Anthology was first printed at Florence in 1484 by the Greek scholar,
Janus Lascaris, from a good MS. It continued to be reprinted from time
to time, the last edition being the five sumptuous quarto volumes
issued from the press of Wild and Altheer at Utrecht, 1795-1822.

In the winter of 1606-7, Salmasius, then a boy of eighteen but already
an accomplished scholar, discovered a manuscript of the Anthology of
Cephalas in the library of the Counts Palatine at Heidelberg. He
copied from it the epigrams hitherto unknown, and these began to be
circulated in manuscript under the name of the Anthologia Inedita. The
intention he repeatedly expressed of editing the whole work was never
carried into effect. In 1623, on the capture of Heidelberg by the
Archduke Maximilian of Bavaria in the Thirty Years' War, this with
many other MSS. and books was sent by him to Rome as a present to Pope
Gregory XV., and was placed in the Vatican Library. It remained there
till it was taken to Paris by order of the French Directory in 1797,
and was restored to the Palatine Library after the end of the war.

The description of this celebrated manuscript, the Codex Palatinus or
Vaticanus, as it has been named from the different places of its
abode, is as follows: it is a long quarto, on parchment, of 710 pages,
together with a page of contents and three other pages glued on at the
beginning. There are three hands in it. The table of contents and
pages 1-452 and 645-704 in the body of the MS. are in a hand of the
eleventh century; the middle of the MS., pages 453-644, is in a later
hand; and a third, later than both, has written the last six pages and
the three odd pages at the beginning, has added a few epigrams in
blank spaces, and has made corrections throughout the MS.

The index, which is of great importance towards the history not only
of the MS. but of the Anthology generally, runs as follows:--

  {Tade enestin en tede te biblo ton epigrammaton

A. Nonnou poirtou Panopolitou ekphrasis tou kata Ioannen agiou
B. Paulou poirtou selantiariou (sic) uiou Kurou ekphrasis eis ten
      megalen ekklesian ete ten agian Sophian.
G. Sullogai epigrammaton Khristianikon eis te naous kai eikonas kai
      eis diaphora anathemata.
D. Khristodorou poietou Thebaiou ekphrasis ton agalmaton ton eis to
      demosion gumnasion tou epikaloumenou Zeuxippou.
E. Meleagou poietou Palaistinou stephanos diaphoron epigrammaton.
S. Philippou poietou Thessalonikeos stephanos omoios diaphoron
Z. Agathiou skholastikou Asianou Murenaiou sulloge neon epigrammaton
      ektethenton en Konstantinoupolei pros Theodoron Dekouriona. esti
      de e taxis ton epigrammaton egoun diairesis outos.
   a. prote men e ton Khristianon.
   b. deutera de e ta Khristodorou periekhousa tou Thebaiou.
   g. trete (sic) de arkhen men ekhousa ten ton erotikon epigrammaton
   d. e ton anathematikon.
   e. pempte e ton epitumbion.
   s. e ton epideiktikon.
   z. ebdome e ton pretreptikon.
   e. e ton skoptikon.
  th. ebdome e ton protreptikon.
   i. diaphoron metron diaphora epigrammata.
  ia. arithmetika kai grepha summikta.
  ib. Ioannou grammatikou Gazes ekphrasis tou kosmikou pinakos tou en
      kheimerio loutro.
  ig. Surigx Theokritou kai pteruges Simmiou Dosiada bomos Besantinou
      oon kai pelekus.
  id. Anakreontos Teiou Sumposiaka emiambia kai Anakreontia kai
  ie. Tou agiou Gregoriou tou theologou ek ton epon eklogai diaphorai
      en ois kai ta Arethou kai Anastasiou kai Ignatiou kai
      Konstantinou kai Theophanous keintai epigrammata.}

This index must have been transcribed from the index of an earlier MS.
It differs from the actual contents of the MS. in the following

The hexameter paraphrase of S. John's Gospel by Nonnus is not in the
MS., having perhaps been torn off from the beginning of it.

After the description of S. Sophia by Paulus Silentiarius, follow in
the MS. select poems of S. Gregorius.

After the description by Christodorus of the statues in the gymnasium
of Zeuxippus follows a collection of nineteen epigrams inscribed below
carved reliefs in the temple of Apollonis, mother of Attalus and
Eumenes kings of Pergamus, at Cyzicus.

After the proem to the Anthology of Agathias follows another epigram
of his, apparently the colophon to his collection.

The book of Christian epigrams and that of poems by Christodorus of
Thebes are wanting in the MS.

Between the /Sepulcralia/ and /Epideictica/ is inserted a collection
of 254 epigrams by S. Gregorius.

John of Gaza's description of the Mappa Mundi in the winter baths is
wanting in the MS.

After the miscellaneous Byzantine epigrams, which form the last entry
in the index, is a collection of epigrams in the Hippodrome at

The Palatine MS. then is a copy from another lost MS. And the lost MS.
itself was not the archetype of Cephalas. From a prefatory note to the
/Dedicatoria/, taken in connection with the three iambic lines
prefixed to the /Amatoria/, it is obvious that the /Amatoria/ formed
the first section of the Anthology of Cephalas, preceded, no doubt, by
the three proems of Meleager, Philippus, and Agathias as prefatory
matter. The first four headings in the index, therefore, represent
matter subsequently added. Whether all the small appendices at the end
of the MS. were added to the Anthology by Cephalas or by a later hand
it is not possible to determine. With or without these appendices, the
work of Cephalas consisted of six sections of {Erotika},
{Anathematika}, {Epitumbia}, {Epideiktica}, {Protreptika} and
{Eumpotika kai Skoptika}, with the {Mousa Stratonos}, and probably, as
we have already seen, a lost section containing epigrams on works of
art. At the beginning of the sepulchral epigrams there is a marginal
note in the MS., in the corrector's hand, speaking of Cephalas as then
dead.[25] Another note, added by the same hand on the margin of vii.
432, says that our MS. had been collated with another belonging to one
Michael Magister, which was copied by him with his own hand from the
book of Cephalas.

The extracts made by Salmasius remained for long the only source
accessible to scholars for the contents of the Palatine Anthology.
Jacobs, when re-editing Brunck's /Analecta/, obtained a copy of the
MS., then in the Vatican library, from Uhden, the Prussian ambassador
at Rome; and from another copy, afterwards made at his instance by
Spaletti, he at last edited the Anthology in its complete form.

[1] Cf. especially Hdt. v. 59, 60, 77; Thuc. i. 132, vi. 54, 59.

[2] Suid. s.v. {PHilokhoros}.

[3] Athen. x. 436 D., 442 E.

[4] Athen. xiii. 591 C, 594 D.

[5] Ibid. x. 454 F. The date of Neoptolemus is uncertain; he probably
    lived in the second century B.C.

[6] Anth. Pol. vii. 428; Cic. Or. iii. 194, Pis. 68-70.

[7] Ibid. iv. 1.

[8] Anth. Pal. xii. 257.

[9] Melanippides, however, also wrote epigrams according to Suidas,
    s.v., and the phrase of Meleager may mean "the epigrams of this
    poet who was celebrated as a hymn-writer".

[10] Anth. Pal. ix. 363.

[11] Ibid. ix. 440.

[12] Ibid. xii. 256.

[13] Anth. Pal. iv. 2.

[14] Anth. Pal. ix. 178.

[15] Ibid. x. 23.

[16] Suidas s.v. {Diogenianos}.

[17] Bacch. 318.

[18] v. 61.

[19] Anth. Pal. xi. 117.

[20] Anth. Pal. xvi. 53, 82, 114, 131, 147, 173.

[21] Agathias, Hist. i. 1: {ton epigrammaton ta artigene kai neotera
    oialanthanonti eti kai khuden outosi par eniois
    upophithurizomena}. Cf. also Suidas, s.v. {Agathias}.

[22] Anth. Pal. iv. 3.

[23] Schol. on Anth. Pal. iv. 1.

[24] Anth. Pal. vii. 429.

[25] {Konstantinos o Kephalas o makarios kai aeimnestos kai
    tripothetos anthrepos}.


When any selection of minor poetry is made, the principle of
arrangement is one of the first difficulties. In dealing with the
Greek epigram, the matter before us, as has been said already,
consists of between five and six thousand pieces, all in the same
metre, and varying in length from two to twenty-eight lines,[1] but
rarely exceeding twelve. No principle of arrangement can therefore be
based on the form of the poems. There are three other plans possible;
a simply arbitrary order, an arrangement by authorship, or an
arrangement by subject. The first, if we believe the note in the
Palatine MS. already quoted, was adopted by Meleager in the
alphabetical arrangement of his Garland; but beyond the uncommon
variety it must give to the reader, it seems to have little to
recommend it. The Anthologies of Cephalas and Planudes are both
arranged by subject, but with considerable differences. The former, if
we omit the unimportant sections and the Christian epigrams, consists
of seven large sections in the following order:

(1) {Erotika}, amatory pieces. This heading requires no comment.

(2) {Anathematika}, dedicatory pieces, consisting of votive prayers
and dedications proper.

(3) {Epitumbia}, sepulchral pieces: consisting partly of epitaphs real
or imaginary, partly of epigrams on death or on dead persons in a
larger scope. Thus it includes the epigram on the Lacedaemonian mother
who killed her son for returning alive from an unsuccessful battle;[2]
that celebrating the magnificence of the tomb of Semiramis;[3] that
questioning the story as to the leap of Empedocles into Etna;[4] and a
large number which might equally well come under the next head, being
eulogies on celebrated authors and artists.

(4) {Epideiktika}, epigrams written as {epideixeis}, poetical
exercises or show-pieces. This section is naturally the longest and
much the most miscellaneous. There is indeed hardly any epigram which
could not be included in it. Remarkable objects in nature or art,
striking events, actual or imaginary, of present and past times, moral
sentences, and criticisms on particular persons and things or on life
generally; descriptive pieces; stories told in verse; imaginary
speeches of celebrated persons on different occasions, with such
titles as "what Philomela would say to Procne," "what Ulysses would
say when he landed in Ithaca"; inscriptions for houses, baths,
gardens, temples, pictures, statues, gems, clocks, cups: such are
among the contents, though not exhausting them.

(5) {Protreptika}, hortatory pieces; the "criticism of life" in the
direct sense.

(6) {Sumpotika kai Skoptika}, convivial and humorous epigrams.

(7) The {Mousa paidike Stratonos} already spoken of. Along with these,
as we have seen, there was in all probability an eighth section now
lost, containing epigrams on works of art.

Within each of these sections, the principle of arrangement, where it
exists at all, is very loose; and either the compilation was
carelessly made at first, or it has been considerably disordered in
transcription. Sometimes a number of epigrams by the same author
succeed one another, as though copied directly from a collection where
each author's work was placed separately; sometimes, on the other
hand, a number on the same subject by authors of different periods
come together.[5] Epigrams occasionally are put under wrong headings.
For example, a dedication by Leonidas of Alexandria is followed in the
/Dedicatoria/ by another epigram of his on Oedipus;[6] an imaginary
epitaph on Hesiod in the /Sepulcralia/ by one on the legendary contest
between Hesiod and Homer;[7] and the lovely fragment of pastoral on
Love keeping Thyrsis' sheep[8] comes oddly in among epitaphs. The
epideictic section contains a number of epigrams which would be more
properly placed in one or another of all the rest of the sections; and
the /Musa Stratonis/ has several which happily in no way belong to it.
There is no doubt a certain charm to the very confusion of the order,
which gives great variety and unexpectedness; but for practical
purposes a more accurate classification is desirable.

The Anthology of Planudes attempts, in a somewhat crude form, to
supply this. Each of the six books, with the exception of the
{Erotika}, which remain as is in the Palatine Anthology, is subdivided
into chapters according to subject, the chapters being arranged
alphabetically by headings. Thus the list of chapters in Book I.
begins, {eis agonas}, {eis ampelon}, {eis anathemata}, {eis
anaperous}, and ends {eis phronesin}, {eis phrontidas}, {eis khronon},
{eis oras}.

On the other hand, Brunck, in his /Analecta/, the arrangement of which
is followed by Jacobs in the earlier of his two great works, recast
the whole scheme, placing all epigrams by the same author together,
with those of unknown authorship at the end. This method presents
definite advantages when the matter in hand is a complete collection
of the works of the epigrammatists. With these smaller, as with the
more important works of literature, it is still true that a poet is
his own best commentator, and that by a complete single view of all
his pieces we are able to understand each one of them better. A
counter-argument is the large mass of {adespota} thus left in a heap
at the end. In Jacobs there are upwards of 750 of these, most of them
not assignable to any certain date; and they have to be arranged
roughly by subject. Another is the fact that a difficulty still
remains as to the arrangement of the authors. Of many of the minor
epigrammatists we know absolutely nothing from external sources; and
it is often impossible to determine from internal evidence the period,
even within several centuries, at which an epigram was written, so
little did the style and diction alter between the early Alexandrian
and the late Byzantine period. Still the advantages are too great to
be outweighed by these considerations.

But in a selection, an Anthology of the Anthology, the reasons for
such an arrangement no longer exist, and some sort of arrangement by
subject is plainly demanded. It would be possible to follow the old
divisions of the Palatine Anthology with little change but for the
epideictic section. This is not a natural division, and is not
satisfactory in its results. It did not therefore seem worthwhile to
adhere in other respects to the old classification except where it was
convenient; and by a new and somewhat more detailed division, it has
been attempted to give a closer unity to each section, and to make the
whole of them illustrate progressively the aspect of the ancient
world. Sections I., II., and VI. of the Palatine arrangement just
given are retained, under the headings of Love, Prayers and
Dedications, and the Human Comedy. It proved convenient to break up
Section III., that of sepulchral epigrams, which would otherwise have
been much the largest of the divisions, into two sections, one of
epitaphs proper, the other dealing with death more generally. A
limited selection from Section VII. has been retained under a separate
heading, Beauty. Section V., with additions from many other sources,
was the basis of a division dealing with the Criticism of Life; while
Section IV., together with what was not already classed, fell
conveniently under five heads: Nature, and in antithesis to it, Art
and Literature; Family Life; and the ethical view of things under the
double aspect of Religion on the one hand, and on the other, the blind
and vast forces of Fate and Change.

[1] Single lines are excluded by the definition; Anth. Pal. ix. 482
    appears to be the longest piece in the Anthology which can
    properly be called an epigram.

[2] Anth. Pal. vii. 433.

[3] Ibid. vii. 748.

[4] Ibid. vii. 124.

[5] Cf. especially Anth. Pal. vi. 179-187; ix. 713-742.

[6] Anth. Pal. vi. 322, 323.

[7] Ibid. vii. 52, 53.

[8] Ibid. vii. 703.


The literary treatment of the passion of love is one of the matters in
which the ancient stands furthest apart from the modern world. Perhaps
the result of love in human lives differs but little from one age to
another; but the form in which it is expressed (which is all that
literature has to do with) was altered in Western Europe in the middle
ages, and ever since then we have spoken a different language. And the
subject is one in which the feeling is so inextricably mixed up with
the expression that a new language practically means a new actual
world of things. Of nothing is it so true that emotion is created by
expression. The enormous volume of expression developed in modern
times by a few great poets and a countless number of prose writers has
reacted upon men and women; so certain is it that thought follows
language, and life copies art. And so here more than elsewhere, though
the rule applies to the whole sphere of human thought and action, we
have to expect in Greek literature to find much latent and implicit
which since then has become patent and prominent; much intricate
psychology not yet evolved; much--as is the truth of everything Greek
--stated so simply and directly, that we, accustomed as we are to more
complex and highly organised methods of expression, cannot without
some difficulty connect it with actual life, or see its permanent
truth. Yet to do so is just the value of studying Greek; for the more
simple the forms or ideas of life are, the better are we able to put
them in relation with one another, and so to unify life. And this
unity is the end which all human thought pursues.

Greek literature itself however may in this matter be historically
subdivided. In its course we can fix landmarks, and trace the entrance
and working of one and another fresh element. The Homeric world, the
noblest and the simplest ever conceived on earth; the period of the
great lyric poets; that of the dramatists, philosophers and
historians, which may be called the Athenian period; the hardly less
extraordinary ages that followed, when Greek life and language
overspread and absorbed the whole Mediterranean world, mingling with
East and West alike, making a common meeting-place for the Jew and the
Celt, the Arab and the Roman; these four periods, though they have a
unity in the fact that they are all Greek, are yet separated in other
ways by intervals as great as those which divide Virgil from Dante, or
Chaucer from Milton.

In the Iliad and Odyssey little is said about love directly; and yet
it is not to be forgotten that the moving force of the Trojan war was
the beauty of Helen, and the central interest of the return of
Odysseus is the passionate fidelity of Penelope.[1] Yet more than
this; when the poet has to speak of the matter, he never fails to rise
to the occasion in a way that even now we can see to be unsurpassable.
The Achilles of the Iliad may speak scornfully of Briseïs, as
insufficient cause to quarrel on;[2] the silver-footed goddess, set
above all human longings, regards the love of men and women from her
icy heights with a light passionless contempt.[3] But in the very
culminating point of the death-struggle between Achilles and Hector,
it is from the whispered talk of lovers that the poet fetches the
utmost touch of beauty and terror;[4] and it is in speaking to the
sweetest and noblest of all the women of poetry that Odysseus says the
final word that has yet been said of married happiness.[5]

In this heroic period love is only spoken of incidentally and
allusively. The direct poetry of passion belongs to the next period,
only known to us now by scanty fragments, "the spring-time of
song,"[6] the period of the great lyric poets of the sixth and seventh
centuries B.C. There human passion and emotion had direct expression,
and that, we can judge from what is left to us, the fullest and most
delicate possible. Greek life then must have been more beautiful than
at any other time; and the Greek language, much as it afterwards
gained in depth and capacity of expressing abstract thought, has never
again the same freshness, as though steeped in dew and morning
sunlight. Sappho alone, that unique instance of literature where from
a few hundred fragmentary lines we know certainly that we are in face
of one of the great poets of the world, expressed the passion of love
in a way which makes the language of all other poets grow pallid: /ad
quod cum iungerent purpuras suas, cineris specie decolorari videbantur
ceterae divini comparatione fulgoris/.[7]

  {eraman men ego sethen, Atthi, palai pota--}[8]

such simple words that have all sadness in their lingering cadences;

  {Oion to glukumalon ereuthetai--
  Er eti parthenias epiballomai;
  Ou gar en atera pais, o gambre, toiauta--}[9]

the poetry of pure passion has never reached further than this.

But with the vast development of Greek thought and art in the fifth
century B.C., there seems to have come somehow a stiffening of Greek
life; the one overwhelming interest of the City absorbing individual
passion and emotion, as the interest of logic and metaphysics absorbed
history and poetry. The age of Thucydides and Antipho is not one in
which the emotions have a change; and at Athens especially--of other
cities we can only speak from exceedingly imperfect knowledge, but
just at this period Athens means Greece--the relations between men and
women are even under Pericles beginning to be vulgarised. In the great
dramatic poets love enters either as a subsidiary motive somewhat
severely and conventionally treated, as in the Antigone of Sophocles,
or, as in the Phaedra and Medea of Euripides, as part of a general
study of psychology. It would be foolish to attempt to defend the
address of the chorus in the Antigone to Eros,[10] if regarded as the
language of passion; and even if regarded as the language of
criticism, it is undeniably frigid. Contrasted with the great chorus
in the same play,[11] where Sophocles is dealing with a subject that
he really cares about, it sounds almost artificial. And in Euripides,
psychology occupies the whole of the interest that is not already
preoccupied by logic and rhetoric; these were the arts of life, and
with these serious writing dealt; with the heroism of Macaria, even
with the devotion of Alcestis, personal passion has but little to do.

With the immense expansion of the Greek world that followed the
political extinction of Greece Proper, there came a relaxation of this
tension. Feeling grew humaner; social and family life reassumed their
real importance; and gradually there grew up a thing till then unknown
in the world, and one the history of which yet remains to be written,
the romantic spirit. Pastoral poetry, with its passionate sense of
beauty in nature, reacted on the sense of beauty in simple human life.
The Idyls of Theocritus are full of a new freshness of feeling: {epei
k esores tas parthenos oia gelanti}[12]--this is as alien from the
Athenian spirit as it approaches the feeling of a medieval romance-
writer: and in the Pharmaceutriae pure passion, but passion softened
into exquisite forms, is once more predominant.[13] It is in this age
then that we naturally find the most perfect examples of the epigram
of love. In the lyric period the epigram was still mainly confined to
its stricter sphere, that of inscriptions for tombs and dedicated
offerings: in the great Athenian age the direct treatment of love was
almost in abeyance. Just on the edge of this last period, as is usual
in a time of transition, there are exquisite premonitions of the new
art. The lovely hexameter fragment[14] preserved in the Anthology
under the name of Plato, and not unworthy of so great a parentage,
anticipates the manner and the cadences of Theocritus; and one or two
of the amatory epigrams that are probably Plato's might be Meleager's,
but for the severe perfection of language that died with Greek
freedom. But it is in the Alexandrian period that the epigram of love
flowers out; and it is at the end of that period, where the Greek
spirit was touched by Oriental passion, that it culminates in

We possess about a hundred amatory epigrams by this poet. Inferior
perhaps in clearness of outline and depth of insight to those of the
Alexandrian poet Asclepiades, they are unequalled in the width of
range, the profusion of imagination, the subtlety of emotion with
which they sound the whole lyre of passion. Meleager was born in a
Syrian town and educated at Tyre in the last age of the Seleucid
empire; and though he writes Greek with perfect mastery, it becomes in
his hands almost a new language, full of dreams, at once more languid
and more passionate. It was the fashion among Alexandrian poets to
experiment in language; and Callimachus had in this way brought the
epigram to the most elaborate jewel-finish; but in the work of
Callimachus and his contemporaries the pure Greek tradition still
survives. In Meleager, the touch of Asiatic blood creates a new type,
delicate, exotic, fantastic. Art is no longer restrained and severe.
The exquisite austerity of Greek poetry did not outlive the greatness
of Athens; its perfect clearness of outline still survived in
Theocritus; here both are gone. The atmosphere is loaded with a steam
of perfumes, and with still unimpaired ease and perfection of hand
there has come in a strain of the quality which of all qualities is
the most remote from the Greek spirit, mysticism. Some of Meleager's
epigrams are direct and simple, even to coarseness; but in all the
best and most characteristic there is this vital difference from
purely Greek art, that love has become a religion; the spirit of the
East has touched them. It is this that makes Meleager so curiously
akin to the medieval poets. Many of his turns of thought, many even of
his actual expressions, have the closest parallel in poets of the
fourteenth century who had never read a line of his work nor heard of
his name. As in them, the religion of love is reduced to a theology;
no subtlety, no fluctuation of fancy or passion is left unregistered,
alike in their lighter and their graver moods. Sometimes the feeling
is buried in masses of conceits, sometimes it is eagerly passionate,
but even then always with an imaginative and florid passion, never
directly as Sappho or Catullus is direct. Love appears in a hundred
shapes amidst a shower of fantastic titles and attributes. Out of all
the epithets that Meleager coins for him, one, set in a line of
hauntingly liquid and languid rhythm, "delicate-sandalled,"[15] gives
the key-note to the rest. Or again, he often calls him {glukupikros},
"bittersweet";[16] at first he is like wine mingled with honey for
sweetness, but as he grows and becomes more tyrannous, his honey
scorches and stings; and the lover, "set on fire and drenched to
swooning with his ointments," drinks from a deeper cup and mingles his
wine with burning tears.[17] Love the Reveller goes masking with the
lover through stormy winter nights;[18] Love the Ball-player tosses
hearts for balls in his hands;[19] Love the Runaway lies hidden in a
lady's eyes;[20] Love the Healer soothes with a touch the wound that
his own dart has made;[21] Love the Artist sets his signature beneath
the soul which he has created;[22] Love the Helmsman steers the soul,
like a winged boat, over the perilous seas of desire;[23] Love the
Child, playing idly with his dice at sundawn, throws lightly for human
lives.[24] Now he is a winged boy with childish bow and quiver, swift
of laughter and speech and tears;[25] now a fierce god with flaming
arrows, before whom life wastes away like wax in the fire, Love the
terrible, Love the slayer of men.[26] The air all round him is heavy
with the scent of flowers and ointments; violets and myrtle, narcissus
and lilies, are woven into his garlands, and the rose, "lover-loving"
as Meleager repeatedly calls it in one of his curious new compound
epithets,[27] is perpetually about him, and rains its petals over the
banqueting-table and the myrrh-drenched doorway.[28] For a moment
Meleager can be piercingly simple; and then the fantastic mood comes
over him again, and emotion dissolves in a mist of metaphors. But even
when he is most fantastic the unfailing beauty of his rhythms and
grace of his language remind us that we are still in the presence of a
real art.

The pattern set by Meleager was followed by later poets; and little
more would remain to say were it not necessary to notice the brief
renascence of amatory poetry in the sixth century. The poets of that
period take a high place in the second rank; and one, Paulus
Silentiarius, has a special interest among them as being at once the
most antique in his workmanship and the most modern in his sentiment.
One of his epigrams is like an early poem of Shakespeare's;[29]
another has in a singular degree the manner and movement of a sonnet
by Rossetti.[30] This group of epigrammatists brought back a phantom
of freshness into the old forms; once more the epigram becomes full of
pretty rhythms and fancies, but they are now more artificial; set
beside work of the best period they come out clumsy and heavy.
Language is no longer vivid and natural; the colour is a little
dimmed, the tone a little forced. As the painter's art had disappeared
into that of the worker in mosaic, so the language of poetry was no
longer a living stream, but a treasury of glittering words. Verse-
writers studied it carefully and used it cleverly, but never could
make up for the want of free movement of hand by any laborious
minuteness of tessellation. Yet if removed from the side of their
great models they are graceful enough, with a prettiness that recalls
and probably in many cases is copied from the novelists of the fourth
century; and sometimes it is only a touch of the diffuseness
inseparable from all Byzantine writing that separates their work in
quality from that of an earlier period.

After Justinian the art practically died out. The pedantic rigour of
Byzantine scholarship was little favourable to the poetry of emotion,
and the spoken language had now fallen so far apart from the literary
idiom that only scholars were capable of writing in the old classical
forms. The popular love-poetry, if it existed, has perished and left
no traces; henceforth, for the five centuries that elapsed till the
birth of Provençal and Italian poetry, love lay voiceless, as though
entranced and entombed.

[1] Cf. Il. iii. 156; Anth. Pal. ix. 166.

[2] Il. i. 298.

[3] Il. xxiv. 130.

[4] Il. xxii. 126-8.

[5] Od. vi. 185.

[6] {ear umnon}, Anth. Pal. vii. 12.

[7] Vopisc. Aurel. c. 29.

[8] Frag. 33 Bergk.

[9] Fragg. 93, 102, 106 Bergk.

[10] ll. 781, foll.

[11] ll. 332, foll.

[12] Theocr. i. 85.

[13] ll. 105-110 of this poem set beside Sappho, Fr. ii. ll. 9-16,
    Bergk, are a perfect example of the pastoral in contrast with the
    lyrical treatment.

[14] App. Plan. 210.

[15] Anth. Pal. xii. 158, {soi me, Theokleis, abropedilos Eros gumnon

[16] Ibid. xii. 109; cf. v. 163, 172; xii. 154.

[17] Ibid. xii. 132, 164.

[18] Ibid. xii. 167.

[19] Ibid. v. 214.

[20] Ibid. v. 177.

[21] Ibid. v. 225.

[22] Ibid. v. 155.

[23] Ibid. xii. 157.

[24] Anth. Pal. xii. 47.

[25] Ibid. v. 177.

[26] Ibid. v. 176, 180; xii. 72.

[27] Ibid. v. 136, 147.

[28] Ibid. v. 147, 198.

[29] Ibid. v. 241; cf. Passionate Pilgrim, xiv., xv.

[30] App. Plan. 278.


Closely connected with the passion of love as conceived by Greek
writers is a subject which continually meets us in Greek literature,
and which fills so large a part of the Anthology that it can hardly be
passed over without notice. The few epigrams selected from the
Anthology of Strato and included in this collection under the heading
of Beauty are not of course a representative selection. Of the great
mass of those epigrams no selection is possible or desirable. They
belong to that side of Greek life which is akin to the Oriental world,
and remote and even revolting to the western mind. And on this subject
the common moral sense of civilised mankind has pronounced a judgment
which requires no justification as it allows of no appeal.

But indeed the whole conception of Eros the boy, familiar as it sounds
to us from the long continued convention of literature, is, if we
think of its origin or meaning, quite alien from our own habit of life
and thought. Even in the middle ages it cohered but ill with the
literary view of the relations between men and women in poetry and
romance; hardly, except where it is raised into a higher sphere by the
associations of religion, as in the friezes of Donatello, is it quite
natural, and now, apart from what remains of these same associations,
the natural basis of the conception is wholly obsolete. Since the
fashion of squires and pages, inherited from the feudal system, ceased
with the decay of the Renaissance, there has been nothing in modern
life which even remotely suggests it. We still--such is the strength
of tradition in art--speak of Love under the old types, and represent
him under the image of a winged boy; but the whole condition of
society in which this type grew up has disappeared and left the
symbolism all but meaningless to the ordinary mind. In Greece it was
otherwise. Side by side with the unchanging passions and affections of
all mankind there was then a feeling, half conventional, and yet none
the less of vital importance to thought and conduct, which elevated
the mere physical charm of human youth into an object of almost divine
worship. Beauty was the special gift of the gods, perhaps their
choicest one; and not only so, but it was a passport to their favour.
Common life in the open air, and above all the importance of the
gymnasia, developed great perfection of bodily form and kept it
constantly before all men's eyes. Art lavished all it knew on the
reproduction of the forms of youthful beauty. Apart from the real
feeling, the worship of this beauty became an overpowering fashion. To
all this there must be added a fact of no less importance in
historical Greece, the seclusion of women. Not that this ever existed
in the Oriental sense; but, with much freedom and simplicity of
relations inside the family, the share which women had in the public
and external life of the city, at a time when the city meant so much,
was comparatively slight. The greater freedom of women in Homer makes
the world of the Iliad and Odyssey really more modern, more akin to
our own, than that of the later poets. The girl in Theocritus, "with
spring in her eyes,"[1] comes upon us as we read the Idyls almost like
a modernism. It is in the fair shepherd boy, Daphnis or Thyrsis, that
Greek pastoral finds its most obvious, one might almost say its most
natural inspiration.

Much of what is most perplexing in the difference in this respect
between Greek and western art has light thrown on it, if we think of
the importance which angels have in medieval painting. Their
invention, if one may call it so, was one of the very highest moment
in art. Those lovely creations, so precisely drawn up to a certain
point, so elusive beyond it, raised the feeling for pure beauty into a
wholly ideal plane. The deepest longings of men were satisfied by the
contemplation of a paradise in which we should be even as they. In
that mystical portraiture of the invisible world an answer--perhaps
the only answer--was found to the demand for an ideal of beauty. That
remarkable saying preserved by S. Clement, of a kingdom in which "the
two shall be one, and the male with the female neither male nor
female,"[2] might form the text for a chapter of no small importance
in human history. The Greek lucidity, which made all mysticism
impossible in their art as it was alien from their life, did not do
away with this imperious demand; and their cult of beauty was the
issue of their attempt, imperfect indeed at best and at worst
disastrous, to reunite the fragments of the human ideal.[3]

In much of this poetry too we are in the conventional world of
pastoral; and pastoral, it must be repeated, does not concern itself
with real life. The amount of latitude in literary expression varies
no doubt with the prevalent popular morality of the period. But it
would lead to infinite confusion to think of the poetry as a
translation of conduct. A truer picture of Greek life is happily given
us in those epigrams which deal with the material that history passes
over and ideal poetry, at least in Greek literature, barely touches
upon, the life of simple human relations from day to day within the
circle of the family.

[1] {ear oroosa Nukheia}, Theocr. xiii. 42.

[2] Clem. Rom. II. 12: {eperotetheis autos o Kurios upo tinos pote
    exei autou e basileia, eipen, otan estai ta duo en kai to exo os
    to eso kai to arsen meta tes theleias oute arsen oute thelu}. It
    is also quoted in almost the same words by Clem. Alex., Strom.
    xiii. 92, as from "the Gospel according to the Egyptians."

[3] Cf. Plato, Sympos. 191, 192.


Scattered over the sections of the Anthology are a number of epigrams
touching on this life, which are the more valuable to us, because it
is just this side of the ancient world of which the mass of Greek
literature affords a very imperfect view. In Homer indeed this is not
the case; but in the Athenian period the dramatists and historians
give little information, if we accept the highly idealised burlesque
of the Aristophanic Comedy. Of the New Comedy too little is preserved
to be of much use, and even in it the whole atmosphere was very
conventional. The Greek novel did not come into existence till too
late; and, when it came, it took the form of romance, concerning
itself more with the elaboration of sentiment and the excitement of
adventure than with the portraiture of real manners and actual
surroundings. For any detailed picture of common life, like that which
would be given of our own day to future periods by the domestic novel,
we look to ancient literature in vain. Thus, when we are admitted by a
fortunate chance into the intimacy of private life, as we are by some
of the works of Xenophon and Plutarch or by the letters of the younger
Pliny, the charm of the picture is all the greater: and so it is with
the epigrams that record birthdays and bridals, the toys of children,
the concord of quiet homes. We see the house of the good man,[1] an
abiding rest from the labours of a busy life, bountiful to all,
masters and servants, who dwell under its shelter, and extending a
large hospitality to the friend and the stranger. One generation after
another grows up in it under all good and gracious influences; a
special providence, under the symbolic forms of Cypris Urania or
Artemis the Giver of Light, holds the house in keeping, and each new
year brings increased blessing from the gods of the household in
recompense of piety and duty.[2] Many dedications bring vividly before
us the humbler life of the country cottager, no man's servant or
master, happy in the daily labour over his little plot of land, his
corn-field and vineyard and coppice; of the fowler with his boys in
the woods, the forester and the beekeeper, and the fisherman in his
thatched hut on the beach.[3] And in these contrasted pictures the
"wealth that makes men kind" seems not to jar with the "poverty that
lives with freedom."[4] Modern poetry dwells with more elaboration,
but not with the truer or more delicate feeling than those ancient
epigrams, on the pretty ways of children, the freshness of school-
days, the infinite beauty of the girl as she passes into the woman; or
even such slight things as the school-prize for the best copy-book,
and the child's doll in the well.[5] A shadow passes over the picture
in the complaint of a girl sitting indoors, full of dim thoughts,
while the boys go out to their games and enjoy unhindered the colour
and movement of the streets.[6] But this is the melancholy of youth,
the shadow of the brightness that passes before the maiden's eyes as
she sits, sunk in day-dreams, over her loom;[7] it passes away again
in the portrait of the girl growing up with the sweet eyes of her
mother, the budding rose that will soon unfold its heart of flame;[8]
and once more the bride renders thanks for perfect felicity to the
gods who have given her "a stainless youth and the lover whom she
desired."[9] Many of the most beautiful of the dedicatory epigrams are
thanksgivings after the birth of children; in one a wife says that she
is satisfied with the harmonious life that she and her husband live
together, and asks no further good.[10] Even death coming at the end
of such a life is disarmed of terror. In one of the most graceful
epitaphs of the Roman period[11] the dead man sums up the happiness of
his long life by saying that he never had to weep for any of his
children, and that their tears over him had no bitterness. The
inscription placed by Androtion over the yet empty tomb, which he has
built for himself and his wife and children, expresses that placid
acceptance which finds no cause of complaint with life.[12] Family
affection in an unbroken home; long and happy life of the individual,
and still longer, that of the race which remains; the calm
acquiescence in the law of life which is also the law of death, and
the desire that life and death alike may have their ordinary place and
period, not breaking use and wont; all this is implied here rather
than expressed, in words so simple and straightforward that they seem
to have fallen by accident, as it were, into verse. Thus too in
another epigram the dying wife's last words are praise to the gods of
marriage that she has had even such a husband, and to the gods of
death that he and their children survive her.[13] Or again, where
there is a cry of pain over severance, it is the sweetness of the past
life that makes parting so bitter; "what is there but sorrow," says
Marathonis over the tomb of Nicopolis,[14] "for a man alone upon earth
when his wife is gone?"

[1] Anth. Pal. ix. 649.

[2] Ibid. vi. 267, 280, 340.

[3] Ibid. vi. 226, vii. 156.

[4] {Dunatai to ploutein kai philanthropous poiein}, Menand., {Alieis}
    fr. 7; Anth. Pal. ix. 172.

[5] Anth. Pal. vi. 308, ix. 326.

[6] Ibid. v. 297.

[7] Ibid. vi. 266.

[8] Ibid. vi. 353, v. 124.

[9] Ibid. vi. 59.

[10] Ibid. vi. 209.

[11] Ibid. vii. 260.

[12] Ibid. vii. 228.

[13] Anth. Pal. vii. 555.

[14] Ibid. vii. 340.


"Even this stranger, I suppose, prays to the immortals," says Nestor
in the Odyssey,[1] "since all men have need of gods." When the Homeric
poems were written the Greek temper had already formed and ripened;
and so long as it survived, this recognition of religious duty
remained part of it. The deeper and more violent forms of religious
feeling were indeed always alien, and even to a certain degree
repugnant, to the Greek peoples. Mysticism, as has already been
observed, had no place with them; demons and monsters were rejected
from their humane and rationalised mythology, and no superstitious
terrors forced them into elaboration of ritual. There was no priestly
caste; each city and each citizen approached the gods directly at any
time and place. The religious life, as a life distinct from that of an
ordinary citizen, was unknown in Greece. Even at Rome the perpetual
maidenhood of the Vestals was a unique observance; and they were the
keepers of the hearth-fire of the city, not the intermediaries between
it and its gods. But the Vestals have no parallel in Greek life.
Asiatic rites and devotions, it is true, from an early period obtained
a foothold among the populace; but they were either discountenanced,
or by being made part of the civic ritual were disarmed of their
mystic or monastic elements. An epitaph in the Anthology commemorates
two aged priestesses as having been happy in their love for their
husbands and children;[2] nothing could be further from the Eastern or
the medieval sentiment of a consecrated life. Thus, if Greek religion
did not strike deep, it spread wide; and any one, as he thought fit,
might treat his whole life, or any part of it, as a religious act. And
there was a strong feeling that the observance of such duties in a
reasonable manner was proper in itself, besides being probably useful
in its results; no gentleman, if we may so translate the idea into
modern terms, would fail in due courtesy to the gods. That piety
sometimes met with strange returns was an undoubted fact, but that it
should be so inexplicable and indeed shocking even to the least
superstitious and most dispassionate minds.[3]

With the diffusion of a popularised philosophy religious feeling
became fainter among the educated classes, and correspondingly more
uncontrolled in the lower orders. The immense mass of dedicatory
epigrams written in the Alexandrian and Roman periods are in the main
literary exercises, though they were also the supply of a real and
living demand. The fashion outlived the belief; even after the
suppression of pagan worship scholars continued to turn out imitations
of the old models. One book of the Anthology of Agathias[4] consisted
entirely of contemporary epigrams of this sort, "as though dedicated
to former gods." But of epigrams dealing with religion in its more
intimate sense there are, as one would expect, very few in the
Anthology until we come to collections of Christian poetry. This light
form of verse was not suited to the treatment of the deepest subjects.
For the religious poetry of Greece one must go to Pindar and

But the small selection given here throws some interesting light on
Greek thought with regard to sacred matters. Each business of life,
each change of circumstance, calls for worship and offering. The
sailor, putting to sea with spring, is to pay his sacrifice to the
harbour-god, a simple offering of cakes or fish.[5] The seafarer
should not pass near a great shine without turning aside to pay it
reverence.[6] The traveller, as he crosses a hill-pass or rests by the
wayside fountain, is to give the accustomed honour to the god of the
ground, Pan or Hermes, or whoever holds the spot in special
protection.[7] Each shaded well in the forest, each jut of cliff on
the shore, has its tutelar deity, if only under the form of the
rudely-carved stake set in a garden or on a lonely beach where the
sea-gulls hover; and with their more sumptuous worship the houses of
great gods, all marble and gold, stand overlooking the broad valley or
the shining spaces of sea.[8] Even the wild thicket has its rustic
Pan, to whom the hunter and fowler pray for success in their day's
work, and the image of Demeter stands by the farmer's threshing-
floor.[9] And yet close as the gods come in their daily dealings with
men, scorning no offering, however small, that is made with clean
hands, finding no occasion too trifling for their aid, there is a yet
more homely worship of "little gods"[10] who take the most
insignificant matters in their charge. These are not mere
abstractions, like the lesser deities of the Latin religion, Bonus
Eventus, Tutilina, Iterduca and Domiduca, but they occupy much the
same place in worship. By their side are the heroes, the saints of the
ancient world, who from their graves have some power of hearing and
answering. Like the saints, they belong to all times, from the most
remote to the most recent. The mythical Philopregmon, a shadowy being
dating back to times of primitive worship, gives luck from his
monument on the roadside by the gate of Potidaea.[11] But the
traveller who had prayed to him in the morning as he left the town
might pay the same duty next evening by the tomb of Brasidas in the
market-place of Amphipolis.[12]

But alongside of the traditional worship of these multitudinous and
multiform deities, a grave and deep religious sense laid stress on the
single quality of goodness as being essentially akin to divinity, and
spoke with aversion of complicated ritual and extravagant sacrifice. A
little water purifies the good man; the whole ocean is not sufficient
to wash away the guilt of the sinner.[13] "Holiness is a pure mind,"
said the inscription over the doorway of a great Greek temple.[14] The
sanctions of religion were not indeed independent of rewards and
punishments, in this or in a future state. But the highest Greek
teachings never laid great stress on these; and even where they are
adduced as a motive for good living, they are always made secondary to
the excellence of piety here and in itself. Through the whole course
of Greek thought the belief in a future state runs in an undercurrent.
A striking fragment of Sophocles[15] speaks of the initiated alone as
being happy, since their state after death is secure. Plato, while he
reprobates the teaching which would make men good in view of the other
world, and insists on the natural excellence of goodness for its own
sake, himself falls back on the life after death, as affected for good
or evil by our acts here, in the visions, "no fairy-tales,"[16] which
seem to collect and reinforce the arguments of the /Phaedo/ and the
/Republic/. But the ordinary thought and practice ignored what might
happen after death. Life was what concerned men and absorbed them; it
seemed sufficient for them to think about what they knew of.[17] The
revolution which Christianity brought into men's way of thinking as
regards life and death was that it made them know more certainly, or
so it seemed, about the latter than about the former. Who knows,
Euripides had long ago asked, if life be not death, and death life?
and the new religion answered his question with an emphatic
affirmation that it was so; that this life was momentary and shadowy,
was but a death, in comparison of the life unchangeable and eternal.

The dedicatory epigram was one of the earliest forms of Greek poetry.
Herodotus quotes verses inscribed on offerings at Thebes, written in
"Cadmean letters," and dating back to a mythical antiquity;[18] and
actual dedications are extant which are at least as early as 600
B.C.[19] In this earlier period the verses generally contained nothing
more than a bare record of the act. Even at a later date, the
anathematic epigrams of Simonides are for the most part rather stiff
and formal when set beside his epitaphs. His nephew Bacchylides
brought the art to perfection, if it is safe to judge from a single
flawless specimen.[20] But it is hardly till the Alexandrian period
that the dedication has elaborate pains bestowed upon it simply for
the feeling and expression as a form of poetry; and it is to this
period that the mass of the best prayers and dedications belong.

Ranging as they do over the whole variety of human action, these
epigrams show us the ancient world in its simplest and most pleasant
aspect. Family life has its offerings for the birth of a child, for
return from travel, for recovery from sickness. The eager and curious
spirit of youth, and old age to which nothing but rest seems good,
each offer prayer to the guardians of the traveller or of the
home.[21] The most numerous and the most beautiful are those where,
towards the end of life, dedications are made with thanksgiving for
the past and prayer for what remains. The Mediterranean merchantman
retires to his native town and offers prayer to the protector of the
city to grant him a quiet age there, or dedicates his ship, to dance
no more "like a feather on the sea," now that its master has set his
weary feet on land.[22] The fisherman, ceasing his labours, hangs up
his fish-spear to Poseidon, saying, "Thou knowest I am tired." The old
hunter, whose hand has lost its suppleness, dedicates his nets to the
Nymphs, as all that he has to give. The market-gardener, when he has
saved a competence, lays his worn tools before Priapus the Garden-
Keeper. Heracles and Artemis receive the aged soldier's shield into
their temples, that it may grow old there amid the sound of hymns and
the dances of maidens.[23] Quiet peace, as of the greyness of a summer
evening, is the desired end.

The diffusion of Greece under Alexander and his successors, as at a
later period the diffusion of Rome under the Empire, brought with the
decay of civic spirit a great increase of humanity. The dedication
written by Theocritus for his friend Nicias of Miletus[24] gives a
vivid picture of the gracious atmosphere of a rich and cultured Greek
home, of the happy union of science and art with harmonious family
life and kindly helpfulness and hospitality. Care for others was a
more controlling motive in life than before. The feeling grew that we
are all one family, and owe each other the service and thoughtfulness
due to kinsfolk, till Menander could say that true life was living for
others.[25] In this spirit the sailor, come safe ashore, offers prayer
to Poseidon that others who cross the sea may be as fortunate; so too,
from the other side of the matter, Pan of the sea-cliff promises a
favourable wind to all strangers who sail by him, in remembrance of
the pious fisherman who set his statue there, as guardian of their
trawling-nets and eel-baskets.[26]

In revulsion from the immense accumulation of material wealth in this
period, a certain refined simplicity was then the ideal of the best
minds, as it was afterwards in the early Roman Empire, as it is in our
own day. The charm of the country was, perhaps for the first time,
fully realised; the life of gardens became a passion, and hardly less
so the life of the opener air, of the hill and meadow, of the shepherd
and hunter, the farmer and fisherman. The rules of art, like the
demands of heaven, were best satisfied with small and simple
offerings. "The least of a little"[27] was sufficient to lay before
gods who had no need of riches; and as the art of the epigrammatist
grew more refined, the poet took pride in working with the slightest
materials. The husbandman lays a handful of corn-ears before Demeter,
the gardener a basket of ripe fruit at the feet of Priapus; the
implements of their craft are dedicated by the carpenter and the
goldsmith; the young girl and the aged woman offer their even slighter
gift, the spindle and distaff, the reel of wool, and the rush-woven
basket.[28] A staff of wild-olive cut in the coppice is accepted by
the lord of the myriad-boughed forest; the Muses are pleased with
their bunch of roses wet with morning dew.[29] The boy Daphnis offers
his fawnskin and scrip of apples to the great divinity of Pan;[30] the
young herdsman and his newly-married wife, still with the rose-garland
on her hair, make prayer and thanksgiving with a cream cheese and a
piece of honeycomb to the mistress of a hundred cities, Aphrodite with
her house of gold.[31] The hard and laborious life of the small farmer
was touched with something of the natural magic that saturates the
Georgics; "rich with fair fleeces, and fair wine, and fair fruit of
corn," and blessed by the gracious Seasons whose feet pass over the
furrows.[32] On the green slope Pan himself makes solitary music to
the shepherd in the divine silence of the hills.[33] The fancy of
three brothers, a hunter, a fowler, and a fisherman, meeting to make
dedication of the spoils of their crafts to the country-god, was one
which had a special charm for epigrammatists; it is treated by no less
than nine poets, whose dates stretch over as many centuries.[34] Sick
of cities, the imagination turned to an Arcadia that thenceforth was
to fill all poetry with the music of its names and the fresh chill of
its pastoral air; the lilied banks of Ladon, the Erymanthian water,
the deep woodland of Pholoë and the grey steep of Cyllene.[35] Nature
grew full of a fresh and lovely divinity. A spirit dwells under the
sea, and looks with kind eyes on the creatures that go up and down in
its depths; Artemis flashes by in the rustle of the windswept oakwood,
and the sombre shade of the pines makes a roof for Pan; the wild hill
becomes a sanctuary, for ever unsown and unmown, where the Spirit of
Nature, remote and invisible, feeds his immortal flock and fulfils his

[1] Od. iii. 47.

[2] Anth. Pal. vii. 733; cf. also v. 14 in this selection.

[3] Cf. Thuc. vii. 86.

[4] Anth. Pal. iv. 3, ll. 113-116.

[5] Ibid. vi. 105; x. 14.

[6] Ibid. vi. 251; cf. v. 3 in this selection.

[7] App. Plan. 227; Anth. Pal. x. 12.

[8] App. Plan. 291; Anth. Pal. vi. 22, 119, ix. 144, x. 8, 10.

[9] Anth. Pal. x. 11, vi. 98.

[10] Ibid. ix. 334.

[11] Ibid. vii. 694.

[12] Thuc. v. 11; Arist. Eth. v. 7.

[13] Anth. Pal. xiv. 71.

[14] v. 15 in this selection.

[15] Fr. anon. 719.

[16] {ou mentoi soi Alkinou ge apologon ero}, Plato, Rep. 614 B.

[17] {To zen gar ismen tou thanein d apeiria
     Pas tis phobeitai phos lipein tod eliou}--Eurip. Phoenix, fr. 9.

[18] Hdt. v. 60, 61.

[19] See Kaibel, Epigr. Gr. 738-742.

[20] Anth. Pal. vi. 53.

[21] Anth. Pal. x. 6, vi. 70.

[22] Ibid. ix. 7, vi. 70.

[23] Ibid. vi. 30, 25, 21, 178, 127.

[24] Ibid. vi. 337; cf. Theocr. Idyl xxii.

[25] Frag. incert. 257, {tout esti to zen oukh eauto zen monon}.

[26] Anth. Pal. x. 10, 24.

[27] Ibid. vi. 98, {ek mikron oligista}.

[28] Ibid. vi. 98, 102; 103, 92; 174, 247.

[29] Ibid. vi. 3, 336.

[30] Ibid. vi. 177.

[31] Ibid. vi. 55; cf. vi. 119, xii. 131.

[32] Anth. Pal. vi. 31, 98.

[33] App. Plan. 17; cf. Lucret. v. 1387.

[34] Anth. Pal. vi. 11-16, and 179-187. The poets are Leonidas of
    Tarentum, Alcaeus of Messene, Antipater of Sidon, Alexander,
    Julius Diocles, Satyrus, Archias, Zosimus and Julianus Aegyptius.

[35] Anth. Pal. vi. 111, App. Plan. 188: compare Song iii. in Milton's

[36] Anth. Pal. x. 8; vi. 253, 268; vi. 79.


Though the section of the Palatine Anthology dealing with works of
art, if it ever existed, is now completely lost, we have still left a
considerable number of epigrams which come under this head. Many are
preserved in the Planudean Anthology. Many more, on account of the
cross-division of subjects that cannot be avoided in arranging any
collection of poetry, are found in other sections of the Palatine
Anthology. It was a favourite device, for example, to cast a criticism
or eulogy of an author or artist into the form of an imaginary
epitaph; and this was often actually inscribed on a monument, or
beneath a bust, in the galleries or gardens of a wealthy /virtuoso/.
Thus the sepulchral epigrams include inscriptions of this sort of many
of the most distinguished names of Greek literature. They are mainly
on poets and philosophers; Homer and Hesiod, the great tragedians and
comedians, the long roll of the lyric poets, most frequently among
them Sappho, Alcman, Erinna, Archilochus, Pindar, and the whole line
of philosophers from Thales and Anaxagoras down to the latest teachers
in the schools of Athens. Often in those epigrams some vivid epithet
or fine touch of criticism gives a real value to them even now; the
"frowning towers" of the Aeschylean tragedy, the trumpet-note of
Pindar, the wealth of lovely flower and leaf, crisp Archanian ivy,
rose and vine, that clusters round the tomb of Sophocles.[1] Those on
the philosophers are, as one would expect, generally of inferior

Many again are to be found among the miscellaneous section of
epideictic epigrams. Instances which deal with literature directly are
the noble lines of Alpheus on Homer, the interesting epigram on the
authorship of the /Phaedo/, the lovely couplet on the bucolic
poets.[2] Some are inscriptions for libraries or collections;[3]
others are on particular works of art. Among these last, epigrams on
statues or pictures dealing with the power of music are specially
notable; the conjunction, in this way, of the three arts seems to have
given peculiar pleasure to the refined and eclectic culture of the
Graeco-Roman period. The contest of Apollo and Marsyas, the piping of
Pan to Echo, and the celebrated subject of the Faun listening for the
sound of his own flute,[4] are among the most favourite and the most
gracefully treated of this class. Even more beautiful, however, than
these, and worthy to take rank with the finest "sonnets on pictures"
of modern poets, is the epigram ascribed to Theocritus, and almost
certainly written for a picture,[5] which seems to place the whole
world of ancient pastoral before our eyes. The grouping of the figures
is like that in the famous Venetian Pastoral of Giorgione; in both
alike are the shadowed grass, the slim pipes, the hand trailing upon
the viol-string. But the execution has the matchless simplicity, the
incredible purity of outline, that distinguishes Greek work from that
of all other races.

A different view of art and literature, and one which adds
considerably to our knowledge of the ancient feeling about them, is
given by another class of pieces, the irrisory epigrams of the
Anthology. Then, as now, people were amused by bad and bored by
successful artists, and delighted to laugh at both; then, as now, the
life of the scholar or the artist had its meaner side, and lent itself
easily to ridicule from without, to jealousy and discontent from
within. The air rang with jeers at the portrait-painter who never got
a likeness, the too facile composer whose body was to be burned on a
pile of five-and-twenty chests all filled with his own scores, the bad
grammar of the grammarian, the supersubtle logic and the cumbrous
technical language of the metaphysician, the disastrous fertility of
the authors of machine-made epics.[6] The poor scholar had become
proverbial; living in a garret where the very mice were starved,
teaching the children of the middle classes for an uncertain pittance,
glad to buy a dinner with a dedication, and gradually petrifying in
the monotony of a thousand repetitions of stock passages and lectures
to empty benches.[7] Land and sea swarmed with penniless
grammarians.[8] The epigrams of Palladas of Alexandria bring before us
vividly the miseries of a schoolmaster. Those of Callimachus shew with
as painful clearness how the hatred of what was bad in literature
might end in embittering the whole nature.[9] Many epigrams are extant
which indicate that much of a scholar's life, even when he had not to
earn bitter bread on the stairs of patrons, was wasted in laborious
pedantry or in personal jealousies and recriminations.[10]

Of epigrams on individual works of art it is not necessary to say
much. Their numbers must have been enormous. The painted halls and
colonnades, common in all Greek towns, had their stories told in verse
below; there was hardly a statue or picture of any note that was not
the subject of a short poem. A collected series of works of art had
its corresponding series of epigrams. The Anthology includes, among
other lists, a description of nineteen subjects carved in relief on
the pedestals of the columns in a temple at Cyzicus, and another of
seventy-three bronze statues which stood in the great hall of a
gymnasium at Constantinople.[11] Any celebrated work like the Niobe of
Praxiteles, or the bronze heifer of Myron, was the practising-ground
for every tried or untried poet, seeking new praise for some clever
conceit or neater turn of language than had yet been invented.
Especially was this so with the trifling art of the decadence and its
perpetual round of childish Loves: Love ploughing, Love holding a fish
and a flower as symbols of his sovereignty over sea and land, Love
asleep on a pepper-castor, Love blowing a torch, Love grasping or
breaking the thunderbolt, Love with a helmet, a shield, a quiver, a
trident, a club, a drum.[12] Enough of this class of epigrams are
extant to be perfectly wearisome, were it not that, like the engraved
gems from which their subjects are principally taken, they are all,
however trite in subject or commonplace in workmanship, wrought in the
same beautiful material, in that language which is to all other
languages as a gem to an ordinary pebble.

From these sources we are able to collect a body of epigrams which in
a way cover the field of ancient art and literature. Sometimes they
preserve fragments of direct criticism, verbal or real. We have
epigrams on fashions in prose style, on conventional graces of
rhetoric, on the final disappearance of ancient music in the sixth
century.[13] Of art-criticism in the modern sense there is but little.
The striking epigram of Parrhasius, on the perfection attainable in
painting,[14] is almost a solitary instance. Pictures and statues are
generally praised for their actual or imagined realism. Silly stories
like those of the birds pecking at the grapes of Zeuxis, or the calf
who went up to suck the bronze cow of Myron, represent the general
level of the critical faculty. Even Aristotle, it must be remembered,
who represents the most finished Greek criticism, places the pleasure
given by works of art in the recognition by the spectator of things
which he has already seen. "The reason why people enjoy seeing
pictures is that the spectators learn and infer what each object is;
/this/, they say, /is so and so/; while if one has not seen the thing
before, the pleasure is produced not by the imitation,"--or by the
art, for he uses the two terms convertibly--"but by the execution, the
colour, or some such cause."[15] And Plato (though on this subject one
can never be quite sure that Plato is serious) talks of the graphic
art as three times removed from realities, being only employed to make
copies of semblances of the external objects which are themselves the
copies or shadows of the ideal truth of things.[16] So far does Greek
thought seem to be from the conception of an ideal art which is nearer
truth than nature is, which nature itself indeed tries with perpetual
striving, and ever incomplete success, to copy, which, as Aristotle
does in one often quoted passage admit with regard to poetry, has a
higher truth and a deeper seriousness than that of actual things.

But this must not be pressed too far. The critical faculty, even where
fully present, may be overpowered by the rhetorical impulse; and of
all forms of poetry the epigram has the greatest right to be fanciful.
"This is the Satyr of Diodorus; if you touch it, it will awake; the
silver is asleep,"[17]--obviously this play of fancy has nothing to do
with serious criticism. And of a really serious feeling about art
there is sufficient evidence, as in the pathos of the sculptured
Ariadne, happy in sleeping and being stone, and even more strongly in
the lines on the picture of the Faun, which have the very tone and
spirit of the /Ode on a Grecian Urn/.[18]

Two epigrams above all deserve special notice; one almost universally
known, that written by Callimachus on his dead friend, the poet
Heraclitus of Halicarnassus; the other, no less noble, though it has
not the piercing tenderness of the first, by Claudius Ptolemaeus, the
great astronomer, upon his own science, a science then not yet
divorced from art and letters. The picture touched by Callimachus of
that ancient and brilliant life, where two friends, each an
accomplished scholar, each a poet, saw the summer sun set in their
eager talk, and listened through the dusk to the singing nightingales,
is a more exquisite tribute than all other ancient writings have given
to the imperishable delight of literature, the mingled charm of youth
and friendship, and the first stirring of the blood by poetry, and the
first lifting of the soul by philosophy.[19] And on yet a further
height, above the nightingales, under the solitary stars alone,
Ptolemy as he traces the celestial orbits is lifted above the touch of
earth, and recognises in man's mortal and ephemeral substance a
kinship with the eternal. /Man did eat angels' food: he opened the
doors of heaven./[20]

[1] Anth. Pal. vii. 39, 34, 21, 22.

[2] Ibid. ix. 97, 358, 205.

[3] Cf. iv. 1 in this selection.

[4] Anth. Pal. vii. 696, App. Plan. 8, 225, 226, 244.

[5] Anth. Pal. ix. 433. On this epigram Jacobs says, /Frigide hoc
    carmen interpretantur qui illud tabulae pictae adscriptum fuisse
    existimant/. But the art of poems on pictures, which flourished to
    an immense degree in the Alexandrian and later periods, had not
    then been revived. One can fancy the same note being made hundreds
    of years hence on some of Rossetti's sonnets.

[6] Anth. Pal. xi. 215, 133, 143, 354, 136.

[7] Ibid. vi. 303, ix. 174, vi. 310; cf. also x. 35 in this selection.

[8] Ibid. xi. 400.

[9] Compare Anth. Pal. xii. 43 with ix. 565.

[10] Ibid. xi. 140, 142, 275.

[11] Anth. Pal. ii., iii.

[12] App. Plan. 200, 207, 208, 209, 214, 215, 250.

[13] Anth. Pal. xi. 141, 142, 144, 157; vii. 571.

[14] iv. 46 in this selection.

[15] Poet. 1448 b. 15-20.

[16] Republic, x. 597.

[17] App. Plan. 248.

[18] App. Plan. 146, 244.

[19] Anth. Pal. vii. 80. Cf. In Memoriam, xxiii.

[20] Anth. Pal. ix. 577; notice especially {theies pimplamai


That the feeling for Nature is one of the new developments of the
modern spirit, is one of those commonplaces of criticism which express
vaguely and loosely a general impression gathered from the comparison
of ancient with modern poetry. Like most of such generalisations it is
not of much value unless defined more closely; and as the definition
of the rule becomes more accurate, the exceptions and limitations to
be made grow correspondingly numerous. The section which is here
placed under this heading is obviously different from any collection
which could be made of modern poems, professing to deal with Nature
and not imitated from the Greek. But when we try to analyse the
difference, we find that the word Nature is one of the most ambiguous
possible. Man's relation to Nature is variable not only from age to
age, and from race to race, but from individual to individual, and
from moment to moment. And the feeling for Nature, as expressed in
literature, varies not only with all these variations but with other
factors as well, notably with the prevalent mode of poetical
expression, and with the condition of the other arts. The outer world
lies before us all alike, with its visible facts, its demonstrable
laws, /Natura daedala rerum/; but with each of us the /species
ratioque naturae/, the picture presented by the outer world and the
meaning that underlies it, are created in our own minds, the one by
the apprehensions of our senses (and the eye sees what it brings the
power to see), the other by our emotions, our imagination, our
intellectual and moral qualities, as all these are affected by the
pageant of things, and affect it in turn. And in no case can we
express in words the total impression made upon us, but only that
amount of it for which we possess a language of sufficient range and
power and flexibility. For an impression has permanence and value--
indeed one may go further and say has reality--only in so far as it is
fixed and recorded in language, whether in the language of words or
that of colours, forms, and sounds.

First in the natural order comes that simply sensuous view of the
outer world, where combination and selection have as yet little or no
part. Objects are distinct from one another, each creates a single
impression, and the effect of each is summed up in a single phrase.
The "constant epithet" of early poetry is a survival of this stage of
thought; nature is a series of things, every one of which has its
special note; "green grass," "wet water." Here the feeling for Nature
likewise is simple and sensuous; the pleasure of shade and cool water
in summer, of soft grass to lie on, of the flowers and warm sunshine
of spring.

Then out of this infancy of feeling rises the curiosity of childhood;
no longer content with noting and recording the obvious aspects of
Nature, man observes and inquires and pays attention. The more
attention is paid, the more is seen: and an immense growth follows in
the language of poetry. To express the feeling for nature description
becomes necessary, and this again involves, in order that the work may
not be endless, selection and composition.

Again, upon this comes the sentimental feeling for Nature, a sort of
sympathy created by interest and imagination. Among early races this,
like other feelings, expresses itself in the forms of mythology, and
half personifies the outer world, giving the tree her Dryad and the
fountain her Nymph, making Pan and Echo meet in the forest glade. When
the mythological instinct has ceased to be active, it results in
sentimental description, sometimes realistic in detail, sometimes
largely or even wholly conventional. It has always in it something of
a reaction, real or affected, from crowds and the life of cities, an
attempt to regain simplicity by isolation from the complex fabric of

Once more, the feeling for Nature may go deeper than the senses and
the imagination, and become moral. The outer world is then no more a
spectacle only, but the symbol of a meaning, the embodiment of a soul.
Earth, the mother and fostress, receives our sympathy and gives us her
own. The human spirit turns away from itself to seek sustenance from
the mountains and the stars. The whole outer universe becomes the
visible and sensible language of an ideal essence; and dawn or sunset,
winter or summer, is of the nature of a sacrament.

There is over and above all these another sense in which we may speak
of the feeling for Nature; and in regard to poetry it is perhaps the
most important of all. But it no longer follows, like the rest, a sort
of law of development in human nature generally; it is confined to
art, and among the arts is eminent in poetry beyond the rest. This is
the romantic or magical note. It cannot be analysed, perhaps it cannot
be defined; the insufficiency of all attempted definitions of poetry
is in great part due to the impossibility of their including this
final quality, which, like some volatile essence, escapes the moment
the phial is touched. In the poetry of all ages, even in the periods
where it has been most intellectual and least imaginative, come sudden
lines like the /Cette obscure clarté qui tombe des étoiles/ of
Corneille, like the /Placed far amid the melancholy main/ of Thomson,
where the feeling for Nature cannot be called moral, and yet stirs us
like the deepest moral criticism upon life, rising as far beyond the
mere idealism of sentiment as it does beyond the utmost refinement of
realistic art.

In all these different forms the feeling for Nature may be illustrated
from Greek poetry; but the broad fact remains that Nature on the whole
has a smaller part than it has with modern poets. Descriptive pieces
are executed in a slighter manner, and on the whole with a more
conventional treatment. Landscapes, for example, are always a
background, never (or hardly ever) the picture itself. The influence
of mythology on art was so overwhelming that, down to the last, it
determined the treatment of many subjects where we should now go
directly to the things themselves. Especially is this so with what has
been described as the moral feeling for nature. Among "the
unenlightened swains of Pagan Greece," as Wordsworth says, the deep
effect of natural beauty on the mind was expressed under the forms of
a concrete symbolism, a language to which literature had grown so
accustomed that they had neither the power nor the wish to break free
from it. The appeal indeed from man to Nature, and especially the
appeal to Nature as knowing more about man's destiny than he knows
himself, was unknown to the Greek poets. But this feeling is
sentimental, not moral; and with them too "something far more deeply
interfused" stirred the deepest sources of emotion. The music of Pan,
at which the rustle of the oakwood ceases and the waterfall from the
cliff is silent and the faint bleating of the sheep dies away,[1] is
the expression in an ancient language of the spirit of Nature, fixed
and embodied by the enchanting touch of art.

Of the epigrams which deal primarily with the sensuous feeling for
Nature, the most common are those on the delight of summer, rustling
breezes and cold springs and rest under the shadow of trees. In the
ardours of midday the traveller is guided from the road over a grassy
brow to an ice-cold spring that gushes out of the rock under a pine;
or lying idly on the soft meadow in the cool shade of the plane, is
lulled by the whispering west wind through the branches, the monotone
of the cicalas, the faint sound of a far-off shepherd's pipe floating
down the hills; or looking up into the heart of the oak, sees the dim
green roof, layer upon layer, mount and spread and shut out the
sky.[2] Or the citizen, leaving the glare of town, spends a country
holiday on strewn willow-boughs with wine and music,[3] as in that
most perfect example of the poetry of a summer day, the /Thalysia/ of
Theocritus. Down to a late Byzantine period this form of poetry, the
nearest approach to pure description of nature in the old world,
remained alive; as in the picture drawn by Arabius of the view from a
villa on the shore of the Propontis, with its gardens set between wood
and sea, where the warbling of birds mingled with the distant songs of
the ferrymen.[4] Other landscape poems, as they may be called,
remarkable for their clear and vivid portraiture, are that of
Mnasalcas,[5] the low shore with its bright surf, and the temple with
its poplars round which the sea-fowl hover and cry, and that of
Anyte,[6] the windy orchard-close near the grey colourless coast, with
the well and the Hermes standing over it at the crossways. But such
epigrams always stop short of the description of natural objects for
their own sake, for the mere delight in observing and speaking about
them. Perhaps the nearest approach that Greek poetry makes to this is
in a remarkable fragment of Sophocles,[7] describing the shiver that
runs through the leaves of a poplar when all the other trees stand
silent and motionless.

The descriptions of Nature too are, as a rule, not only slightly
sketched, but kept subordinate to a human relation. The brilliance and
loveliness of spring is the background for the picture of the sailor
again putting to sea, or the husbandman setting his plough at work in
the furrow; the summer woods are a resting-place for the hot and
thirsty traveller; the golden leaves of autumn thinning in the frosty
night, making haste to be gone before the storms of rough November,
are a frame for the boy beneath them.[8] The life of earth is rarely
thought of as distinct from the life of man. It is so in a few late
epigrams. The complaint of the cicala, torn away by shepherds from its
harmless green life of song and dew among the leaves, and the poem
bidding the blackbird leave the dangerous oak, where, with its breast
against a spray, it pours out its clear music,[9] are probably of
Roman date; another of uncertain period but of great beauty, an
epitaph on an old bee-keeper who lived alone on the hills with the
high woods and pastures for his only neighbours, contrasts with a
strangely modern feeling the perpetuity of nature and the return of
the works of spring with the brief life of man that ends once for all
on a cold winter night.[10]

Between the simply sensuous and the deep moral feeling for nature lies
the broad field of pastoral. This is not the place to enter into the
discussion of pastoral poetry; but it must be noted in passing that it
does not imply of necessity any deep love, and still less any close
observation, of nature. It looks on nature, as it looks on human life,
through a medium of art and sentiment; and its treatment of nature
depends less on the actual world around it than on the prevalent art
of the time. Greek art concentrated its efforts on the representation
of the human figure, and even there preferred the abstract form and
the rigid limitations of sculpture; and the poetry that saw, as it
were, through the eyes of art sought above all things simplicity of
composition and clearness of outline. The scanty vocabulary of colour
in Greek poetry, so often noticed, is a special and patent example of
this difference in the spirit with which Nature was regarded. As the
poetry of Chaucer corresponds, in its wealth and intimacy of
decoration, to the illuminations and tapestries of the middle ages, so
the epigrams given under this section constantly recall the sculptured
reliefs and the engraved gems of Greek art.

But any such general rules must be taken with their exceptions. As
there is a risk of reading modern sentiment into ancient work, and
even of fixing on the startling modernisms that occur in Greek
poetry,[11] and dwelling on them till they assume an exaggerated
importance, so there is a risk perhaps as great of slurring over the
inmost quality, the poetry of the poetry, where it has that touch of
romance or magic that sets it beyond all our generalisations. The
magical charm is just what cannot be brought under any rules; it is
the result less of art than of instinct, and is almost independent of
time and place. The lament of the swallow in an Alexandrian poet[12]
touches the same note of beauty and longing that Keats drew from the
song of the nightingale; the couplet of Satyrus, where echo repeats
the lonely cry of the birds,[13] is, however different in tone, as
purely romantic as the opening lines of /Christabel/.

[1] Anth. Pal. ix. 823.

[2] App. Plan. 230, 227; Anth. Pal. ix. 71.

[3] vi. 28 in this selection.

[4] Anth. Pal. ix. 667.

[5] Ibid. ix. 333.

[6] Ibid. ix. 314.

[7] Aegeus, fr. 24; cf. the celebrated simile in /Hyperion/,
    beginning, /As when upon a tranced summer night/.

[8] Anth. Pal. xii. 138.

[9] Ibid. ix. 373, 87.

[10] Ibid. vii. 717.

[11] A curious instance is in an epigram by Mnasalcas (Anth. Pal. vii.
    194), where he speaks of the evening hymn ({panesperon umnon}) of
    the grasshopper. This, it must be remembered, was written in the
    third century B.C.

[12] Pamphilus in Anth. Pal. ix. 57.

[13] App. Plan. 153.


Though fate and death make a dark background against which the
brilliant colouring of Greek life glitters out with heightened
magnificence, the comedy of men and manners occupies an important part
of their literature, and Aristophanes and Menander are as intimately
Greek as Sophocles. It is needless to speak of what we gain in our
knowledge of Greece from the preserved comedies of Aristophanes; and
if we follow the best ancient criticism, we must conclude that in
Menander we have lost a treasury of Greek life that cannot be
replaced. Quintilian, speaking at a distance from any national or
contemporary prejudice, uses terms of him such as we should not think
unworthy of Shakespeare.[1] These Attic comedians were the field out
of which epigrammatists, from that time down to the final decay of
literature, drew some of their graver and very many of their lighter
epigrams. Of the convivial epigrams in the Anthology a number are
imitated from extant fragments of the New Comedy; one at least[2]
transfers a line of Menander's unaltered; and short fragments of both
Menander and Diphilus are included in the Anthology as though not
materially differing from epigrams themselves.[3]

Part of this section might be classed with the criticism of life from
the Epicurean point of view. Some of the convivial epigrams are purely
unreflective; they speak only of the pleasure of the moment, the frank
joy in songs and wine and roses, at a vintage-revel, or in the
chartered licence of a public festival, or simply without any excuse
but the fire in the blood, and without any conclusion but the emptied
jar.[4] Some bring in a flash of more vivid colour where Eros mingles
with Bromius, and, on a bright spring day, Rose-flower crosses the
path, carrying her fresh-blown roses.[5] Others, through their light
surface, show a deeper feeling, a claim half jestingly but half
seriously made for dances and lyres and garlands as things deeply
ordained in the system of nature, a call on the disconsolate lover to
be up and drink, and rear his drooping head, and not lie down in the
dust while he is yet alive.[6] Some in complete seriousness put the
argument for happiness with the full force of logic and sarcasm. "All
the ways of life are pleasant," cries Julianus in reply to the
weariness expressed by an earlier poet;[7] "in country or town, alone
or among fellow-men, dowered with the graciousness of wife and
children, or living on in the free and careless life of youth; all is
well, live!" And the answer to melancholy has never been put in a
concrete form with finer and more penetrating wit than in the couplet
of Lucian on the man who must needs be sober when all were drinking,
and so appeared in respect of his company to be the one drunk man

It is here that the epigrams of comedy reach their high-water mark; in
contrast to them is another class in which the lightness is a little
forced and the humour touches cynicism. In these the natural brutality
of the Roman mind makes the Latin epigram heavier and keener-pointed;
the greater number indeed of the Greek epigrams of this complexion are
of the Roman period; and many of them appear to be directly imitated
from Martial and Juvenal, though possibly in some cases it is the
Latin poet who is the copyist.

Though they are not actually kept separate--nor indeed would a
complete separation be possible--the heading of this section of the
Palatine Anthology distinguishes the {sumpotika}, the epigrams of
youth and pleasure, from the {skoptika}, the witty or humorous verses
which have accidentally in modern English come almost to absorb the
full signification of the word epigram. The latter come principally
under two heads: one, where the point of the epigram depends on an
unexpected verbal turn, the other, where the humour lies in some gross
exaggeration of statement. Or these may be combined; in some of the
best there is an accumulation of wit, a second and a third point
coming suddenly on the top of the first.[9]

Perhaps the saying, so often repeated, that ancient humour was simpler
than modern, rests on a more sufficient basis than most similar
generalisations; and indeed there is no single criterion of the
difference between one age and another more easy and certain of
application, where the materials for applying it exist, than to
compare the things that seem amusing to them. A certain foundation of
humour seems to be the common inheritance of mankind, but on it
different periods build differently. The structure of a Greek joke is
generally very simple; more obvious and less highly elliptical in
thought than the modern type, but, on the other hand, considerably
more subtle than the wit of the middle ages. There was a store of
traditional jests on the learned professions, law, astrology, medicine
--the last especially; and the schools of rhetoric and philosophy
were, from their first beginning, the subject of much pleasantry. Any
popular reputation, in painting, music, literature, gave material for
facetious attack; and so did any bodily defect, even those, it must be
added, which we think of now as exciting pity or as to be passed over
in silence.[10] Many of these jokes, which even then may have been of
immemorial antiquity, are still current. The serpent that bit a
Cappadocian and died of it, the fashionable lady whose hair is all her
own, and paid for,[11] are instances of this simple form of humour
that has no beginning nor end. Some Greek jests have an Irish
inconsequence, some the grave and logical monstrosity of American

Naïve, crude, often vulgar; such is the general impression produced by
the mass of these lighter epigrams. The bulk of them are of late date;
and the culture of the ancient world was running low when its /vers de
société/ reached no higher level than this. Of course they can only be
called poetry by a large stretch of courtesy. In a few instances the
work is raised to the level of art by a curious Dutch fidelity and
minute detail. In one given in this selection,[12] a great poet has
bent to this light and trivial style. The high note of Simonides is as
clear and certain here as in his lines on the Spartans at Thermopylae
or in the cry of grief over the young man dead in the snow-clogged
surf of the Saronic sea. With such exceptions, the only touch of
poetry is where a graver note underlies their light insolence. "Drink
with me," runs the Greek song, "be young with me; love with me, wear
garlands with me; be mad with me in my madness; I will be serious with
you in your seriousness."[13] And so behind the flutes and flowers
change comes and the shadow of fate stands waiting, and through the
tinkling of the rose-hung river is heard in undertone the grave murmur
of the sea.

[1] /Omnem vitae imaginem expressit . . . omnibus rebus, personis,
    adfectibus accomodatus/: see the whole passage, Inst. Rhet. x. i.

[2] Anth. Pal. xi. 286.

[3] Ibid. xi. 438, 439.

[4] Ibid. v. 134, 135; xi. 1.

[5] Ibid. v. 81; xi. 64.

[6] Anth. Pal. ix. 270; xii. 50.

[7] Ibid. ix. 446.

[8] Ibid. xi. 429.

[9] Cf. ibid. xi. 85, 143.

[10] Cf. Anth. Pal. xi. 342, 404.

[11] Ibid. xi. 68, 237.

[12] Infra, x. 5.

[13] Athenaeus, 695, d.


For over all Greek life there lay a shadow. Man, a weak and pitiable
creature, lay exposed to the shafts of a grim and ironic power that
went its own way careless of him, or only interfered to avenge its own
slighted majesty. "God is always jealous and troublesome"; such is the
reflection which Herodotus, the pious historian of a pious age, puts
in the mouth of the wisest of the Greeks.[1] Punishment will sooner or
later follow sin; that is certain; but it is by no means so certain
that the innocent will not be involved with the guilty, or that
offence will not be taken where none was meant. The law of /laesa
majestas/ was executed by the ruling powers of the universe with
unrelenting and undiscriminating severity. Fate seemed to take a
sardonic pleasure in confounding expectation, making destruction
spring out of apparent safety, and filling life with dramatic and
memorable reversals of fortune.

And besides the bolts launched by fate, life was as surely if more
slowly weighed down by the silent and ceaseless tide of change against
which nothing stood fixed or permanent, and which swept the finest and
most beautiful things away the soonest. The garland that blooms at
night withers by morning; and the strength of man and the beauty of
women are no longer-lived than the frail anemone, the lily and violet
that flower and fall.[2] Sweetness is changed to bitterness; where the
rose has spread her cup, one goes by and the brief beauty passes;
returning, the seeker finds no rose, but a thorn. Swifter than the
flight of a bird through the air the light-footed Hours pass by,
leaving nothing but scattered petals and the remembrance of youth and
spring.[3] The exhortation to use the brief space of life, to realise,
and, so far as that may be, to perpetuate in action the whole of the
overwhelming possibilities crowded into a minute's space[4] comes with
a passion like that of Shakespeare's sonnets. "On this short day of
frost and sun to sleep before evening" is the one intolerable misuse
of life.[5] Sometimes the feeling is expressed with the vivid passion
of a lyric:--"To what profit? for thou wilt not find a lover among the
dead, O girl";[6] sometimes with the curiously impersonal and
incomparably direct touch that is peculiar to Greek, as in the verses
by Antipater of Sidon,[7] that by some delicate magic crowd into a few
words the fugitive splendour of the waning year, the warm lingering
days and sharp nights of autumn, and the brooding pause before the
rigours of winter, and make the whole masque of the seasons a pageant
and metaphor of the lapse of life itself. Or a later art finds in the
harsh moralisation of ancient legends the substance of sermons on the
emptiness of pleasure and the fragility of loveliness; and the bitter
laugh over the empty casket of Pandora[8] comes from a heart wrung
with the sorrow that beauty is less strong than time. Nor is the
burden of these poems only that pleasant things decay; rather that in
nothing good or bad, rich or mean, is there permanence or certitude,
but everywhere and without selection Time feeds oblivion with decay of
things. All things flow and nothing abides; shape and name, nature and
fortune yield to the dissolving touch of time.[9]

Even then the world was old. The lamentations over decayed towns and
perished empires remind us that the distance which separates the age
of the Caesars from our own is in relation to human history merely a
chapter somewhere in the middle of a great volume. Then, no less than
now, men trod daily over the ruins of old civilisations and the
monuments of lost races. One of the most striking groups of poems in
the Anthology is the long roll of the burdens of dead cities; Troy,
Delos, Mycenae, Argos, Amphipolis, Corinth, Sparta.[10] The
depopulation of Greece brought with it a foreshadowing of the wreck of
the whole ancient world. With the very framework of human life giving
way daily before their eyes, men grew apt to give up the game. The
very instability of all things, once established as a law, brought a
sort of rest and permanence with it; "there is nothing strictly
immutable," they might have said, "but mutability." Thus the law of
change became a permanent thread in mortal affairs, and, with the
knowledge that all the old round would be gone over again by others,
grew the sense that in the acceptance of this law of nature there was
involved a conquest of nature, an overcoming of the world.

For the strength of Fate was not otherwise to be contended with, and
its grim irony went deeper than human reach. Nemesis was merciless; an
error was punished like a crime, and the more confident you had been
that you were right, the most severe was the probable penalty. But it
was part of Fate's malignity that, though the offender was punished,
though Justice took care that her own interests were not neglected nor
her own majesty slighted, even where a humane judge would have shrunk
from inflicting a disproportionate penalty,[11] yet for the wronged
one himself she provided no remedy; he suffered at his own risk. For
falseness in friendship, for scorn of poverty, for wanton cruelty and
torture, the wheel of fortune brought round some form of retribution,
but the sufferers were like pieces swept off the board, once and for

And Fate seemed to take a positive pleasure in eluding anticipation
and constructing dramatic surprises. Through all Greek literature this
feeling shows itself; and later epigrams are full of incidents of this
sort, recounted and moralised over with the wearisomeness of a tract,
stories sometimes obviously invented with an eye to the moral,
sometimes merely silly, sometimes, though rarely, becoming
imaginative. The contrast of a youth without means to indulge its
appetites and an age without appetites to exhaust its means; the story
of the poor man who found treasure and the rich man who hanged
himself; the fable of the vine's revenge upon the goat, are typical
instances of the prosaic epigram.[12] The noble lines inscribed upon
the statue of Memnon at Thebes[13] are an example of the vivid
imaginative touch lighting up a sufficiently obvious theme for the
rhetorician. Under the walls of Troy, long ages past, the son of Dawn
had fallen under Achilles' terrible spear; yet now morning by morning
the goddess salutes her son and he makes answer, while Thetis is
childless in her sea-halls, and the dust of Achilles moulders silently
in the Trojan plain. The Horatian maxim of /nulli satis cautum/ recurs
in the story of the ship, that had survived its sea-perils, burnt at
last as it lay on shore near its native forest, and finding the ocean
less faithless than the land.[14] In a different vein is the sarcastic
praise of Fortune for her exaltation of a worthless man to high
honour, "that she might shew her omnipotence."[15] At the root of all
there is the sense, born of considering the flux of things and the
tyranny of time, that man plays a losing game, and that his only
success is in refusing to play. For the busy and idle, for the
fortunate and unhappy alike, the sun rises one morning for the last
time;[16] he only is to be congratulated who is done with hope and
fear;[17] how short-lived soever he be in comparison with the world
through which he passes, yet no less through time Fate dries up the
holy springs, and the mighty cities of old days are undecipherable
under the green turf;[18] it is the only wisdom to acquiesce in the
forces, however ignorant or malign in their working, that listen to no
protest and admit no appeal, that no force can affect, no subtlety
elude, no calculation predetermine.

[1] {to theion pan phthoneron te kai tarakhodes}, Hdt. i. 32.

[2] Anth. Pal. v. 74, 118.

[3] Ibid. xi. 53; xii. 32, 234.

[4] Anth. Pal. vii. 472.

[5] Ibid. xi. 25; xii. 50.

[6] Ibid. v. 85.

[7] Ibid. xi. 37.

[8] Ibid. x. 71.

[9] Ibid. ix. 51.

[10] Ibid. vii. 705, 723; ix. 28, 101-4, 151-6, 408.

[11] Anth. Pal. ix. 269.

[12] Ibid. ix. 138, 44, 75.

[13] ix. 19 in this selection.

[14] Anth. Pal. ix. 106.

[15] Ibid. ix. 530.

[16] Ibid. ix. 8.

[17] Ibid. ix. 172; xi. 282.

[18] Ibid. ix. 101, 257.


Of these prodigious natural forces the strongest and the most imposing
is Death. Here, if anywhere, the Greek genius had its fullest scope
and most decisive triumph; and here it is that we come upon the
epigram in its inmost essence and utmost perfection. "Waiting to see
the end" as it always did, the Greek spirit pronounced upon the end
when it came with a swiftness, a tact, a certitude that leave all
other language behind. For although Latin and not Greek is
pre-eminently and without rival the proper and, one might almost say,
the native language of monumental inscription, yet the little
difference that fills inscriptions with imagination and beauty, and
will not be content short of poetry, is in the Greek temper alone. The
Roman sarcophagus, square hewn of rock, and bearing on it, incised for
immortality, the haughty lines of rolling Republican names, represents
to us with unequalled power the abstract majesty of human States and
the glory of law and government; and the momentary pause in the steady
current of the life of Rome, when one citizen dropped out of rank and
another succeeded him, brings home to us with crushing effect, like
some great sentence of Tacitus, the brief and transitory worth of a
single life. /Qui apicem gessisti, mors perfecit tua ut essent omnia
brevia, honos fama virtusque, gloria atque ingenium/[1]--words like
these have a melancholy majesty that no other human speech has known;
nor can any greater depth of pathos be reached than is in the two
simple words /Bene merenti/ on a hundred Roman tombs. But the Greek
mind here as elsewhere came more directly than any other face to face
with the truth of things, and the Greek genius kindled before the
vision of life and death into a clearer flame. The sepulchural reliefs
show us many aspects of death; in all of the best period there is a
common note, mingled of a grave tenderness, simplicity, and reserve.
The quiet figures there take leave of one another with the same grace
that their life had shown. There is none of the horror of darkness,
none of the ugliness of dying; with calm faces and undisordered
raiment they rise from their seats and take the last farewell. But the
sepulchural verses show us more clearly how deep the grief was that
lay beneath the quiet lines of the marble and the smooth cadence of
the couplets. They cover and fill the whole range of emotion:
household grief, and pain for the dead baby or the drowned lover, and
the bitter parting of wife and husband, and the chill of distance and
the doubt of the unknown nether world; and the thoughts of the bright
and brief space of life, and the merciless continuity of nature, and
the resolution of body and soul into the elements from which they
came; and the uselessness of Death's impatience, and the bitter cry of
a life gone like spilt water; and again, comfort out of the grave,
perpetual placidity, "holy sleep," and earth's gratitude to her
children, and beyond all, dimly and lightly drawn, the flowery meadows
of Persephone, the great simplicity and rest of the other world, and
far away a shadowy and beautiful country to which later men were to
give the name of Heaven.

The famous sepulchral epigrams of Simonides deserve a word to
themselves; for in them, among the most finished achievements of the
greatest period of Greece, the art not only touches its highest
recorded point, but a point beyond which it seems inconceivable that
art should go. They stand with the odes of Pindar and the tragedies of
Sophocles as the symbols of perfection in literature; not only from
the faultlessness of their form, but from their greatness of spirit,
the noble and simple thought that had then newly found itself so
perfect a language to commemorate the great deeds which it inspired.
Foremost among them are those on the men whose fame they can hardly
exalt beyond the place given them by history; on the three hundred of
Thermopylae, the Athenian dead at Marathon, the Athenian and
Lacedaemonian dead at Plataea.[2] "O stranger, tell the Lacedaemonians
that we lie here obeying their orders"--the words have grown so famous
that it is only by sudden flashes that we can appreciate their
greatness. No less noble are others somewhat less widely known: on the
monument erected by the city of Corinth to the men who, when all
Greece stood as near destruction as a knife's edge, helped to win her
freedom at Salamis; on the Athenians, slain under the skirts of the
Euboean hills, who lavished their young and beautiful lives for
Athens; on the soldiers who fell, in the full tide of the Greek glory,
at the great victory of the Eurymedon.[3] In all the epitaphs of this
class the thought of the city swallows up individual feeling; for the
city's sake, that she may be free and great, men offer their death as
freely as their life; and the noblest end for a life spent in her
service is to die in the moment of her victory. The funeral speech of
Pericles dwells with all the amplitude of rhetoric on the glory of
such a death; "having died they are not dead" are the simpler words of

Not less striking than these in their high simplicity are his epitaphs
on private persons: that which preserves the fame of the great lady
who was not lifted up to pride, Archedice daughter of Hippias; that on
Theognis of Sinope, so piercing and yet so consoling in its quiet
pathos, or that on Brotachus of Gortyn, the trader who came after
merchandise and found death; the dying words of Timomachus and the
eternal memory left to his father day by day of the goodness and
wisdom of his dead child; the noble apostrophe to mount Gerania, where
the drowned and nameless sailor met his doom, the first and one of the
most magnificent of the long roll of poems on seafarers lost at
sea.[5] In all of them the foremost quality is their simplicity of
statement. There are no superlatives. The emotion is kept strictly in
the background, neither expressed nor denied. Great minds of later
ages sought a justification of the ways of death in denying that it
brought any reasonable grief. To the cold and profound thought of
Marcus Aurelius death is "a natural thing, like roses in spring or
harvest in autumn."[6] But these are the words of a strange language.
The feeling of Simonides is not, like theirs, abstract and remote; he
offers no justification, because none is felt to be needed where the
pain of death is absorbed in the ardour of life.

That great period passed away; and in those which follow it, the
sepulchural inscription, while it retains the old simplicity, descends
from those heights into more common feelings, lets loose emotion, even
dallies with the ornaments of grief. The sorrow of death is spoken of
freely; nor is there any poetry more pathetic than those epitaphs
which, lovely in their sadness, commemorate the lost child, the
sundered lovers, the disunited life. Among the most beautiful are
those on children: on the baby that just lived, and, liking it not,
went away again before it had known good or evil;[7] on the children
of a house all struck down in one day and buried in one grave;[8] on
the boy whom his parents could not keep, though they held both his
little hands in theirs, led downward by the Angel of Death to the
unsmiling land.[9] Then follows the keener sadness of the young life,
spared till it opened into flower only to be cut down before noon; the
girl who, sickening for her baby-brother, lost care for her playmates,
and found no peace till she went to rejoin him;[10] the boy of twelve,
with whom his father, adding no words of lamentation, lays his whole
hope in the grave;[11] the cry of the mourning mother over her son,
Bianor or Anticles, an only child laid on the funeral pyre before an
only parent's eyes, leaving dawn thenceforth disadorned of her
sweetness, and no comfort in the sun.[12] More piercing still in their
sad sweetness are the epitaphs on young wives; on Anastasia, dead at
sixteen, in the first year of her marriage, over whom the ferryman of
the dead must needs mingle his own with her father's and her husband's
tears; on Atthis of Cnidos, the wife who had never left her husband
till this the first and last sundering came; on Paulina of Ravenna,
holy of life and blameless, the young bride of the physician whose
skill could not save her, but whose last testimony to her virtues has
survived the wreck of the centuries that have made the city crumble
and the very sea retire.[13] The tender feeling for children mingles
with the bitter grief at their loss, a touch of fancy, as though they
were flowers plucked by Persephone to be worn by her and light up the
greyness of the underworld. Cleodicus, dead before the festival of
this third birthday, when the child's hair was cut and he became a
boy, lies in his little coffin; but somewhere by unknown Acheron a
shadow of him grows fair and strong in youth, though he never may
return to earth again.[14]

With the grief for loss comes the piercing cry over crushed beauty.
One of the early epitaphs, written before the period of the Persian
wars, is nothing but this cry: "pity him who was so beautiful and is
dead."[15] In the same spirit is the fruitless appeal so often made
over the haste of Death; /mais que te nuysoit elle en vie, mort?/ Was
he not thine, even had he died an old man? says the mourner over
Attalus.[16] A subject whose strange fascination drew artist after
artist to repeat it, and covered the dreariness of death as with a
glimmer of white blossoms, was Death the Bridegroom, the maiden taken
away from life just as it was about to be made complete. Again and
again the motive is treated with delicate profusion of detail, and
lingering fancy draws out the sad likeness between the two torches
that should hold such a space of lovely life between them,[17] now
crushed violently together and mingling their fires. Already the
bride-bed was spread with saffron in the gilded chamber; already the
flutes were shrill by the doorway, and the bridal torches were lit,
when Death entered, masked as a reveller, and the hymeneal song
suddenly changed into the death-dirge; and while the kinsfolk were
busy about another fire, Persephone lighted her own torch out of their
hands; with hardly an outward change--as in a processional relief on a
sarcophagus--the bridal train turns and moves to the grave with
funeral lights flaring through the darkness and sobbing voices and
wailing flutes.[18]

As tender in their fancy and with a higher note of sincerity in their
grief are the epitaphs on young mothers, dead in childbirth: Athenaïs
of Lesbos, the swift-footed, whose cry Artemis was too busy with her
woodland hounds to hear; Polyxena, wife of Archelus, not a year's wife
nor a month's mother, so short was all her time; Prexo, wife of
Theocritus, who takes her baby with her, content with this, and gives
blessings from her grave to all who will pray with her that the boy
she leaves on earth may live into a great old age.[19] Here tenderness
outweighs sorrow; in others a bitterer grief is uttered, the grief of
one left alone, forsaken and cast off by all that had made life sweet;
where the mother left childless among women has but the one prayer
left, that she too may quickly go whence she came, or where the morbid
imagination of a mourner over many deaths invents new forms of self-
torture in the idea that her very touch is mortal to those whom she
loves, and that fate has made her the instrument of its cruelty; or
where Theano, dying alone in Phocaea, sends a last cry over the great
gulfs of sea that divide her from her husband, and goes down into the
night with the one passionate wish that she might have but died with
her hand clasped in his hand.[20]

Into darkness, into silence: the magnificent brilliance of that
ancient world, its fulness of speech and action, its copiousness of
life, made the contrast more sudden and appalling; and it seems to be
only at a later period, when the brightness was a little dimmed and
the tide of life did not run so full, that the feeling grew up which
regarded death as the giver of rest. With a last word of greeting to
the bright earth the dying man departs, as into a mist.[21] In the
cold shadows underground the ghost will not be comforted by ointments
and garlands lavished on the tomb; though the clay covering be
drenched with wine, the dead man will not drink.[22] On an island of
the Aegean, set like a gem in the splendid sea, the boy lying under
earth, far away from the sweet sun, asks a word of pity from those who
go up and down, busy in the daylight, past his grave. Paula of
Tarentum, the brief-fated, cries out passionately of the stone
chambers of her night, the night that has hidden her. Samian girls set
up a monument over their playfellow Crethis, the chatterer, the story-
teller, whose lips will never open in speech again. Musa, the singing-
girl, blue-eyed and sweet-voiced, suddenly lies voiceless, like a
stone.[23] With a jarring shock, as of closed gates, the grave closes
over sound and colour; /moved round in Earth's diurnal course with
rocks, and stones, and trees./

Even thus there is some little comfort in lying under known earth; and
the strangeness of a foreign grave adds a last touch to the pathos of
exile. The Eretrians, captured by the Persian general Datis, and sent
from their island home by endless marches into the heart of Asia, pine
in the hot Cassian plains, and with their last voice from the tomb
send out a greeting to the dear and distant sea.[24] The Athenian laid
in earth by the far reaches of Nile, and the Egyptian whose tomb
stands by a village of Crete, though from all places the descent to
the house of Hades is one, yet grieve and fret at their strange
resting-places.[25] No bitterer pang can be added to death than for
the white bones of the dead to lie far away, washed by chill rains, or
mouldering on a strange beach with the screaming seagulls above

This last aspect of death was the one upon which the art of the
epigrammatist lavished its utmost resources. From first to last the
Greeks were a seafaring people, and death at sea was always present to
them as a common occurrence. The Mediterranean was the great highway
of the world's journeying and traffic. All winter through, travel
almost ceased on it except for those who could not avoid it, and whom
desire or gain or urgence of business drove forth across stormy and
perilous waters; with spring there came, year by year, a sort of
breaking-up of the frost, and the seas were all at once covered with a
swarm of shipping. From Egypt and Syria fleets bore the produce of the
East westward; from the pillars of Hercules galleys came laden with
the precious ores of Spain and Britain; through the Propontis streamed
the long convoys of corn-ships from the Euxine with their loads of
wheat. Across the Aegean from island to island, along its shores from
port to port, ran continually the tide of local commerce, the crowds
of tourists and emigrants, the masses of people and merchandise drawn
hither and thither in the track of armies, or bound to and from shows
and festivals and markets. The fishing industry, at least in the later
Greek period, employed the whole population of small islands and
seaside towns. Among those thousands of vessels many must, every year,
have come to harm in those difficult channels and treacherous seas.
And death at sea had a great horror and anguish attached to it; the
engulfing in darkness, the vain struggles for life, the loss of burial
rites and all the last offices that can be paid to death, made it none
the less terrible that it was so common. From the Odyssey downward
tales of sea-peril and shipwreck had the most powerful fascination.
Yet to that race of sailors the sea always remained in a manner
hateful; "as much as a mother is sweeter than a stepmother," says
Antipater,[27] "so much is earth dearer than the dark sea." The
fisherman tossing on the waves looked back with envy to the shepherd,
who, though his life was no less hard, could sit in quiet piping to
his flock on the green hillside; the great merchantman who crossed the
whole length of the Mediterranean on his traffic, or even ventured out
beyond Calpe into the unknown ocean, hungered for the peace of broad
lands, the lowing of herds.[28] /Cedet et ipse mari vector, nec
nautica pinus mutabit merces/: all dreams of a golden age, or of an
ideal life in an actual world, included in them the release from this
weary and faithless element. Even in death it would not allow its
victims rest; the cry of the drowned man is that though kind hands
have given him burial on the beach, even there the ceaseless thunder
of the surge is in his ears, and the roar of the surf under the broken
reef will not let him be quiet; "keep back but twelve feet from me,"
is his last prayer, "and there billow and roar as much as thou
wilt."[29] But even the grace of a tomb was often denied. In the
desolation of unknown distances the sailor sank into the gulfs or was
flung on a desert beach. Erasippus, perished with his ship, has all
the ocean for his grave; somewhere far away his white bones moulder on
a spot that the seagulls alone can tell. Thymodes rears a cenotaph to
his son, who on some Bithynian beach or island of the Pontic lies a
naked corpse on an inhospitable shore. Young Seleucus, wrecked in the
distant Atlantic, has long been dead on the trackless Spanish coasts,
while yet at home in Lesbos they praise him and look forward to his
return. On the thirsty uplands of Dryopia the empty earth is heaped up
that does not cover Polymedes, tossed up and down far from stony
Trachis on the surge of the Icarian sea. "Also thee, O Cleanoridas,"
one abruptly opens, the thought of all those many others whom the sea
had swallowed down overwhelming him as he tells the fate of the
drowned man.[30] The ocean never forgot its cruelty. {Pasa thalassa
thalassa}, "everywhere the sea is the sea," wails Aristagoras,[31]
past the perilous Cyclades and the foaming narrows of the Hellespont
only to be drowned in a little Locrian harbour; the very sound of the
words echoes the heavy wash of blind waves and the hissing of eternal
foam. Already in sight of home, like Odysseus on his voyage from
Aeolia, the sailor says to himself, "to-morrow the long battle against
contrary winds will be over," when the storm gathers as the words
leave his lips, and he is swept back to death.[32] The rash mariner
who trusts the gale of winter draws fate on himself with his own
hands; Cleonicus, hastening home to Thasos with his merchandise from
Hollow Syria at the setting of the Pleiad, sinks with the sinking
star.[33] But even in the days of the halcyons, when the sea should
stand like a sheet of molten glass, the terrible straits swallow
Aristomenes, with ship and crew; and Nicophemus perishes, not in
wintry waves, but of thirst in a calm on the smooth and merciless
Lybian sea.[34] By harbours and headlands stood the graves of drowned
men with pathetic words of warning or counsel. "I am the tomb of one
shipwrecked"; in these words again and again the verses begin. What
follows is sometimes an appeal to others to take example: "let him
have only his own hardihood to blame, who looses moorings from my
grave"; sometimes it is a call to courage: "I perished; yet even then
other ships sailed safely on." Another, in words incomparable for
their perfect pathos and utter simplicity, neither counsels nor warns:
"O mariners, well be with you at sea and on land; but know that you
pass the tomb of a shipwrecked man." And in the same spirit another
sends a blessing out of his nameless tomb: "O sailor, ask not whose
grave I am, but be thine own fortune a kinder sea."[35]

Beyond this simplicity and pathos cannot reach. But there is a group
of three epigrams yet unmentioned[36] which, in their union of these
qualities with the most severe magnificence of language and with the
poignant and vivid emotion of a tragical Border ballad, reach an even
more amazing height: that where Ariston of Cyrene, lying dead by the
Icarian rocks, cries out in passionate urgency on mariners who go
sailing by to tell Meno how his son perished; that where the tomb of
Biton in the morning sun, under the walls of Torone, sends a like
message by the traveller to the childless father, Nicagoras of
Amphipolis; and most piercing of all in their sorrow and most splendid
in their cadences, the stately lines that tell the passer-by of
Polyanthus, sunk off Sciathus in the stormy Aegean, and laid in his
grave by the young wife to whom only a dead body was brought home by
the fishermen as they sailed into harbour under a flaring and windy

Less numerous than these poems of sea-sorrow, but with the same
trouble of darkness, the same haunting chill, are others where death
comes through the gloom of wet nights, in the snowstorm or the
thunderstorm or the autumn rains that drown the meadow and swell the
ford. The contrast of long golden summer days may perhaps make the
tidings of death more pathetic, and wake a more delicate pity; but the
physical horror, as in the sea-pieces, is keener at the thought of
lonely darkness, and storm in the night. Few pictures can be more
vivid than that of the oxen coming unherded down the hill through the
heavy snow at dusk, while high on the mountain side their master lies
dead, struck by lightning; or of Ion, who slipped overboard, unnoticed
in the darkness, while the sailors drank late into night at their
anchorage; or of the strayed revellers, Orthon and Polyxenus, who,
bewildered in the rainy night, with the lights of the banquet still
flaring in their eyes, stumbled on the slippery hill-path and lay dead
at the foot of the cliff.[37]

/O Charides, what is there beneath?/ cries a passer-by over the grave
of one who had in life nursed his hopes on the doctrine of Pythagoras;
and out of the grave comes the sombre answer, /Great darkness/.[38] It
is in this feeling that the brooding over death in later Greek
literature issues; under the Roman empire we feel that we have left
the ancient world and are on the brink of the Middle Ages with their
half hysterical feeling about death, the piteous and ineffectual
revolt against it, and the malign fascination with which it preys on
men's minds and paralyses their action. To the sombre imagination of
an exhausted race the generations of mankind were like bands of
victims dragged one after another to the slaughter-house; in Palladas
and his contemporaries the medieval dance of death is begun.[39] The
great and simple view of death is wholly broken up, with the usual
loss and gain that comes of analysis. On the one hand is developed
this tremulous and cowardly shrinking from the law of nature. But on
the other there arises in compensation the view of death as final
peace, the release from trouble, the end of wandering, the resolution
of the feverous life of man into the placid and continuous life of
nature. With a great loss of strength and directness comes an
increased measure of gentleness and humanity. Poetry loves to linger
over the thought of peaceful graves. The dead boy's resting-place by
the spring under the poplars bids the weary wayfarer turn aside and
drink in the shade, and remember the quiet place when he is far
away.[40] The aged gardener lies at peace under the land that he had
laboured for many a year, and in recompence of his fruitful toil over
vine and olive, corn-field and orchard-plot, grateful earth lies
lightly over his grey temples, and the earliest flowers of spring
blossom above his dust.[41] The lovely lines of Leonidas,[42] in which
Clitagoras asks that when he is dead the sheep may bleat over him, and
the shepherd pipe from the rock as they graze softly along the valley,
and that the countryman in spring may pluck a posy of meadow flowers
and lay it on his grave, have all the tenderness of an English
pastoral in a land of soft outlines and silvery tones. An intenser
feeling for nature and a more consoling peace is in the nameless poem
that bids the hill-brooks and the cool upland pastures tell the bees,
when they go forth anew on their flowery way, that their old keeper
fell asleep on a winter night, and will not come back with spring.[43]
The lines call to mind that magnificent passage of the /Adonais/ where
the thought of earth's annual resurrection calms by its glory and
beauty the very sorrow which it rekindles; as those others, where,
since the Malian fowler is gone, the sweet plane again offers her
branches "for the holy bird to rest his swift wings,"[44] are echoed
in the famous Ode where the note of the immortal bird sets the
listener in the darkness at peace with Death. The dying man leaves
earth with a last kind word. At rest from long wanderings, the woman,
whose early memory went back to the storming of Athens by Roman
legionaries, and whose later life had passed from Italy to Asia,
unites the lands of her birth and adoption and decease in her
farewell.[45] For all ranks and ages--the baby gone to be a flower in
Persephone's crowned hair, the young scholar, dear to men and dearer
to the Muses, the great sage who, from the seclusion of his
Alexandrian library, has seen three kings succeed to the throne[46]--
the recompense of life is peace. Peace is on the graves of the good
servant, the faithful nurse, the slave who does not even in the tomb
forget his master's kindness or cease to help him at need.[47] Even
the pets of the household, the dog or the singing-bird, or the caged
cricket shouting through the warm day, have their reward in death,
their slight memorial and their lasting rest. The shrill cicala,
silent and no more looked on by the sun, finds a place in the meadows
whose flowers the Queen of the Dead herself keeps bright with dew.[48]
The sweet-throated song-bird, the faithful watch-dog who kept the
house from harm, the speckled partridge in the coppice,[49] go at the
appointed time upon their silent way--/ipsas angusti terminus aevi
excipit/--and come into human sympathy because their bright life is
taken to its rest like man's own in so brief a term.

Before this gentler view of death grief itself becomes softened. "Fare
thou well even in the house of Hades," says the friend over the grave
of the friend: the words are the same as those of Achilles over
Patroclus, but all the wild anguish has gone out of them.[50] Over the
ashes of Theognis of Sinope, without a word of sorrow, with hardly a
pang of pain, Glaucus sets a stone in memory of the companionship of
many years. And in the tenderest and most placid of epitaphs on dead
friends doubt vanishes with grief and acquiescence passes into hope,
as the survivor of that union "which conquers Time indeed, and is
eternal, separate from fears," prays Sabinus, if it be permitted, not
even among the dead to let the severing water of Lethe pass his

Out of peace comes the fruit of blessing. The drowned sailor rests the
easier in his grave that the lines written over it bid better fortune
to others who adventure the sea. "Go thou upon thy business and obtain
thy desire,"[52] says the dead man to the passer-by, and the kind word
makes the weight of his own darkness less to bear. Amazonia of
Thessalonica from her tomb bids husband and children cease their
lamentations and be only glad while they remember her.[53] Such
recompence is in death that the dead sailor or shepherd becomes
thenceforth the genius of the shore or the hillside.[54] The sacred
sleep under earth sends forth a vague and dim effluence; in a sort of
trance between life and death the good still are good and do not
wholly cease out of being.[55]

For the doctrine of immortality did not dawn upon the world at any
single time or from any single quarter. We are accustomed, perhaps, to
think of it as though it came like sunrise out of the dark, /lux
sedentibus in tenebris/, giving a new sense to mankind and throwing
over the whole breadth of life a vivid severance of light from shadow,
putting colour and sharp form into what had till then all lain dim in
the dusk, like Virgil's woodland path under the glimpses of a fitful
moon. Rather it may be compared to those scattered lights that
watchers from Mount Ida were said to discern moving hither and thither
in the darkness, and at last slowly gathering and kindling into the
clear pallor of dawn.[56] So it is that those half-formed beliefs,
those hints and longings, still touch us with the freshness of our own
experience. For the ages of faith, if such there be, have not yet
come; still in the mysterious glimmer of a doubtful light men wait for
the coming of the unrisen sun. During a brief and brilliant period the
splendour of corporate life had absorbed the life of the citizen; an
Athenian of the age of Pericles may have, for the moment, found Athens
all-sufficient to his needs. With the decay of that glory it became
plain that this single life was insufficient, that it failed in
permanence and simplicity. We all dwell in a single native country,
the universe, said Meleager,[57] expressing a feeling that had become
the common heritage of his race. But that country, as men saw it, was
but ill governed; and in nothing more so than in the rewards and
punishments it gave to its citizens. To regard it as the vestibule
only of another country where life should have its intricacies
simplified, its injustices remedied, its evanescent beauty fixed, and
its brief joy made full, became an imperious instinct that claimed
satisfaction, through definite religious teaching or the dreams of
philosophy or the visions of poetry. And so the last words of Greek
sepulchral poetry express, through questions and doubts, in metaphor
and allegory, the final belief in some blessedness beyond death. Who
knows whether to live be not death, and to be dead life? so the
haunting hope begins. The Master of the Portico died young; does he
sleep in the quiet embrace of earth, or live in the joy of the other
world?[58] "Even in life what makes each one of us to be what we are
is only the soul; and when we are dead, the bodies of the dead are
rightly said to be our shades or images; for the true and immortal
being of each one of us, which is called the soul, goes on her way to
other gods, that before them she may give an account."[59] These are
the final words left to men by that superb and profound genius the
dream of whose youth had ended in the flawless lines[60] whose music
Shelley's own could scarcely render:

  Thou wert the Morning Star among the living
    Ere thy fair light was fled;
  Now, having died, thou art as Hesperus, giving
    New splendour to the dead.

And at last, not from the pen of Plato nor written in lines of gold,
but set by a half-forgotten friend over an obscure grave,[61] comes
the certitude of that long hope. Heliodorus and Diogeneia died on the
same day and are buried under the same stone: but love admits no such
bar to its continuance, and the tomb is as a bridal chamber for their
triumphant life.

[1] From the inscription on the tomb of Publius Cornelius Scipio
    Africanus, Augur and Flamen Dialis, son of the conqueror of

[2] Anth. Pal. vii. 249, 251, 253; Aristides, ii. 511.

[3] Aristides, ii. 512; App. Plan. 26; Anth. Pal. vii. 258.

[4] Anth. Pal. vii. 251; Thuc. ii. 41-43.

[5] Thuc. vi. 59; Anth. Pal. vii. 509, 254, 513, 496.

[6] Marc. Aur. iv. 44.

[7] Kaibel, 576.

[8] Anth. Pal. vii. 474.

[9] iii. 33 in this selection.

[10] Anth. Pal. vii. 662.

[11] Ibid. vii. 453.

[12] Ibid. vii. 261, 466.

[13] Ibid. vii. 600; Kaibel, 204 B, 596.

[14] Anth. Pal. vii. 482, 483.

[15] Kaibel, 1 A.

[16] Anth. Pal. vii. 671.

[17] Propertius, IV. xii. 46.

[18] Anth. Pal. vii. 182, 185, 711, 712.

[19] Ibid. vi. 438, vii. 167, 163.

[20] Ibid. vii. 466, ix. 254, vii. 735.

[21] Anth. Pal. vii. 566.

[22] Ibid. xi. 8.

[23] Kaibel, 190; Anth. Pal. vii. 700, 459; C. I. G., 6261.

[24] Anth. Pal. vii. 256, 259.

[25] Ibid. vii. 477, x. 3.

[26] Ibid. vii. 225, 285.

[27] Anth. Pal. ix. 23.

[28] Anth. Pal. vii. 636, ix. 7; cf. Virgil, Georg. ii. 468-70.

[29] Ibid. vii. 284.

[30] Ibid. vii. 285, 497, 376, 651, 263.

[31] Ibid. vii. 639.

[32] Ibid. vii. 630.

[33] Anth. Pal. vii. 263, 534.

[34] Ibid. ix. 271, vii. 293.

[35] Ibid. vii. 264, 282, 675; 269, 350.

[36] Ibid. vii. 499, 502, 739.

[37] Anth. Pal. vii. 173, ix. 82, vii. 398, 660.

[38] Ibid. vii. 524.

[39] Cf. Ibid. x. 78, 85, 88, xi. 300.

[40] Anth. Pal. ix. 315.

[41] Ibid. vii. 321.

[42] Ibid. vii. 657. The spirit, and much of the language, of these
    epigrams is very like that of Gray's /Elegy/.

[43] Ibid. vii. 717.

[44] Ibid. vii. 171.

[45] Ibid. vii. 368.

[46] Anth. Pal. 78, 483; Diog. Laert. iv. 25.

[47] Ibid. vii. 178, 179; Kaibel, 47.

[48] Ibid. vii. 189.

[49] Ibid. vii. 199, 211, 203.

[50] Il. xxiii. 19; Anth. Pal. vii. 41.

[51] Ibid. vii. 509, 346.

[52] Kaibel, 190.

[53] Anth. Pal. vii. 667.

[54] Ibid. vii. 269, 657.

[55] Ibid. vii. 451.

[56] Lucr. v. 663.

[57] Anth. Pal. vii. 417.

[58] Infra, xi. 7.

[59] Plato, /Laws/, 959.

[60] Anth. Pal. vii. 670.

[61] Ibid. vii. 378, {agallomenoi kai taphon os thalamon}.


Criticism, to be made effectively, must be made from beyond and
outside the thing criticised. But as regards life itself, such an
effort of abstraction is more than human. For the most part poetry
looks on life from a point inside it, and the total view differs, or
may even be reversed, with the position of the observer. The shifting
of perspective makes things appear variously both in themselves and in
their proportion to other things. What lies behind one person is
before another; the less object, if nearer, may eclipse the greater;
where there is no fixed standard of reference, how can it be
determined what is real and what apparent, or whether there be any
absolute fact at all? To some few among men it has been granted to
look on life as it were from without, with vision unaffected by the
limit of view and the rapid shifting of place. These, the poets who
see life steadily and whole, in Matthew Arnold's celebrated phrase,
are for the rest of mankind almost divine. We recognise them as such
through a sort of instinct awakened by theirs and responding to it,
through the inarticulate divinity of which we are all in some degree

These are the great poets; and we do not look, in any Anthology of
slight and fugitive pieces, for so broad and sustained a view of life.
But what we do find in the Anthology is the reflection in many
epigrams of many partial criticisms from within; the expression, in
the most brief and pointed form, of the total effect that life had on
one man or another at certain moments, whether in the heat of blood,
or the first melancholy of youth, or the graver regard of mature
years. In nearly all the same sad note recurs, of the shortness of
life, of the inevitableness of death. Now death is the shadow at the
feast, bidding men make haste to drink before the cup is snatched from
their lips with its sweetness yet undrained; again it is the
bitterness within the cup itself, the lump of salt dissolving in the
honeyed wine and spoiling the drink. Then comes the revolt against the
cruel law of Nature in the crude thought of undisciplined minds.
Sometimes this results in hard cynicism, sometimes in the relaxation
of all effort; now and then the bitterness grows so deep that it
almost takes the quality of a real philosophy, a nihilism, to use the
barbarous term of our own day, that declares itself as a positive
solution of the whole problem. "Little is the life of our rejoicing,"
cries Rufinus,[1] in the very words of an English ballad of the
fifteenth century; "old age comes quickly, and death ends all." In
many epigrams this burden is repeated. The philosophy is that of
Ecclesiastes: "Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine
with a merry heart, let thy garments be always white, and let thy head
lack no ointment; see life with the wife whom thou lovest all the days
of the life of thy vanity; for that is thy portion in life, and in thy
labour which thou takest under the sun." If the irony here is
unintentional it is all the bitterer; such consolation leads surely to
a more profound gloom. With a selfish nature this view of life becomes
degraded into cynical effrontery; under the Roman empire the lowest
corruption of "good manners" took for its motto the famous words,
repeated in an anonymous epigram,[2] Let us eat and drink, for
to-morrow we die. In finer tempers it issues in a mood strangely
mingled of weakness of will and lucidity of intelligence, like that of
Omar Khayyam. Many of the stanzas of the Persian poet have a close
parallel, not only in thought but in actual turn of phrase, in verses
of the later epigrammatists.[3] The briefness of life when first
realised makes youth feverish and self-absorbed. "Other men perhaps
will be, but /I/ shall be dead and turned into black earth"--as though
that were the one thing of importance.[4] Or again, the beauty of
returning spring is felt in the blood as an imperious call to renew
the delight in the simplest physical pleasures, food and scent of
flowers and walks in the fresh country air, and to thrust away the
wintry thought of dead friends who cannot share those delights now.[5]
The earliest form taken by the instinct of self-preservation and the
revolt against death can hardly be called by a milder name than
swaggering. "I don't care," the young man cries,[6] with a sort of
faltering bravado. Snatch the pleasure of the moment, such is the
selfish instinct of man before his first imagination of life, and
then, and then let fate do its will upon you.[7] Thereafter, as the
first turbulence of youth passes, its first sadness succeeds, with the
thought of all who have gone before and all who are to follow, and of
the long night of silence under the ground. Touches of tenderness
break in upon the reveller; thoughts of the kinship of earth, as the
drinker lifts the sweet cup wrought of the same clay as he; submission
to the lot of mortality; counsels to be generous while life lasts, "to
give and to share"; the renunciation of gross ambitions such as wealth
and power, with some likeness or shadow in it of the crowning virtue
of humility.[8]

It is here that the change begins. To renounce something for the first
time wittingly and spontaneously is an action of supreme importance,
and its consequences reach over the whole of life. Not only is it that
he who has renounced one thing has shown himself implicitly capable of
renouncing all things: he has shown much more; reflection, choice,
will. Thenceforth he is able to see part of life at all events from
outside, the part which he has put away from himself; for the first
time his criticism of life begins to be real. He has no longer a mere
feeling with regard to the laws of nature, whether eager haste or
sullen submission or blind revolt; behind the feeling there is now
thought, the power which makes and unmakes all things.

And so in mature age Greek thought began to make criticisms on life;
and of these the Anthology preserves and crystallises many brilliant
fragments. Perhaps there is no thought among them which was even then
original; certainly there is none which is not now more or less
familiar. But the perfected expression without which thought remains
obscure and ineffectual gives some of them a value as enduring as
their charm. A few of them are here set side by side without comment,
for no comment is needed to make their sense clear, nor to give weight
to their grave and penetrating reality.[9]

"Those who have left the sweet light I mourn no longer, but those who
live in perpetual expectation of death."

"What belongs to mortals is mortal, and all things pass by us; and if
not, yet we pass by them."

"Now we flourish, as others did before, and others will presently,
whose children we shall not see."

"I weep not for thee, dearest friend; for thou knewest much good; and
likewise God dealt thee thy share of ill."

These epigrams in their clear and unimpassioned brevity are a type of
the Greek temper in the age of reflection. Many others, less simple in
their language, less crystalline in their structure, have the same
quiet sadness in their tone. As it is said in the solemn and
monumental line of Menander, sorrow and life are too surely akin.[10]
The vanity of earthly labour; the deep sorrow over the passing of
youth; the utter loss and annihilation of past time with all that it
held of action and suffering; the bitterness of the fear of death, and
the weariness of the clutch at life; such are among the thoughts of
most frequent recurrence. In one view these are the commonplaces of
literature; yet they are none the less the expression of the
profoundest thought of mankind.

In Greek literature from first to last the view of life taken by the
most serious thinkers was grave and sad. Not in one age or in one form
of poetry alone, but in most that are of great import, the feeling
that death was better than life is no mere caprice of melancholy, but
a settled conviction. The terrible words of Zeus in the Iliad to the
horses of Achilles,[11] "for there is nothing more pitiable than man,
of all things that breathe and move on earth," represent the Greek
criticism of life already mature and consummate. "Best of all is it
for men not to be born," says Theognis in lines whose calm perfection
has no trace of passion or resentment,[12] "and if born, to pass
inside Hades-gates as quickly as may be." Echoing these lines of the
Megarian poet, Sophocles at eighty, the most fortunate in his long and
brilliant life of all his contemporaries in an age the most splendid
that the world has ever witnessed, utters with the weight of a
testamentory declaration the words that thrill us even now by their
faultless cadence and majestic music;[13] "Not to be born excels on
the whole account; and for him who has seen the light to go whence he
came as soon as may be is next best by far." And in another line,[14]
whose rhythm is the sighing of all the world made audible, "For there
is no such pain," he says, "as length of life." So too the humane and
accomplished Menander, in the most striking of all the fragments
preserved from his world of comedies,[15] weighs and puts aside all
the attractions that life can offer: "Him I call most happy who,
having gazed without grief on these august things, the common sun, the
stars, water, clouds, fire, goes quickly back whence he came." With so
clear-sighted and so sombre a view of this life and with no certainty
of another, it was only the inspiration of great thought and action,
and the gladness of yet unexhausted youth, that sustained the ancient
world so long. And this gladness of youth faded away. Throughout all
the writing of the later classical period we feel one thing
constantly; that life was without joy. Alike in history and poetry,
alike in the Eastern and Western worlds, a settled gloom deepens into
night. The one desire left is for rest. Life is brief, as men of old
time said; but now there is scarcely a wish that it should be longer.
"Little is thy life and afflicted," says Leonidas,[16] "and not even
so is it sweet, but more bitter than loathed death." "Weeping I was
born, and when I have done my weeping I die," another poet wails,[17]
"and all my life is among many tears." Aesopus is in a strait betwixt
two; if one might but escape from life without the horror of dying!
for now it is only the revolt from death that keeps him in the anguish
of life.[18] To Palladas of Alexandria the world is but a slaughter-
house, and death is its blind and irresponsible lord.[19]

From the name of Palladas is inseparable the name of the famous
Hypatia, and the strange history of the Neo-Platonic school. The last
glimmer of light in the ancient world was from the embers of their
philosophy. A few late epigrams preserve a record of their mystical
doctrines, and speak in half-unintelligible language of "the one hope"
that went among them, a veiled and crowned phantom, under the name of
Wisdom. But, apart from those lingering relics of a faith among men
half dreamers and half charlatans, patience and silence were the only
two counsels left for the dying ancient world; patience, in which we
imitate God himself; silence, in which all our words must soon
end.[20] The Roman empire perished, it has been said, for want of men;
Greek literature perished for want of anything to say; or rather,
because it found nothing in the end worth saying. Its end was like
that recorded of the noblest of the Roman emperors;[21] the last word
uttered with its dying breath was the counsel of equanimity. Men had
once been comforted for their own life and death in the thought of
deathless memorials; now they had lost hope, and declared that no
words and no gods could give immortality.[22] Resignation[23] was the
one lesson left to ancient literature, and, this lesson once fully
learned, it naturally and silently died. All know how the ages that
followed were too preoccupied to think of writings its epitaph. For
century after century Goth and Hun, Lombard and Frank, Bulgarian and
Avar, Norman and Saracen, Catalan and Turk rolled on in a ceaseless
storm of slaughter and rapine without; for century after century
within raged no less fiercely the unending fury of the new theology.
Filtered down through Byzantine epitomes, through Arabic translations,
through every sort of strange and tortuous channel, a vague and
distorted tradition of this great literature just survived long enough
to kindle the imagination of the fifteenth century. The chance of
history, fortunate perhaps for the whole world, swept the last Greek
scholars away from Constantinople to the living soil of Italy,
carrying with them the priceless relics of forgotten splendours. To
some broken stones, and to the chance which saved a few hundred
manuscripts from destruction, is due such knowledge as we have to-day
of that Greek thought and life which still remains to us in many ways
an unapproached ideal.

[1] Anth. Pal. v. 12; cf. the beautiful lyric with the refrain /Lytyll
    ioye is son done/ (Percy Society, 1847).

[2] Anth. Pal. xi. 56.

[3] Cf. Ibid. xi. 25, 43; xii. 50.

[4] Theognis, 877, Bergk.

[5] Anth. Pal. ix. 412.

[6] Ibid. xi. 23.

[7] Archestr. ap. Athenaeum, vii. 286 a; {kan apothneskein melles,
    arpason, . . kata usteron eoe o ti soi pepromenon estin}.

[8] Anth. Pal. xi. 3, 43, 56.

[9] Infra, xii. 19, 31, 24, 21.

[10] Citharist. Fr. 1, {ar esti suggenes to lupe kai bios}.

[11] Il. xvii. 443-447.

[12] Theognis, 425-8, Bergk.

[13] Oed. Col. 1225-8.

[14] Fr. Scyr. 500.

[15] Hypobolimaeus, Fr. 2.

[16] Anth. Pal. vii. 472.

[17] Ibid. x. 84.

[18] Ibid. x. 123.

[19] Ibid. x. 85.

[20] Ibid. x. 94, xi. 300.

[21] /Signum/ Aequanimitatis /dedit atque ita conversus quasi dormiret
    spiritum reddidit./ Jul. Capitol., /Antoninus Pius/, c. xii.

[22] Anth. Pal. vii. 300, 362.

[23] {Esukhien agapan}, Ibid. x. 77.


That ancient world perished; and all the while, side by side with it,
a new world was growing up with which it had so little in common that
hitherto it would only have been confusing to take the latter much
into account. This review of the older civilisation has, so far as may
be, been kept apart from all that is implied by the introduction of
Christianity; it has even spoken of the decay and death of literature,
though literature and thought in another field were never more active
than in the early centuries of the Church. Of the immense gain that
came then to the world it is not necessary to speak; we all know it.
For the latter half of the period of human history over which the
Greek Anthology stretches, this new world was in truth the more
important of the two. While to the ageing Greek mind life had already
lost its joy, and thought begun to sicken, we hear the first notes of
a new glory and passion;

  {Egeire o katheudon
  Kai anasta ek ton vekron
  Kai epiphausei soi o KHristos}[1]--

in this broken fragment of shapeless and barbaric verse, not in the
smooth and delicate couplets of contemporary poets, Polyaenus or
Antiphilus, lay the germ of the music which was to charm the centuries
that followed. Even through the long swoon of art which is usually
thought of as following the darkness of the third century, the truth
was that art was transforming itself into new shapes and learning a
new language. The last words of the Neo-Platonic philosophy with its
mystical wisdom were barely said when the Church of the Holy Wisdom
rose in Constantinople, the most perfect work of art that has yet been
known in organic beauty of design and splendour of ornament; and when
Justinian by his closure of the schools of Athens marked off, as by a
precise line, the end of the ancient world, in the Greek monasteries
of Athos new types of beauty were being slowly wrought out which
passed outward from land to land, transfiguring the face of the world
as they went, kindling new life wherever they fell, miraculously
transformed by the separate genius of every country from Norway to
India, creating in Italy the whole of the great medieval art that
stretches from Duccio and Giotto to Signorelli, and leaving to us
here, as our most precious inheritances, such mere blurred and broken
fragments of their glories as the cathedral churches of Salisbury and

It is only in the growth and life of that new world that the decay and
death of the old can be regarded with equanimity, or can in a certain
sense be historically justified: for Greek civilisation was and still
is so incomparable and so precious that its loss might otherwise fill
the mind with despair, and seem to be the last irony cast by fate
against the idea of human progress. But it is the law of all Nature,
from her highest works to her lowest, that life only comes by death;
"she replenishes one thing out of another," in the words of the Roman
poet, "and does not suffer anything to be begotten before she has been
recruited by the death of something else." To all things born she
comes one day with her imperious message: /materies opus est ut
crescant postera secla/.[2] With the infinite patience of one who has
inexhaustible time and imperishable material at her absolute command,
slowly, vacillatingly, not hesitating at any waste or any cruelty,
Nature works out some form till it approaches perfection; then finds
it flawed, finds it is not the thing she meant, and with the same
strong, unscrupulous and passionless action breaks it up and begins
anew. As in our own lives we sometimes feel that the slow progress of
years, the structure built up cell by cell through pain and patience
and weariness at lavish cost seems one day, when some great new force
enters our life, to begin to crumble and fall away from us, and leave
us strangers in a new world, so it is with the greater types of life,
with peoples and civilisations; some secret inherent flaw was in their
structure; they meet a trial for which they were not prepared, and
fail; once more they must be passed into the crucible and melted down
to their primitive matter. Yet Nature does not repeat herself; in some
way the experience of all past generations enters into those which
succeed them, and of a million of her works that have perished not one
has perished wholly without account. That Greece and Rome, though they
passed away, still influence us daily is indeed obvious; but it is as
certain that the great races before them, of which Babylonia,
Phoenicia, Egypt are only a few out of many, still live in the gradual
evolution of the purpose of history. They live in us indeed as blind
inherited forces, apart from our knowledge of them; yet if we can at
all realise any of them to ourselves, at all enter into their spirit,
our gain is great; for through time and distance they have become
simple and almost abstract; only what was most living in them
survives; and the loss of the vivid multiplicity and colour of a
fuller knowledge makes it easier to discriminate what was important in
them. Lapse of time has done for us with some portions of the past
what is so difficult or even impossible for us to do for ourselves
with the life actually round us, projected them upon an ideal plane:
how ideal, in the case of Greek history, is obvious if we consider for
a moment how nearly Homer and Herodotus are read alike by us. For
Homer's world was from the first imagined, not actual; yet the actual
world of the fifth century B.C. has become for us now no less an
ideal, perhaps one which is even more stimulating and more
fascinating. How far this may be due to any inherent excellence of its
own, how far to the subtle enchantment of association, does not affect
this argument. Of histories no less than of poems is it true that the
best are but shadows, and that, for the highest purposes which history
serves, the idea is the fact; the impression produced on us, the
heightening and ennobling influence of a life, ideal or actual, akin
to and yet different from ours, is the one thing which primarily
matters. And so it may be questioned whether so far as this, the vital
part of human culture, is concerned, modern scholarship has helped men
beyond the point already reached by the more imperfect knowledge and
more vivid intuitions of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries; for if
the effect produced on them, in the way of heightening and ennobling
life, was more than the effect now and here produced on us, we have,
so far as the Greek world is concerned, lost and not gained.
Compensations indeed there are; a vast experience has enlarged our
horizon and deepened our emotion, and it would be absurd to say now,
as was once truly and plausibly said, that Greek means culture. Yet
even now we could ill do without it; nor does there seem any reason
beyond the dulness of our imagination and the imperfection of our
teaching why it should not be as true and as living a help as ever in
our lives.

At the present day the risk is not of Greek art and literature being
too little studied, but of their being studied in too contracted and
formal a spirit. Less time is spent on the corruptions of medieval
texts, and on the imbecilities of the decadence; but all the more is
labour wasted and insight obscured by the new pedantry; the research
into unimportant origins which the Greeks themselves wisely left
covered in a mist of mythology. The destruction dealt on the Athenian
acropolis, under the name of scholarship, is a type of modern
practice. The history of two thousand years has so far as possible
been swept carelessly away in the futile attempt to lay bare an
isolated picture of the age of Pericles; now archaeologists find that
they cannot stop there, and fix their interest on the shapeless
fragments of barbaric art beneath. But the Greek spirit and temper is
perhaps less known than it once was; there appears to be a real danger
that the influence upon men, the surprise of joy once given them by
the work of Sophocles or Pheidias or Plato, dwindles with the
accumulation of importance given to the barbarous antecedents and
surroundings from which that great art sprang. The highest office of
history is to preserve ideals; and where the ideal is saved its
substructure may well be allowed to perish, as perish in the main it
must, in spite of all that we can recover from the slight and
ambiguous records which it leaves. The value of this selection of
minor poetry--if one can speak of a value in poetry beyond itself--is
that, however imperfectly, it draws for us in little a picture of the
Greek ideal with all its virtues and its failings: it may be taken as
an epitome, slightly sketched with a facile hand, of the book of Greek
life. How slight the material is in which this picture is drawn
becomes plain the moment we turn from these epigrams, however delicate
and graceful, to the great writers. Yet the very study of the lesser
and the appreciation that comes of study may quicken our understanding
of the greater; and there is something more moving and pathetic in
their survival, as of flowers from a strange land: white violets
gathered in the morning, to recur to Meleager's exquisite metaphor,
yielding still a faint and fugitive fragrance here in the never-ending

[1] Quoted by S. Paul, Eph. v. 14.

[2] Lucr. i. 263, iii. 967.


                        TEXT AND TRANSLATIONS

                               CHAPTER I



Jar of Athens, drip the dewy juice of wine, drip, let the feast to
which all bring their share be wetted as with dew; be silenced the
swan, sage Zeno, and the Muse of Cleanthes, and let bitter-sweet Love
be our concern.

                             LAUS VENERIS

Sweet is snow in summer for the thirsty to drink, and sweet for
sailors after winter to see the garland of spring; but most sweet when
one cloak shelters two lovers, and the tale of love is told by both.

                           LOVE'S SWEETNESS

Nothing is sweeter than love, and all delicious things are second to
it; yes, even honey I spit out of my mouth. Thus saith Nossis; but he
whom the Cyprian loves not, knows not what roses her flowers are.

                         LOVE AND THE SCHOLAR
                          MARCUS ARGENTARIUS

Once when turning over the Book of Hesiod in my hands, suddenly I saw
Pyrrha coming in; and casting the book to the ground from my hand, I
cried out, Why bring your works to me, old Hesiod?

                             LOVERS' LIPS

Kissing Agathon, I had my soul upon my lips; for it rose, poor wretch,
as though to cross over.

                            THE FIRST KISS

At evening, at the hour when we say good-night, Moeris kissed me, I
know not whether really or in a dream; for very clearly I now have the
rest in mind, all she said to me, and all that she asked me of; but
whether she kissed me too, I doubt and guess; for if it is true, how,
after being set in heaven, do I go to and fro upon earth?

                             THE REVELLER

Let the die be thrown; light up! I will on my way; see, courage!--
Heavy with wine, what is thy purpose?--I will revel.--I will revel?
whither wanderest, O heart?--And what is Reason to Love? light up,
quick!--And where is thy old study of philosophy?--Away with the long
toil of wisdom; this one thing only I know, that Love took captive
even the mind of Zeus.

                            LOVE AND WINE

I am armed against Love with a breastplate of Reason, neither shall he
conquer me, one against one; yes, I a mortal will contend with him the
immortal: but if he have Bacchus to second him, what can I do alone
against the two?

                          LOVE IN THE STORM

Snow, hail, darken, blaze, thunder, shake forth all thy glooming
clouds upon the earth; for if thou slay me, then will I cease, but
while thou lettest me live, though thou handle me worse than this, I
will revel. For the god draws me who is thy master too, at whose
persuasion, Zeus, thou didst once pierce in gold to that brazen

                        A KISS WITHIN THE CUP

I am no wine-bibber; but if thou wilt make me drunk, taste thou first
and bring it me, and I take it. For if thou wilt touch it with thy
lips, no longer is it easy to keep sober or to escape the sweet cup-
bearer; for the cup ferries me over a kiss from thee, and tells me of
the grace that it had.

                            LOVE'S MARTYR

Evermore in my ears eddies the sound of Love, and my eye silently
carries sweet tears for the Desires; nor does night nor light let me
rest, but already my enchanted heart bears the well-known imprint. Ah
winged Loves, surely you know how to fly towards me, but have no whit
of strength to fly away.

                             LOVE'S DRINK

The cup is glad for sweetness, and says that it touches the sweet-
voiced mouth of love's darling, Zenophile. Happy! would that now,
bringing up her lips to my lips, she would drink at one draught the
very soul in me.

                           LOVE THE RUNAWAY

I make hue and cry after wild Love; for now, even now in the morning
dusk, he flew away from his bed and was gone. This boy is full of
sweet tears, ever talking, swift, fearless, sly-laughing, winged on
the back, and carries a quiver. But whose son he is I may not say, for
Heaven denies having borne this ruffler, and so Earth and so Sea.
Everywhere and by all he is hated; but look you to it lest haply even
now he is laying more springes for souls. Yet--there he is, see! about
his lurking-place; I see thee well, my archer, ambushed in Zenophile's

                           LOVE'S SYMPATHY

Our friend was wounded, and we knew it not; how bitter a sigh, mark
you? he drew all up his breast. Lo, he was drinking the third time,
and shedding their petals from the fellow's garlands the roses all
poured to the ground. He is well in the fire, surely; no, by the gods,
I guess not at random; a thief myself, I know a thief's footprints.

                            THE MAD LOVER
                         PAULUS SILENTIARIUS

A man wounded by a rabid dog's venom sees, they say, the beast's image
in all water. Surely mad Love has fixed his bitter tooth in me, and
made my soul the prey of his frenzies; for both the sea and the eddies
of rivers and the wine-carrying cup show me thy image, beloved.

                         LOVE AT THE VINTAGE

We, as we trod the infinite fruit of Iacchus, mingled and wound in the
rhythm of the revel, and now the fathomless flood flowed down, and
like boats our cups of ivy-wood swam on the sweet surges; dipping
wherewith, we drank just as it lay at our hand, nor missed the warm
water-nymphs overmuch. But beautiful Rhodanthe leant over the
winepress, and with the splendours of her beauty lit up the welling
stream; and swiftly all our hearts were fluttered, nor was there one
of us but was overcome by Bacchus and the Paphian. Alas for us! he ran
plenteous at our feet, but for her, hope played with us, and no more.

                            LOVE'S GARLAND

I will twine the white violet and I will twine the delicate narcissus
with myrtle buds, and I will twine laughing lilies, and I will twine
the sweet crocus, and I will twine therewithal the crimson hyacinth,
and I will twine lovers' roses, that on balsam-curled Heliodora's
temples my garland may shed its petals over the lovelocks of her hair.

                            LOVER'S FRIGHT

She is carried off! What savage could do so cruel a deed? Who so high
as to raise battle against very Love? Light torches, quick! and yet--a
footfall; Heliodora's; go back into my breast, O my heart.

                            LOVE IN SPRING

Now the white violet blooms, and blooms the moist narcissus, and bloom
the mountain-wandering lilies; and now, dear to her lovers, spring
flower among the flowers, Zenophile, the sweet rose of Persuasion, has
burst into bloom. Meadows, why idly laugh in the brightness of your
tresses? for my girl is better than garlands sweet to smell.

                             SUMMER NIGHT

Shrill-crying gnats, shameless suckers of the blood of men, two-winged
monsters of the night, for a little, I beseech you, leave Zenophile to
sleep a quiet sleep, and see, make your feast of flesh from my limbs.
Yet to what end do I talk in vain? even relentless wild beasts take
delight in nestling on her delicate skin. But once more now I proclaim
it, O evil brood, cease your boldness or you shall know the force of
jealous hands.

                           PARTING AT DAWN

Farewell, Morning Star, herald of dawn, and quickly come again as the
Evening Star, bringing secretly her whom thou takest away.

                           DEARER THAN DAY
                         PAULUS SILENTIARIUS

"Fare thou well," I would say to thee; and again I check my voice and
rein it backward, and again I stay beside thee; for I shrink from the
terrible separation from thee as from the bitter night of Acheron; for
the light of thee is like the day. Yet that, I think, is voiceless,
but thou bringest me also that murmuring talk of thine, sweeter than
the Sirens', whereon all my soul's hopes are hung.

                           THE MORNING STAR

Morning Star, do not Love violence, neither learn, neighbour as thou
art to Mars, to have a heart that pities not; but as once before,
seeing Phaethon in Clymene's chamber, thou heldest not on thy fleet-
foot course from the east, even so on the skirts of night, the night
that so hardly has lightened on my desire, come lingering as though
among the Cimmerians.

                            AT COCKCROWING
                      ANTIPATER OF THESSALONICA

Grey dawn is over, Chrysilla, and ere now the morning cock clarisoning
leads on the envious Lady of Morn. Be thou accursed, most envious of
birds, who drivest me from my home to the endless chattering of the
young men. Thou growest old, Tithonus; else why dost thou chase Dawn
thy bedfellow out of her couch while yet morning is so young?

                             DAWN'S HASTE

Grey dawn, why, O unloving, risest thou so swift round my bed, where
but now I nestled close to dear Demo? Would God thou wouldst turn thy
fleet course backward and be evening, thou shedder of the sweet light
that is so bitter to me. For once before, for Zeus and his Alcmena,
thou wentest contrary; thou art not unlessoned in running backward.

                             DAWN'S DELAY

Grey dawn, why, O unloving, rollest thou now so slow round the world,
since another is shrouded and warm by Demo? but when I held her
delicate form to my breast, swift thou wert upon us, shedding on me a
light that seemed to rejoice in my grief.

                         PAULUS SILENTIARIUS

Cleophantis lingers long; and the third lamp now begins to give a
broken glimmer as it silently wastes away. And would that the
firebrand in my heart too were quenched with the lamp, and did not
burn me long in wakeful desires. Ah how often she swore by the
Cytherean that she would be here at evenfall; but she recks not of
either men or gods.

                           WAITING IN VAIN

Nico the renowned consented to come to me at nightfall and swore by
the holy Lady of Laws; and she is not come, and the watch is gone by;
did she mean to forswear herself? Servants, put out the lamp.

                          THE SCORNED LOVER

O Night, thee and none other I take to witness, how Nico's Pythias
flouts me, traitress as she is; asked, not unasked am I come; may she
yet blame thee in the selfsame plight standing by my doors!

                           SLEEPLESS NIGHT

All night long I sob; and when grey dawn rises and grants me a little
grace of rest, the swallows cry around and about me, and bring me back
to tears, thrusting sweet slumber away: and my unclosing eyes keep
vigil, and the thought of Rhodanthe returns again in my bosom. O
envious chatterers, be still; it was not I who shore away Philomela's
tongue; but weep for Itylus on the mountains, and sit wailing by the
hoopoe's court, that we may sleep a little; and perchance a dream will
come and clasp me round with Rhodanthe's arms.

                           THE LOVE LETTER

Rufinus to Elpis, my most sweet: well and very well be with her, if
she can be well away from me. No longer can I bear, no, by thine eyes,
my solitary and unmated severance from thee, but evermore blotted with
tears I go to Coressus or to the temple of the great Artemis; but
tomorrow my home shall receive me, and I will fly to thy face and bid
thee a thousand greetings.

                           LOVE AND REASON

My soul forewarns me to flee the desire of Heliodora, knowing well the
tears and jealousies of old. She talks; but I have no strength to
flee, for, shameless that she is, she forewarns, and while she
forewarns, she loves.

                              ODI ET AMO

Take this message, Dorcas; lo again a second and a third time, Dorcas,
take her all my message; run; delay no longer; fly. Wait a little,
Dorcas, prithee a little; Dorcas, whither so fast before learning all
I would say? And add to what I have just said--but no, I go on like a
fool; say nothing at all--only that--say everything; spare not to say
everything. Yet why do I send thee out, Dorcas, when myself, see, I go
forth with thee?

                          LOOKING AND LIKING
                         PAULUS SILENTIARIUS

Eyes, how long are you draining the nectar of the Loves, rash drinkers
of the strong unmixed wine of beauty? let us run far away, as far as
we have strength to go, and in calm I will pour sober offerings to
Cypris the Placable. But if haply there likewise I be caught by the
sting, be you wet with chill tears and doomed for ever to bear
deserved pain; since from you, alas! it was that we fell into all this
labour of fire.


Dost thou then also, Philinna, carry longing in thee, dost thou
thyself also sicken and waste away with tearless eyes? or is thy sleep
most sweet to thee, while of our care thou makest neither count nor
reckoning? Thou wilt find thy fate likewise, and thy haughty cheek I
shall see wetted with fast-falling tears. For the Cyprian in all else
is malign, but one virtue is in her lot, hatred of proud beauties.

                            AMANTIUM IRAE
                         PAULUS SILENTIARIUS

At evening Galatea slammed-to the doors in my face, flinging at me a
speech of scorn. "Scorn breaks love"; idly wanders this proverb; her
scorn inflames my love-madness the more. For I swore I would stay a
year away from her; out and alas! but with break of day I went to make


Constantia, nay verily! I heard the name and thought it beautiful, but
thou art to me more bitter than death. And thou fliest him who loves
thee, and him who loves thee not thou pursuest, that he may love thee
and thou mayest fly him once again.

                            TIME'S REVENGE

So mayest thou slumber, Conopion, as thou makest me sleep here in the
chill doorway; so mayest thou slumber, most cruel, as thou lullest thy
lover asleep; but not even in a dream hast thou known compassion. The
neighbours pity me, but thou not even in a dream; but the silver hair
will remind thee of all this by and by.

                              FLOWN LOVE
                          MARCUS ARGENTARIUS

Golden-horned Moon, thou seest this, and you fiery-shining Stars whom
Ocean takes into his breast, how perfume-breathing Ariste has gone and
left me alone, and this is the sixth day I cannot find the witch. But
we will seek her notwithstanding; surely I will send the silver
sleuth-hounds of the Cyprian on her track.


Lady of Night, twy-horned, lover of nightlong revels, shine, O Moon,
shine, darting through the latticed windows; shed thy splendour on
golden Callistion; thine immortality may look down unchidden on the
deeds of lovers; thou dost bless both her and me, I know, O Moon; for
thy soul too was fired by Endymion.

                          LOVE AND THE STARS

On the stars thou gazest, my Star; would I were heaven, that I might
look on thee with many eyes.

                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Would I were a pink rose, that fastening me with thine hands thou
mightest grant me grace of thy snowy breast.


Would I were a white lily, that fastening me with thine hands thou
mightest satisfy me with the nearness of thy body.

                            LOVE AND SLEEP

Thou sleepest, Zenophile, dainty girl; would that I had come to thee
now, a wingless sleep, upon thine eyelids, that not even he, even he
who charms the eyes of Zeus, might come nigh thee, but myself had held
thee, I thee alone.

                          SLAYER AND HEALER

I have a wound of love, and from my wound flows ichor of tears, and
the gash is never staunched; for I am at my wits' end for misery, and
no Machaon sprinkles soothing drugs on me in my need. I am Telephus, O
maiden, but be thou my true Achilles; with thy beauty allay the
longing as thou didst kindle it.

                           LOVE THE GAMBLER

Still in his mother's lap, a child playing with dice in the morning,
Love played my life away.


Bitter wave of Love, and restless gusty Jealousies and wintry sea of
revellings, whither am I borne? and the rudders of my spirit are quite
cast loose; shall we sight delicate Scylla once again?

                           LOVE'S RELAPSES

Soul that weepest sore, how is Love's wound that was allayed in thee
inflaming through thy heart again! nay, nay, for God's sake, nay for
God's sake, O infatuate, stir not the fire that flickers low among the
ashes. For soon, O oblivious of thy pains, so sure as Love catches
thee in flight, again he will torture his found runaway.

                         LOVE THE BALL-PLAYER

Love who feeds on me is a ball-player, and throws to thee, Heliodora,
the heart that throbs in me. Come then, take thou Love-longing for his
playmate; but if thou cast me away from thee, I will not bear such
wanton false play.

                            LOVE'S ARROWS

Nay by Demo's tresses, nay by Heliodora's sandal, nay by Timarion's
scent-dripping doorway, nay by great-eyed Anticleia's dainty smile,
nay by Dorothea's fresh-blossomed garlands, no longer, Love, does thy
quiver hide its bitter winged arrows, for thy shafts are all fixed in

                            LOVE'S EXCESS
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Arm thyself, Cypris, with thy bow, and go at thy leisure to some other
mark; for I have not even room left for a wound.

                           MOTH AND CANDLE

If thou scorch so often the soul that flutters round thee, O Love, she
will flee away from thee; she too, O cruel, has wings.

                           LOVE AT AUCTION

Let him be sold, even while he is yet asleep on his mother's bosom,
let him be sold; why should I have the rearing of this impudent thing?
For it is snub-nosed and winged, and scratches with its nail-tips, and
weeping laughs often between; and furthermore it is unabashed, ever-
talking, sharp-glancing, wild and not gentle even to its very own
mother, every way a monster; so it shall be sold; if any outward-bound
merchant will buy a boy, let him come hither. And yet he beseeches,
see, all in tears. I sell thee no more; be comforted; stay here and
live with Zenophile.

                         INTER MINORA SIDERA
                          MARCUS ARGENTARIUS

Pour ten cups for Lysidice, and for beloved Euphrante, slave, give me
one cup. Thou wilt say I love Lysidice more? No, by sweet Bacchus,
whom I drink deep in this bowl; Euphrante for me, one against ten; for
the one splendour of the moon also outshines the innumerable stars.

                             ROSA TRIPLEX

Pour for Heliodora as Persuasion, and as the Cyprian, and once more
for her again as the sweet-speeched Grace; for she is enrolled as my
one goddess, whose beloved name I will mix and drink in unmixed wine.

                           LOVE IN ABSENCE

Pour, and again say, again, again, "Heliodora"; say it and mingle the
sweet name with the unmixed wine; and wreath me with that garland of
yesterday drenched with ointments, for remembrance of her. Lo, the
lovers' rose sheds tears to see her away, and not on my bosom.

                          LOVE'S PORTRAITURE

Who of my friends has imaged me sweet-voiced Zenophile? who has
brought me one Grace of the three? Surely the man did a gracious deed
who gave this gift, and in his grace gave Grace herself to me.

                           THE SEA'S WOOING

Fond Asclepias with her sparkling eyes as of Calm woos all to make the
voyage of love.

                          THE LIGHT OF TROY

Athenion sang of that fatal horse to me; all Troy was in fire, and I
kindled along with it, not fearing the ten years' toil of Greece; and
in that single blaze Trojans and I perished together then.

                            LOVE AND MUSIC

Sweet is the tune, by Pan of Arcady, that thou playest on the harp,
Zenophile, oversweet are the notes of the tune. Whither shall I fly
from thee? on all hands the Loves encompass me, and let me not take
breath for ever so little space; for either thy form shoots longing
into me, or again thy music or thy graciousness, or--what shall I say?
all of thee; I kindle in the fire.

                           HONEY AND STING

Flower-fed bee, why touchest thou my Heliodora's skin, leaving
outright the flower-bells of spring? Meanest thou that even the
unendurable sting of Love, ever bitter to the heart, has a sweetness
too? Yes, I think, this thou sayest; ah, fond one, go back again; we
knew thy news long ago.

                           LOVE'S MESSENGER

Fly for me, O gnat, a swift messenger, and touch Zenophile, and
whisper lightly into her ears: "one awaits thee waking; and thou
sleepest, O oblivious of thy lovers." Up, fly, yes fly, O musical one;
but speak quietly, lest arousing her bedfellow too thou stir pangs of
jealousy against me; and if thou bring my girl, I will adorn thee with
a lion-skin, O gnat, and give thee a club to carry in thine hand.

                           LOVE THE SLAYER

I beseech thee, Love, charm asleep the wakeful longing in me for
Heliodora, pitying my suppliant verse; for, by thy bow that never has
learned to strike another, but always upon me pours its winged shafts,
even though thou slay me I will leave letters uttering this voice,
"Look, stranger, on Love's murdered man."


Why so woe-begone? and why, Philaenis, these reckless tearings of
hair, and suffusion of sorrowful eyes? hast thou seen thy lover with
another on his bosom? tell me; we know charms for grief. Thou weepest
and sayest no: vainly dost thou essay to deny; the eyes are more
trustworthy than the tongue.

                         THE SLEEPLESS LOVER

Grasshopper, beguilement of my longings, luller asleep, grasshopper,
muse of the cornfield, shrill-winged, natural mimic of the lyre, harp
to me some tune of longing, striking thy vocal wings with thy dear
feet, that so thou mayest rescue me from the all-wakeful trouble of my
pains, grasshopper, as thou makest thy love-luring voice tremble on
the string; and I will give thee gifts at dawn, ever-fresh groundsel
and dewy drops sprayed from the mouths of the watering-can.

                             REST AT NOON

Voiceful cricket, drunken with drops of dew thou playest thy rustic
music that murmurs in the solitude, and perched on the leaf-edges
shrillest thy lyre-tune with serrated legs and swart skin. But my
dear, utter a new song for the tree-nymphs' delight, and make thy
harp-notes echo to Pan's, that escaping Love I may seek out sleep at
noon here lying under the shady plane.

                         THE BURDEN OF YOUTH

I am not two and twenty yet, and I am weary of living; O Loves, why
misuse me so? why set me on fire; for when I am gone, what will you
do? Doubtless, O Loves, as before you will play with your dice,

                             BROKEN VOWS

Holy night, and thou, O lamp, you and none other we took to witness of
our vows; and we swore, he that he would love me, and I that I would
never leave him, and you kept witness between us. And now he says that
these vows are written in running water, O lamp, and thou seest him on
the bosom of another.

                            DOUBTFUL DAWN

O night, O wakeful longing in me for Heliodora, and eyes that sting
with tears in the creeping grey of dawn, do some remnants of affection
yet remain mine, and is her memorial kiss warm upon my cold picture?
has she tears for bedfellows, and does she clasp to her bosom and kiss
a deluding dream of me? or has she some other new love, a new
plaything? Never, O lamp, look thou on that, but be guardian of her
whom I gave to thy keeping.

                           THE DEW OF TEARS

Stay there, my garlands, hanging by these doors, nor hastily
scattering your petals, you whom I have wetted with tears (for lovers'
eyes are rainy); but when you see him as the door opens, drip my rain
over his head, that so at least that golden hair may drink my tears.

                             LOVE'S GRAVE

When I am gone, Cleobulus--for what avails? cast among the fire of
young loves, I lie a brand in the ashes--I pray thee make the burial-
urn drunk with wine ere thou lay it under earth, and write thereon,
"Love's gift to Death."

                           LOVE'S MASTERDOM

Terrible is Love, terrible; and what avails it if again I say and
again, with many a moan, Terrible is Love? for surely the boy laughs
at this, and is pleased with manifold reproaches; and if I say bitter
things, they are meat and drink to him. And I wonder how thou, O
Cyprian, who didst arise through the green waves, out of water hast
borne a fire.

                          LOVE THE CONQUEROR

I am down: tread with thy foot on my neck, cruel divinity; I know
thee, by the gods, heavy as thou art to bear: I know too thy fiery
arrows: but hurling thy brands at my soul thou wilt no longer kindle
it, for it is all ashes.

                           LOVE'S PRISONER

Did I not cry aloud to thee, O soul, "Yes, by the Cyprian, thou wilt
be caught, poor lover, if thou flutterest so often near the lime-
twigs"? did I not cry aloud? and the snare has taken thee. Why dost
thou gasp vainly in the toils? Love himself has bound thy wings and
set thee on the fire, and sprinkled thee to swooning with perfumes,
and given thee in thy thirst hot tears to drink.

                            FROST AND FIRE

Ah suffering soul, now thou burnest in the fire, and now thou
revivest, and fetchest breath again: why weepest thou? when thou didst
feed pitiless Love in thy bosom, knewest thou not that he was being
fed for thy woe? knewest thou not? Know now his repayment, a fair
foster-hire! take it, fire and cold snow together. Thou wouldst have
it so; bear the pain; thou sufferest the wages of thy work, scorched
with his burning honey.

                        THE SCULPTOR OF SOULS

Within my heart Love himself has moulded Heliodora with her lovely
voice, the soul of my soul.

                          LOVE'S IMMORTALITY

Who may know if a loved one passes the prime, while ever with him and
never left alone? who may not satisfy to-day who satisfied yesterday?
and if he did satisfy, what should befall him not to satisfy

                              CHAPTER II

                       PRAYERS AND DEDICATIONS

                          TO ZEUS OF SCHERIA
                           JULIUS POLYAENUS

Though the terror of those who pray, and the thanks of those who have
prayed, ever fill thine ears with myriad voice, O Zeus, who abidest in
the holy plain of Scheria, yet hearken to us also, and bow down with a
promise that lies not, that my exile now may have an end, and I may
live in my native land at rest from labour of long journeys.

                        TO THE GOD OF THE SEA

Holy Spirit of the great Shaker of Earth, be thou gracious to others
also who ply across the Aegean brine; since even to me, chased by the
Thracian hurricane, thou didst open out the calm haven of my desire.


Harbour-god, do thou, O blessed one, send with a gentle breeze the
outward-bound sail of Archelaus down smooth water even to the sea; and
thou who hast the point of the shore in ward, keep the convoy that is
bound for the Pythian shrine; and thenceforward, if all we singers are
in Phoebus' care, I will sail cheerily on with a fair-flowing west

                         TO POSEIDON OF AEGAE

Thou who holdest sovereignty of swift-sailing ships, steed-loving god,
and the great overhanging cliff of Euboea, give to thy worshippers a
favourable voyage even to the City of Ares, who loosed moorings from

                     TO THE LORD OF SEA AND LAND

This ship to thee, O king of sea and sovereign of land, I Crantas
dedicate, this ship wet no longer, a feather tossed by the wandering
winds, whereon many a time I deemed in my terror that I drove to
death; now renouncing all, fear and hope, sea and storms, I have
planted my foot securely upon earth.

                    TO THE GODS OF SEA AND WEATHER

O Melicerta son of Ino, and thou, sea-green Leucothea, mistress of
Ocean, deity that shieldest from harm, and choirs of the Nereïds, and
waves, and thou Poseidon, and Thracian Zephyrus, gentlest of the
winds, carry me propitiously, sped through the broad wave, safe to the
sweet shore of the Peiraeus.

                     TO POSEIDON, BY A FISHERMAN

Old Amyntichus tied his plummeted fishing-net round his fish-spear,
ceasing from his sea-toil, and spake towards Poseidon and the salt
surge of the sea, letting a tear fall from his eyelids; Thou knowest,
blessed one, I am weary; and in an evil old age clinging Poverty keeps
her youth and wastes my limbs: give sustenance to a poor old man while
he yet draws breath, but from the land as he desires, O ruler of both
earth and sea.

                         TO PALAEMON AND INO
                          ANTIPATER OF SIDON

This shattered fragment of a sea-wandering scolopendra, lying on the
sandy shore, twice four fathom long, all befouled with froth, much
torn under the sea-washed rock, Hermonax chanced upon when he was
hauling a draught of fishes out of the sea as he plied his fisher's
craft; and having found it, he hung it up to the boy Palaemon and Ino,
giving the sea-marvel to the sea-deities.

                    TO ARTEMIS OF THE FISHING-NETS

A red mullet and a hake from the embers to thee, Artemis of the Haven,
I Menis, the caster of nets, offer, and a brimming cup of wine mixed
strong, and a broken crust of dry bread, a poor man's sacrifice; in
recompence whereof give thou nets ever filled with prey; to thee, O
blessed one, all meshes have been given.

                       TO PRIAPUS OF THE SHORE

Priapus of the seashore, the trawlers lay before thee these gifts by
the grace of thine aid from the promontory, having imprisoned a tunny
shoal in their nets of spun hemp in the green sea-entrances: a beechen
cup and a rude stool of heath and a glass cup holding wine, that thou
mayest rest thy foot weary and cramped with dancing while thou chasest
away the dry thirst.

                         TO APOLLO OF LEUCAS

Phoebus who holdest the sheer steep of Leucas, far seen of mariners
and washed by the Ionian sea, receive of sailors this mess of hand-
kneaded barley bread and a libation mingled in a little cup, and the
gleam of a brief-shining lamp that drinks with half-saturate mouth
from a sparing oil-flask; in recompence whereof be gracious, and send
on their sails a favourable wind to run with them to the harbours of

                        TO ARTEMIS OF THE WAYS

Thou of the Ways, to thee Antiphilus dedicates this hat from his own
head, a voucher of his wayfaring; for thou wast gracious to his
prayers, wast favouring to his paths; and his thank-offering is small
indeed but sacred. Let not any greedy traveller's hand snatch our
gift; sacrilege is not safe even in little things.

                         TO THE TWIN BRETHREN

He who set me here, Euaenetus, says (for of myself I know not) that I
am dedicated in recompence of his single-handed victory, I the cock of
brass, to the Twin Brethren; I believe the son of Phaedrus the

                        TO THE DELPHIAN APOLLO
                         PAULUS SILENTIARIUS

Eunomus the Locrian hangs up this brazen grasshopper to the Lycorean
god, a memorial of the contest for the crown. The strife was of the
Lyre, and Parthis stood up against me: but when the Locrian shell
sounded under the plectrum, a lyre-string rang and snapped jarringly;
but ere ever the tune halted in its fair harmonies, a delicate-
trilling grasshopper seated itself on the lyre and took up the note of
the lost string, and turned the rustic sound that till then was vocal
in the groves to the strain of our touch upon the lyre; and therefore,
blessed son of Leto, he does honour to thy grasshopper, seating the
singer in brass upon his harp.

                        TO ARTEMIS THE HEALER

Huntress and archer, maiden daughter of Zeus and Leto, Artemis to whom
are given the recesses of the mountains, this very day send away
beyond the North Wind this hateful sickness from the best of kings;
for so above thine altars will Philippus offer vapour of frankincense,
doing goodly sacrifice of a hill-pasturing boar.

                             TO ASCLEPIUS

Even to Miletus came the son of the Healer to succour the physician of
diseases Nicias, who ever day by day draws near him with offerings,
and had this image carved of fragrant cedar, promising high recompence
to Eetion for his cunning of hand; and he put all his art into the

                       TO THE NYMPHS OF ANIGRUS

Nymphs of Anigrus, maidens of the river, who evermore tread with rosy
feet these divine depths, hail and save Cleonymus who set these fair
images to you, goddesses, beneath the pines.

                             TO PAN PAEAN
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

This for thee, O pipe-player, minstrel, gracious god, holy lord of the
Naiads who pour their urns, Hyginus made as a gift, whom thou, O king,
didst draw nigh and make whole of his hard sickness; for among all my
children thou didst stand by me visibly, not in a dream of night, but
about the mid-circle of the day.

                         TO HERACLES OF OETA

Heracles who goest on stony Trachis and on Oeta and the deep brow of
tree-clad Pholoe, to thee Dionysius offers this green staff of wild
olive, cut off by him with his billhook.

                       TO APOLLO AND THE MUSES

These dewy roses and yonder close-curled wild thyme are laid before
the maidens of Helicon, and the dark-leaved laurels before thee,
Pythian Healer, since the Delphic rock made this thine ornament; and
this white-horned he-goat shall stain your altar, who nibbles the tip
of the terebinth shoot.


Thou liest in the golden portico of Aphrodite, O grape-cluster filled
full of Dionysus' juice, nor ever more shall thy mother twine round
thee her lovely tendril or above thine head put forth her honeyed

                     TO APHRODITE, BY CALLISTION

Thou who inhabitest Cyprus and Cythera and Miletus and the fair plain
of horse-trampled Syria, come graciously to Callistion, who never
thrust her lover away from her house's doors.

                        TO APHRODITE, BY LAÏS

I Laïs who laughed exultant over Greece, I who held that swarm of
young lovers in my porches, give my mirror to the Paphian; since such
as I am I will not see myself, and such as I was I cannot.

                    TO APHRODITE, WITH A TALISMAN
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Nico's wryneck, that knows how to draw a man even from overseas, and
girls out of their wedding-chambers, chased with gold, carven out of
translucent amethyst, lies before thee, Cyprian, for thine own
possession, tied across the middle with a soft lock of purple lamb's
wool, the gift of the sorceress of Larissa.

                         TO APHRODITE EUPLOIA

Guardian of the seabeach, to thee I send these cakes, and the gifts of
a scanty sacrifice; for to-morrow I shall cross the broad wave of the
Ionian sea, hastening to our Eidothea's arms. But shine thou
favourably on my love as on my mast, O Cyprian, mistress of the bride-
chamber and the beach.

                        TO THE GOD OF CANOPUS

To the god of Canopus Callistion, wife of Critias, dedicated me, a
lamp enriched with twenty wicks, when her prayer for her child Apellis
was heard; and regarding my splendours thou wilt say, How art thou
fallen, O Evening Star!

                      TO HERACLES, WITH A SHIELD

Receive me, O Heracles, the consecrated shield of Archestratus, that
leaning against thy polished portico, I may grow old in hearing of
dances and hymns; let the War-God's hateful strife be satisfied.

                       TO THE MILESIAN ARTEMIS

So I was destined, I also, once to abandon the hateful strife of Ares
and hear the maiden choirs around Artemis' temple, where Epixenus
placed me when white old age began to waste his limbs.

                           TO ATHENE ERGANE
                          ANTIPATER OF SIDON

The shuttle that sang at morning with the earliest swallows' cry,
kingfisher of Pallas in the loom, and the heavy-headed twirling
spindle, light-running spinner of the twisted yarn, and the bobbins,
and this basket, friend to the distaff, keeper of the spun warp-thread
and the reel, Telesilla, the industrious daughter of good Diocles,
dedicates to the Maiden, mistress of wool-dressers.

                          TO THE ORCHARD GOD
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

This fresh-cloven pomegranate and fresh-downed quince, and the
wrinkled navel-like fig, and the purple grape-bunch spirting wine,
thick-clustered, and the nut fresh-stripped of its green husk, to this
rustic staked Priapus the keeper of the fruit dedicates, an offering
from his orchard trees.

                      TO DEMETER AND THE SEASONS

To Demeter of the winnowing-fan and the Seasons whose feet are in the
furrows Heronax lays here from the poverty of a small tilth their
share of ears from the threshing-floor, and these mixed seeds of pulse
on a slabbed table, the least of a little; for no great inheritance is
this he has gotten him, here on the barren hill.

                         TO THE CORN GODDESS

Those handfuls of corn from the furrows of a tiny field, Demeter lover
of wheat, Sosicles the tiller dedicates to thee, having reaped now an
abundant harvest; but again likewise may he carry back his sickle
blunted from shearing of the straw.

                       TO THE GODS OF THE FARM
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

To Pan of the goats and fruitful Dionysus and Demeter Lady of Earth I
dedicate a common offering, and beseech of them fair fleeces and fair
wine and fair fruit of the corn-ears in my reaping.

                           TO THE WEST WIND

Eudemus dedicates this shrine in the fields to Zephyrus, most
bountiful of the winds, who came to aid him at his prayer, that he
might right quickly winnow the grain from the ripe ears.

                        TO PAN OF THE FOUNTAIN
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

We supplicate Pan, the goer on the cliffs, twy-horned leader of the
Nymphs, who abides in this house of rock, to be gracious to us,
whosoever come to this spring of ever-flowing drink to rid us of our

                        TO PAN AND THE NYMPHS

To Pan the bristly-haired, and the Nymphs of the farm-yard, Theodotus
the shepherd laid this gift under the crag, because they stayed him
when very weary under the parching summer, stretching out to him
honey-sweet water in their hands.

                         TO THE SHEPHERD-GOD

White-skinned Daphnis, the player of pastoral hymns on his fair pipe,
offers these to Pan, the pierced reeds, the stick for throwing at
hares, a sharp javelin and a fawn-skin, and the scrip wherein once he
carried apples.


To thee, Pan of the cliff, three brethren dedicate these various gifts
of their threefold ensnaring; Damis toils for wild beasts, and Pigres
springes for birds, and Cleitor nets that swim in the sea; whereof do
thou yet again make the one fortunate in the air, and the one in the
sea and the one among the oakwoods.

                      TO ARTEMIS OF THE OAKWOOD

This to thee, Artemis the bright, this statue Cleonymus set up; do
thou overshadow this oakwood rich in game, where thou goest afoot, our
lady, over the mountain tossing with foliage as thou hastest with thy
terrible and eager hounds.

                       TO THE GODS OF THE CHASE

Fountained caverns of the Nymphs that drip so much water down this
jagged headland, and echoing hut of pine-coronalled Pan, wherein he
dwells under the feet of the rock of Bassae, and stumps of aged
juniper sacred among hunters, and stone-heaped seat of Hermes, be
gracious and receive the spoils of the swift stag-chase from Sosander
prosperous in hunting.

                         TO ARCADIAN ARTEMIS
                          ANTIPATER OF SIDON

This deer that fed about Ladon and the Erymanthian water and the
ridges of Pholoe haunted by wild beasts, Lycormas son of Thearidas of
Lasion got, striking her with the diamond-shaped butt of his spear,
and, drawing off the skin and the double-pointed antlers on her
forehead, laid them before the Maiden of the country.

                    TO APOLLO, WITH A HUNTER'S BOW
                         PAULUS SILENTIARIUS

Androclus, O Apollo, gives this bow to thee, wherewith in the chase
striking many a beast he had luck in his aim: since never did the
arrow leap wandering from the curved horn or speed vainly from his
hand; for as often as the inevitable bowstring rang, so often he
brought down his prey in air or thicket; wherefore to thee, O Phoebus,
he brings this Lyctian weapon as an offering, having wound it round
with rings of gold.

                       TO PAN OF THE SHEPHERDS
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

O Pan, utter thy holy voice to the feeding flocks, running thy curved
lip over the golden reeds, that so they may often bring gifts of white
milk in heavy udders to Clymenus' home, and for thee the lord of the
she-goats, standing fairly by thy altars, may spirt the red blood from
his shaggy breast.

                         TO THE GOD OF ARCADY

These unsown domains, O Pan of the hill, Stratonicus the ploughman
dedicated to thee in return of thy good deeds, saying, Feed in joy
thine own flocks and look on thine own land, never more to be shorn
with brass; thou wilt find the resting-place a gracious one; for even
here charmed Echo will fulfil her marriage with thee.

                             CHAPTER III



If to die nobly is the chief part of excellence, to us out of all men
Fortune gave this lot; for hastening to set a crown of freedom on
Greece we lie possessed of praise that grows not old.


These men having set a crown of imperishable glory on their own land
were folded in the dark cloud of death; yet being dead they have not
died, since from on high their excellence raises them gloriously out
of the house of Hades.


Him, who over changed paths of earth and sea sailed on the mainland
and went afoot upon the deep, Spartan valour held back on three
hundred spears; be ashamed, O mountains and seas.

                             ON THE SAME

O passer by, tell the Lacedaemonians that we lie here obeying their


These men, in saving their native land that lay with tearful fetters
on her neck, clad themselves in the dust of darkness; and they win
great praise of excellence; but looking on them let a citizen dare to
die for his country.

                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

O Time, all-surveying deity of the manifold things wrought among
mortals, carry to all men the message of our fate, that striving to
save the holy soil of Greece we die on the renowned Boeotian plains.

                          ON A SLAIN WARRIOR

Valiant in war was Timocritus, whose monument this is; but Ares spares
the bad, not the good.


These men also, the steadfast among spears, dark Fate destroyed as
they defended their native land rich in sheep; but they being dead
their glory is alive, who woefully clad their limbs in the dust of


We fell under the fold of Dirphys, and a memorial is reared over us by
our country near the Euripus, not unjustly; for we lost lovely youth
facing the rough cloud of war.


We who of old left the booming surge of the Aegean lie here in the
mid-plain of Ecbatana: fare thou well, renowned Eretria once our
country, farewell Athens nigh to Euboea, farewell dear sea.

                             ON THE SAME

We are Eretrians of Euboea by blood, but we lie near Susa, alas! how
far from our own land.

                             ON AESCHYLUS

Aeschylus son of Euphorion the Athenian this monument hides, who died
in wheat-bearing Gela; but of his approved valour the Marathonian
grove may tell, and the deep-haired Mede who knew it.

                     ON AN EMPTY TOMB IN TRACHIS

Not rocky Trachis covers over thy white bones, nor this stone with her
dark-blue lettering; but them the Icarian wave dashes about the
shingle of Doliche and steep Dracanon; and I, this empty earth, for
old friendship with Polymedes, am heaped among the thirsty herbage of

                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Straight is the descent to Hades, whether thou wert to go from Athens
or takest thy journey from Meroë; let it not vex thee to have died so
far away from home; from all lands the wind that blows to Hades is but


I am an Athenian woman; for that was my city; but from Athens the
wasting war-god of the Italians plundered me long ago and made a Roman
citizen; and now that I am dead, seagirt Cyzicus wraps my bones. Fare
thou well, O land that nurturedst me, and thou that thereafter didst
hold me, and thou that at last hast taken me to thy breast.

                       ON A SHIPWRECKED SAILOR

I am the tomb of one shipwrecked; and that opposite me, of a
husbandman; for a common Hades lies beneath sea and earth.

                             ON THE SAME

Well be with you, O mariners, both at sea and on land; but know that
you pass by the grave of a shipwrecked man.

                             ON THE SAME

I am the tomb of one shipwrecked; but sail thou; for when we were
perishing, the other ships sailed on over the sea.

                             ON THE SAME
                         LEONIDAS OF TARENTUM

May the seafarer have a prosperous voyage; but if, like me, the gale
drive him into the harbour of Hades, let him blame not the
inhospitable sea-gulf, but his own foolhardiness that loosed moorings
from our tomb.

                             ON THE SAME
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Mariner, ask not whose tomb I am here, but be thine own fortune a
kinder sea.

                             ON THE SAME

What stranger, O shipwrecked man? Leontichus found me here a corpse on
the shore, and heaped this tomb over me, with tears for his own
calamitous life: for neither is he at peace, but flits like a gull
over the sea.


Not dust nor the light weight of a stone, but all this sea that thou
beholdest is the tomb of Erasippus; for he perished with his ship, and
in some unknown place his bones moulder, and the sea-gulls alone know
them to tell.

                             ON THE SAME

Cloudcapt Geraneia, cruel steep, would thou hadst looked on far Ister
and long Scythian Tanaïs, and not lain nigh the surge of the Scironian
sea by the ravines of the snowy Meluriad rock: but now he is a chill
corpse in ocean, and the empty tomb here cries aloud of his heavy

                             ON THE SAME

Thymodes also, weeping over unlooked-for woes, reared this empty tomb
to Lycus his son; for not even in a strange land did he get a grave,
but some Thynian beach or Pontic island holds him, where, forlorn of
all funeral rites, his shining bones lie naked on an inhospitable

                    ON A SAILOR DROWNED IN HARBOUR
                          ANTIPATER OF SIDON

Everywhere the sea is the sea; why idly blame we the Cyclades or the
narrow wave of Helle and the Needles? in vain have they their fame; or
why when I had escaped them did the harbour of Scarphe cover me? Pray
whoso will for a fair passage home; that the sea's way is the sea,
Aristagoras knows who is buried here.


O sailing mariners, Ariston of Cyrene prays you all for the sake of
Zeus the Protector, to tell his father Meno that he lies by the
Icarian rocks, having given up the ghost in the Aegean sea.


I am the grave of Biton, O wayfarer; and if leaving Torone thou goest
even to Amphipolis, tell Nicagoras that Strymonias at the setting of
the Kids lost him his only son.


I bewail Polyanthus, O thou who passest by, whom Aristagore his wife
laid newly-wedded in the grave, having received dust and bones (but
him the ill-blown Aegean wave cast away off Sciathus), when at early
dawn the fishermen drew his luckless corpse, O stranger, into the
harbour of Torone.

                          ON A WAYSIDE TOMB

Sit beneath the poplars here, traveller, when thou art weary, and
drawing nigh drink of our spring; and even far away remember the
fountain that Simus sets by the side of Gillus his dead child.

                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

This is the single tomb of Nicander's children; the light of a single
morning ended the sacred offspring of Lysidice.

                              ON A BABY
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Me a baby that was just tasting life heaven snatched away, I know not
whether for good or for evil; insatiable Death, why hast thou snatched
me cruelly in infancy? why hurriest thou? Are we not all thine in the

                          ON A CHILD OF FIVE

Me Callimachus, a five-years-old child whose spirit knew not grief,
pitiless Death snatched away; but weep thou not for me; for little was
my share in life, and little in life's ills.

                         ON A CHILD OF SEVEN
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Hermes messenger of Persephone, whom usherest thou thus to the
laughterless abyss of Death? what hard fate snatched Ariston from the
fresh air at seven years old? and the child stands between his
parents. Pluto delighting in tears, are not all mortal spirits
allotted to thee? why gatherest thou the unripe grapes of youth?

                          ON A BOY OF TWELVE

Philip the father laid here the twelve-years-old child, his high hope,

                             ON CLEOETES
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Looking on the monument of a dead boy, Cleoetes son of Menesaechmus,
pity him who was beautiful and died.

                          ON A BEAUTIFUL BOY
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Not death is bitter, since that is the fate of all, but to die ere the
time and before our parents: I having seen not marriage nor wedding-
chant nor bridal bed, lie here the love of many, and to be the love of

                         ON A BOY OF NINETEEN
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Bidding hail to me, Diogenes beneath the earth, go about thy business
and obtain thy desire; for at nineteen years old I was laid low by
cruel sickness and leave the sweet sun.

                       ON A SON, BY HIS MOTHER

What profits it to labour in childbirth? what to bear children? let
not her bear who must see her child's death: for to stripling Bianor
his mother reared the tomb; but it was fitting that the mother should
obtain this service of the son.

                              ON A GIRL

The daughters of the Samians often require Crethis the teller of
tales, who knew pretty games, sweetest of workfellows, ever talking;
but she sleeps here the sleep to which they all must come.

                         ON A BETROTHED GIRL

I am of Baucis the bride; and passing by my oft-wept pillar thou
mayest say this to Death that dwells under ground, "Thou art envious,
O Death"; and the coloured monument tells to him who sees it the most
bitter fortune of Bauco, how her father-in-law burned the girl on the
funeral pyre with those torches by whose light the marriage train was
to be led home; and thou, O Hymenaeus, didst change the tuneable
bridal song into a voice of wailing dirges.

                             ON THE SAME
                      ANTIPATER OF THESSALONICA

Ausonian earth holds me a woman of Libya, and I lie a maiden here by
the sea-sand near Rome; and Pompeia, who nurtured me like a daughter,
wept over me and laid me in a free tomb, while hastening on that other
torch-fire for me; but this one came first, and contrary to our
prayers Persephone lit the lamp.

                          ON A SINGING-GIRL
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Blue-eyed Musa, the sweet-voiced nightingale, suddenly this little
grave holds voiceless, and she lies like a stone who was so
accomplished and so famous; fair Musa, be this dust light over thee.

                         ON CLAUDIA HOMONOEA
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

I Homonoea, who was far clearer-voiced than the Sirens, I who was more
golden than the Cyprian herself at revellings and feasts, I the
chattering bright swallow lie here, leaving tears to Atimetus, to whom
I was dear from girlhood; but unforeseen fate scattered all that great

                         ON PAULA OF TARENTUM
                          DIODORUS OF SARDIS

Bear witness this my stone house of night that has hidden me, and the
wail-circled water of Cocytus, my husband did not, as men say, kill
me, looking eagerly to marriage with another; why should Rufinius have
an ill name idly? but my predestined Fates lead me away; not surely is
Paula of Tarentum the only one who has died before her day.

                   ON A MOTHER, DEAD IN CHILDBIRTH
                          DIODORUS OF SARDIS

These woeful letters of Diodorus' wisdom tell that I was engraven for
one early dead in child-birth, since she perished in bearing a boy;
and I weep to hold Athenaïs the comely daughter of Melo, who left
grief to the women of Lesbos and her father Jason; but thou, O
Artemis, wert busy with thy beast-slaying hounds.

                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Name me Polyxena wife of Archelaus, child of Theodectes and hapless
Demarete, and a mother as far as the birth-pangs; but fate overtook
the child before full twenty suns, and myself died at eighteen years,
just a mother and just a bride, so brief was all my day.

                           ON A YOUNG WIFE
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

To his wife Paulina, holy of life and blameless, who died at nineteen
years, Andronicus the physician paying memorial placed this witness
the last of all.

                         ON ATTHIS OF CNIDOS
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Atthis who didst live for me and breathe thy last toward me, source of
joyfulness formerly as now of tears, holy, much lamented, how sleepest
thou the mournful sleep, thou whose head was never laid away from thy
husband's breast, leaving Theius alone as one who is no more; for with
thee the hopes of our life went to darkness.

                         LEONIDAS OF TARENTUM

Who and of whom art thou, O woman, that liest under the Parian column?
Prexo, daughter of Calliteles. And of what country? Of Samos. And also
who buried thee? Theocritus, to whom my parents gave me in marriage.
And of what diedst thou? Of child-birth. How old? Two-and-twenty. And
childless? Nay, but I left a three-year-old Calliteles. May he live at
least and come to great old age. And to thee, O stranger, may Fortune
give all prosperity.

                     ON AMAZONIA OF THESSALONICA
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Why idly bemoaning linger you by my tomb? nothing worthy of
lamentation is mine among the dead. Cease from plaints and be at rest,
O husband, and you my children fare well, and keep the memory of

                       ON A LACEDAEMONIAN NURSE
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Here earth holds the Peloponnesian woman who was the most faithful
nurse of the children of Diogeitus.

                          ON A LYDIAN SLAVE

A Lydian am I, yes a Lydian, but in a free tomb, O my master, thou
didst lay thy fosterer Timanthes; prosperously mayest thou lengthen
out an unharmed life, and if under the hand of old age thou shalt come
to me, I am thine, O master, even in the grave.

                          ON A PERSIAN SLAVE
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Even now beneath the earth I abide faithful to thee, yes my master, as
before, forgetting not thy kindness, in that then thou broughtest me
thrice out of sickness to safe foothold, and now didst lay me here
beneath sufficient shelter, calling me by name, Manes the Persian; and
for thy good deeds to me thou shalt have servants readier at need.

                          ON A FAVOURITE DOG
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Thou who passest on the path, if haply thou dost mark this monument,
laugh not, I pray thee, though it is a dog's grave; tears fell for me,
and the dust was heaped above me by a master's hands, who likewise
engraved these words on my tomb.

                        ON A MALTESE WATCH-DOG

Here the stone says it holds the white dog from Melita, the most
faithful guardian of Eumelus; Bull they called him while he was yet
alive; but now his voice is prisoned in the silent pathways of night.

                         ON A TAME PARTRIDGE

No longer, poor partridge migrated from the rocks, does thy woven
house hold thee in its thin withies, nor under the sparkle of fresh-
faced Dawn dost thou ruffle up the edges of thy basking wings; the cat
bit off thy head, but the rest of thee I snatched away, and she did
not fill her greedy jaw; and now may the earth cover thee not lightly
but heavily, lest she drag out thy remains.

                        ON A THESSALIAN HOUND

Surely even as thou liest dead in this tomb I deem the wild beasts yet
fear thy white bones, huntress Lycas; and thy valour great Pelion
knows, and splendid Ossa and the lonely peaks of Cithaeron.

                        ON CHARIDAS OF CYRENE

Does Charidas in truth sleep beneath thee? If thou meanest the son of
Arimmas of Cyrene, beneath me. O Charidas, what of the under world?
Great darkness. And what of the resurrection? A lie. And Pluto? A
fable; we perish utterly. This my tale to you is true; but if thou
wilt have the pleasant one of the Samian, I am a large ox in Hades.

                        ON THEOGNIS OF SINOPE

I am the monument of Theognis of Sinope, over whom Glaucus set me in
guerdon of their long fellowship.

                           ON A DEAD FRIEND
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

This little stone, good Sabinus, is the record of our great
friendship; ever will I require thee; and thou, if it is permitted,
drink not among the dead of the water of Lethe for me.

                          ON AN UNHAPPY MAN
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

I Dionysius of Tarsus lie here at sixty, having never married; and
would that my father had not.

                         ON A CRETAN MERCHANT

I Brotachus of Gortyna, a Cretan, lie here, not having come hither for
this, but for traffic.

                         ON SAON OF ACANTHUS

Here Saon, son of Dicon of Acanthus, rests in a holy sleep; say not
that the good die.

                              CHAPTER IV

                          LITERATURE AND ART

                        THE GROVE OF THE MUSES
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Say thou that this grave is consecrate to the Muses, pointing to the
books by the plane-trees, and that we guard it; and if a true lover of
ours come hither, we crown him with our ivy.

                        THE VOICE OF THE WORLD
                          ANTIPATER OF SIDON

The herald of the prowess of heroes and the interpreter of the
immortals, a second sun on the life of Greece, Homer, the light of the
Muses, the ageless mouth of all the world, lies hid, O stranger, under
the sea-washed sand.

                           THE TALE OF TROY

Still we hear the wail of Andromache, still we see all Troy toppling
from her foundations, and the battling of Ajax, and Hector, bound to
the horses, dragged under the city's crown of towers, through the Muse
of Maeonides, the poet with whom no one country adorns herself as her
own, but the zones of both worlds.

                          ANTIPATER OF SIDON

No longer, Orpheus, wilt thou lead the charmed oaks, no longer the
rocks nor the lordless herds of the wild beasts; no longer wilt thou
lull the roaring of the winds, nor hail and sweep of snowstorms nor
dashing sea; for thou perishedst; and the daughters of Mnemosyne wept
sore for thee, and thy mother Calliope above all. Why do we mourn over
dead sons, when not even gods avail to ward off Hades from their


Doricha, long ago thy bones are dust, and the ribbon of thy hair and
the raiment scented with unguents, wherein once wrapping lovely
Charaxus round thou didst cling to him carousing into dawn; but the
white leaves of the dear ode of Sappho remain yet and shall remain
speaking thy blessed name, which Naucratis shall keep here so long as
a sea-going ship shall come to the lagoons of Nile.

                              ERINNA (1)
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Thee, as thou wert just giving birth to a springtide of honeyed songs
and just finding thy swan-voice, Fate, mistress of the threaded
spindle, drove to Acheron across the wide water of the dead; but the
fair labour of thy verses, Erinna, cries that thou art not perished,
but keepest mingled choir with the Maidens of Pieria.

                              ERINNA (2)
                         LEONIDAS OF TARENTUM

The young maiden singer Erinna, the bee among poets, who sipped the
flowers of the Muses, Hades snatched away to be his bride; truly
indeed said the girl in her wisdom, "Thou art envious, O Death."

                         ANACREON'S GRAVE (1)
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

O stranger who passest this the tomb of Anacreon, pour libation over
me in going by; for I am a drinker of wine.

                         ANACREON'S GRAVE (2)
                          ANTIPATER OF SIDON

O stranger who passest by the humble tomb of Anacreon, if thou hast
had aught of good from my books pour libation on my ashes, pour
libation of the jocund grape, that my bones may rejoice wetted with
wine; so I, who was ever deep in the wine-steeped revels of Dionysus,
I who was bred among drinking tunes, shall not even when dead endure
without Bacchus this place to which the generation of mortals must

                          ANTIPATER OF SIDON

As high as the trumpet's blast outsounds the thin flute, so high above
all others did thy lyre ring; nor idly did the tawny swarm mould their
waxen-celled honey, O Pindar, about thy tender lips: witness the
horned god of Maenalus when he sang thy hymn and forgot his own
pastoral reeds.


I am Thespis who first shaped the strain of tragedy, making new
partition of fresh graces among the masquers when Bacchus would lead
home the wine-stained chorus, for whom a goat and a basket of Attic
figs was as yet the prize in contests. A younger race reshape all
this; and infinite time will make many more inventions yet; but mine
are mine.


Gently over the tomb of Sophocles, gently creep, O ivy, flinging forth
thy pale tresses, and all about let the rose-petal blow, and the
clustered vine shed her soft tendrils round, for the sake of the wise-
hearted eloquence mingled of the Muses and Graces that lived on his
honeyed tongue.


The Graces, seeking to take a sanctuary that will not fall, found the
soul of Aristophanes.


With a ringing laugh, and a friendly word over me do thou pass by; I
am Rhintho of Syracuse, a small nightingale of the Muses; but from our
tragical mirth we plucked an ivy of our own.

                             MELEAGER (1)

Tread softly, O stranger; for here an old man sleeps among the holy
dead, lulled in the slumber due to all, Meleager son of Eucrates, who
united Love of the sweet tears and the Muses with the joyous Graces;
whom God-begotten Tyre brought to manhood, and the sacred land of
Gadara, but lovely Cos nursed in old age among the Meropes. But if
thou art a Syrian, say /Salam/, and if a Phoenician, /Naidios/, and if
a Greek, Hail; they are the same.

                             MELEAGER (2)

Island Tyre was my nurse; and the Attic land that lies in Syrian
Gadara is the country of my birth; and I sprang of Eucrates, I
Meleager, the companion of the Muses, first of all who have run side
by side with the Graces of Menippus. And if I am a Syrian, what
wonder? We all dwell in one country, O stranger, the world; one Chaos
brought all mortals to birth. And when stricken in years, I inscribed
this on my tablets before burial, since old age is death's near
neighbour; but do thou, bidding hail to me, the aged talker, thyself
reach a talking old age.

                       PYLADES THE HARP-PLAYER
                          ALCAEUS OF MESSENE

All Greece bewails thee departed, Pylades, and cuts short her undone
hair; even Phoebus himself laid aside the laurels from his unshorn
tresses, honouring his own minstrel as was meet, and the Muses wept,
and Asopus stayed his stream, hearing the cry from their wailing lips;
and Dionysus' halls ceased from dancing when thou didst pass down the
iron path of Death.

                          THE DEATH OF MUSIC

When Orpheus was gone, a Muse was yet haply left, but when thou didst
perish, Plato, the harp likewise ceased; for till then there yet lived
some little fragment of the old melodies, saved in thy soul and hands.

                        APOLLO AND MARSYAS (1)
                          ALCAEUS OF MESSENE

No more through pine-clad Phrygia, as of old, shalt thou make melody,
uttering thy notes through the pierced reeds, nor in thy hands as
before shall the workmanship of Tritonian Athena flower forth,
nymph-born Satyr; for thy hands are bound tight in gyves, since being
mortal thou didst join immortal strife with Phoebus; and the flutes,
that cried as honey-sweet as his harp, gained thee from the contest no
crown but death.

                        APOLLO AND MARSYAS (2)

Thou hangest high where the winds lash thy wild body, O wretched one,
swinging from a shaggy pine; thou hangest high, for thou didst stand
up to strife against Phoebus, O Satyr, dweller on the cliff of
Celaenae; and we nymphs shall no longer as before hear the honey-
sounding cry of thy flute on the Phrygian hills.

                      GLAPHYRUS THE FLUTE-PLAYER
                      ANTIPATER OF THESSALONICA

Phoebus said over clear-voiced Glaphyrus as he breathed desire through
the pierced lotus-pipes, "O Marsyas, thou didst tell false of thy
discovery, for this is he who carried off Athena's flutes out of
Phrygia; and if thou hadst blown then in such as his, Hyagnis would
not have wept that disastrous flute-strife by Maeander."

                            VIOL AND FLUTE

Wilt thou for the Muses' sake play me somewhat of sweet on thy twin
flutes? and I lifting the harp will begin to make music on the
strings; and Daphnis the neatherd will mingle enchantment with
tuneable breath of the wax-bound pipe; and thus standing nigh within
the fringed cavern mouth, let us rob sleep from Pan the lord of the

                            POPULAR SONGS

Eutychides, the writer of songs, is dead; flee, O you under earth!
Eutychides is coming with his odes; he left instructions to burn along
with him twelve lyres and twenty-five boxes of airs. Now Charon has
come upon you; whither may one retreat in future, since Eutychides
fills Hades too?

                       GRAMMAR, MUSIC, RHETORIC

Pluto turns away the dead rhetorician Marcus, saying, "Let the dog
Cerberus suffice us here; yet if thou needs must, declaim to Ixion and
Melito the song-writer, and Tityus; for I have no worse evil than
thee, till Rufus the critic comes to murder the language here."

                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

I the reed was a useless plant; for out of me grew not figs nor apple
nor grape-cluster; but man consecrated me a daughter of Helicon,
piercing my delicate lips and making me the channel of a narrow
stream; and thenceforth, whenever I sip black drink, like one inspired
I speak all words with this voiceless mouth.

                           IN THE CLASSROOM

Simus son of Miccus, giving me to the Muses, asked for himself
learning, and they, like Glaucus, gave a great gift for a little one;
and I lean gaping up against this double letter of the Samian, a
tragic Dionysus, listening to the little boys; and they repeat /Holy
is the hair/, telling me my own dream.

                           THE POOR SCHOLAR

O mice, if you are come after bread, go to another cupboard (for we
live in a tiny cottage) where you will feed daintily on rich cheese
and dried raisins, and make an abundant supper off the scraps; but if
you sharpen your teeth again on my books and come in with your
graceless rioting, you shall howl for it.

                        THE HIGHER METAPHYSIC

That second Aristotle, Nicostratus, Plato's peer, splitter of the
straws of the sublimest philosophy, was asked about the soul as
follows: How may one rightly describe the soul, as mortal, or, on the
contrary, immortal? and should we speak of it as a body or
incorporeal? and is it to be placed among intelligible or sensible
objects, or compounded of both? So he read through the treatises of
the transcendentalists, and Aristotle's /de Anima/, and explored the
Platonic heights of the /Phaedo/, and wove into a single fabric the
whole exact truth on all its sides. Then wrapping his threadbare cloak
about him, and stroking down the end of his beard, he proffered the
solution:--If there exists at all a nature of the soul--for of this I
am not sure--it is certainly either mortal or immortal, of solid
nature or immaterial; however, when you cross Acheron, there you shall
know the certainty like Plato. And if you will, imitate young
Cleombrotus of Ambracia, and let your body drop from the roof; and you
may at once recognise your self apart from the body by merely getting
rid of the subject of your inquiry.

                         THE PHAEDO OF PLATO
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

If Plato did not write me, there were two Platos; I carry in me all
the flowers of Socratic talk. But Panaetius concluded me to be
spurious; yes, he who concluded that the soul was mortal, would
conclude me spurious as well.

                       CLEOMBROTUS OF AMBRACIA

Saying, "Farewell, O Sun," Cleombrotus of Ambracia leaped off a high
wall to Hades, having seen no evil worthy of death, but only having
read that one writing of Plato's on the soul.

                           THE DEAD SCHOLAR

One told me of thy fate, Heraclitus, and wrung me to tears, and I
remembered how often both of us let the sun sink as we talked; but
thou, methinks, O friend from Halicarnassus, art ashes long and long
ago; yet thy nightingale-notes live, whereon Hades the ravisher of all
things shall not lay his hand.


I hate the cyclic poem, nor do I delight in a road that carries many
hither and thither; I detest, too, one who ever goes girt with lovers,
and I drink not from the fountain; I loathe everything popular.

                         SPECIES AETERNITATIS

I know that I am mortal, and ephemeral; but when I scan the
multitudinous circling spirals of the stars, no longer do I touch
earth with my feet, but sit with Zeus himself, and take my fill of the
ambrosial food of gods.

                          THE PASTORAL POETS

The pastoral Muses, once scattered, now are all a single flock in a
single fold.

                   ON A RELIEF OF EROS AND ANTEROS
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Nemesis fashioned a winged Love contrary to winged Love, warding off
bow with bow, that he may be done by as he did; and, bold and fearless
before, he sheds tears, having tasted of the bitter arrows, and spits
thrice into his low-girt bosom. Ah, most wonderful! one will burn with
fire: Love has set Love aflame.

                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Lo, how winged Love breaks the winged thunderbolt, showing that he is
a fire more potent than fire.

                         ON A LOVE PLOUGHING

Laying down his torch and bow, soft Love took the rod of an ox-driver,
and wore a wallet over his shoulder; and coupling patient-necked bulls
under his yoke, sowed the wheat-bearing furrow of Demeter; and spoke,
looking up, to Zeus himself, "Fill thou the corn-lands, lest I put
thee, bull of Europa, under my plough."

                           ON A PAN PIPING

One might surely have clearly heard Pan piping, so did the sculptor
mingle breath with the form; but in despair at the sight of flying,
unstaying Echo, he renounced the pipe's unavailing sound.

                    ON A STATUE OF THE ARMED VENUS
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Pallas said, seeing Cytherea armed, "O Cyprian, wilt thou that we go
so to judgment?" and she, laughing softly, "why should I lift a shield
in contest? if I conquer when naked, how will it be when I take arms?"

                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

The Cyprian said when she saw the Cyprian of Cnidus, "Alas where did
Praxiteles see me naked?"

                        ON A SLEEPING ARIADNE
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Strangers, touch not the marble Ariadne, lest she even start up on the
quest of Theseus.

                       ON A NIOBE BY PRAXITELES
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

From life the gods made me a stone; and from stone again Praxiteles
wrought me into life.

                        ON A PICTURE OF A FAUN

Untouched, O young Satyr, does thy reed utter a sound, or why leaning
sideways dost thou put thine ear to the pipe? He laughs and is silent;
yet haply had he spoken a word, but was held in forgetfulness by
delight? for the wax did not hinder, but of his own will he welcomed
silence, with his whole mind turned intent on the pipe.

                        ON THE HEIFER OF MYRON
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Ah thou wert not quick enough, Myron, in thy casting; but the bronze
grew solid before thou hadst cast in a soul.

                         ON A SLEEPING SATYR

This Satyr Diodorus engraved not, but laid to rest; your touch will
wake him; the silver is asleep.

                           THE LIMIT OF ART

Even though incredible to the hearer, I say this; for I affirm that
the clear limits of this art have been found under my hand, and the
mark is fixed fast that cannot be exceeded. But nothing among mortals
is faultless.

                              CHAPTER V


                        WORSHIP IN SPRING (1)

Now at her fruitful birth-tide the fair green field flowers out in
blowing roses; now on the boughs of the colonnaded cypresses the
cicala, mad with music, lulls the binder of sheaves; and the careful
mother-swallow, having fashioned houses under the eaves, gives
harbourage to her brood in the mud-plastered cells: and the sea
slumbers, with zephyr-wooing calm spread clear over the broad ship-
tracks, not breaking in squalls on the stern-posts, not vomiting foam
upon the beaches. O sailor, burn by the altars the glittering round of
a mullet or a cuttle-fish, or a vocal scarus, to Priapus, ruler of
ocean and giver of anchorage; and so go fearlessly on thy seafaring to
the bounds of the Ionian Sea.

                        WORSHIP IN SPRING (2)

Ocean lies purple in calm; for no gale whitens the fretted waves with
its ruffling breath, and no longer is the sea shattered round the
rocks and sucked back again down towards the deep. West winds breathe,
and the swallow titters over the straw-glued chamber that she has
built. Be of good cheer, O skilled in seafaring, whether thou sail to
the Syrtis or the Sicilian shingle: only by the altars of Priapus of
the Anchorage burn a scarus or ruddy wrasse.

                        ZEUS OF THE FAIR WIND
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Let one call from the stern on Zeus the Fair Wind for guide on his
road, shaking out sail against the forestays; whether he runs to the
Dark Eddies, where Poseidon rolls his curling wave along the sands, or
whether he searches the backward passage down the Aegean sea-plain,
let him lay honey-cakes by this image, and so go his way; here Philon,
son of Antipater, set up the ever-gracious god for pledge of fair and
fortunate voyaging.

                           THE SACRED CITY

Beneath flowering Tmolus, by the stream of Maeonian Hermus, am I,
Sardis, capital city of the Lydians. I was the first who bore witness
for Zeus; for I would not betray the hidden child of our Rhea. I too
was nurse of Bromius, and saw him amid the thunder-flash shining with
broader radiance; and first on our slopes the golden-haired god
pressed the harvest of wine out of the breasts of the grape. All grace
has been given me, and many a time has many an age found me envied by
the happiest cities.

                          HERMES OF THE WAYS
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Go and rest your limbs here for a little under the juniper, O
wayfarers, by Hermes, Guardian of the Way, not in crowds, but those of
you whose knees are tired with heavy toil and thirst after traversing
a long road; for there a breeze and a shady seat and the fountain
under the rock will lull your toil-wearied limbs; and having so
escaped the midday breath of the autumnal dogstar, as is right, honour
Hermes of the Ways.

                            BELOW CYLLENE

I who inherit the tossing mountain-forests of steep Cyllene, stand
here guarding the pleasant playing fields, Hermes, to whom boys often
offer marjoram and hyacinth and fresh garlands of violets.

                         PAN OF THE SEA-CLIFF

Me, Pan, the fishermen placed upon this holy cliff, Pan of the
seashore, the watcher here over the fair anchorages of the harbour;
and I take care now of the baskets and again of the trawlers off this
shore. But sail thou by, O stranger, and in requital of this good
service of theirs I will send behind thee a gentle south wind.

                        THE SPIRIT OF THE SEA

Small to see, I, Priapus, inhabit this spit of shore, not much bigger
than a sea-gull, sharp-headed, footless, such an one as upon lonely
beaches might be carved by the sons of toiling fishermen. But if any
basket-finder or angler call me to succour, I rush fleeter than the
blast: likewise I see the creatures that run under water; and truly
the form of godhead is known from deeds, not from shape.

                      THE GUARDIAN OF THE CHASE

Whether thou goest on the hill with lime smeared over thy fowler's
reed, or whether thou killest hares, call on Pan; Pan shows the dog
the prints of the furry foot, Pan raises the stiff-jointed lime-twigs.

                            THE HUNTER GOD
                         LEONIDAS OF TARENTUM

Fair fall thy chase, O hunter of hares, and thou fowler who comest
pursuing the winged people beneath this double hill; and cry thou to
me, Pan, the guardian of the wood from my cliff; I join the chase with
both dogs and reeds.

                          FORTUNA PARVULORUM

Even me the little god of small things if thou call upon in due season
thou shalt find; but ask not for great things; since whatsoever a god
of the commons can give to a labouring man, of this I, Tycho, have

                      THE PRAYERS OF THE SAINTS

If thou pass by the hero (and he is called Philopregmon) who lies by
the cross-roads in front of Potidaea, tell him to what work thou
leadest thy feet; straightway will he, being by thee, make thy
business easy.

                            SAVED BY FAITH
                         LEONIDAS OF TARENTUM

They call me the little one, and say I cannot go straight and fearless
on a prosperous voyage like ships that sail out to sea; and I deny it
not; I am a little boat, but to the sea all is equal; fortune, not
size, makes the difference. Let another have the advantage in rudders;
for some put their confidence in this and some in that, but may my
salvation be of God.

                          THE SERVICE OF GOD
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Me Chelidon, priestess of Zeus, who knew well in old age how to make
offering on the altars of the immortals, happy in my children, free
from grief, the tomb holds; for with no shadow in their eyes the gods
saw my piety.

                          BEATI MUNDO CORDE
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

He who enters the incense-filled temple must be holy; and holiness is
to have a pure mind.

                         THE WATER OF PURITY
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Hallowed in soul, O stranger, come even into the precinct of a pure
god, touching thyself with the virgin water; for the good a few drops
are set; but a wicked man the whole ocean cannot wash in its waters.

                         THE GREAT MYSTERIES

Though thy life be fixed in one seat, and thou sailest not the sea nor
treadest the roads on dry land, yet by all means go to Attica that
thou mayest see those great nights of the worship of Demeter; whereby
thou shalt possess thy soul without care among the living, and lighter
when thou must go to the place that awaiteth all.

                              CHAPTER VI


                            THE GARDEN GOD
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Call me not him who comes from Libanus, O stranger, who delights in
the talk of young men love-making by night; I am small and a rustic,
born of a neighbour nymph, and all my business is labour of the
garden; whence four garlands at the hands of the four Seasons crown me
from the beloved fruitful threshing-floor.

                             PAN'S PIPING
                          ALCAEUS OF MESSENE

Breathe music, O Pan that goest on the mountains, with thy sweet lips,
breathe delight into thy pastoral reed, pouring song from the musical
pipe, and make the melody sound in tune with the choral words; and
about thee to the pulse of the rhythm let the inspired foot of these
water-nymphs keep falling free.

                          THE ROADSIDE POOL
                         LEONIDAS OF TARENTUM

Drink not here, traveller, from this warm pool in the brook, full of
mud stirred by the sheep at pasture; but go a very little way over the
ridge where the heifers are grazing; for there by yonder pastoral
stone-pine thou wilt find bubbling through the fountained rock a
spring colder than northern snow.

                          THE MEADOW AT NOON
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Here fling thyself down on the grassy meadow, O traveller, and rest
thy relaxed limbs from painful weariness; since here also, as thou
listenest to the cicalas' tune, the stone-pine trembling in the wafts
of west wind will lull thee, and the shepherd on the mountains piping
at noon nigh the spring under a copse of leafy plane: so escaping the
ardours of the autumnal dogstar thou wilt cross the height to-morrow;
trust this good counsel that Pan gives thee.

                           BENEATH THE PINE

Sit down by this high-foliaged voiceful pine that rustles her branches
beneath the western breezes, and beside my chattering waters Pan's
pipe shall bring drowsiness down on thy enchanted eyelids.

                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Come and sit under my stone-pine that murmurs so honey-sweet as it
bends to the soft western breeze; and lo this honey-dropping fountain,
where I bring sweet sleep playing on my lonely reeds.

                      THE PLANE-TREE ON HYMETTUS

Sit down, stranger, as thou passest by, under this shady plane, whose
leaves flutter in the soft breath of the west wind, where Nicagoras
consecrated me, the renowned Hermes son of Maia, protector of his
orchard-close and cattle.

                          THE GARDEN OF PAN

Let the shaggy cliff of the Dryads be silent, and the springs welling
from the rock, and the many-mingled bleating of the ewes; for Pan
himself makes music on his melodious pipe, running his supple lip over
the jointed reeds; and around him stand up to dance with glad feet the
water-nymphs and the nymphs of the oakwood.

                         THE FOUNTAIN OF LOVE

Here beneath the plane-trees, overborne by soft sleep, Love slumbered,
giving his torch to the Nymphs' keeping; and the Nymphs said one to
another, "Why do we delay? and would that with this we might have
quenched the fire in the heart of mortals." But now, the torch having
kindled even the waters, the amorous Nymphs pour hot water thence into
the bathing pool.

                             ON THE LAWN

Dear Pan, abide here, drawing the pipe over thy lips, for thou wilt
find Echo on these sunny greens.

                          THE SINGING STONE
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Remember me the singing stone, thou who passest by Nisaea; for when
Alcathous was building his bastions, then Phoebus lifted on his
shoulder a stone for the house, and laid down on me his Delphic harp;
thenceforth I am lyre-voiced; strike me lightly with a little pebble,
and carry away witness of my boast.

                          THE WOODLAND WELL
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

I the ever-flowing Clear Fount gush forth for by-passing wayfarers
from the neighbouring dell; and everywhere I am bordered well with
planes and soft-bloomed laurels, and make coolness and shade to lie
in. Therefore pass me not by in summer; rest by me in quiet, ridding
thee of thirst and weariness.

                          ASLEEP IN THE WOOD

Thou sleepest on the leaf-strewn floor, Daphnis, resting thy weary
body; and the hunting-snakes are freshly set on the hills; and Pan
pursues thee, and Priapus who binds the yellow ivy on his lovely head,
passing side by side into the cave; but flee thou, flee, shaking off
the dropping drowsiness of slumber.

                          THE ORCHARD-CORNER

I, Hermes, stand here by the windy orchard in the cross-ways nigh the
grey sea-shore, giving rest on the way to wearied men; and the
fountain wells forth cold stainless water.

                          PASTORAL SOLITUDE

Tongueless Echo along this pastoral slope makes answering music to the
birds with repeating voice.

                        TO A BLACKBIRD SINGING
                          MARCUS ARGENTARIUS

No longer now warble on the oak, no longer sing, O blackbird, sitting
on the topmost spray; this tree is thine enemy; hasten where the vine
rises in clustering shade of silvered leaves; on her bough rest the
sole of thy foot, around her sing and pour the shrill music of thy
mouth; for the oak carries mistletoe baleful to birds, and she the
grape-cluster; and the Wine-god cherishes singers.

                            UNDER THE OAK

Lofty-hung boughs of the tall oak, a shadowy height over men that take
shelter from the fierce heat, fair-foliaged, closer-roofing than
tiles, houses of wood-pigeons, houses of crickets, O noontide
branches, protect me likewise who lie beneath your tresses, fleeing
from the sun's rays.

                        THE RELEASE OF THE OX

The labouring ox, outworn with old age and labour of the furrow, Alcon
did not lead to the butchering knife, reverencing it for its works;
and astray in the deep meadow grass it rejoices with lowings over
freedom from the plough.


Attic maid, honey-fed, chatterer, snatchest thou and bearest the
chattering cricket for feast to thy unfledged young, thou chatterer
the chatterer, thou winged the winged, thou summer guest the summer
guest, and wilt not quickly throw it away? for it is not right nor
just that singers should perish by singers' mouths.

                     THE COMPLAINT OF THE CICALA
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Why in merciless chase, shepherds, do you tear me the solitude-
haunting cricket from the dewy sprays, me the roadside nightingale of
the Nymphs, who at midday talk shrilly in the hills and the shady
dells? Lo, here is the thrust and the blackbird, lo here such flocks
of starlings, plunderers of the cornfield's riches; it is allowed to
seize the ravagers of your fruits: destroy them: why grudge me my
leaves and fresh dew?

                      THE LAMENT OF THE SWALLOW

Why all day long, hapless maiden daughter of Pandion, soundest thou
wailingly through thy twittering mouth? has longing come on thee for
thy maidenhead, that Tereus of Thrace ravished from thee by dreadful

                      THE SHEPHERD OF THE NYMPHS

Thyrsis the reveller, the shepherd of the Nymphs' sheep, Thyrsis who
pipes on the reed like Pan, having drunk at noon, sleeps under the
shady pine, and Love himself has taken his crook and watches the

                      THE SHRINE BY THE SEA (1)

Let us stand by the low shore of the spray-scattering deep, looking on
the precinct of Cypris of the Sea, and the fountain overshadowed with
poplars, from which the shrill kingfishers draw water with their

                      THE SHRINE BY THE SEA (2)

This is the Cyprians ground, since it was her pleasure ever to look
from land on the shining sea, that she may give fulfilment of their
voyage to sailors; and around the deep trembles, gazing on her bright

                            THE LIGHTHOUSE
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

No longer dreading the rayless night-mist, sail towards me
confidently, O seafarers; for all wanderers I light my far-shining
torch, memorial of the labours of the Asclepiadae.

                       SPRING ON THE COAST (1)
                         LEONIDAS OF TARENTUM

Now is the season of sailing; for already the chattering swallow is
come, and the gracious west wind; the meadows flower, and the sea,
tossed up with waves and rough blasts, has sunk to silence. Weigh
thine anchors and unloose thine hawsers, O mariner, and sail with all
thy canvas set: this I Priapus of the harbour bid thee, O man, that
thou mayest sail forth to all thy trafficking.

                       SPRING ON THE COAST (2)
                          ANTIPATER OF SIDON

Now is the season for a ship to run through the gurgling water, and no
longer does the sea gloom, fretted with gusty squalls, and now the
swallow plasters her round houses under the eaves, and the soft
leafage laughs in the meadows. Therefore wind up your soaked cables, O
sailors, and weight your hidden anchors from the harbours, and stretch
the forestays to carry your well-woven sails. This I the son of
Bromius bid you, Priapus of the anchorage.

                             GREEN SUMMER

I do not wish to feast down in the city, Philotherus, but in the
country, delighting myself with the breath of the west wind;
sufficient couch for me is a strewing of boughs under my side, for at
hand is a bed of native willow and osier, the ancient garland of the
Carians; but let wine be brought, and the delightful lyre of the
Muses, that drinking at our will we may sing the renowned bride of
Zeus, lady of our island.

                            PALACE GARDENS

I am filled with waters and gardens and groves and vineyards, and the
joyousness of the bordering sea; and fisherman and farmer from
different sides stretch forth to me the pleasant gifts of sea and
land: and them who abide in me either a bird singing or the sweet cry
of the ferrymen lulls to rest.

                             CHAPTER VII

                              THE FAMILY

                      THE HOUSE OF THE RIGHTEOUS

Righteousness has raised this house from the first foundation even to
the lofty roof; for Macedonius fashioned not his wealth by heaping up
from the possessions of others with plundering sword, nor has any poor
man here wept over his vain and profitless toil, being robbed of his
most just hire; and as rest from labour is kept inviolate by the just
man, so let the works of pious mortals endure.

                            THE GIRL'S CUP
                         PAULUS SILENTIARIUS

Aniceteia wets her golden lip in me; but may I give her also the
draught of bridal.

                          THE FLOWER UNBLOWN

Not yet is thy summer unfolded from the bud, nor does the purple come
upon thy grape that throws out the first shoots of its maiden graces;
but already the young Loves are whetting their fleet arrows, Lysidice,
and the hidden fire is smouldering. Flee we, wretched lovers, ere yet
the shaft is on the string; I prophesy a mighty burning soon.

                           A ROSE IN WINTER

Roses were now bloomed in spring, but now in midwinter we have opened
our crimson cups, smiling in delight on this thy birthday morning,
that brings thee so nigh the bridal bed: better for us to be wreathed
on the brows of so fair a woman than wait for the spring sun.

                         GOODBYE TO CHILDHOOD
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Her tambourines and pretty ball, and the net that confined her hair,
and her dolls and dolls' dresses, Timareta dedicates before her
marriage to Artemis of Limnae, a maiden to a maiden, as is fit; do
thou, daughter of Leto, laying thine hand over the girl Timareta,
preserve her purely in her purity.

                          THE WIFE'S PRAYER
                      ANTIPATER OF THESSALONICA

Cythera of Bithynia dedicated me, the marble image of thy form, O
Cyprian, having vowed it: but do thou impart in return thy great grace
for this little one, as is thy wont; and concord with her husband
satisfies her.

                         BRIDEGROOM AND BRIDE
                         JOANNES BARBUCALLUS

To Persuasion and the Paphian, Hermophiles the neatherd, bridegroom of
flower-chapleted Eurynome, dedicates a cream-cheese and combs from his
hives; but accept for her the cheese, for me the honey.

                          THE BRIDE'S VIGIL

Never grow mould, O lamp, nor call up the rain, lest thou stop my
bridegroom in his coming; always thou art jealous of the Cyprian; yes
and when she betrothed Hero to Leander--O my heart, leave the rest
alone. Thou art the Fire-God's, and I believe that by vexing the
Cyprian thou flatterest thy master's pangs.

                           HEAVEN ON EARTH

This is not the common Cyprian; revere the goddess, and name her the
Heavenly, the dedication of holy Chrysogone in the house of Amphicles,
with whom she had children and life together; and ever it was better
with them year by year, who began with thy worship, O mistress; for
mortals who serve the gods are the better off themselves.

                            WEARY PARTING

Fair-freighted sea-faring ships that sail the Strait of Helle, taking
the good north wind in your sails, if haply on the island shores of
Cos you see Phanion gazing on the sparkling sea, carry this message:
Fair bride, thy desire beings me, not a sailor but a wayfarer on my
feet. For if you say this, carrying good news, straitway will Zeus of
the Fair Weather likewise breathe into your canvas.


Again, O Ilithyia, come thou at Lycaenis' call, Lady of Birth, even
thus with happy issue of travail; whose offering now this is for a
girl; but afterwards may thy fragrant temple hold another for a boy.

                              PAST PERIL

Thou knowest, Asclepius, that thou hast received payment of the debt
that Aceson owed, having vowed it for his wife Demodice; yet if it be
forgotten, and thou demand thy wages, this tablet says it will give

                          FATHER AND MOTHER

Artemis, to thee the son of Cichesias dedicates his shoes, and
Themostodice the strait folds of her gown, because thou didst
graciously hold thy two hands over her in childbed, coming, O our
Lady, without thy bow. And do thou, O Artemis, grant yet to Leon to
see his infant child a sturdy-limbed boy.

                         HOUSEHOLD HAPPINESS

Callirhoë dedicates to the Paphian garlands, to Pallas a tress of
hair, to Artemis her girdle; for she found a wooer to her heart, and
was given a stainless prime, and bore male children.

                          GRACIOUS CHILDREN

Be happy, children; whose family are you? and what gracious name is
given to so pretty things as you?--I am Nicanor, and my father is
Aepioretus, and my mother Hegeso, and I am a Macedonian born.--And I
am Phila, and this is my brother; and we both stand here fulfilling a
vow of our parents.

                          THE UNBROKEN HOME
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Androtion built me, a burying-place for himself and his children and
wife, but as yet I am the tomb of no one; so likewise may I remain for
a long time; and if it must be, let me take to myself the eldest

                           THE BROKEN HOME

I wept the doom of my Theionoë, but borne up by hopes of her child I
wailed in lighter grief; and now a jealous fate has bereft me of the
child also; alas, babe, I am cozened even of thee, all that was left
me. Persephone, hear thou this at a father's lamentation; lay the babe
on the bosom of its mother who is gone.

                          ANTIPATER OF SIDON

Surely, methinks, when thou hadst set thy footprint, Aretemias, from
the boat upon Cocytus' shore, carrying in thy young hand thy baby just
dead, the fair Dorian women had compassion in Hades, inquiring of thy
fate; and thou, fretting thy cheeks with tears, didst utter that woful
word: O friends, having travailed of two children, I left one for my
husband Euphron, and the other I bring to the dead.

                            NUNC DIMITTIS
                         JOANNES BARBUCALLUS

Gazing upon my husband as my last thread was spun, I praised the gods
of death, and I praised the gods of marriage, those that I left my
husband alive, and these that he was even such an one; but may he
remain, a father for our children.

                              LEFT ALONE
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Marathonis laid Nicopolis in this stone, wetting the marble coffin
with tears, but all to no avail; for what is there more than sorrow
for a man alone upon earth when his wife is gone?

                           EARTH'S FELICITY

Find no fault as thou passest by my monument, O wayfarer; not even in
death have I aught worthy of lamentation. I have left children's
children; I had joy of one wife, who grew old along with me; I made
marriage for three sons whose sons I often lulled asleep on my breast,
and never moaned over the sickness or the death of any: who, shedding
tears without sorrow over me, sent me to slumber the sweet sleep in
the country of the holy.

                             CHAPTER VIII


                             SUMMER NOON

I saw Alexis at noon walking on the way, when summer was just cutting
the tresses of the cornfields; and double rays burned me; these of
Love from the boy's eyes, and those from the sun. But those night
allayed again, while these in dreams the phantom of a form kindled yet
higher; and Sleep, the releaser of toil for others, brought toil upon
me, fashioning the image of beauty in my soul, a breathing fire.

                          IN THE FIELD-PATH

Surely, O Cleonicus, the lovely Graces met thee going along the narrow
field-path, and clasped thee close with their rose-like hands, O boy,
and thou wert made all grace. Hail to thee from afar; but it is not
safe, O my dear, for the dry asphodel stalk to move too near the fire.

                             THE NEW LOVE

The Cyprian denies that she bore Love, seeing Antiochus among the
youths, another Desire; but O you who are young, cherish the new
Longing; for assuredly this boy is found a Love stronger than Love.

                            CONTRA MUNDUM

Pour in and say again, "Diocles"; nor does Acheloüs touch the cups
consecrated to him; fair is the boy, O Acheloüs, exceeding fair; and
if any one says no, let me be alone in my judgment of beauty.

                          THE FLOWER OF COS

Praxiteles the sculptor made a Parian image of Love, moulding the
Cyprian's son; but now Love, the most beautiful of all the gods,
imaging himself, has fashioned a breathing statue, Praxiteles, that
the one among mortals and the other in heaven may have all love-charms
in control, and at once on earth and among the immortals they may bear
the sceptres of Desire. Most happy the sacred city of the Meropes,
which nurtured as prince of her youth the god-born new Love.

                           THE SUN OF TYRE

Delicate, so help me Love, are the fosterlings of Tyre; but Myïscus
blazes out and quenches them all as the sun the stars.

                             THE LOADSTAR

On thee, Myïscus, the cables of my life are fastened; in thee is the
very breath of my soul, what is left of it; for by thine eyes, O boy,
that speak even to the deaf, and by thy shining brow, if thou ever
dost cast a clouded glance on me, I gaze on winter, and if thou
lookest joyously, sweet spring bursts into bloom.

                         LAUREL AND HYACINTH

O pastoral pipes, no longer sing of Daphnis on the mountains, to
pleasure Pan the lord of the goats; neither do you, O lyre
interpretess of Phoebus, any more chant Hyacinthus chapleted with
maiden laurel; for time was when Daphnis was delightful to the
mountain-nymphs, and Hyacinthus to thee; but now let Dion hold the
sceptre of Desire.

                           THE QUEST OF PAN

Nymphs, tell me true when I inquire if Daphnis passing by rested his
white kids here.--Yes, yes, piping Pan, and carved in the bark of
yonder poplar a letter to say to thee, "Pan, Pan, come to Malea, to
the Psophidian mount; I will be there."--Farewell, Nymphs, I go.

                           THE AUTUMN BOWER

Vine, that hastenest so to drop thy leaves to earth, fearest thou then
the evening setting of the Pleiad? abide for sweet sleep to fall on
Antileon beneath thee, giving all grace to beauty till then.

                          AN ASH IN THE FIRE

Now grey dawn is sweet; but sleepless in the doorway Damis swoons out
all that is left of his breath, unhappy, having but seen Heraclitus;
for he stood under the beams of his eyes as wax cast among the embers:
but arise, I pray thee, luckless Damis; even myself I wear Love's
wound and shed tears over thy tears.

                              CHAPTER IX

                           FATE AND CHANGE

                         THE FLOWER OF YOUTH
                          MARCUS ARGENTARIUS

Sweet-breathed Isias, though thy sleep be tenfold spice, awake and
take this garland in thy dear hands, which, blooming now, thou wilt
see withering at daybreak, the likeness of a maiden's prime.

                          THE MAIDEN'S POSY

I send thee, Rhodocleia, this garland, which myself have twined of
fair flowers beneath my hands; here is lily and rose-chalice and moist
anemone, and soft narcissus and dark-glowing violet; garlanding
thyself with these, cease to be high-minded; even as the garland thou
also dost flower and fall.

                          WITHERED BLOSSOMS

If thou boast in thy beauty, know that the rose too blooms, but
quickly being withered, is cast on the dunghill; for blossom and
beauty have the same time allotted to them, and both together envious
time withers away.

                            ROSE AND THORN
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

The rose is at her prime a little while; which once past, thou wilt
find when thou seekest no rose, but a thorn.

                           THE BIRD OF TIME

Thou remembered haply, thou rememberest when I said to thee that holy
word, "Opportunity is the fairest, opportunity the lightest-footed of
things; opportunity may not be overtaken by the swiftest bird in air."
Now lo! all thy flowers are shed on the ground.

                          THE END OF DESIRE

I who once was Laïs, an arrow in all men's hearts, no longer Laïs, am
plainly to all the Nemesis of years. Ay, by the Cyprian (and what is
the Cyprian now to me but an oath to swear by?) not Laïs herself knows
Laïs now.

                            HOARDED BEAUTY

If beauty grows old, impart thou of it before it be gone; and if it
abides, why fear to give away what thou dost keep?

                            DUST AND ASHES

Thou hoardest thy maidenhood; and to what profit? for when thou art
gone to Hades thou wilt not find a lover, O girl. Among the living are
the Cyprian's pleasures; but in Acheron, O maiden, we shall lie bones
and dust.


"To-morrow I will look on thee"--but that never comes for us, while
the accustomed putting-off ever grows and grows. This is all thy grace
to my longing; and to others thou bearest other gifts, despising my
faithful service. "I will see thee at evening." And what is the
evening of a woman's life? old age, full of a million wrinkles.

                        THE CASKET OF PANDORA

I laugh as I look on the jar of Pandora, nor do I blame the woman, but
the wings of the Blessings themselves; for they flutter through the
sky over the abodes of all the earth, while they ought to have
descended on the ground. But the woman behind the lid, with cheeks
grown pallid, has lost the splendour of the beauties that she had, and
now our life has missed both ways, because she grows old in it, and
the jar is empty.

                            COMING WINTER
                          ANTIPATER OF SIDON

Now is autumn, Epicles, and out of the belt of Bootes the clear
splendour of Arcturus has risen; now the grape-clusters take thought
of the sickle, and men thatch their cottages against winter; but thou
hast neither warm fleecy cloak nor garment indoors, and thou wilt be
shrivelled up with cold and curse the star.


Thou saidst, by the Cyprian, what not even a god might, O greatly-
daring spirit; Theron did not appear fair to thee; to thee Theron did
not appear fair; nay, thou wouldst have it so: and thou wilt not quake
even before the flaming thunderbolt of Zeus. Wherefore lo! indignant
Nemesis hath set thee forth to see, who wert once so voluble, for an
example of rashness of tongue.

                           THE BLOODY WELL

I the Clear Fount (for the Nymphs gave this surname to me beyond all
other springs) since a robber slew men who were resting beside me and
washed his bloodstained hand in my holy waters, have turned that sweet
flow backward, and no longer gush out for wayfarers; for who any more
will call me the Clear?

                          A STORY OF THE SEA
                      ANTIPATER OF THESSALONICA

Once on a time when a ship was shattered at sea, two men fell at
strife fighting for one plank. Antagoras struck away Pisistratus; one
could not blame him, for it was for his life; but Justice took
cognisance. The other swam ashore; but him a dog-fish seized; surely
the Avenger of the Fates rests not even in the watery deep.

                             EMPTY HANDS

I know that my hands are empty of wealth; but by the Graces, O
Menippus, tell me not my own dream; it hurts me to hear evermore this
bitter word: yes, my dear, this is the most unloving thing of all I
have borne from thee.

                              LIGHT LOVE
                          MARCUS ARGENTARIUS

Thou wert loved when rich, Sosicrates, but being poor thou art loved
no longer; what magic has hunger! And she who before called thee spice
and darling Adonis, Menophila, now inquires thy name. Who and whence
of men art thou? where is thy city? Surely thou art dull in learning
this saying, that none is friend to him who has nothing.

                         FORTUNE'S PLAYTHING
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Not of good-will has Fortune advanced thee; but that she may show her
omnipotence, even down to thee.

                          TIME THE CONQUEROR

Time carries all things; length of days knows how to change name and
shape and nature and fortune.

                         MEMNON AND ACHILLES

Know, O Thetis of the sea, that Memnon yet lives and cries aloud,
warmed by his mother's torch, in Egypt beneath Libyan brows, where the
running Nile severs fair-portalled Thebes; but Achilles, the insatiate
of battle, utters no voice either on the Trojan plain or in Thessaly.

                          ANTIPATER OF SIDON

Where is thine admired beauty, Dorian Corinth, where thy crown of
towers? where thy treasures of old, where the temples of the
immortals, where the halls and where the wives of the Sisyphids, and
the tens of thousands of thy people that were? for not even a trace, O
most distressful one, is left of thee, and war has swept up together
and clean devoured all; only we, the unravaged sea-nymphs, maidens of
Ocean, abide, halcyons wailing for thy woes.

                      ANTIPATER OF THESSALONICA

Would I were yet blown about by ever-shifting gales, rather than fixed
for wandering Leto's childbed; I had not so bemoaned my desolation. Ah
miserable me, how many Greek ships sail by me, desert Delos, once so
worshipful: late, but terrible, is Hera's vengeance laid on me thus
for Leto's sake.


If thou art a Spartan born, O stranger, deride me not, for not to me
only has Fortune accomplished this; and if of Asia, mourn not, for
every city has bowed to the Dardanian sceptre of the Aeneadae. And
though the jealous sword of enemies has emptied out Gods' precincts
and walls and inhabitants, I am queen again; but do thou, O my child,
fearless Rome, lay the yoke of thy law over Greece.

                             MYCENAE (1)

Few of the native places of the heroes are in our eyes, and those yet
left rise little above the plain; and such art thou, O hapless
Mycenae, as I marked thee in passing by, more desolate than any hill-
pasture, a thing that goatherds point at; and an old man said, "Here
stood the Cyclopean city rich in gold."

                             MYCENAE (2)

Though I am but drifted desolate dust where once was Mycenae, though I
am more obscure to see than any chance rock, he who looks on the famed
city of Ilus, whose walls I trod down and emptied all the house of
Priam, will know thence how great my former strength was; and if old
age has done me outrage, I am content with Homer's testimony.

                      ANTIPATER OF THESSALONICA

City built upon Strymon and the broad Hellespont, grave of Edonian
Phyllis, Amphipolis, yet there remain left to thee the traces of the
temple of her of Aethopion and Brauron, and the water of the river so
often fought around; but thee, once the high strife of the sons of
Aegeus, we see like a torn rag of sea-purple on either shore.

                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

O Lacedaemon, once unsubdued and untrodden, thou seest shadeless the
smoke of Olenian camp-fires on the Eurotas, and the birds building
their nests on the ground wail for thee, and the wolves to do not hear
any sheep.

                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Formerly the dead left their city living; but we living hold the
city's funeral.

                         SED TERRAE GRAVIORA
                         LEONIDAS OF TARENTUM

Me, a hull that had measured such spaces of sea, fire consumed on the
land that cut her pines to make me. Ocean brought me safe to shore;
but I found her who bore me more treacherous than the sea.

                           YOUTH AND RICHES
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

I was young, but poor; now in old age I am rich, alas, alone of all
men pitiable in both, who then could enjoy when I had nothing, and now
have when I cannot enjoy.

                          THE VINE'S REVENGE

Though thou devour me down to the root, yet still will I bear so much
fruit as will serve to pour libation on thee, O goat, when thou art


A man finding gold left a halter; but he who had left the gold, not
finding it, knotted the halter he found.

                           TENANTS AT WILL
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

I was once the field of Achaemenides, now I am Menippus', and again I
shall pass from another to another; for the former thought once that
he owned me, and the latter thinks so now in his turn; and I belong to
no man at all, but to Fortune.

                           PARTING COMPANY
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Hope, and thou Fortune, a long farewell; I have found the haven; there
is nothing more between me and you; make your sport of those who come
after me.

                           FORTUNE'S MASTER

No more is Hope or Fortune my concern, nor for what remains do I reck
of your deceit; I have reached harbour. I am a poor man, but living in
Freedom's company I turn my face away from wealth the scorner of

                             BREAK OF DAY
                           JULIUS POLYAENUS

Hope evermore steals away life's period, till the last morning cuts
short all those many businesses.

                              CHAPTER X

                           THE HUMAN COMEDY


Seek not on my pages Priam at the altars nor Medea's and Niobe's woes,
nor Itys in the hidden chambers, and the nightingales among the
leaves; for of all these things former poets wrote abundantly; but
mingling with the blithe Graces, sweet Love and the Wine-god; and
grave looks become not them.

                          FLOWER O' THE ROSE

You with the roses, you are fair as a rose; but what sell you?
yourself, or your roses, or both together?

                              LOST DRINK

At the Hermaea, Aphrodisius, while lifting six gallons of wine for us,
stumbled and dealt us great woe. "From wine also perished the
Centaur," and ah that we had too! but now it perished from us.

                          THE VINTAGE-REVEL
                         LEONIDAS OF TARENTUM

To the must-drinking Satyrs and to Bacchus, planter of the vine,
Heronax consecrated the first handfuls of his plantation, these three
casks from three vineyards, filled with the first flow of the wine;
from which we, having poured such libation as is meet to crimson
Bacchus and the Satyrs, will drink deeper than they.

                            SNOW IN SUMMER

With this once the sharp North Wind rushing from Thrace covered the
flanks of Olympus, and nipped the spirits of thinly-clad men; then it
was buried alive, clad in Pierian earth. Let a share of it be mingled
for me; for it is not seemly to bear a tepid draught to a friend.

                            A JUG OF WINE
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Round-bellied, deftly-turned, one eared, long-throated, straight-
necked, bubbling in thy narrow mouth, blithe handmaiden of Bacchus and
the Muses and Cytherea, sweet of laughter, delightful ministress of
social banquets, why when I am sober art thou in liquor, and when I am
drunk, art sober again? Thou wrongest the good-fellowship of drinking.

                            THE EMPTY JAR

Xenophon the wine-bibber dedicates an empty jar to thee, Bacchus;
receive it graciously, for it is all he has.

                           ANGELORUM CHORI
                          MARCUS ARGENTARIUS

I hold revel, regarding the golden choir of the stars at evening, nor
do I spurn the dances of others; but garlanding my hair with flowers
that drop their petals over me, I waken the melodious harp into
passion with musical hands; and doing thus I lead a well-ordered life,
for the order of the heavens too has its Lyre and Crown.

                            SUMMER SAILING

Mine be a mattress on the poop, and the awnings over it surrounding
with the blows of the spray, and the fire forcing its way out of the
hearth-stones, and a pot upon them with empty turmoil of bubbles; and
let me see the boy dressing the meat, and my table be a ship's plank
covered with a cloth; and a game of pitch and toss, and the
boatswain's whistle: the other day I had such fortune, for I love
common life.

                          JULIANUS AEGYPTIUS

All the ways of life are pleasant; in the market-place are goodly
companionships, and at home griefs are hidden; the country brings
pleasure, seafaring wealth, foreign lands knowledge. Marriages make a
united house, and the unmarried life is never anxious; a child is a
bulwark to his father; the childless are far from fears; youth knows
the gift of courage, white hairs of wisdom: therefore, taking courage,
live, and beget a family.

                         DUM VIVIMUS VIVAMUS
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Six hours fit labour best: and those that follow, shown forth in
letters, say to mortals, "Live."

                         HOPE AND EXPERIENCE
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Whoso has married once and again seeks a second wedding, is a
shipwrecked man who sails twice through a difficult gulf.

                           THE MARRIED MAN

If you boast high that you are not obedient to your wife's commands,
you talk idly, for you are not sprung of oak or rock, as the saying
is; and, as is the hard case with most or all of us, you too are in
woman's rule. But if you say, "I am not struck with a slipper, nor my
wife being unchaste have I to bear it and shut my eyes," I reply that
your bondage is lighter, in that you have sold yourself to a
reasonable and not to too hard a mistress.

                        AN UNGROUNDED SCANDAL

Some say, Nicylla, that you dye your hair; which is as black as can be
bought in the market.

                          THE POPULAR SINGER

The night-raven's song is deadly; but when Demophilus sings, the very
night-raven dies.

                         THE FAULTLESS DANCER

Snub-nosed Memphis danced Daphnis and Niobe; Daphne like a stock,
Niobe like a stone.

                        THE FORTUNATE PAINTER

Eutychus the portrait-painter got twenty sons, and never got one
likeness, even among his children.

                            SLOW AND SURE

Charmus ran for the three miles in Arcadia with five others;
surprising to say, he actually came in seventh. When there were only
six, perhaps you will say, how seventh? A friend of his went along in
his great-coat crying, "Keep it up, Charmus!" and so he arrives
seventh; and if only he had had five more friends, Zoïlus, he would
have come in twelfth.

                          MARCUS THE RUNNER

Marcus once saw midnight out in the armed men's race, so that the
race-course was all locked up, as the police all thought that he was
one of the stone men in armour who stand there in honour of victors.
Very well, it was opened next day, and then Marcus turned up, still
short of the goal by the whole course.


Little Hermogenes, when he lets anything fall on the ground, has to
drag it down to him with a hook at the end of a pole.

                       PHANTASMS OF THE LIVING

Lean Gaius yesterday breathed his very last breath, and left nothing
at all for burial, but having passed down into Hades just as he was in
life, flutters there the thinnest of the anatomies under earth; and
his kinsfolk lifted an empty bier on their shoulders, inscribing above
it, "This is Gaius' funeral."

                         A LABOUR OF HERCULES

Tiny Macron was found asleep one summer day by a mouse, who pulled him
by his tiny foot into its hole; but in the hole he strangled the mouse
with his naked hands and cried, "Father Zeus, thou hast a second


Small Erotion while playing was carried aloft by a gnat, and cried,
"What can I do, Father Zeus, if thou dost claim me?"


Fanning thin Artemidora in her sleep, Demetrius blew her clean out of
the house.

                          THE ATOMIC THEORY

Epicurus wrote that the whole universe consisted of atoms, thinking,
Alcimus, that the atom was the least of things. But if Diophantus had
lived then, he would have written, "consisted of Diophantus," who is
much more minute than even the atoms, or would have written that all
other things indeed consist of atoms, but the atoms themselves of him.


Borne up by a slight breeze, Chaeremon floated through the clear air,
far lighter than chaff, and probably would have gone spinning off
through ether, but that he caught his feet in a spider's web, and
dangled there on his back; there he hung five nights and days, and on
the sixth came down by a strand of the web.

                          GOD AND THE DOCTOR

Marcus the doctor called yesterday on the marble Zeus; though marble,
and though Zeus, his funeral is to-day.


Diophantus the asrologer said that Hermogenes the physician had only
nine months to live; and he laughing replied, "what Cronus may do in
nine months, do you consider; but I can make short work with you." He
spoke, and reaching out, just touched him, and Diophantus, while
forbidding another to hope, gasped out his own life.

                            A DEADLY DREAM

Diophantus, having seen Hermogenes the physician in sleep, never awoke
again, though he wore an amulet.

                          SIMON THE OCULIST

If you have an enemy, Dionysius, call not down upon him Isis nor
Harpocrates, nor whatever god strikes men blind, but Simon; and you
will know what God and what Simon can do.

                          SCIENTIFIC SURGERY

Agclaus killed Acestorides while operating; for, "Poor man," he said,
"he would have been lame for life."

                           THE WISE PROPHET

All the astrologers as from one mouth prophesied to my father that his
brother would reach a great old age; Hermocleides alone said he was
fated to die early; and he said so, when we were mourning over his
corpse in-doors.


Some one came inquiring of the prophet Olympicus whether he should
sail to Rhodes, and how he should have a safe voyage; and the prophet
replied, "First have a new ship, and set sail not in winter but in
summer; for if you do this you will travel there and back safely,
unless a pirate captures you at sea."

                      THE ASTROLOGER'S FORECAST

Calligenes the farmer, when he had cast his seed into the land, came
to the house of Aristophenes the astrologer, and asked him to tell
whether he would have a prosperous summer and abundant plenty of corn.
And he, taking the counters and ranging them closely on the board, and
crooking his fingers, uttered his reply to Calligenes: "If the
cornfield gets sufficient rain, and does not breed a crop of flowering
weeds, and frost does not crack the furrows, nor hail flay the heads
of the springing blades, and the pricket does not devour the crop, and
it sees no other injury of weather or soil, I prophesy you a capital
summer, and you will cut the ears successfully: only fear the

                         A SCHOOL OF RHETORIC
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

All hail, seven pupils of Aristides the rhetorician, four walls and
three benches.

                            CROSS PURPOSES

A deaf man went to law with a deaf man, and the judge was a long way
deafer than both. The one claimed that the other owed him five months'
rent; and he replied that he had ground his corn by night; then the
judge, looking down on them, said, "Why quarrel? she is your mother;
keep her between you."

                           THE PATENT STOVE

You have bought a brass hot-water urn, Heliodorus, that is chillier
than the north wind about Thrace; do not blow, do not labour, you but
raise smoke in vain; it is a brass wine-cooler you have bought against

                           THE WOODEN HORSE

You have a Thessalian horse, Erasistratus, but the drugs of all
Thessaly cannot make him go; the real wooden horse, that if Trojans
and Greeks had all pulled together, would never have entered at the
Scaean gate; set it up as an offering to some god, if you take my
advice, and make gruel for your little children with its barley.

                      A MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE

Antiochus once set eyes on Lysimachus' cushion, and Lysimachus never
set eyes on his cushion again.

                         CINYRAS THE CILICIAN

All Cilicians are bad men; among the Cilicians there is one good man,
Cinyras, and Cinyras is a Cilician.

                        A GENERATION OF VIPERS
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Keep clear of a cobra, a toad, a viper, and the Laodiceans; also of a
mad dog, and of the Laodiceans once again.

                             THE LIFEBOAT

Philo had a boat, the Salvation, but not Zeus himself, I believe, can
be safe in her; for she was salvation in name only, and those who got
on board her used either to go aground or to go underground.

                       THE MISER AND THE MOUSE

Asclepiades the miser saw a mouse in his house, and said, "What do you
want with me, my very dear mouse?" and the mouse, smiling sweetly,
replied, "Do not be afraid, my friend; we do not ask board from you,
only lodging."

                       THE FRUITS OF PHILOSOPHY

We saw at dinner the great wisdom of that sturdy beggar the Cynic with
the long beard; for at first he abstained from lupines and radishes,
saying that Virtue ought not to be a slave to the belly; but when he
saw a snowy womb dressed with sharp sauce before his eyes, which at
once stole away his sagacious intellect, he unexpectedly asked for it,
and ate of it heartily, observing that an entrée could not harm

                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

You were not alone in keeping your hands off live things; we do so
too; who touches live food, Pythagoras? but we eat what has been
boiled and roasted and pickled, and there is no life in it then.

                             NICON'S NOSE

I see Nicon's hooked nose, Menippus; it is evident he is not far off
now; oh, he will be here, let us just wait; for at the most his nose
is not, I fancy, five stadia off him. Nay, here it is, you see,
stepping forward; if we stand on a high mound we shall catch sight of
him in person.

                   WHO SO PALE AND WAN, FOND LOVER

Drink, Asclepiades; why these tears? what ails thee? not of thee only
has the cruel Cyprian made her prey, nor for thee only bitter Love
whetted the arrows of his bow; why while yet alive liest thou in the

                         THE WORLD'S REVENGE

In a company where all were drunk, Acindynus must needs be sober; and
so he seemed himself the one drunk man there.


I was in love once; who has not been? I have revelled; who is
uninitiated in revels? nay, I was mad; at whose prompting but a god's?
Let them go; for now the silver hair is fast replacing the black, a
messenger of wisdom that comes with age. We too played when the time
of playing was; and now that it is no longer, we will turn to worthier

                              CHAPTER XI


                           THE SPAN OF LIFE

Earth and Birth-Goddess, thou who didst bear me and thou who coverest,
farewell; I have accomplished the course between you, and I go, not
discerning whither I shall travel; for I know not either whose or who
I am, or whence I came to you.

                             DUSTY DEATH
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Pay no offering of ointments or garlands on my stony tomb, nor make
the fire blaze up; the expense is in vain. While I live be kind to me
if thou wilt; but drenching my ashes with wine thou wilt make mire,
and the dead man will not drink.

                      A CITIZEN OF THE REPUBLIC
                         LEONIDAS OF TARENTUM

A little dust of earth suffices me; let another lie richly, weighed
down by his extravagant tombstone, that grim weight over the dead, who
will know me here in death as Alcander son of Calliteles.

                             BENE MERENTI
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Dear Earth, take old Amyntichus to thy bosom, remembering his many
labours on thee; for ever he planted in thee the olive-stock, and
often made thee fair with vine-cuttings, and filled thee full of corn,
and, drawing channels of water along, made thee rich with herbs and
plenteous in fruit: do thou in return lie softly over his grey temples
and flower into tresses of spring herbage.

                           PEACE IN THE END

A gentler old age and no dulling disease quenched thee, and thou didst
fall asleep in the slumber to which all must come, O Eratosthenes,
after pondering over high matters; nor did Cyrene where thou sawest
the light receive thee within the tomb of thy fathers, O son of
Aglaus; yet dear even in a foreign land art thou buried here, by the
edge of the beach of Proteus.

                          THE WITHERED VINE
                         LEONIDAS OF TARENTUM

Even as a vine on her dry pole I support myself now on a staff, and
death calls me to Hades. Be not obstinately deaf, O Gorgus; what is it
the sweeter for thee if for three or four summers yet thou shalt warm
thyself beneath the sun? So saying the aged man quietly put his life
aside, and removed his house to the greater company.


Crantor was delightful to men and yet more delightful to the Muses,
and did not live far into age: O earth, didst thou enfold the sacred
man in death, or does he still live in gladness there?

                        LOCA PASTORUM DESERTA
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Naiads and chill cattle-pastures, tell to the bees when they come on
their springtide way, that old Leucippus perished on a winter's night,
setting snares for scampering hares, and no longer is the tending of
the hives dear to him; but the pastoral dells mourn sore for him who
dwelt with the mountain peak for neighbour.

                           THE OLD SHEPHERD
                         LEONIDAS OF TARENTUM

Shepherds who pass over this ridge of hill pasturing your goats and
fleecy sheep, pay to Clitagoras, in Earth's name, a small but kindly
grace, for the sake of Persephone under ground; let sheep bleat by me,
and the shepherd on an unhewn stone pipe softly to them as they feed,
and in early spring let the countryman pluck the meadow flower to
engarland my tomb with a garland, and let one make milk drip from a
fruitful ewe, holding up her milking-udder, to wet the base of my
tomb: there are returns for favours to dead men, there are, even among
the departed.

                           THE DEAD FOWLER

Even here shall the holy bird rest his swift wing, sitting on this
murmuring plane, since Poemander the Malian is dead and comes no more
with birdlime smeared on his fowling reeds.

                    THE ANT BY THE THRESHING FLOOR
                          ANTIPATER OF SIDON

Here to thee by the threshing floor, O toiling worker ant, I rear a
memorial to thee of a thirsty clod, that even in death the ear-
nurturing furrow of Demeter may lull thee as thou liest in thy rustic

                          THE TAME PARTRIDGE

No more along the shady woodland copse, O hunter partridge, dost thou
send thy clear cry from thy mouth as thou decoyest thy speckled
kinsfolk in their forest feeding-ground; for thou art gone on the
final road of Acheron.

                       THE SILENT SINGING-BIRD

O bird beloved of the Graces, O rivalling the halcyons in likeness of
thy note, thou art snatched away, dear warbler, and thy ways and thy
sweet breath are held in the silent paths of night.

                       THE FIELDS OF PERSEPHONE

No longer in the wealthy house of Alcis, O shrill grasshopper, shall
the sun behold thee singing; for now thou art flown to the meadows of
Clymenus and the dewy flowers of golden Persephone.

                      THE DISCONSOLATE SHEPHERD

Ah thou poor Thyrsis, what profit is it if thou shalt waste away the
apples of thy two eyes with tears in thy mourning? the kid is gone,
the pretty young thing, is gone to Hades; for a savage wolf crunched
her in his jaws; and the dogs bay; what profit is it, when of that
lost one not a bone nor a cinder is left?

                           LAMPO THE HOUND
                          ANTIPATER OF SIDON

Thirst slew hunter Lampo, Midas' dog, though he toiled hard for his
life; for he dug with his paws in the moist flat, but the slow water
made no haste out of her blind spring, and he fell in despair; then
the water gushed out. Ah surely, Nymphs, you laid on Lampo your wrath
for the slain deer.

                          STORM ON THE HILLS

Unherded at evenfall the oxen came to the farmyard from the hill,
snowed on with heavy snow; alas, and Therimachus sleeps the long sleep
beside an oak, stretched there by fire from heaven.

                             A WET NIGHT
                          ANTIPATER OF SIDON

I know not whether I shall complain of Dionysus or blame the rain of
Zeus, but both are treacherous for feet. For the tomb holds Polyxenus,
who returning once to the country from a feast, tumbled over the
slippery slopes, and lies far from Aeolic Smyrna: but let one full of
wine fear a rainy footpath in the dark.

                            FAR FROM HOME

Let not this be of too much moment to thee, O Philaenis, that thou
hast not found thine allotted earth by the Nile, but this tomb holds
thee in Eleutherne; for to comers from all places there is an equal
way to Hades.

                             DEATH AT SEA

Strange dust covers thy body, and the lot of death took thee, O
Cleisthenes, wandering in the Euxine sea; and thou didst fail of sweet
and dear home-coming, nor ever didst reach sea-girt Chios.

                          AT THE WORLD'S END

Alas, why wander we, trusting in vain hopes and forgetting baneful
death? this Seleucus was perfect in his words and ways, but, having
enjoyed his youth but a little, among the utmost Iberians, so far away
from Lesbos, he lies a stranger on unmapped shores.

                           IN LIMINE PORTUS

Already almost in touch of my native land, "To-morrow," I said, "the
wind that has set so long against me will abate"; not yet had the
speech died on my lip, and the sea was even as Hades, and that light
word broke me down. Beware of every speech with to-morrow in it; not
even small things escape the Nemesis that avenges the tongue.

                          DROWNED IN HARBOUR
                      ANTIPATER OF THESSALONICA

Not even when at anchor trust the baleful sea, O sailor, nor even if
dry land hold thy cables; for Ion fell into the harbour, and at the
plunge wine tied his quick sailor's hands. Beware of revelling on
ship-board; the sea is enemy to Iacchus; this law the Tyrrhenians

                         IN SOUND OF THE SEA
                      ANTIPATER OF THESSALONICA

Even in death shall the implacable sea vex me, Lysis hidden beneath a
lonely rock, ever sounding harshly by my ear and alongside of my deaf
tomb. Why, O fellow-men, have you made my dwelling by this that reft
me of breath, me whom not trading in my merchant-ship but sailing in a
little rowing-boat, it brought to shipwreck? and I who sought my
living out of the sea, out of the sea likewise drew my death.

                           THE EMPTY HOUSE
                      ANTIPATER OF THESSALONICA

Hapless Nicanor, doomed by the grey sea, thou liest then naked on a
strange beach, or haply by the rocks, and those wealthy halls are
perished from thee, and lost is the hope of all Tyre; nor did aught of
thy treasures save thee; alas, pitiable one! thou didst perish, and
all thy labour was for the fishes and the sea.

                      THE SINKING OF THE PLEIAD

O man, be sparing of life, neither go on sea-faring beyond the time;
even so the life of man is not long. Miserable Cleonicus, yet thou
didst hasten to come to fair Thasos, a merchantman out of hollow
Syria, O merchant Cleonicus; but hard on the sinking of the Pleiad as
thou journeyedst over the sea, as the Pleiad sank, so didst thou.

                           A RESTLESS GRAVE

Not even in death shall I Theris, tossed shipwrecked upon land by the
waves, forget the sleepless shores; for beneath the spray-beaten
reefs, nigh the disastrous main, I found a grave at the hands of
strangers, and for ever do I wretchedly hear roaring even among the
dead the hated thunder of the sea.

                            TELLURIS AMOR

O happy shepherd, would that even I had shepherded on the mountain
along this white grassy hill, making the bleating folk move after the
leader rams, rather than have dipped a ship's steering-rudders in the
bitter brine: so I sank under the depths, and the east wind that
swallowed me down cast me up again on this shore.

                          A GRAVE BY THE SEA

Keep eight cubits away from me, O rough sea, and billow and roar with
all thy might; but if thou pullest down the grave of Eumares, thou
wilt find nothing of value, but only bones and dust.

                            AN EMPTY TOMB

Would that swift ships had never been, for we should not have bewailed
Sopolis son of Diocleides; but now somewhere in the sea he drifts
dead, and instead of him we pass by a name on an empty tomb.

                       THE DAYS OF THE HALCYONS

And when shall thy swirling passage be free from fear, say, O sea, if
even in the days of the halcyons we must weep, of the halcyons for
whom Ocean evermore stills his windless wave, that one might think dry
land less trustworthy? but even when thou callest thyself a gentle
nurse and harmless to women in labour, thou didst drown Aristomenes
with his freight.

                           A WINTER VOYAGE
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Thee too, son of Cleanor, desire after thy native land destroyed,
trusting to the wintry gust of the South; for the unsecured season
entangled thee, and the wet waves washed away thy lovely youth.

                            THE DEAD CHILD
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Not yet were thy tresses cut, nor had the monthly courses of the moon
driven a three years' space, O poor Cleodicus, when thy mother
Nicasis, clasping thy coffin, wailed long over thy lamented grave, and
thy father Pericleitus; but an unknown Acheron thou shalt flower out
the youth that never, never returns.

                          THE LITTLE SISTER
                         LEONIDAS OF TARENTUM

This girl passed to Hades untimely, in her seventh year, before her
many playmates, poor thing, pining for her baby brother, who at twenty
months old tasted of loveless Death. Alas, ill-fated Peristeris, how
near at hand God has set the sorest griefs to men.

                        PERSEPHONE'S PLAYTHING
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Hades inexorable and inflexible, why hast thou thus reft infant
Callaeschrus of life? Surely the child will be a plaything in the
palace of Persephone, but at home he has left bitter sorrows.

                        CHILDLESS AMONG WOMEN
                         LEONIDAS OF TARENTUM

Ah wretched Anticles, and wretched I who have laid on the pyre in the
flower of youth my only son, thee, child, who didst perish at eighteen
years; and I weep, bewailing an orphaned old age: fain would I go to
the shadowy house of Hades; neither is morn sweet to me, nor the beam
of the swift sun. Ah wretched Anticles, struck down by fate, be thou
healer of my sorrow, taking me with thee out of life.

                          FATE'S PERSISTENCY

I Philaenion who gave birth but for the pyre, I the woeful mother, I
who had seen the threefold grave of my children, anchored my trust on
another's pangs; for I surely hoped that he at least would live, whom
I had not borne. So I, who once had fair children, brought up an
adopted son; but God would not let me have even a second mother's
grace; for being called ours he perished, and now I am become a woe to
the rest of mothers too.

                              ANTE DIEM

Ever insatiate Charon, why hast thou wantonly taken young Attalus? was
he not thine, even if he had died old?


Protomachus said, as his father held him in his hands when he was
breathing away his lovely youth, "O son of Timenor, thou wilt never
forget thy dear son, nor cease to long for his valour and his wisdom."

                           THE BRIDECHAMBER
                          ANTIPATER OF SIDON

Already the saffron-strewn bride-bed was spread within the golden
wedding-chamber for the bride of Pitane, Cleinareta, and her guardians
Demo and Nicippus hoped to light the torch-flame held at stretch of
arm and lifted in both hands, when sickness snatched her away yet a
maiden, and drew her to the sea of Lethe; and her sorrowing companions
knocked not on the bridal doors, but on their own smitten breasts in
the clamour of death.

                           BRIDEGROOM DEATH

Not marriage but Death for bridegroom did Clearista receive when she
loosed the knot of her maidenhood: for but now at even the flutes
sounded at the bride's portal, and the doors of the wedding-chamber
were clashed; and at morn they cried the wail, and Hymenaeus put to
silence changed into a voice of lamentation; and the same pine-brands
flashed their torchlight before the bride-bed, and lit the dead on her
downward way.

                            THE YOUNG WIFE
                          JULIANUS AEGYTPIUS

In season the bride-chamber held thee, out of season the grave took
thee, O Anastasia, flower of the blithe Graces; for thee a father, for
thee a husband pours bitter tears; for thee haply even the ferryman of
the dead weeps; for not a whole year didst thou accomplish beside
thine husband, but at sixteen years old, alas! the tomb holds thee.

                         SANCTISSIMA CONIUNX

Unhappy, by what first word, by what second shall I name thee?
unhappy! this word is true in every ill. Thou art gone, O gracious
wife, who didst carry off the palm in bloom of beauty and in bearing
of soul; Prote wert thou truly called, for all else comes second to
those inimitable graces of thine.

                            SUNDERED HANDS

This last word, O famous city of Phocaea, Theano spoke as she went
down into the unharvested night: "Woe's me unhappy; Apellichus,
husband, what length, what length of sea dost thou cross on thine own
ship! but nigh me stands my doom; would God I had but died with my
hand clasped in thy dear hand."


Heliodorus went first, and Diogeneia the wife, not an hour's space
after, followed her dear husband; and both, even as they dwelt
together, are buried under this slab, rejoicing in their common tomb
even as in a bride-chamber.

                              FIRST LOVE

Tears I give to thee even below with earth between us, Heliodora, such
relic of love as may pass to Hades, tears sorely wept; and on thy
much-wailed tomb I pour the libation of my longing, the memorial of my
affection. Piteously, piteously, I Meleager make lamentation for thee,
my dear, even among the dead, an idle gift to Acheron. Woe's me, where
is my cherished flower? Hades plucked her, plucked her and marred the
freshly-blown blossom with his dust. But I beseech thee, Earth, that
nurturest all, gently to clasp her, the all-lamented, O mother, to thy

                           FIRST FRIENDSHIP
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Ah blessed one, dearest companion of the immortal Muses, fare thou
well even in the house of Hades, Callimachus.

                         STREWINGS FOR GRAVES
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

May flowers grow thick on thy newly-built tomb, not the dry bramble,
not the evil weed, but violets and margerain and wet narcissus,
Vibius, and around thee may all be roses.

                           DIMITTE MORTUOS
                         PAULUS SILENTIARIUS

My name--Why this?--and my country--And to what end this?--and I am of
illustrious race--Yea, if thou hadst been of the obscurest?--Having
lived nobly I left life--If ignobly?--and I lie here now--Who art thou
that sayest this, and to whom?

                           MORS IMMORTALIS
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

I died, but I await thee; and thou too shalt await some one else: one
Death receives all mortals alike.

                        THE LIGHT OF THE DEAD

Morning Star that once didst shine among the living, now deceased thou
shinest the Evening Star among the dead.

                             CHAPTER XII


                           THE JOY OF YOUTH

Let us bathe, Prodice, and garland ourselves, and drain unmixed wine,
lifting larger cups; little is our life of gladness, then old age will
stop the rest, and death is the end.

                           THE USE OF LIFE

Must I not die? what matters it to me whether I depart to Hades gouty
or fleet of foot? for many will carry me; let me become lame, for
hardly on their account need I ever cease from revelling.

                             VAIN RICHES

Thou reckonest, poor wretch; but advancing time breeds white old age
even as it does interest; and neither having drunk, nor bound a flower
on thy brows, nor ever known myrrh nor a delicate darling, thou shalt
be dead, leaving thy great treasury in its wealth, out of those many
coins carrying with thee but the one.

                       MINIMUM CREDULA POSTERO

All human must pay the debt of death, nor is there any mortal who
knows whether he shall be alive to-morrow; learning this clearly, O
man, make thee merry, keeping the wine-god close by thee for oblivion
of death, and take thy pleasure with the Paphian while thou drawest
thy ephemeral life; but all else give to Fortune's control.

                             DONEC HODIE
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Drink and be merry; for what is to-morrow or what the future? no man
knows. Run not, labour not; as thou canst, give, share, consume, be
mortal-minded; to be alive and not to be alive are no way at all
apart. All life is such, only the turn of the scale; if thou art
beforehand, it is thine; and if thou diest, all is another's, and thou
hast nothing.

                           REQUIESCE ANIMA

Be young, dear my soul: soon will others be men, and I being dead
shall be dark earth.

                              ONE EVENT
                          MARCUS ARGENTARIUS

Five feet shalt thou possess as thou liest dead, nor shalt see the
pleasant things of life nor the beams of the sun; then joyfully lift
and drain the unmixed cup of wine, O Cincius, holding a lovely wife in
thine arms; and if philosophy say that thy mind is immortal, know that
Cleanthes and Zeno went down to deep Hades.

                         THE PASSING OF YOUTH

Thou slumberest, O comrade; but the cup itself cries to thee, "Awake;
do not make thy pleasure in the rehearsal of death." Spare not,
Diodorus, slipping greedily into wine, drink deep, even to the
tottering of the knee. Time shall be when we shall not drink, long and
long; nay come, make haste; prudence already lays her hand on our

                         THE HIGHWAY TO DEATH
                          ANTIPATER OF SIDON

Men skilled in the stars call me brief-fated; I am, but I care not, O
Seleucus. There is one descent for all to Hades; and if ours comes
quicker, the sooner shall we look on Minos. Let us drink; for surely
wine is a horse for the high-road, when foot-passengers take a by-path
to Death.

                          BEFORE THE DELUGE

Drink now and love, Damocrates, since not for ever shall we drink nor
for ever hold fast our delight; let us crown our heads with garlands
and perfume ourselves, before others bring these offerings to our
graves. Now rather let my bones drink wine inside me; when they are
dead, let Deucalion's deluge sweep them away.

                            FLEETING DAWN

Let us drink an unmixed draught of wine; dawn is an hand-breadth; are
we waiting to see the bed-time lamp once again? Let us drink merrily;
after no long time yet, O luckless one, we shall sleep through the
long night.

                          JULIANUS AEGYPTUS

Often I sang this, and even out of the grave will I cry it: "Drink,
before you put on this raiment of dust."

                            EARTH TO EARTH

Give me the sweet cup wrought of the earth from which I was born, and
under which I shall lie dead.

                           THE COFFIN-MAKER
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

I would have liked to be rich as Croesus of old was rich, and to be
king of great Asia; but when I look on Nicanor the coffin-maker, and
know for what he is making these flute-cases of his, sprinkling my
flour and wetting it with my jug of wine, I sell all Asia for
ointments and garlands.

                           RETURNING SPRING

Now is rose-time and peas are in season, and the heads of early
cabbage, O Sosylus, and the milky maena, and fresh-curdled cheese, and
the soft-springing leaves of curled lettuces; and do we neither pace
the foreland nor climb to the outlook, as always, O Sosylus, we did
before? for Antagoras and Bacchius too frolicked yesterday, and now
to-day we bear them forth for burial.

                          A LIFE'S WANDERING
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Know ye the flowery fields of the Cappadocian nation? thence I was
born of good parents: since I left them I have wandered to the sunset
and the dawn; my name was Glaphyrus, and like my mind. I lived out my
sixtieth year in perfect freedom; I know both the favour of Fortune
and the bitterness of life.

                            ECCE MYSTERIUM

This man, inconsiderable, mean, yes, a slave, this man is loved, and
is lord of another's soul.

                          THE SHADOW OF LIFE

Fools and children are mankind to weep the dead, and not the flower of
youth perishing.

                         THE SHADOW OF DEATH
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Those who have left the sweet light I bewail no longer, but those who
live ever in expectation of death.

                             PARTA QUIES

Expectation of death is woful grief, and this is the gain of a mortal
when he perishes; weep not then for him who departs from life, for
after death there is no other accident.

                          THE CLOSED ACCOUNT

I weep not for thee, O dearest of friends; for thou knewest many fair
things; and again God dealt thee thy lot of ill.

                          THE VOYAGE OF LIFE

Life is a dangerous voyage; for tempest-tossed in it we often strike
rocks more pitiably than shipwrecked men; and having Chance as pilot
of life, we sail doubtfully as on the sea, some on a fair voyage, and
others contrariwise; yet all alike we put into the one anchorage under

                             DAILY BIRTH

Day by day we are born as night retires, no more possessing aught of
our former life, estranged from our course of yesterday, and beginning
to-day the life that remains. Do not then call thyself, old man,
abundant in years; for to-day thou hast no share in what is gone.

                         THE LIMIT OF VISION
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Now we flourish as before others did, and soon others will, whose
children we shall never see.

                          THE BREATH OF LIFE

Breathing thin air into our nostrils we live and look on the torch of
the sun, all we who live what is called life; and are as organs,
receiving our spirits from quickening airs. If one then chokes that
little breath with his hand, he robs us of life, and brings us down to
Hades. Thus being nothing we wax high in hardihood, feeding on air
from a little breath.

                            TWO ETERNITIES
                         LEONIDAS OF TARENTUM

Infinite, O man, was the foretime until thou camest to thy dawn, and
what remains is infinite on through Hades: what share is left for life
but the bigness of a pinprick, and tinier than a pinprick if such
there be? Little is thy life and afflicted; for not even so it is
sweet, but more loathed than hateful death.

                          THE LORD OF LANDS

Though thou pass beyond thy landmarks even to the pillars of Heracles,
the share of earth that is equal to all men awaits thee, and thou
shalt lie even as Irus, having nothing more than thine obolus,
mouldering into a land that at last is not thine.

                         THE PRICE OF RICHES

Thou art rich, and what of it in the end? as thou departest, dost thou
drag thy riches with thee, pulling them into the coffin? Thou
gatherest riches at expense of time, and thou canst not heap up more
exceeding measures of life.

                         THE DARKNESS OF DAWN

Morning by morning passes; then, while we heed not, suddenly the Dark
One will be come, and, some by decaying, and some by parching, and
some by swelling, will lead us all to the one pit.

                             NIL EXPEDIT

Naked I came on earth, and naked I depart under earth, and why do I
vainly labour, seeing the naked end?

                         THE WAY OF THE WORLD

Mortal is what belongs to mortals, and all things pass by us; and if
not, yet we pass by them.

                         THE SUM OF KNOWLEDGE
                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

I was not, I came to be; I was, I am not: that is all; and who shall
say more, will lie: I shall not be.


All is laughter, and all is dust, and all is nothing; for out of
unreason is all that is.

                            AUTHOR UNKNOWN

How was I born? whence am I? why did I come? to go again: how can I
learn anything, knowing nothing? Being nothing, I was born; again I
shall be as I was before; nothing and nothing-worth is the human race.
But come, serve to me the joyous fountain of Bacchus; for this is the
drug counter-charming ills.

                         THE SLAUGHTER-HOUSE

We all are watched and fed for Death as a herd of swine butchered

                            LACRIMAE RERUM

Weeping I was born and having wept I die, and I found all my living
amid many tears. O tearful, weak, pitiable race of men, dragged under
earth and mouldering away!

                          THE WORLD'S WORTH

How might one escape thee, O life, without dying? for thy sorrows are
numberless, and neither escape nor endurance is easy. For sweet indeed
are thy beautiful things of nature, earth, sea, stars, the orbs of
moon and sun; but all else is fears and pains, and though one have a
good thing befal him, there succeeds it an answering Nemesis.


Of all things not to be born into the world is best, nor to see the
beams of the keen sun; but being born, as swiftly as may be to pass
the gates of Hades, and lie under a heavy heap of earth.

                          THE SORROW OF LIFE

What path of life may one hold? In the market-place are strifes and
hard dealings, in the house cares; in the country labour enough, and
at sea terror; and abroad, if thou hast aught, fear, and if thou art
in poverty, vexation. Art married? thou wilt not be without anxieties;
unmarried? thy life is yet lonelier. Children are troubles; a
childless life is a crippled one. Youth is foolish, and grey hairs
again feeble. In the end then the choice is of one of these two,
either never to be born, or, as soon as born, to die.

                           THE JOY OF LIFE

Hold every path of life. In the market-place are honours and prudent
dealings, in the house rest; in the country the charm of nature, and
at sea gain; and abroad, if thou hast aught, glory, and if thou art in
poverty, thou alone knowest it. Art married? so will thine household
be best; unmarried? thy life is yet lighter. Children are darlings; a
childless life is an unanxious one: youth is strong, and grey hairs
again reverend. The choice is not then of one of the two, either never
to be born or to die; for all things are good in life.


Why vainly, O man, dost thou labour and disturb everything when thou
art slave to the lot of thy birth? Yield thyself to it, strive not
with Heaven, and, accepting thy fortune, be content with rest.


If that which bears all things bears thee, bear thou and be borne; and
if thou art indignant and vexest thyself, even so that which bears all
things bears thee.

                        THE RULES OF THE GAME

All life is a stage and a game: either learn to play it, laying by
seriousness, or bear its pains.

                             THE ONE HOPE
                         PAULUS SILENTIARIUS

It is not living that has essential delight, but throwing away out of
the breast cares that silver the temples. I would have wealth
sufficient for me, and the excess of maddening care for gold ever eats
away the spirit; thus among men thou wilt find often death better than
life, as poverty than wealth. Knowing this, do thou make straight the
paths of thine heart, looking to our one hope, Wisdom.

                            AMOR MYSTICUS

Where is that backward-bent bow of thine, and the reeds that leap from
thy hand and stick fast in mid-heart? where are thy wings? where they
grievous torch? and why carriest thou three crowns in thy hands, and
wearest another on thy head? I spring not from the common Cyprian, O
stranger, I am not from earth, the offspring of wild joy; but I light
the torch of learning in pure human minds, and lead the soul upwards
into heaven. And I twine crowns of the four virtues; whereof carrying
these, one from each, I crown myself with the first, the crown of

                            THE LAST WORD

Thou talkest much, O man, and thou art laid in earth after a little:
keep silence, and while thou yet livest, meditate on death.


Greek literature from its earliest historical beginnings to its final
extinction in the Middle Ages falls naturally under five periods.
These are:--(1) Greece before the Persian warbs; (2) the ascendancy of
Athens; (3) the Alexandrian monarchies; (4) Greece under Rome; (5) the
Byzantine empire of the East. The authors of epigrams included in this
selection are spread over all these periods through a space of about
fifteen centuries.

I.  Period of the lyric poets and of the complete political
    development of Greece, from the earliest time to the repulse of
    the Persian invasion, B.C. 480.

MIMNERMUS of Smyrna fl. B.C. 634-600, and was the contemporary of
Solon. He is spoken of as the "inventor of elegy", and was apparently
the first to employ the elegiac metre in threnes and love-poems. Only
a few fragments, about eighty lines in all, of his poetry survive.

ERINNA of Rhodes, the contemporary of Sappho according to ancient
tradition, fl. 600 B.C., and died very young. There are three epigrams
in the Palatine Anthology under her name, probably genuine: see Bergk,
/Lyr. Gr./ iii. p. 141. Besides the fragments given by Bergk, detached
phrases of hers are probably preserved in /Anth. Pal./ vii. 12 and 13,
and in the description by Christodorus of her statue in the gymnasium
at Constantinople, /Anth. Pal./ ii. 108-110. She was included in the
/Garland/ of Meleager, who speaks, l. 12, of the "sweet maiden-fleshed
crocus of Erinna."

THEOGNIS of Megara, the celebrated elegiac and gnomic poet, fl. B.C.
548, and was still alive at the beginning of the Persian wars. The
fragments we possess are from an Anthology of his works, and amount to
about 1400 lines in all. He employed elegiac verse as a vehicle for
every kind of political and social poetry; some of the poems were sung
to the flute at banquets and are more akin to lyric poetry; others,
described as {gnomai di elegeias}, elegiac sentences, can hardly be
distinguished in essence from "hortatory" epigrams, and two of them
have accordingly been included as epigrams of Life in this selection.

ANACREON of Teos in Ionia, B.C. 563-478, migrated with his countrymen
to Abdera on the capture of Teos by the Persians, B.C. 540. He then
lived for some years at the court of Polycrates of Samos (who died
B.C. 522), and afterwards, like Simonides, at that of Hipparchus of
Athens, finally returning to Teos, where he died at the age of eighty-
five. Of his genuine poetry only a few inconsiderable fragments are
left; and his wide fame rests chiefly on the /pseudo-Anacreontea/, a
collection of songs chiefly of a convivial and amatory nature, written
at different times but all of a late date, which have come down to us
in the form of an appendix to the Palatine MS. of the Anthology, and
from being used as a school-book have obtained a circulation far
beyond their intrinsic merit. The /Garland/ of Meleager, l. 35, speaks
of "the unsown honey-suckle of Anacreon," including both lyrical
poetry ({melisma}) and epigrams ({elegoi}) as distinct from one
another. The Palatine Anthology contains twenty-one epigrams under his
name, a group of twelve together (vi. 134-145) transferred bodily, it
would seem, from some collection of his works, and the rest scattered;
and there is one other in Planudes. Most are plainly spurious, and
none certainly authentic; but one of the two given here (iii. 7) has
the note of style of this period, and is probably genuine. The other
(xi. 32) is obviously of Alexandrian date, and is probably by Leonidas
of Tarentum.

SIMONIDES of Ceos, B.C. 556-467, the most eminent of the lyric poets,
lived for some years at the court of Hipparchus of Athens (B.C. 528-
514), afterwards among the feudal nobility of Thessaly, and was again
living at Athens during the Persian wars. The later years of his life
were spent with Pindar and Aeschylus at the court of Hiero of
Syracuse. He was included in the /Garland/ of Meleager (l. 8, "the
fresh shoot of the vine-blossom of Simonides"); fifty-nine epigrams
are under his name in the Palatine MS., and eighteen more in Planudes,
besides nine others doubtfully ascribed to him. Several of his
epigrams are quoted by Herodotus; others are preserved by Strabo,
Plutarch, Athenaeus, etc. In all, according to Bergk, we have ninety
authentic epigrams from his hand. There were two later poets of the
same name, Simonides of Magnesia, who lived under Antiochus the Great
about 200 B.C., and Simonides of Carystus, of whom nothing definite is
known; some of the spurious epigrams may be by one or other of them.

Beyond the point to which Simonides brought it the epigram never rose.
In him there is complete ease of workmanship and mastery of form
together with the noble and severe simplicity which later poetry lost.
His dedications retain something of the antique stiffness; but his
magnificent epitaphs are among our most precious inheritances from the
greatest thought and art of Greece.

BACCHYLIDES of Iulis in Ceos flourished B.C. 470. He was the nephew of
Simonides, and lived with him at the court of Hiero. There are only
two epigrams in the Anthology under his name. The /Garland/ of
Meleager, l. 34, speaks of "the yellow ears from the blade of
Bacchylides." This phrase may contain an allusion to his dedicatory
epigram to the West Wind, ii. 34 in this selection.

Finally, forming the transition between this and the great Athenian
period, comes AESCHYLUS, B.C. 525-456. That Aeschylus wrote elegiac
verse, including a poem on the dead at Marathon, is certain; fragments
are preserved by Plutarch and Theophrastus, and there is a well-
supported tradition that he competed with Simonides on that occasion.
As to the authorship of the two epigrams extant under his name there
is much difference of opinion. Bergk does not come to any definite
conclusion. Perhaps all that can be said is that they do not seem
unworthy of him, and that they certainly have the style and tone of
the best period. It was not till the decline of literature that the
epoch of forgeries began. It is, however, suspicious that a poet of
his great eminence should not be mentioned in the /Garland/ of
Meleager; for we can hardly suppose these epigrams, if genuine, either
unknown to Meleager or intentionally omitted by him.

II. Period of the ascendancy of Athens, and of the great dramatists
    and historians; from the repulse of the Persian invasion to the
    extinction of Greek freedom at the battle of Chaeronea, B.C. 480-

In this period the epigram almost disappears, overwhelmed apparently
by the greater forms of poetry which were then in their perfection.
Between Simonides and Plato there is not a single name on our list;
and it is not till the period of the transition, the first half of the
fourth century B.C., that the epigram begins to reappear. About 400
B.C. a new grace and delicacy is added to it by PLATO (B.C. 428-347;
the tradition, in itself probable, is that he wrote poetry when a very
young man). Thirty-two epigrams in the Anthology are ascribed, some
doubtfully, to one Plato or another; a few of obviously late date to a
somewhat mythical PLATO JUNIOR ({o Neoteros}), and one to PLATO THE
COMEDIAN (fl. 428-389), the contemporary and rival of Aristophanes. In
a note to i. 5 in this selection something is said as to the
authenticity of the epigrams ascribed to the great Plato [omitted in
this text--JB.] He was included in the /Garland/ of Meleager, who
speaks, ll. 47-8, of "the golden bough of the ever- divine Plato,
shining everywhere in excellence"--one of the finest criticisms ever
made by a single phrase, and the more remarkable that it anticipates,
and may even in some degree have suggested, the mystical golden bough
of Virgil.

To the same period belongs PARRHASIUS of Ephesus, who fl. 400 B.C.,
the most eminent painter of his time, in whose work the rendering of
the ideal human form was considered to have reached its highest
perfection. Two epigrams and part of a third ascribed to him are
preserved in Athenaeus.

DEMODOCUS of Leros, a small island in the Sporades, is probably to be
placed here. Nothing is known as to his life, nor as to his date
beyond the one fact that an epigram of his is quoted by Aristotle,
/Eth. N./ vii. 9. Four epigrams of his, all couplets containing a
sarcastic point of the same kind, are preserved in the Palatine

III. Period of the great Alexandrian monarchies; from the accession of
    Alexander the Great to the annexation of Syria by the Roman
    Republic, B.C. 336-65.

Throughout these three centuries epigrammatists flourished in great
abundance, so much so that the epigram ranked as one of the important
forms of poetry. After the first fifty years of the period there is no
appreciable change in the manner and style of the epigram; and so, in
many cases where direct evidence fails, dates can only be ascribed
vaguely. The history of the Alexandrian epigram begins with two groups
of poets, none of them quite of the first importance, but all of great
literary interest, who lived just before what is known as the
Alexandrian style became pronounced; the first group continuing the
tradition of pure Greece, the second founding the new style. After
them the most important names, in chronological order, are Callimachus
of Alexandria, Leonidas of Tarentum, Theocritus of Syracuse, Antipater
of Sidon, and Meleager of Gadara. These names show how Greek
literature had now become diffused with Greek civilisation through the
countries bordering the eastern half of the Mediterranean.

The period may then be conveniently subdivided under five heads--

  (1) Poets of Greece Proper and Macedonia, continuing the purely
        Greek tradition in literature.
  (2) Founds of the Alexandrian School.
  (3) The earlier Alexandrians of the third century B.C.
  (4) The later Alexandrians of the second century B.C.
  (5) Just on the edge of this period, Meleager and his
        contemporaries: transition to the Roman period.

(1) ADAEUS or ADDAEUS, called "the Macedonian" in the title of one of
his epigrams, was a contemporary of Alexander the Great. Among his
epigrams are epitaphs on Alexander and on Philip; his date is further
fixed by the mention of Potidaea in another epigram, as Cassander, who
died B.C. 296, changed the name of the city into Cassandrea. Eleven
epigrams are extant under his name, but one is headed "Adaeus of
Mitylene" and may be by a different hand, as Adaeus was a common
Macedonian name. They are chiefly poems of country life, prayers to
Demeter and Artemis, and hunting scenes, full of fresh air and
simplicity out of doors, with a serious sense of religion and
something of Macedonian gravity. The picture they give of the simple
and refined life of the Greek country gentleman, like Xenophon in his
old age at Scillus, is one of the most charming and intimate glimpses
we have of the ancient world, carried on quietly among the drums and
tramplings of Alexander's conquests, of which we are faintly reminded
by another epigram on an engraved Indian beryl.

ANYTE of Tegea is one of the foremost names among the epigrammatists,
and it is somewhat surprising that we know all but nothing of her from
external sources. "The lilies of Anyte" stand at the head of the list
of poets in the /Garland/ of Meleager; and Antipater of Thessalonica
in a catalogue of poetesses (/Anth. Pal./ ix. 26) speaks of {Anutes
stoma thelun Omeron}. The only epigram which gives any clue to her
date is one on the death of three Milesian girls in a Gaulish
invasion, probably that of B.C. 279; but this is headed "Anyte of
Mitylene," and is very possibly by another hand. A late tradition says
that her statue was made by the sculptors Cephisodotus and
Euthycrates, whose date is about 300 B.C., but we are not told whether
they were her contemporaries. Twenty-four epigrams are ascribed to
her, twenty of which seem genuine. They are so fine that some critics
have wished to place her in the great lyric period; but their deep and
most refined feeling for nature rather belongs to this age. They are
principally dedications and epitaphs, written with great simplicity of
description and much of the grand style of the older poets, and
showing (if the common theory as to her date be true) a deep and
sympathetic study of Simonides.

Probably to this group belong also the following poets:

HEGESIPPUS, the author of eight epigrams in the Palatine Anthology,
three dedications and five epitaphs, in a simple and severe style. The
reference in the /Garland/ of Meleager, l. 25, to "the maenad grape-
cluster of Hegesippus" is so wholly inapplicable to these that we must
suppose it to refer to a body of epigrams now lost, unless this be the
same Hegesippus with the poet of the New Comedy who flourished at
Athens about 300 B.C., and the reference be to him as a comedian
rather than an epigrammatist.

PERSES, called "the Theban" in the heading of one epigram, "the
Macedonian" in that of another (no difference of style can be traced
between them), a poet of the same type as Addaeus, with equal
simplicity and good taste, but inferior power. The /Garland/ of
Meleager, l. 26, speaks of "the scented reed of Perses." There are
nine epigrams of his in the Palatine Anthology, including some
beautiful epitaphs.

PHAEDIMUS of Bisanthe in Macedonia, author of an epic called the
/Heracleia/ according to Athenaeus. "The yellow iris of Phaedimus" is
mentioned in the /Garland/ of Meleager, l. 51. Two of the four
epigrams under his name, a beautiful dedication, and a very noble
epitaph, are in this selection; the other two, which are in the
appendix of epigrams in mixed metres at the end of the Palatine
Anthology (Section xiii.) are very inferior and seem to be by another

(2) Under this head is a group of three distinguished poets and

PHILETAS of Cos, a contemporary of Alexander, and tutor to the
children of Ptolemy I. He was chiefly distinguished as an elegiac
poet. Theocritus (vii. 39) names him along with Asclepiades as his
master in style, and Propertius repeatedly couples him in the same way
with Callimachus. If one may judge from the few fragments extant,
chiefly in Stobaeus, his poetry was simpler and more dignified than
that of the Alexandrian school, of which he may be called the founder.
He was also one of the earliest commentators on Homer, the celebrated
Zenodotus being his pupil.

SIMMIAS of Rhodes, who fl. rather before 300 B.C., and was the author
of four books of miscellaneous poems including an epic history of
Apollo. "The tall wild-pear of Simmias" is in the /Garland/ of
Meleager, l. 30. Two of the seven epigrams under his name in the
Palatine Anthology are headed "Simmias of Thebes." This would be the
disciple of Socrates, best known as one of the interlocutors in the
/Phaedo/. But these epigrams are undoubtedly of the Alexandrian type,
and quite in the same style as the rest; and the title is probably a
mistake. Simmias is also the reputed author of several of the
{griphoi} or pattern-poems at the end of the Palatine MS.

ASCLEPIADES, son of Sicelides of Samos, who flourished B.C. 290, one
of the most brilliant authors of the period. Theocritus (l.c. supra)
couples him with Philetas as a model of excellence in poetry. This
passage fixes his date towards the end of the reign of Ptolemy I., to
whose wife Berenice and daughter Cleopatra there are references in his
epigrams. There are forty-three epigrams of his in the Anthology;
nearly all of them amatory, with much wider range and finer feeling
that most of the erotic epigrams, and all with the firm clear touch of
the best period. There are also one or two fine epitaphs. The
reference in the /Garland/ of Meleager, l. 46, to "the wind-flower of
the son of Sicelides" is another of Meleager's exquisite criticisms.

(3) LEONIDAS OF TARENTUM is the reputed author of one hundred and
eleven epigrams in the Anthology, chiefly dedicatory and sepulchural.
In the case of some of these, however, there is confusion between him
and his namesake, Leonidas of Alexandria, the author of about forty
epigrams in the Anthology who flourished in the reign of Nero. In two
epigrams Leonidas speaks of himself as a poor man, and in another, an
epitaph written for himself, says that he led a wandering life and
died far from his native Tarentum. His date is most nearly fixed by
the inscription (/Anth. Pal./ vi. 130, attributed to him on the
authority of Planudes) for a dedication by Pyrrhus of Epirus after a
victory over Antigonus and his Gaulish mercenaries, probably that
recorded under B.C. 274. Tarentum, with the other cities of Magna
Graecia, was about this time in the last straits of the struggle
against the Italian confederacy; this or private reasons may account
for the tone of melancholy in the poetry of Leonidas. He invented a
particular style of dedicatory epigram, in which the implements of
some trade or profession are enumerated in ingenious circumlocutions;
these have been singled out for special praise by Sainte-Beuve, but
will hardly be interesting to many readers. The /Garland/ of Meleager,
l. 15, mentions "the rich ivy-clusters of Leonidas," and the phrase
well describes the diffuseness and slight want of firmness and colour
in his otherwise graceful style.

NOSSIS of Locri, in Magna Graecia, is the contemporary of Leonidas;
her date being approximately fixed by an epitaph on Rhinthon of
Syracuse, who flourished 300 B.C. We know a good many details about
her from her eleven epigrams in the Anthology, some of which are only
inferior to those of Anyte. The /Garland/ of Meleager, l. 10, speaks
of "the scented fair-flowering iris of Nissus, on whose tablets Love
himself melted the wax"; and, like Anyte, she is mentioned, with the
characteristic epithet "woman-tongued," by Antipater of Thessalonica
in his list of poetesses. She herself claims (/Anth. Pal./ vii. 718)
to be a rival of Sappho.

THEOCRITUS of Syracuse lived for some time at Alexandria under Ptolemy
II., about 280 B.C., and afterwards at Syracuse under Hiero II. From
some allusions to the latter in the Idyls, it seems that he lived into
the first Punic war, which broke out B.C. 264. Twenty-nine epigrams
are ascribed to him on some authority or other in the Anthology; of
these Ahrens allows only nine as genuine.

NICIAS of Miletus, physician, scholar, and poet, was the contemporary
and close friend of Theocritus. Idyl xi. is addressed to him, and the
scholiast says he wrote an idyl in reply to it; idyl xxii was sent
with the gift of an ivory spindle to his wife, Theugenis; and one of
Theocritus' epigrams (/Anth. Pal./ vi. 337) was written for him as a
dedication. There are eight epigrams of his in the Anthology (/Anth.
Pal./ xi. 398 is wrongly attributed to him, and should be referred to
Nicarchus), chiefly dedications and inscriptions for rural places in
the idyllic manner. "The green mint of Nicias" is mentioned, probably
with an allusion to his profession, in the /Garland/ of Meleager, l.

CALLIMACHUS of Alexandria, the most celebrated and the most wide in
his influence of Alexandrian scholars and poets, was descended from
the noble family of the Battiadae of Cyrene. He studied at Alexandria,
and was appointed principal keeper of the Alexandrian library by
Ptolemy II., about the year 260 B.C. This position he held till his
death, about B.C. 240. He was a prolific author in both prose and
verse. Sixty-three epigrams of his are preserved in the Palatine
Anthology, and two more by Strabo and Athenaeus; five others in the
Anthology are ascribed to him on more or less doubtful authority. He
brought to the epigram the utmost finish of which it is capable. Many
of his epigrams are spoiled by over-elaboration and affected
daintiness of style; but when he writes simply his execution is
incomparable. The /Garland/ of Meleager, l. 21, speaks of "the sweet
myrtle-berry of Callimachus, ever full of acid honey"; and there is in
all his work a pungent flavour which is sometimes bitter and sometimes

POSIDIPPUS, the author of twenty-five extant epigrams, of which twenty
are in the Anthology, is more than once referred to as "the
epigrammatist," and so is probably a different person from the
comedian, the last distinguished name of the New Comedy, who began to
exhibit after the death of Menander in B.C. 291. He probably lived
somewhat later; the /Garland/ of Meleager, l. 45, couples "the wild
corn-flowers of Posidippus and Hedylus," and Hedylus was the
contemporary of Callimachus. One of his epigrams refers to the Stoic
Cleanthes, who became head of the school B.C. 263 and died about B.C.
220, as though already an old master.

With Posidippus may be placed METRODORUS, the author of an epigram in
reply to one by Posidippus (xii. 39, 40 in this selection). Whether
this be contemporary or not, it can hardly be by the same Metrodorus
as the forty arithmetical problems which are given in an appendix to
the Palatine Anthology (Section xiv.), or the epigram on a Byzantine
lawyer, /Anth. Pal./ ix. 712. These may be all by a geometrician of
the name who is mentioned as having lived in the age of Constantine.

MOERO or MYRO of Byzantium, daughter of the tragedian Homerus,
flourished towards the end of the reign of Ptolemy II., about 250 B.C.
She wrote epic and lyric poetry as well as epigrams; a fragment of her
epic called /Mnemosyne/ is preserved in Athenaeus. Antipater of
Thessalonica mentions her in his list of famous poetesses. Of the
"many martagon-lilies of Moero" in the Anthology of Meleager
(/Garland/, l. 5) only two are extant, both dedications.

NICAENETUS of Samos flourished about the same time. There are four
epigrams of his in the Anthology, and another is quoted by Athenaeus,
who, in connexion with a Samian custom, adduces him as "a poet of the
country." He also wrote epic poems. The /Garland/ of Meleager, l. 29,
speaks of "the myrrh-twigs of Nicaenetus."

EUPHORION of Chalcis in Euboea, grammarian and poet, was born B.C.
274, and in later life was chief librarian at the court of Antiochus
the Great, who reigned B.C. 224-187. His most famous work was his five
books of {KHiliades}, translated into Latin by C. Cornelius Gallus
(Virgil, /Ecl./ vi. 64-73) and of immense reputation. His influence on
Latin poetry provoked the well-known sneer of Cicero (/Tusc./ iii. 19)
at the /cantores Euphorionis/; cf. also Cic. /de Div./ ii. 64, and
Suetonius, /Tiberius/, c. 70. Only two epigrams of his are extant in
the Palatine Anthology. The /Garland/ of Meleager, l. 23, speaks of
"the rose-campion of Euphorion."

RHIANUS of Crete flourished about 200 B.C., and was chiefly celebrated
as an epic poet. Besides mythological epics, he wrote metrical
histories of Thessaly, Elis, Achaea, and Messene; Pausinias quotes
verses from the last of these, /Messen./ i. 6, xvii. 11. Seutonius,
/Tiberius/, c. 70, mentions him along with Euphorion as having been
greatly admired by Tiberius. There are nine epigrams by him, erotic
and dedicatory, in the Palatine Anthology, and another is quoted by
Athenaeus. The /Garland/ of Meleager, l. 11, couples him with the

THEODORIDES of Syracuse, the author of nineteen epigrams in the
Anthology, flourished towards the close of the third century B.C., one
of his epigrams being an epitaph on Euphorion. He also wrote lyric
poetry; Athenaeus mentions a dithyrambic poem of his called the
/Centaurs/, and a /Hymn to Love/. The /Garland/ of Meleager, l. 53,
speaks of "the fresh-blooming festal wild-thyme of Theodorides."

A little earlier in date is MNASALCAS of Plataeae, near Sicyon, on
whom Theodorides wrote an epitaph (/Anth. Pal./ xiii. 21), which
speaks of him as imitating Simonides, and criticises his style as
turgid. This criticism is not born out by his eighteen extant epigrams
in the Palatine Anthology, which are in the best manner, with
something of the simplicity of his great model, and even a slight
austerity of style which takes us back to Greece Proper. The /Garland/
of Meleager seizes this quality when it speaks, l. 16, of "the tresses
of the sharp pine of Mnasalcas."

MOSCHUS of Syracuse, the last of the pastoral poets, flourished
towards the end of the third century B.C., perhaps as late as B.C. 200
if he was the friend of the grammarian Aristarchus. A single epigram
of his is extant in Planudes. The Palatine Anthology includes his
idyll of /Love the Runaway/ (ix. 440), and the lovely hexameter
fragment by Cyrus (ix. 136), which has without authority been
attributed to him and is generally included among his poems.

To this period may belong DIOTIMUS, whose name is at the head of
eleven epigrams in the Anthology. One of these is headed "Diotimus of
Athens," one "Diotimus of Miletus," the rest have the name simply.
Nothing is known from other sources of any one of them. An Athenion
Diotimus was one of the orators surrendered to Antipater B.C. 322, and
some of the epigrams might be of that period. A grammarian Diotimus of
Adramyttium is mentioned in an epigram by Aratus of Soli (who fl. 270
B.C.); perhaps he was the poet of the /Garland/ of Meleager, who
speaks, l. 27, of "the quince from the boughs of Diotimus."

AUTOMEDON of Aetolia is the author of an epigram in the Palatine
Anthology, of which the first two lines are in Planudes under the name
of Theocritus; it is in his manner, and in the best style of this
period. There are twelve other epigrams by an Automedon of the Roman
period in the Anthology, one of them headed "Automedon of Cyzicus."
From internal evidence these belong to the reign of Nerva or Trajan.
An Automedon was probably one of the poets in the Anthology of
Philippus (/Garland/, l. 11), but is most probably different from both
of these, as that collection cannot well be put later than the reign
of Nero, and purports to include only poets subsequent to Meleager:
cf. supra p. 17.

THEAETETUS is only known as the author of three epigrams in the
Palatine Anthology (a fourth usually ascribed to him, /Anth. Pal./
vii. 444, should be referred to Theaetetus Scholasticus, a Byzantine
epigrammatist of the period of Justinian) and two more in Diogenes
Laërtius. One of these last is an epitaph on the philosopher Crantor,
who flourished about 300 B.C., but is not necessarily contemporaneous.

(4) ALCAEUS of Messene, who flourished 200 B.C., represents the
literary and political energy still surviving in Greece under the
Achaean League. Many of his epigrams touch on the history of the
period; several are directed against Philip III. of Macedonia. The
earliest to which a date can be fixed is on the destruction of Macynus
in Aetolia by Philip, B.C. 218 or 219 (Polyb. iv. 65), and the latest
on the dead at the battle of Cynoscephalae, B.C. 197, written before
their bones were collected and buried by order of Antiochus B.C. 191.
This epigram is mentioned by Plutarch as having given offence to the
Roman general Flaminius, on account of its giving the Aetolians an
equal share with the Romans in the honour of the victory. Another is
on the freedom of Flaminius, proclaimed at the Isthmia B.C. 196. An
Alcaeus was one of the Epicurean philosophers expelled from Rome by
decree of the Senate in B.C. 173, and may be the same. Others of his
epigrams are on literary subjects. All are written in a hard style.
There are twenty-two in all in the Anthology. Some of them are headed
"Alcaeus of Mitylene," but there is no doubt as to the authorship; the
confusion of this Alcaeus with the lyric poet of Mitylene could only
be made by one very ignorant of Greek literature.

Of the same period is DAMAGETUS, the author of twelve epigrams in the
Anthology, and included as "a dark violet" in the /Garland/ of
Meleager, l. 21. They are chiefly epitaphs, and are in the best style
of the period.

DIONYSIUS of Cyzicus must have flourished soon after 200 B.C. from his
epitaph on Eratosthenes, who died B.C. 196. Eight other epigrams in
the Palatine Anthology, and four more in Planudes, are attributed to a
Dionysius. One is headed "Dionysius of Andros," one "Dionysius of
Rhodes" (it is an epitaph on a Rhodian), one "Dionysius the Sophist,"
the others "Dionysius" simply. There were certainly several authors of
the name, which was one of the commonest in Greece; but no distinction
in style can be traced among these epigrams, and there is little
against the theory that most if not all are by the same author,
Dionysius of Cyzicus.

DIOSCORIDES, the author of forty-one epigrams in the Palatine
Anthology, lived at Alexandria early in the second century B.C. An
epitaph of his on the comedian Machon is quoted by Athenaeus, who says
that Machon was master to Aristophanes of Byzantium, who flourished
200 B.C. His style shows imitation of Callimachus; the /Garland/ of
Meleager, l. 23, speaks of him as "the cyclamen of Muses."

ARTEMIDORUS, a grammarian, pupil of Aristophanes of Byzantium and
contemporary of Aristarchus, flourished about 180 B.C., and is the
author of two epigrams in the Palatine Anthology, both mottoes, the
one for a Theocritus, the other for a collection of the bucolic poets.
The former is attributed in the Palatine MS. to Theocritus himself,
but is assigned to Artemidorus on the authority of a MS. of

PAMPHILUS, also a grammarian, and pupil to Aristarchus, was one of the
poets in the /Garland/ of Meleager (l. 17, "the spreading plane of the
song of Pamphilus"). Only two epigrams of his are extant in the

ANTIPATER OF SIDON is one of the most interesting figures of the close
of this century, when Greek education began to permeate the Roman
upper classes. Little is known about his life; part of it was spent at
Rome in the society of the most cultured of the nobility. Cicero,
/Or./ iii. 194, makes Crassus and Catulus speak of him as familiarly
known to them, but then dead; the scene of the dialogue is laid in
B.C. 91. Cicero and Pliny also mention the curious fact that he had an
attack of fever on his birthday every winter. "The young Phoenician
cypress of Antipater," in the /Garland/ of Meleager, l. 42, refers to
him as one of the more modern poets in that collection.

There is much confusion in the Anthology between him and his equally
prolific namesake of the next century, Antipater of Thessalonica. The
matter would take long to disentangle completely. In brief the facts
are these. In the Palatine Anthology there are one hundred and
seventy-eight epigrams, of which forty-six are ascribed to Antipater
of Sidon and thirty-six to Antipater of Thessalonica, the remaining
ninety-six being headed "Antipater" merely. Twenty-eight other
epigrams are given as by one or other in Planudes and Diogenes
Laërtius. Jacobs assigns ninety epigrams in all to the Sidonian poet.
Most of them are epideictic; a good many are on works of art and
literature; there are some very beautiful epitaphs. There is in his
work a tendency towards diffuseness which goes with his talent in
improvisation mentioned by Cicero.

To this period seem to belong the following poets, of whom little or
nothing is known: ARISTODICUS of Rhodes, author of two epigrams in the
Palatine Anthology: ARISTON, author of three or four epigrams in the
style of Leonidas of Tarentum: HERMOCREON, author of one dedication in
the Palatine Anthology and another in Planudes: and TYMNES, author of
seven epigrams in the Anthology, and included in the /Garland/ of
Meleager, l. 19, with "the fair-foliaged white poplar" for his

(5) MELEAGER son of Eucrates was born at the partially Hellenised town
of Gadara in northern Palestine (the Ramoth-Gilead of the Old
Testament), and educated at Tyre. His later life was spent in the
island of Cos, where he died at an advanced age. The scholiast to the
Palatine MS. says he flourished in the reign of the last Seleucus;
this was Seleucus VI. Epiphanes, who reigned B.C. 95-93. The date of
his celebrated Anthology cannot be much later, as it did not include
the poems of his fellow-townsman Philodemus, who flourished about B.C.
60 or a little earlier. Like his contemporary Menippus, also a
Gadarene, he wrote what were known as {spoudogeloia}, miscellaneous
prose essays putting philosophy in popular form with humorous
illustrations. These are completely lost, but we have fragments of the
/Saturae Menippeae/ of Varro written in imitation of them, and they
seem to have had a reputation like that of Addison and the English
essayists of the eighteenth century. Meleager's fame however is
securely founded on the one hundred and thirty-four epigrams of his
own which he included in his Anthology. Some further account of the
erotic epigrams, which are about four-fifths of the whole number, is
given above. For all of these the MSS. of the Anthology are the sole

DIODORUS of Sardis, commonly called ZONAS, is spoken of by Strabo, who
was a friend of his kinsman Diodorus the younger, as having flourished
at the time of the invasion of Asia by Mithridates B.C. 88. He was a
distinguished orator. Both of these poets were included in the
Anthology of Philippus, and in the case of some of the epigrams it is
not quite certain to which of the two they should be referred. Eight
are usually ascribed to Zonas: they are chiefly dedicatory and
pastoral, with great beauty of style and feeling for nature.

ERYCIUS of Cyzicus flourished about the middle of the first century
B.C. One of his epigrams is on an Athenian woman who had in early life
been captured at the sack of Athens by Sulla B.C. 80; another is
against a grammarian Parthenius of Phocaea, possibly the same who was
the master of Virgil. Of the fourteen epigrams in the Anthology under
the name of Erycius one is headed "Erycius the Macedonian" and may be
by a different author.

PHILODEMUS of Gadara was a distinguished Epicurean philosopher who
lived at Rome in the best society of the Ciceronian age. He was an
intimate friend of Piso, the Consul of B.C. 58, to whom two of his
epigrams are addressed. Cicero, /in Pis./ § 68 foll., where he attacks
Piso for consorting with /Graeculi/, almost goes out of his way to
compliment Philodemus on his poetical genius and the unusual literary
culture which he combined with the profession of philosophy: and again
in the /de Finibus/ speaks of him as "a most worthy and learned man."
He is also referred to by Horace, 1 /Sat./ ii. 121. Thirty-two of his
epigrams, chiefly amatory, are in the Anthology, and five more are
ascribed to him on doubtful authenticity.

IV. Roman period; from the establishment of the Empire to the decay of
    art and letters after the death of Marcus Aurelius, B.C. 30-A.D.

This period falls into three subdivisions; (1) poets of the Augustan
age; (2) those of what may roughly be called the Neronian age, about
the middle of the first century; and (3) those of the brief and
partial renascence of art and letters under Hadrian, which, before the
accession of Commodus, had again sunk away, leaving a period of some
centuries almost wholly without either, but for the beginnings of
Christian art and the writings of the earlier Fathers of the Church.
Even from the outset of this period the epigram begins to fall off.
There is a tendency to choose trifling subjects, and treat them either
sentimentally or cynically. The heaviness of Roman workmanship affects
all but a few of the best epigrams, and there is a loss of simplicity
and clearness of outline. Many of the poets of this period, if not
most, lived as dependants in wealthy Roman families and wrote to
order: and we see in their work the bad results of an excessive taste
for rhetoric and the practice of fluent but empty improvisation.

(1) ANTIPATER OF THESSALONICA, the author of upwards of a hundred
epigrams in the Anthology, is the most copious and perhaps the most
interesting of the Augustan epigrammatists. There are many allusions
in his work to contemporary history. He lived under the patronage of
L. Calpurnius Piso, consul in B.C. 15, and afterwards proconsul of
Macedonia for several years, and was appointed by him governor of
Thessalonica. One of his epigrams celebrates the foundation of
Nicopolis by Octavianus, after the battle of Actium; another
anticipates his victory over the Parthians in the expedition of B.C.
20; another is addressed to Caius Caesar, who died in A.D. 4. None can
be ascribed certainly to a later date than this.

ANTIPHANES the Macedonian is the author of ten epigrams in the
Palatine Anthology; one of these, however, is headed "Antiphanes of
Megalopolis" and may be by a different author. There is no precise
indication of time in his poems.

BIANOR of Bithynia is the author of twenty-two epigrams in the
Anthology. One of them is on the destruction of Sardis by an
earthquake in A.D. 17. He is fond of sentimental treatment, which
sometimes touches pathos but often becomes trifling.

CRINAGORAS of Mitylene lived at Rome as a sort of court poet during
the latter part of the reign of Augustus. He is mentioned by Strabo as
a contemporary of some distinction. In one of his epigrams he blames
himself for hanging on to wealthy patrons; several others are
complimentary verses sent with small presents to the children of his
aristocratic friends: one is addressed to young Marcellus with a copy
of the poems of Callimachus. Others are on the return of Marcellus
from the Cantabrian war, B.C. 25; on the victories of Tiberius in
Armenia and Germany; and on Antonia, daughter of the triumvir and wife
of Drusus. Another, written in the spirit of that age of tourists,
speaks of undertaking a voyage from Asia to Italy, visiting the
Cyclades and Corcyra on the way. Fifty-one epigrams are attributed to
him in the Anthology; one of these, however (/Anth. Pal./ ix. 235), is
on the marriage of Berenice of Cyrene to Ptolemy III. Euergetes, and
must be referred to Callimachus or one of his contemporaries.

DIODORUS, son of Diopeithes of Sardis, also called Diodorus the
Younger, in distinction to Diodorus Zonas, is mentioned as a friend of
his own by Strabo, and was a historian and melic poet besides being an
epigrammatist. Seventeen of the epigrams in the Anthology under the
name of Diodorus are usually ascribed to him, and include a few fine

EVENUS of Ascalon is probably the author of eight epigrams in the
Anthology; but some of these may belong to other epigrammatists of the
same name, Evenus of Athens, Evenus of Sicily, and Evenus Grammaticus,
unless the last two of these are the same person. Evenus of Athens has
been doubtfully identified with Evenus of Paros, and elegiac poet of
some note contemporary with Socrates, mentioned in the /Phaedo/ and
quoted by Aristotle: and it is just possible that some of the best of
the epigrams, most of which are on works of art, may be his.

PARMENIO the Macedonian is the author of sixteen epigrams in the
Anthology, most of which have little quality beyond commonplace

These seven poets were included in the Anthology of Philippus; of the
same period, but not mentioned by name in the proem to that
collection, are the following:--

APOLLONIDES, author of thirty-one epigrams in the Anthology, perhaps
the same with an Apollonides of Nicaea mentioned by Diogenes Laërtius
as having lived in the reign of Tiberius. One of his epigrams refers
to the retirement of Tiberius at Rhodes from B.C. 6 to A.D. 2, and
another mentions D. Laelius Balbus, who was consul in B.C. 6, as
travelling in Greece.

GAETULICUS, the author of eight epigrams in the Palatine Anthology
(vi. 154 and vii. 245 are wrongly ascribed to him), is usually
identified with Gn. Lentulus Gaetulicus, legate of Upper Germany,
executed on suspicion of conspiracy by Caligula, A.D. 39, and
mentioned as a writer of amatory poetry by Martial and Pliny. But the
identification is very doubtful, and perhaps he rather belongs to the
second century A.D. No precise date is indicated in any of the

POMPEIUS, author of two or three epigrams in the Palatine Anthology,
also called Pompeius the Younger, is generally identified with M.
Pompeius Theophanes, son of Theophanes of Mitylene, the friend of
Pompey the Great, and himself a friend of Tiberius, according to

To the same period probably belong QUINTUS MAECIUS or MACCIUS, author
of twelve epigrams in the Anthology, and MARCUS ARGENTARIUS, perhaps
the same with a rhetorician Argentarius mentioned by the elder Seneca,
author of thirty-seven epigrams, chiefly amatory and convivial, some
of which have much grace and fancy. Others place him in the age of

(2) PHILIPPUS of Thessalonica was the compiler of an Anthology of
epigrammatists subsequent to Meleager and is himself the author of
seventy-four extant epigrams in the Anthology besides six more
dubiously ascribed to him. He wrote epigrams of all sorts, mainly
imitated from older writers and showing but little original power or
imagination. The latest certain historical allusion in his own work is
one to Agrippa's mole at Puteoli, but Antiphilus, who was included in
his collection, certainly wrote in the reign of Nero, and probably
Philippus was of about the same date. Most of his epigrams being
merely rhetorical exercises on stock themes give no clue to his
precise period.

ANTIPHILUS of Byzantium, whose date is fixed by his epigram on the
restoration of liberty to Rhodes by the emperor Nero, A.D. 53 (Tac.
/Ann./ xii. 58), is the author of forty-nine epigrams in the
Anthology, besides three doubtful. Among them are some graceful
dedications, pastoral epigrams, and sea-pieces. The pretty epitaph on
Agricola (/Anth. Pal./ ix. 549) gives no clue to his date, as it
certainly is not on the father-in-law of Tacitus, and no other person
of the name appears to be mentioned in history.

JULIUS POLYAENUS is the author of a group of three epigrams (/Anth.
Pal./ ix. 7-9), which have a high seriousness rare in the work of this
period. He has been probably identified with a C. Julius Polyaenus who
is known from coins to have been a duumvir of Corinth (Colonia Julia)
under Nero. He was a native of Corcyra, to which he retired after a
life of much toil and travel, apparently as a merchant. The epigram by
Polyaenus of Sardis (/Anth. Pal./ ix. 1), usually referred to the same
author, is in a completely different manner.

LUCILIUS, the author of one hundred and twenty-three epigrams in the
Palatine Anthology (twenty others are of doubtful authorship) was, as
we learn from himself, a grammarian at Rome and a pensioner of Nero.
He published two volumes of epigrams, somewhat like those of Martial,
in a satiric and hyperbolical style.[1]

NICARCHUS is the author of forty-two epigrams of the same kind as
those of Lucilius. Another given under his name (/Anth. Pal./ vii.
159) is of the early Alexandrian period, perhaps by Nicias of Miletus,
as the converse mistake is made in the Palatine MS. with regard to xi.
398. A large proportion of his epigrams are directed against doctors.
There is nothing to fix the precise part of the century in which he

To some part of this century also belong SECUNDUS of Tarentum and
MYRINUS, each the other of four epigrams in the Anthology. Nothing
further is known of either.

(3) STRATO of Sardis, the collector of the Anthology called {Mousa
Paidike Stratonos} and extant, apparently in an imperfect and
mutilated form, as the twelfth section or first appendix of the
Palatine Anthology may be placed with tolerable certainty in the reign
of Hadrian. Besides his ninety-four epigrams preserved in his own
Anthology, five others are attributed to him in the Palatine
Anthology, and one more in Planudes.

AMMIANUS is the author of twenty-nine epigrams in the Anthology, all
irrisory. One of them (/Anth. Pal./ xi. 226) is imitated from Martial,
ix. 30. Another sneers at the neo-Atticism which had become the
fashion in Greek prose writing. His date is fixed by an attack on
Antonius Polemo, a well-known sophist of the age of Hadrian.

THYMOCLES is only known from his single epigram in Strato's Anthology.
It is in the manner of Callimachus and may perhaps be of the
Alexandrian period.

To this or an earlier date belongs ARCHIAS of Mitylene, the author of
a number of miscellaneous epigrams, chiefly imitated from older
writers such as Antipater and Leonidas. Forty-one epigrams in all are
attributed on some authority to one Archias or another; most have the
name simply; some are headed "Archias the Grammarian," "Archias the
Younger," "Archias the Macedonian," "Archias of Byzantium." All are
sufficiently like each other in style to be by the same hand. Some
have been attributed to Cicero's client, Archias of Antioch, but they
seem to be of a later period.

To the age of Hadrian also belongs the epigram inscribed on the Memnon
statue at Thebes with the name of its author, ASCLEPIODOTUS, ix. 19 in
this selection.

CLAUDIUS PTOLEMAEUS of Alexandria, mathematician, astronomer, and
geographer, who gave his name to the Ptolemaïc system of the heavens,
flourished in the latter half of the second century. His chief works
are the {Megale Suntaxis tes Astronomias} in thirteen books, known to
the Middle Ages in its Arabian translation under the title of the
/Almagest/, and the {Geographike Uphegesis} in eight books. He also
wrote on astrology, chronology, and music. A single epigram of his on
his favourite science is preserved in the Anthology. Another
commonplace couplet under the name of Ptolemaeus is probably by some
different author.

LUCIAN of Samosata in Commagene, perhaps the most important figure in
the literature of this period, was born about A.D. 120. He practised
as an advocate at Antioch, and travelled very extensively throughout
the empire. He was appointed procurator of a district of Egypt by the
emperor Commodus (reigned A.D. 180-192) and probably died about A.D.
200. Besides his voluminous prose works he is the author of forty
epigrams in the Anthology, and fourteen more are ascribed to him on
doubtful or insufficient authority.

To some part of this period appear to belong ALPHEUS of Mitylene,
author of twelve epigrams, some school-exercises, others on ancient
towns, Mycenae, Argos, Tegea, and Troy, which he appears to have
visited as a tourist; CARPYLLIDES or CARPHYLLIDES, author of one fine
epitaph and another dull epigram in the moralising vein of this age:
GLAUCUS of Nicopolis, author of six epigrams (one is headed "Glaucus
of Athens," but is in the same late imperial style; and in this period
the citizenship of Athens was sold for a trifle by the authorities to
any one who cared for it: cf. the epigram of Automedon (/Anth. Pal./
xi. 319)); and SATYRUS (whose name is also given as Satyrius, Thyïlus,
Thyïllus, and Satyrus Thyïllus), author of nine epigrams, chiefly
dedications and pastoral pieces, some of them of great delicacy and

[1] The spelling /Lucillius/ is a mere barbarism, the /l/ being
    doubled to indicate the long vowel: so we find {Statullios}, etc.

V.  Byzantine period; from the transference of the seat of empire to
    Constantinople, A.D. 330, to the formation of the Palatine
    Anthology in the reign of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, about the
    middle of the tenth century.

For the first two centuries of this period hardly any names have to be
chronicled. Literature had almost ceased to exist except among
lexicographers and grammarians; and though epigrams, Christian and
pagan, continued to be written, they are for the most part of no
literary account whatever. One name only of importance meets us before
the reign of Justinian.

PALLADAS of Alexandria is the author of one hundred and fifty-one
epigrams (besides twenty-three more doubtful) in the Anthology. His
somber and melancholy figure is one of the last of the purely pagan
world in its losing battle against Christianity. One of the epigrams
attributed to him on the authority of Planudes is an eulogy on the
celebrated Hypatia, daughter of Theon of Alexandria, whose tragic
death took place A.D. 415 in the reign of Theodosius the Second.
Another was, according to a scholium in the Palatine MS., written in
the reign of Valentinian and Valens, joint-emperors, 364-375 A.D. The
epigram on the destruction of Berytus, ix. 27 in this selection, gives
no certain argument of date. Palladas was a grammarian by profession.
An anonymous epigram (/Anth. Pal./ ix. 380) speaks of him as of high
poetical reputation; and, indeed, in those dark ages the harsh and
bitter force that underlies his crude thought and half-barbarous
language is enough to give him a place of note. Casaubon dismisses him
in two contemptuous words as "versificator insulsissimus"; this is
true of a great part of his work, and would perhaps be true of it all
but for the /saeva indignatio/ which kindles the verse, not into the
flame of poetry, but as it were to a dull red heat. There is little
direct allusion in his epigrams to the struggle against the new
religion. One epigram speaks obscurely of the destruction of the idols
of Alexandria by the Christian populace in the archiepiscopate of
Theophilus, A.D. 389; another in even more enigmatic language (/Anth.
Pal./ x. 90) seems to be a bitter attack on the doctrine of the
Resurrection; and a scornful couplet against the swarms of Egyptian
monks might have been written by a Reformer of the sixteenth century.
For the most part his sympathy with the losing side is only betrayed
in his despondency over all things. But it is in his criticism of life
that the power of Palladas lies; with a remorselessness like that of
Swift he tears the coverings from human frailty and holds it up in its
meanness and misery. The lines on the Descent of Man (/Anth. Pal./ x.
45), which unfortunately cannot be included in this selection, fall as
heavily on the Neo-Platonic martyr as on the Christian persecutor, and
remain even now among the most mordant and crushing sarcasms ever
passed upon mankind.

To the same period in thought--beyond this there is no clue to their
date--belong AESOPUS and GLYCON, each the author of a single epigram
in the Palatine Anthology. They belong to the age of the Byzantine
metaphrasts, when infinite pains were taken to rewrite well-known
poems or passages in different metres, by turning Homer into elegiacs
or iambics, and recasting pieces of Euripides or Menander as epigrams.

A century later comes the Byzantine lawyer, MARIANUS, mentioned by
Suidas as having flourished in the reign of Anastasius I., A.D. 491-
518. He turned Theocritus and Apollonius Rhodius into iambics. There
are six epigrams of his in the Anthology, all descriptive, on places
in the neighbourhood of Constantinople.

At the court of Justinian, A.D. 527-565, Greek poetry made its last
serious effort; and together with the imposing victories of Belisarius
and the final codification of Roman law carried out by the genius of
Tribonian, his reign is signalised by a group of poets who still after
three hundred years of barbarism handled the old language with
remarkable grace and skill, and who, though much of their work is but
clever imitation of the antique, and though the verbosity and vague
conventionalism of all Byzantine writing keeps them out of the first
rank of epigrammatists, are nevertheless not unworthy successors of
the Alexandrians, and represent a culture which died hard. Eight
considerable names come under this period, five of them officials of
high place in the civil service or the imperial household, two more,
and probably the third also, practising lawyers at Constantinople.

AGATHIAS son of Mamnonius, poet and historian, was born at Myrina in
Mysia about the year 536 A.D. He received his early education in
Alexandria, and at eighteen went to Constantinople to study law. Soon
afterwards he published a volume of poems called /Daphniaca/ in nine
books. The preface to it (/Anth. Pal./ vi. 80) is still extant, and
many of his epigrams were no doubt included in it. His History, which
breaks off abruptly in the fifth book, covers the years 553-558 A.D.;
in the preface to it he speaks of his own early works, including his
Anthology of recent and contemporary epigrams. One of the most
pleasant of his poems is an epistle to his friend Paulus Silentiarius,
written from a country house on the opposite coast of the Bosporus,
where he had retired to pursue his legal studies away from the
temptations of the city. He tells us himself that law was distasteful
to him, and that his time was chiefly spent in the study of ancient
poetry and history. In later life he seems to have returned to Myrina,
where he carried out improvements in the town and was regarded as the
most distinguished of the citizens (/Anth. Pal./ ix. 662). He is
believed to have died about 582 A.D. Agathias is the author of ninety-
seven epigrams in the Anthology, in a facile and diffuse style; often
they are exorbitantly long, some running to twenty-four and even
twenty-eight lines.

ARABIUS, author of seven epigrams in the Anthology, is called
{skholastikos} or lawyer. Four of his epigrams are on works of art,
one is a description of an imperial villa on the coast near
Constantinople, and the other two are in praise of Longinus, prefect
of Constantinople under Justinian. One of the last is referred to in
an epigram by Macedonius (/Anth. Pal./ x. 380).

eleven epigrams in the Anthology. Three of them are on the destruction
of Berytus by earthquake in A.D. 551: from these it may be conjectured
that he had studied at the great school of civil law there. As to his
name a scholiast in MS. Pal. says, {ethnikon estin enoma. Barboukale
gar polis en tois [entos] Iberos tou potamou}. But this seems to be an
incorrect reminiscence of the name {Arboukale}, a town in Hispania
Tarraconensis, in the lexicon of Stephanus Byzantinus.

JULIANUS, commonly called JULIANUS AEGYPTIUS, is the author of seventy
epigrams (and two more doubtful) in the Anthology. His full title is
{apo uparkhon Aiguptou}, or ex-prefect of a division of Egypt, the
same office which Lucian had held under Commodus. His date is fixed by
two epitaphs on Hypatius, brother of the Emperor Anastasius, who was
put to death by Justinian in A.D. 532.

LEONTIUS, called Scholasticus, author of twenty-four epigrams in the
Anthology, is generally identified with a Leontius Referendarius,
mentioned by Procopius under this reign. The Referendarii were a board
of high officials, who, according to the commentator on the /Notitia
imperii/, transmitted petitions and cases referred from the lower
courts to the Emperor, and issued his decisions upon them. Under
Justinian they were eighteen in number, and were /spectabiles/, their
president being a /comes/. One of the epigrams of Leontius is on
Gabriel, prefect of Constantinople under Justinian; another is on the
famous charioteer Porphyrius. Most of them are on works of art.

MACEDONIUS of Thessalonica, mentioned by Suidas s.v. {Agathias} as
consul in the reign of Justinian, is the author of forty-four epigrams
in the Anthology, the best of which are some delicate and fanciful
amatory pieces.

PAULUS, always spoken of with his official title of SILENTIARIUS,
author of seventy-nine epigrams (and six others doubtful) in the
Anthology, is the most distinguished poet of this period. Our
knowledge of him is chiefly derived from Agathias, /Hist./ v. 9, who
says he was of high birth and great wealth, and head of the thirty
Silentiarii, or Gentlemen of the Bedchamber, who were among the
highest functionaries of the Byzantine court. Two of his epigrams are
replies to two others by Agathias (/Anth. Pal./ v. 292, 293; 299,
300); another is on the death of Damocharis of Cos, Agathias'
favourite pupil, lamenting with almost literal truth that the harp of
the Muses would thenceforth be silent. Besides the epigrams, we
possess a long description of the church of Saint Sophia by him,
partly in iambics and partly in hexameters, and a poem in dimeter
iambics on the hot springs of Pythia. The "grace and genius beyond his
age," which Jacobs justly attributes to him, reach their highest point
in his amatory epigrams, forty in number, some of which are not
inferior to those of Meleager.

RUFINUS, author of thirty-nine (and three more doubtful) amatory
epigrams in the Palatine Anthology, is no doubt of the same period. In
the heading of one of the epigrams he is called Rufinus Domesticus.
The exact nature of his public office cannot be determined from this
title. A Domestic was at the head of each of the chief departments of
the imperial service, and was a high official. But the name was also
given to the Emperor's Horse and Foot Guards, and to the bodyguards of
the prefects in charge of provinces, cities, or armies.

ERATOSTHENES, called Scholasticus, is the author of five epigrams in
the Palatine Anthology. Epigrams by Julianus, Macedonius, and Paulus
Silentiarius, are ascribed to him in other MSS., and from this fact,
as well as from the evidence of the style, he may be confidently
placed under the same date. Nothing further is known of him. Probably
to the same period belongs THEOPHANES, author of two epigrams in the
miscellaneous appendix (xv.) to the Palatine Anthology, one of them in
answer to an epigram by Constantinus Siculus, as to whose date there
is the same uncertainty. Two epitaphs in the Anthology are also
ascribed to Theophanes in Planudes.

With this brief latter summer the history of Greek poetry practically
ends. The epigrams of Damocharis, the pupil of Agathias, seem already
to show the decomposition of the art. The imposing fabric of empire
reconstructed by the genius of Justinian and his ministers had no
solidity, and was crumbling away even before the death of its founder:
while the great plague, beginning in the fifteenth year of Justinian,
continued for no less than fifty-two years to ravage every province of
the empire and depopulate whole cities and provinces. In such a period
as this the fragile and exotic poetry of the Byzantine Renaissance
could not sustain itself. Political and theological epigrams continued
to be written in profusion; but the collections may be searched
through in vain for a single touch of imagination or beauty. Under
Constantine VII. (reigned A.D. 911-959) comes the last shadowy name in
the Anthology.

COMETAS, called Chartularius or Keeper of the Records, is the author
of six epigrams in the Palatine Anthology, besides a poem in
hexameters on the Raising of Lazarus. From some marginal notes in the
MS. it appears that he was a contemporary of Constantinus Cephalas.
Three of the epigrams are on a revised text of Homer which he edited.
None are of any literary value, except one beautiful pastoral couplet,
vi. 10 in this selection, which seems to be the very voice of ancient
poetry bidding the world a lingering and reluctant farewell.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Select Epigrams from the Greek Anthology" ***

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