Epigrams of Callimachus

Second Epigram: “For Heraclitus”

‘Εἷπέ τις, ᾙράκλειτε, τεὸν μόρον, ἐς δέ με δάκρυ
ἤγαγεν ἐμνήσθην δ’ ὁσάκις ἀμφότεροι
ἡλιον ἐν λέσχῃ κατεδύσαμεν· ἀλλὰ σὺ μεν που,
ξεῖν’ Ἁλικαρνησεῦ, τετράπαλαι σποδιή·
αἱ δὲ τεαὶ ζώουσιν ἀνδόνες, ᾗσιν ὁ πάντων
ἁρπακτὴς Ἀίδης οὐκ ἐπὶ χεῖπα βαλεῖ.


“Someone told me, Heraclitus, about your death, and it led me to tears, and I remember how often the both of us would let the sun set on our conversation; but now, I suppose, long ago and four times over you are ashes, Halicarnassian stranger; your songs are living, upon which Hades, the robber of all things, will not lay a hand.

Twenty-First Epigram: “For Battus”

Όστις ἐμὸν παρὰ σῆμα φέρεις πόδα, Καλλιμάχου με
   ἴσθι Κυρηναίου παῖδά τε καὶ γενετήν.
εἰδείης δ᾽ ἄμφω κεν· ὃ μέν κοτε πατρίδος ὅπλων
   ἦρξεν, ὃ δ᾽ ἤεισεν κρέσσονα βασκανίης·
οὐ νέμεσις· Μοῦσαι γὰρ ὅσους ἴδον ὄμματι παῖδας
   μὴ λοξῶι, πολιοὺς οὐκ ἀπέθεντο φίλους.


Whoever carries their foot around my tomb, know that I was both child and sire of Callimachus.* Would that you know them both; the one at one time ruled over the weapons of his fatherland, the other sang  songs better than envy; there is no cause for contention; for such children the Muses look upon in no mistrustful fashion, they do not reject as gray  friends.

*(In case it is unclear, Battus was the son of Callimachus the general, and father of the author, Callimachus the poet).

Twenty-Third Epigram “The Suicide of Cleombrotus, a student of Plato’s”

εἴπας “Ἥλιε χαῖρε”, Κλεόμβροτος Ὡμβρακιώτης
   ἥλατ᾽ ἀφ᾽ ὑψηλοῦ τείχεος εἰς Ἀίδην,
ἄξιον οὐδὲν ἰδὼν θανάτου κακόν, ἀλλὰ Πλάτωνος
   ἓν τὸ περὶ ψυχῆς γράμμ᾽ ἀναλεξάμενος.


Saying “Farewell Sun”, Cleombrotus of Ambracia leapt down from a lofty wall into Hades, having seen no evil worthy of death, but having read through Plato’s book “Concerning the Soul”.




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