Greek Anthology


Τίς θεὸν εἶπεν Ἔρωτα; θεοῦ κακὸν οὐδὲν ὁρῶμεν ἔργον· ὁ δ᾿ ἀνθρώπων αἵματι μειδιάει. οὐ θοὸν ἐν παλάμαις κατέχει ξίφος; ἠνίδ᾿ ἄπιστα τῆς θειοδμήτου σκῦλα μιαιφονίης. 5μήτηρ μὲν σὺν παιδὶ κατέφθιτο· αὐτὰρ ἐπ᾿ αὐτοῖς ποίνιμος ἔκτεινεν φῶτα λιθοκτονίη. καὶ ταῦτ᾿ οὔτ᾿ Ἄϊδος, οὔτ᾿ Ἄρεος, ἔργα δ᾿ Ἔρωτος λεύσσομεν, οἷς παίζει κεῖνος ὁ νηπίαχος.


Αἱ τρισσαί ποτε παῖδες ἐν ἀλλήλαισιν ἔπαιζον κλήρῳ, τίς προτέρη βήσεται εἰς ἀΐδην· καὶ τρὶς μὲν χειρῶν ἔβαλον κύβον, ἦλθε δὲ πασῶν ἐς μίαν· ἡ δ᾿ ἐγέλα κλῆρον ὀφειλόμενον. 5ἐκ τέγεος γὰρ ἄελπτον ἔπειτ᾿ ὤλισθε πέσημα δύσμορος, ἐς δ᾿ ἀΐδην ἤλυθεν, ὡς ἔλαχεν. ἀψευδὴς ὁ κλῆρος, ὅτῳ κακόν· ἐς δὲ τὸ λῷον οὔτ᾿ εὐχαὶ θνητοῖς εὔστοχοι, οὔτε χέρες.


Κρανίον ἐν τριόδοισι κατοιχομένου τις ἐσαθρῶν εἰκόνα τὴν κοινὴν οὐκ ἐδάκρυσε βίου· δεξιτερὴν δ᾿ ἔρριψεν ἐπὶ χθόνα, καὶ λίθον ἧκεν, κωφὸν μὲν δοκέοντ᾿, ἀλλὰ πνέοντα δίκης. 5ὀστέον ὡς γὰρ ἔπληξεν, ἀφήλατο, καὶ τὸν ἀφέντα πήρωσεν, γλυκεροῦ βλέμματος ὀρφανίσας. καὶ πάλιν εἰς ἀΐδην ἐκολάζετο, τὴν ἰδίην δὲ ἔκλαυσεν χειρῶν εὔστοχον ἀφροσύνην.


Book IX


Who said Love was a god? We see that no work of the gods is evil, but he smiles at the blood of men. Does he not bear in his hand a sword swift to slay? Look at the incredible trophies of this deed of blood prompted by a god. The mother, with her child, lies slain, and on their bodies the man stoned by sentence of the law. This that we see is not the work of Hades or of Ares, but the work of Love. This is how the boy plays.1


Three girls once drew lots for fun, who first should go to Hades. Thrice they threw the die, and the cast of all fell on one. She made mockery of the lot, which nevertheless was her true destiny. For, unhappy girl, she slipped and fell from the house-top afterwards, as none could have foreseen, and went to Hades even as the lot had lighted on her. A lot tells no falsehood when it is an evil one; but as for better chance neither the prayers of mortals nor their hands can attain it.


One, seeing at the cross-roads the skull of a dead man, wept not at the presentation of the fate common to all men, but stooping, picked up in his right hand a stone and threw it at the skull. The stone, a dumb thing in appearance, yet breathed vengeance; for, hitting the bone, it bounded off and blinded the thrower, robbing him of his sweet sight. Until his death he was punished, and bewept his foolish excellence of aim.

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.greek_anthology_9.1917