Semonides, Fragments

LCL 259: 298-299

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Iambic Poetry


1 Stob. 4.34.15


ὦ παῖ, τέλος μὲν Ζεὺς ἔχει βαρύκτυπος πάντων ὅσ᾿ ἐστὶ καὶ τίθησ᾿ ὅκῃ θέλει, νοῦς δ᾿ οὐκ ἐπ᾿ ἀνθρώποισιν, ἀλλ᾿ ἐπήμεροι ἃ δὴ βοτὰ ζώομεν, οὐδὲν εἰδότες 5ὅκως ἕκαστον ἐκτελευτήσει θεός. ἐλπὶς δὲ πάντας κἀπιπειθείη τρέφει ἄπρηκτον ὁρμαίνοντας· οἱ μὲν ἡμέρην μένουσιν ἐλθεῖν, οἱ δ᾿ ἐτέων περιτροπάς· νέωτα δ᾿ οὐδεὶς ὅστις οὐ δοκεῖ βροτῶν 10πλούτῳ τε κἀγαθοῖσιν ἵξεσθαι φίλος. φθάνει δὲ τὸν μὲν γῆρας ἄζηλον λαβὸν πρὶν τέρμ᾿ ἵκηται, τοὺς δὲ δύστηνοι βροτῶν φθείρουσι νοῦσοι, τοὺς δ᾿ Ἄρει δεδμημένους πέμπει μελαίνης Ἀΐδης ὑπὸ χθονός· 15οἱ δ᾿ ἐν θαλάσσῃ λαίλαπι κλονεόμενοι

  • 2ὅπη(ι) codd., corr. Ahrens
  • 3ἐφημέριοι codd., corr. Grotius (ἐφ-), Fick
  • 4δὴ βροτοὶ et αϊδη (ἅδῃ A) βοτὰ codd., ἂ δὴ Ahrens ζώομεν codd., ζώουσιν Ahrens, ζόουσιν West, ζόωμεν Fick (omnia metri causa)
  • 12-13νόσοι φθείρουσι θνητῶν codd. SM, ν. φ. βροτῶν cod. A, corr. Ahrens



1 Stobaeus, Anthology

From Semonides:

Boy, loud-thundering Zeus controls the outcome of everything there is and disposes it as he wishes. There is no intelligence among men, but we live like grazing animals, subject to what the day brings, with no knowledge of how the god will bring each thing to pass. Yet hope and confidence nourish all in our eagerness for the impossible. Some wait for the morrow to come, others for the revolving seasons, and there is no one who does not expect that he will arrive at the next year as the friend of wealth1 and prosperity. But unenviable old age comes first and seizes one man before he reaches his goal, while the miserable illnesses that beset mortals destroy others, and Hades sends beneath the dark earth others laid low by the war god. Others die at sea tossed

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.semonides-fragments.1999