Semonides, Fragments

LCL 259: 300-301

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Iambic Poetry

καὶ κύμασιν πολλοῖσι πορφυρῆς ἁλὸς θνήσκουσιν, εὖτ᾿ ἂν μὴ δυνήσωνται ζόειν· οἱ δ᾿ ἀγχόνην ἅψαντο δυστήνῳ μόρῳ καὐτάγρετοι λείπουσιν ἡλίου φάος. 20οὕτω κακῶν ἄπ᾿ οὐδέν, ἀλλὰ μυρίαι βροτοῖσι κῆρες κἀνεπίφραστοι δύαι καὶ πήματ᾿ ἐστίν. εἰ δ᾿ ἐμοὶ πιθοίατο, οὐκ ἂν κακῶν ἐρῷμεν, οὐδ᾿ ἐπ᾿ ἄλγεσιν κακοῖς ἔχοντες θυμὸν αἰκιζοίμεθα.

2 Stob. 4.56.4


τοῦ μὲν θανόντος οὐκ ἂν ἐνθυμοίμεθα, εἴ τι φρονοῖμεν, πλεῖον ἡμέρης μιῆς.

3 Stob. 4.53.2


πολλὸς γὰρ ἥμιν ἐστὶ τεθνάναι χρόνος,

  • 17ζώειν codd., corr. Porson (fort. iniuria)
  • 2ἡμέρας μιᾶς codd., corr. Welcker et Schneidewin


about by a gale and the turbulent sea’s many waves, whenever they are unable to gain a livelihood (on land), and others fasten a noose in a wretched death, leaving the sun’s light by their own choice. Thus nothing is without misery, but countless death spirits and unforeseen sorrows and disasters exist for mortals. But if they were to take my advice, we would not long for misfortune nor would we torment ourselves by having our hearts set on bitter pain.2

2 Stobaeus, Anthology

From Semonides:

If we had some sense, we would not concern ourselves with the dead for more than a single day.

3 Stobaeus, Anthology

From Semonides:

For we have a long time to be dead, but we live years

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.semonides-fragments.1999