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Athenian Epitaphs

Athenian Epitaphs Mariner, do not ask whose tomb this may be, but go with good fortune: I wish you a kinder sea. —Michael R. Burch, after Plato Does my soul abide in heaven, or hell? Only the sea gulls in their high, lonely circuits may tell. —Michael R. Burch, after Glaucus Passerby, tell the Spartans we lie dead at their word, obedient to their command. Have they heard? Do they understand? —Michael R. Burch, after Simonides Now that I am dead sea-enclosed Cyzicus shrouds my bones. Faretheewell, O my adoptive land that nurtured me, that held me; I take rest at your breast. —Michael R. Burch, after Erycius These men earned a crown of imperishable glory, nor did the maelstrom of death obscure their story. —Michael R. Burch, after Simonides He lies in state tonight: great is his Monument! Yet Ares cares not, neither does War relent. —Michael R. Burch, after Anacreon They observed our fearful fetters, marched to confront the surrounding darkness; now we extol their excellence. Bravely, they died for us. —Michael R. Burch, after Mnasalcas Be ashamed, O mountains and seas: these were men who drew valorous breath. Assume, like pale chattels, an ashen silence at death. —Michael R. Burch, after Parmenio Stripped of her stripling, if asked, she’d confess: “I am now less than nothingness.” —Michael R. Burch, after Diotimus Blame not the gale, or the inhospitable sea-gulf, or friends’ tardiness, mariner! Just man’s foolhardiness. —Michael R. Burch, after Leonidas of Tarentum Stranger, flee! But may Fortune grant you all the prosperity she denied me. —Michael R. Burch, after Leonidas of Tarentum I am loyal to you, master, even in the grave: just as you now are death’s slave. —Michael R. Burch, after Dioscorides Having never earned a penny nor seen a bridal gown address the floor, still I lie here with the love of many, to be the love of yet one more. —Michael R. Burch, after an unknown Greek poet Little I knew—a child of five— of what it means to be alive and all life's little thrills; but little also—(I was glad not to know)— of life's great ills. —Michael R. Burch, after Lucian I lie by stark Icarian rocks and only speak when the sea talks. Please tell my dear father I gave up the ghost on the Aegean coast. —Michael R. Burch, after Theatetus Everywhere the sea is the sea, the dead are the dead. What difference to me—where I rest my head? The sea knows I'm buried. —Michael R. Burch, after Antipater of Sidon Pity this boy who was beautiful, but died. Pity his monument, overlooking this hillside. Pity the world that bore him, then foolishly survived. —Michael R. Burch, after an unknown Greek poet Insatiable Death! I was only a child! Why did you snatch me away, in my infancy, from those who would love me? —Michael R. Burch, after an unknown Greek poet Tell Nicagoras that Strymonias at the setting of the Kids lost his. —Michael R. Burch, after Nicaenetus Now his voice is prisoned in the silent pathways of the night: his owner's faithful Maltese... but will he still bark again, on sight? —Michael R. Burch, after Tymnes Poor partridge, poor partridge, lately migrated from the rocks; our cat bit off your unlucky head; my offended heart still balks! I put you back together again and buried you, so unsightly! May the dark earth cover you heavily: heavily, not lightly... so she shan't get at you again! —Michael R. Burch, after Agathias Dead as you are, though you lie still as stone, huntress Lycas, my great Thessalonian hound, the wild beasts still fear your white bones; craggy Pelion remembers your valor, splendid Ossa, the way you would bound and bay at the moon for its whiteness, bellowing as below we heard valleys resound. And how brightly with joy you would canter and run the strange lonely peaks of high Cithaeron! —Michael R. Burch, after Simonides Aeschylus, graybeard, son of Euphorion, died far away in wheat-bearing Gela; still, the groves of Marathon may murmur of his valor and the black-haired Mede, with his mournful clarion. —Michael R. Burch, after Aeschylus Not Rocky Trachis, nor the thirsty herbage of Dryophis, nor this albescent stone with its dark blue lettering shielding your white bones, nor the wild Icarian sea dashing against the steep shingles of Doliche and Dracanon, nor the empty earth, nor anything essential of me since birth, nor anything now mingles here with the perplexing absence of you, with what death forces us to abandon... —Michael R. Burch, after Euphorion Though they were steadfast among spears, dark Fate destroyed them as they defended their native land, rich in sheep; now Ossa's dust seems all the more woeful, where they now sleep. —Michael R. Burch, after Aeschylus Sail on, mariner, for when we were perishing, greater ships sailed on. —Michael R. Burch, after Theodorides We who left the thunderous surge of the Aegean of old, now lie here on the mid-plain of Ecbatan: farewell, dear Athens, nigh to Euboea, farewell, dear sea! —Michael R. Burch, after Plato My friend found me here, a shipwrecked corpse on the beach. He heaped these strange boulders above me. Oh, how he would wail that he "loved" me, with many bright tears for his own calamitous life! Now he sleeps with my wife and flits like a gull in a gale —beyond reach— while my broken bones bleach. —Michael R. Burch, after Callimachus All this vast sea is his Monument. Where does he lie—whether heaven, or hell? Well friend, perhaps when the gulls repent— they may tell. —Michael R. Burch, after Glaucus His white bones lie shining on some inhospitable shore: a son lost to his father, his tomb empty; the poor- est beggars have happier mothers! —Michael R. Burch, after Damegtus Once sweetest of the workfellows, shy teller of tall tales —fleet Crethis! —who excelled at every childhood game... now you sleep among long shadows where everyone's the same... —Michael R. Burch, after Callimachus Tags: epigrams, epitaphs, Ancient Greek

Copyright © | Year Posted 2019

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