My daughter, when I come to die


    Οὑ γὰρ Θέμις ἐν μουσοπόλων οἰκίᾳ θρῆνον εἶναι·
    οὐκ ἄμμι πρέπει τάδε.

    MY daughter, when I come to die 
    Thou shalt not rend thy garb nor cry : 
        Though Hades smite the door, 
            Apollo is within, 
      He whose pure footsteps on the floor 
    Would make thy grief and wailing breath a sin. 

    Nay, lamentation must not dwell 
    Within a poet's house—the spell, 
        The loveliness of word 
        And healing sound ordain 
      That in our chambers may be heard 
    No dissonant, untempered cries of pain. 

    For joy it is that makes the heart 
    Grow lyrical, and joy has part 
        In each regret and pang 
        Avowed in noble verse ; 
      Of love, the bitter-sweet, I sang 
    Because I owned a glory in its curse. 

    Distress befits not us who praise 
    The Healer, golden-browed, and raise 
        A paean to his might 
        Of gladness and of youth ; 
      From him who overcame the night 
    Issues life's passionate, assuaging truth. 

    Mortals, fore-doomed, must pass away : 
    O Cleïs the beloved, why stay 
        Shut in the dark, and spend 
        Vain hours of sodden gloom 
      Because my life has reached its end, 
    And mourners pour libations at my tomb ? 

    Why from the happy fields in sloth 
    Withdraw thy feet, as thou wert loth 
        That thought of me should mix 
        With sun and living air ;
      Why must the melancholy Styx 
    Flow round the pleasures we were wont to share ? 

    My child, I give the grave small thought, 
    For I have sung and loved, and nought 
        Can make the years obscure 
        In which I drew warm breath ; 
      My dark-leaved laurels will endure, 
    And I shall walk in grandeur till my death.