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 Cle'is 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.