The Other Heraclitus

Heraclitus of Halicarnassus I G-P:

Ἁ κόνις ἀρτίσκαπτος, ἐπὶ στάλας δὲ μετώπων
    σείονται φύλλων ἡμιθαλεῖς στέφανοι.
γράμμα διακρίναντες, ὁδοιπόρε, πέτρον ἴδωμεν,
    λευρὰ περιστέλλειν ὀστέα φατὶ τίνος.
῾ξεῖν᾿, Ἀρετημιάς εἰμι· πάτρα Κνίδος· Εὔφρονος ἦλθον
    εἰς λέχος· ὠδίνων οὐκ ἄμορος γενόμαν,
δισσὰ δ᾿ ὁμοῦ τίκτουσα τὸ μὲν λίπον ἀνδρὶ ποδηγόν
    γήρως, ἓν δ᾿ ἀπάγω μναμόσυνον πόσιος.᾿

The earth is newly dug and on the faces of the tomb-stone wave the half-withered garlands of leaves. Let us decipher the letters, wayfarer, and learn whose smooth bones the stone says it cover. “Stranger, I am Aretemias, my country Cnidus. I was the wife of Euphro and I did not escape travail, but bringing forth twins, I left one child to guide my husband’s steps in his old age, and I took the other with me to remind me of him.”

(A.P. 7.465, translated by W. R. Paton)

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One Response to The Other Heraclitus

  1. H. Fleming says:

    I don’t read ancient Greek, but even in translation this is lovely; thank you for posting it. I found your posting via Callimachus, William Cory, and Christopher Hitchens, who quoted Cory’s rhymed paraphrase of Callimachus’s verse on Heraclitus in his “Mortality.” Callimachus asked that Pluto (Hades) not lay a hand on his “Halicarnassian guest’s” “nightingales”; I gather this is the only one to survive. Thank you again for sharing its song with all of us on the Internet.

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