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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Hymn to Virtue
By Aristotle (384–322 B.C.)
 
Translation of John Addington Symonds

  VIRTUE, to men thou bringest care and toil;
    Yet art thou life’s best, fairest spoil!
    O virgin goddess, for thy beauty’s sake
  To die is delicate in this our Greece,
    Or to endure of pain the stern strong ache.        5
          Such fruit for our soul’s ease
  Of joys undying, dearer far than gold
  Or home or soft-eyed sleep, dost thou unfold!
        It was for thee the seed of Zeus,
  Stout Herakles, and Leda’s twins, did choose        10
Strength-draining deeds, to spread abroad thy name:
          Smit with the love of thee
        Aias and Achilleus went smilingly
Down to Death’s portal, crowned with deathless fame.
          Now, since thou art so fair,        15
          Leaving the lightsome air,
      Atarneus’ hero hath died gloriously.
Wherefore immortal praise shall be his guerdon:
His goodness and his deeds are made the burden
              Of songs divine        20
      Sung by Memory’s daughters nine,
    Hymning of hospitable Zeus the might
  And friendship firm as fate in fate’s despite.
 
 
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