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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Time Is Fleeting
By Simonides (c. 556–468 B.C.)
 
From a careful study of Simonides by John Sterling (Westminster Review, 1838)

TO one dread gulf all things in common tend:
There loftiest virtues, amplest riches, end.
 
Long are we dying; reckoned up from birth,
Few years, and evil those, are ours on earth.
 
Of men the strength is small, the hopes are vain,        5
And pain in life’s brief space is heaped on pain;
And death inevitable hangs in air,
Of which alike the good and evil share.
 
’Mid mortal beings naught for ever stays:
And thus with beauteous love the Chian says,        10
“The race of man departs like forest leaves;”
Though seldom he who hears the truth receives.
 
For hope, not far from each, in every heart—
Of men full-grown, or those unripe—will start:
And still while blooms the lovely flower of youth.        15
The empty mind delights to dream untruth;
Expects nor age nor death, and bold and strong
Thinks not that sickness e’er can work it wrong.
 
Ah fools! deluded thus, untaught to scan
How swiftly pass the life and youth of man:        20
This knowing, thou, while still thou hast the power
Indulge thy soul, and taste the blissful hour.
 
 
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