Archive for February 17th, 2018

Saturday, 17 February 2018

An Elegiac Poem Complaining About Grief by Desiderius Erasmus

Although gray hair has not yet begun to
whiten the top of my head and fallen hair has
not left me with a shining forehead, although
advanced age has not dimmed my eyesight
and no blackened tooth has fallen from a
rotten mouth and stiff bristles have not yet
made my arms prickly and my skin does not
hang loose on a withered body – in short,
although I see in myself none of the signs of
old age, the lot assigned me by God is
contrived to make me miserable, I know not
how. He has decided to make me bear the
afflictions of old age during my tender years,
and he wants me to be already old, and yet he
does not allow me to grow old. Care and
sorrow, which would sprinkle my temples with
sad gray hair, have come before their time.

From: Erasmus, Desiderius, Miller, Clarence H. (transl.) and Vredeveld, Harry (ed.), Collected Works of Erasmus: Poems, 1993, University of Toronto Press: Toronto/Buffalo/London, p. 235.

Date: ?1487 (original in Latin); 1993 (translation in English)

By: Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536)

Translated by: Clarence H. Miller (c1930- )