Archive for May 7th, 2020

Thursday, 7 May 2020

On Old Age by Crates of Thebes

These shrivell’d sinews and this bending frame,
The workmanship of Time’s strong hand proclaim;
Skill’d to reverse whate’er the gods create,
And make that crooked which they fashion straight.
Hard choice for man, to die—or else to be
That tottering, wretched, wrinkled thing you see:
Age then we all prefer; for age we pray,
And travel on to life’s last ling’ring day;
Then sinking slowly down from worse to worse,
Find heav’n’s extorted boon our greatest curse.

From: Cumberland, Richard, “No. LXXVIII. Of the remaining writers of the old comedy, viz. Amipsias, Plato, Crates, Phyrnichus, Pherecrates, Amphis, Hermippus, Hipparchus, Philonides, and Theopompus, with their fragments translated” in The Observer: Being a Collection of Moral, Literary and Familiar Essays, Volume the Third, 1786, C. Dilly: London, pp. 165-178.

Date: 3rd century BCE (original in Greek); 1786 (translation in English)

By: Crates of Thebes (c365 BCE-c285 BCE)

Translated by: Richard Cumberland (1731/2-1811)