Greek Lyrics

The lyrics below are ones that strike my fancy and give insight into the minds of the ancient Greeks both male and female. I will add more as time permits.


"The tomb of Phrasikleia; I shall be called maiden forever. This, not wife, is the title the gods gave me for mine."

"With your beautiful hair and seemly year and candid face, sweetly, as I lay still, you gave me caressing kisses. If now I never may see you waking, I hope sleep holds my eyes bound shut forever."

"Whether you are a citizen or a stranger coming from elsewhere, take pity of Tettichos as you pass by: a brave man killed in battle, who there lost the pride of his fresh youth. Mourn for him a while, and go on. May your fortune be good."

"He who never betrays one he has made friend shall be given high exaltation among people and gods. Such is my own belief."

"Underneath every stone there lies hidden a scorpion, dear friend. Take care, or he will sting you. All concealment is treachery."

"O restless, caressing eyes, ou say a certain special thing. Pleasure and light love sit there, and sensuourness sits between."

"The moon has gone down, the Pleides have set; and the night's at halfway, and the time is passing, and I lie in my bed, lonely."

"I grew from the earth. I flourished in my day. I am Earth again. My name was Aristokles, the son on Menon, a citizen of the Peiraieus."

"I have two sicknesses: Love and Poverty. Poverty I can stand, but the fever of Love is unbearable."

"This little stone, dear Sabinos, is all the memorial of our great love. I miss you always, and I hope that you did not drink forgetfulness of me when you drank the waters of death with the new dead."

Agathias Scholasticus (c. 536 - 582 C.E.)

"Art can convey by colours the prayer of the heart."

Anaximander of Miletus (c. 611-547 B.C.E.)

"The infinite has no beginning. It is the beginning of all other things. It is divine, immortal, and indestructible."

"It is necessary that things should pass away into that from which they were born. All things must pay to each other the penalties and compensations for all the inequalities wrought by time."

Aristophanes of Athens (c. 448-385 B.C.E.)

"The wisest of the wise will never make a crab walk straight."

Archilochus of Paros (c. 680-640 B.C.E.)

"Heart, my heart, so battered with misfortune far beyond your strength, up, and face the men who hate us. Bare your chest to the assault of the enemy, and fight them off. Stand fast among the beamlike spears. Give no ground; and if you beat them, do not brag in open show, nor, if they beat you, run home and lie down on your bed and cry. Keep some measure in the joy you take in luck, and the degree you give way to sorrow. All our life is up-and-down like this."

"I will make nothing better by crying, I will make nothing worse by giving myself what entertainment I can."

"I am two things: a fighter who follows the Master of Battles, and one who understands the gift of the Muses' love."

"Some barbarian is waving my shield, since I was obliged to leave that perfectly good piece of equiptment behind under a bush. But I got away, so what does it matter? Let the shield go; I can buy another one equally as good."

"The fox knows many tricks, the hedgehog only one. One good one."

"My bread is kneaded with my spear, my Ismarian wine is mixed by my spear, and I drink reclining on my spear."

Asclepiades of Samos (c. 3rd century B.C.E.)

"Didyme waved her wand at me. I am utterly enchanted. The sight of her beauty makes me melt like wax before the fire. What is the difference if she is balck? So is coal, but alight, it shines like roses."

Heraclitus of Ephesus (c. 535-475 B.C.E.)

"If you do not hope you will not win that which is not hoped for, since it is unattainable and inaccessible."

"A man's character is his fate."

Hipponax of Ephesos (c. 6th century B.C.E.)

"Hold my jacket, somebody, while I hit Boupalos in the eye. I can hit with both hands, and I never miss punches."

"The God of Wealth, who's altogether blind, never came walking in my door and told me: 'Hipponax, I'm giving you three hundred silver mna pieces, and much beside.' Not he. He's far too mean-hearted."

Krates (c. ??? B.C.E.)

"Time's fingers bens us slowly with dubious craftsmanship, that at last spoils all it forms."

Leonidas of Tarentum (c. 3rd century B.C.E.)

"Evening and morning old Platthis kept away sleep and poverty, and in the gates of Gray Old Age sang a tune to her spindle and distaff. Standing by her loom in the dawn, she danced with the Graces over the long work of Pallas, or, lovely to see, smoothed the thread for the loom with her wrinkled hand on her withered knees. At eighty years, beautiful Platthis, the weaver of beauty, set eyes on the waters of Acheron."

Meander (??)

"He whom the gods love dies young."

Palladas of Alexandria (c. 5th century C.E.)

"This is all the life there is. It is good enought for me. Worry won't make another, or make this one last longer. The flesh of man wastes in time. Today there's wine and dancing. Today there's flowers and women. We might as well enjoy them. Tomorrow--nobody knows."

"Let this life of worry pass by in silence, as silent as Time itself. Live unknown, and die so."

"We Greeks have fallen on evil days and fancy a dream is life. Or is it we who are dead and seem to live, or are we alive after Life itself has departed?"

Pindar of Thebes (c. 522-426 BCE)

"War is sweet to those who have not tried it. The experienced man is frightened at the heart to see it advancing."

"Mistress of high achievemen, O Lady Truth, do not let my understaning stumble across some jagged falsehood."

"Let one who had brought the commonwealth to calm peace, search then for the light, the shining of great-hearted Concord, and drive malignant Discord away from his mind, bestower of poverty, spiteful as nurse of children."

Poseidippos (c. 3rd century B.C.E.)

"If Pythias has a customer, I'll leave, but if she's sleeping alone, let me in a minute, and tell her in my favor, that drunk and throught thieves, I came to her with only daring Love for my guide."

"You who visit in turn Cypris and Cythera and Miletus, and the beautiful Syrian Plains, loud with horses' hooves, come now, graciously, to Callistion, who never turned a lover froom her door."

Praxilla of Sicyon (c. 5th century B.C.E.)

"Girl of the lovely glance, looking out through the window, your face is virgin; lower down you are a married woman."

"Loveliest of what I leave behind is the sunlight, and loveliest after that the shining stars, and the moon's face, but also cumbers that are ripe, and pears, and apples."

Sappho of Mytilene (c. 620-550 B.C.E.)

"To a Rival: You will die and be still, never shall be memory left of your after this, nor regret when you are gone. You have not touched the flowers of the Muses, and thus, shadowy still in the domain of Death, you must drift with a ghost's fluttering wings, one of the darkened dead."

"But I claim there will be some who remember us when we are gone."

"Some say a host of cavalry, others of infantry, and others of ships, is the most beautiful thing on the black earth, but I say it is whatsoever a person loves."

"This is the dust of Timias who went unmarried to the dark bedroom of Persephone. And for her death all her friends cut their lovely hair with bright sharp bronze."

"Love shook my heart, like a mountain-wind that falls upon the oak trees."

"Love the loosener of limbs shakes me again, an inescapable bittersweet creature."

"A Young Bride: Like the sweet apple that reddens at the top of a branch, at the top of the top most bough; the apple-pickers forgot it -- no, they did not forget it, they could not reach so far."

"The stars about the beautiful moon again hide their radient shapes when she is full and shines her brightness on all the earth."

Satyrus (??)

"Along this fertile pasture-land tongueless Echo sings in answer to the birds with her late-crying voice."

Sekundos (c. ??? B.C.E.)

"I Lais, once an arrow in the heart of all, am Lais not longer, but a witness to the harrying of the years. I swear by Desire (and what is desire but a swearword?), Lais can no longer see Lais in Lais herself."

Simonides of Ceos (c. 556-468 B.C.E.)

"Not even those who lived long ago before us and were sons of our lords, the gods, themselves half-divine, came to an old age and the end of their days withour hardship and danger, nor did they live forever."

"Being no more than a man, you cannot tell what will happen tomorrow, nor, when you see one walk in prosperity know for how much time it will be. For overturn on the light-lifting wings of a dragonfly is not more swift."

"Although your white bones waste in the grave, I know the wild beasts still shudder, when they remember the power of Lykas the Huntress on great Pelion, and far seen Ossa, and the lonely alps of Cithairon."

Socrates of Athens (c. 470-399 B.C.E.)

"Human nature has no better helper than love."

Theognis of Megara (c. 6th-5th centuries B.C.E.)

"Try for nothing excessive. The middle degree is best. So, Kyrnos, you will win virtue, a difficult thing to attain."

"It is easier to make bad out of good than good out of evil. Never try to teach me. I am too old to be taught."

"May wide and towering heaven collapse upon me in all its bronze and terror, catastrophe to the people of the earth, on that day when I no longer stand by my companions, on that day when I cease to harry my enemies."