538. All Or Nothing

“I say no wealth is worth my life! Not all they claim
was stored in the depths of Troy, that city built on riches,
in the old days of peace before the sons of Achaea came-
not all the gold held fast in the Archer’s rocky vaults,
in Phoebus Apollo’s house on Pytho’s sheer cliffs!
Cattle and fat sheep can all be had for the raiding,
tripods all for the trading, and tawny-headed stallions.
But a man’s life breath cannot come back again-
no raiders in force, no trading brings it back,
once it slips through a man’s clenched teeth.
Mother tells me,
the immortal goddess Thetis with her glistening feet,
that two fates bear me on to the day of death.
If I hold out here and I lay siege to Troy,
my journey home is gone, but my glory never dies.
If I voyage back to the fatherland I love,
my pride, my glory dies…
true, but the life that’s left me will be long,
the stroke of death will not come on me quickly.”
― Homer, The Iliad

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533. Like A Dream And Flies Away

“But it is only what happens, when they die, to all mortals.
The sinews no longer hold the flesh and the bones together,
and once the spirit has let the white bones, all the rest
of the body is made subject to the fire’s strong fury,
but the soul flitters out like a dream and flies away.”
― Homer, The Odyssey

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532. Here In The Shelter

“These nights are endless, and a man can sleep through them,
or he can enjoy listening to stories, and you have no need
to go to bed before it is time. Too much sleep is only
a bore. And of the others, any one whose heart and spirit
urge him can go outside and sleep, and then, when the dawn shows,
breakfast first, then go out to tend the swine of our master.
But we two, sitting here in the shelter, eating and drinking,
shall entertain each other remembering and retelling
our sad sorrows. For afterwards a man who has suffered
much and wandered much has pleasure out of his sorrows.”

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