Theocritus

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While there's life there's hope, and only the dead have none.

Theocritus (fl. c. 270 BC) was a Greek poet of the 3rd century BC, probably a Syracusan who later lived in Kos and Alexandria. He invented the genre of pastoral poetry.

Quotes[edit]

Lo! how small
Was the gift, and yet how precious! Friendship's gifts are priceless all.

Idylls[edit]

  • τάχ᾽ αὔριον ἔσσετ᾽ ἄμεινον ἐλπίδες ἐν ζωοῖσιν, ἀνέλπιστοι δὲ θανόντες
    • While there's life there’s hope, and only the dead have none.
    • Idyll 4, line 42; translation by A. S. F. Gow, from Theocritus ([1950] 1952) vol. 1, p. 37.
    • Compare Cicero (1st century BC), Epistolarum ad Atticum [Epistle To Atticus], Book IX, 10, 4: Ægroto, dum anima est, spes est [While the sick man has life, there is hope.]
  • Faults are beauties, when survey'd by love.
    • Idyll 6, line 19; translation by Richard Polwhele, from The Idyllia, Epigrams, and Fragments, of Theocritus, Bion, and Moschus, with the Elegies of Tyrtæus (1810) p. 36.
  • Milk the ewe that thou hast, why pursue the thing that shuns thee?
    • Idyll 11, line 75; translation by Andrew Lang, from Theocritus, Bion and Moschus Rendered into English Prose ([1880] 1901) p. 63.
  • The Greeks got into Troy by trying, my pretties; everything's done by trying.
    • Idyll 15, line 61; translation by A. S. F. Gow, from Theocritus ([1950] 1952) vol. 1, p. 113.
  • The godly seed fares well: the wicked's is accurst.
    • Idyll 26, line 36; translation by C. S. Calverley, from Theocritus, translated into English Verse.
  • Men shall look on thee and murmur to each other, "Lo! how small
    Was the gift, and yet how precious! Friendship's gifts are priceless all."
    • Idyll 28; lines 21-22; translation by C. S. Calverley, from Theocritus, translated into English Verse.
  • Reflect, ere you spurn me, that youth at his sides
    Wears wings; and once gone, all pursuit he derides.
    • Idyll 29; lines 27-28; translation by C. S. Calverley, from Theocritus, translated into English Verse.

External links[edit]

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