Monday, November 10, 2008

From lovely David

My lovely Classics major friend from Penn who writes Christmas cards every year, performs in Gilbert and Sullivan musicals every summer, sends the following to me and a whole host of others every year on Veteran's Day. From World War I to Homer, he reminds us that war is never the answer. A little sing-songy, but the sentiment is nice.

In Flanders Fields
John McCrae, died 1918

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

I think I will add a bit of Homer. This is from book 6 of the Iliad, lines 146-149, from the conversation between Glaucus and Diomedes:

Hoie: per phyllwn genee:, toie: de kai andrwn.
phylla ta men t' anemos khamadis kheei, alla de th' hyle:
te:lethowsa phyei, earos d' epigignetai hwre:.
hws andrwn genee:, he: men phyei, he: d' apole:gei.

Just as are the generations of leaves, so too are the generations of men.
Some leaves the wind causes to fall to the ground, others the burgeoning
Forest brings forth, and the season of spring has arrived.
Thus the generations of men, one buds forth, another passes away.

And finally from Vergil, Aeneid, book 1, line 462:

Sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt.

There are tears for human affairs, and mortality touches the heart.

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