Fragment 543

Simonides of Keos

          the delicate ark the hardbreathing gale
the sea stirred up by terror Danaë hurled down
Danaë's cheeks not unwet Danaë's arms loving

(o child, she says, I have such pain)

the slumbering childtender heart
in the joyless bark bronze-bolted
in the nightgleam
in the deepdusk darkness
the briny wave smoothing over his hair
the wind's noise piercing
the mantle beneath him dark too,
but his face lovely upon it—

(if you knew the danger were danger,
child, my words would
stand your little ears on end)

among all this, Danaë prays
to Zeus, father that he is,
for sleep—not for herself:
but sleep child, sleep sea,
sleep measureless pain.

even to ask this much
she trembles
at her own boldness,
begs forgiveness—


translated from the Ancient Greek by Ana Maria Guay