Epigram 9.359

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Codex Palatinus 23, p.416

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ποίην τις βιότοιο τάμῃ τρίβον; εἰν ἀγορῇ μὲν
νείκεα καὶ χαλεπαὶ πρήξιες: ἐν δὲ δόμοις
φροντίδες: ἐν δ᾽ ἀγροῖς καμάτων ἅλις: ἐν δὲ θαλάσσῃ
τάρβος: ἐπὶ ξείνης δ᾽, ἢν μὲν ἔχῃς τι, δέος:

ἢν δ᾽ ἀπορῇς, ἀνιηρόν. ἔχεις γάμον; οὐκ ἀμέριμνος
ἔσσεαι: οὐ γαμέεις; ζῇς ἔτ᾽ ἐρημότερος:
τέκνα πόνοι, πήρωσις ἄπαις βίος: αἱ νεότητες
ἄφρονες, αἱ πολιαὶ δ᾽ ἔμπαλιν ἀδρανέες.
ἦν ἄρα τοῖν δισσοῖν ἑνὸς αἵρεσις, ἢ τὸ γενέσθαι

μηδέποτ᾽, ἢ τὸ θανεῖν αὐτίκα τικτόμενον.

— Paton edition

What path of life should one pursue ? In the
market-place are broils and business difficulties, and at
home are anxieties ; in the country there is too much
labour, and at sea there is fear. In a foreign land
there is apprehension if you possess anything, and if
you are ill off, life is a burden. You are married ?
You won't be without cares. You are unmarried ?
You live a still more lonely life. Children are a
trouble, and a childless life is a crippled one. Youth
is foolish, and old age again is feeble. There is then,
it seems, a choice between two things, either not to
be born or to die at once on being born.

— Paton edition

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