Herodes Attikos to Nemesis
O Lady of Rhamnous, most fierce pursuer of vengeance,
take all the troubles from me on this day–
Every petty hatred that I have borne for rivals,
for Fronto and for haughty Antoninus Pius;
Every vendetta of competition between equals,
as that between Polemo and Favorinus;
Every sorrow at loss against Death and Fate,
for my wife, my children, and my three Trophimoi.
I once thought to drown myself in the Danube
for an embarrassment before the great Hadrian–
but I would not have become beautiful Antinous
for drowning deliberately in that cold northern river.
The Rhebas which gave life did not give divinity;
the Nile which gave death did not give cessation of sadness.
I would not have you sing a song of bloody death
against those who have wronged me;
nor will I ask you to turn your wheel’s hub
against the shoulders of those who spit on me.
But, I must ask you to take away these impulses,
or give me greater strength to shoulder their burdens–
for it is becoming too much for my feeble form
and the infirmity of my age to bear longer.
I have lost students and teachers, both beloved,
and nearly all children and my wife as well,
and even my friends and charges who were Emperors
now dwell in the stars far from me, O Nemesis–
if I have one enemy it is Death himself,
yet now even he has shunned my company!
Hail, Thanks, and Praise to Nemesis!
Hail, Thanks, and Praise to Herodes Attikos!
Hail, Thanks, and Praise to Herodes Attikos’ Family!
Hail, Thanks, and Praise to the Trophimoi!