Pythagorean Meditation on Death
‘Nec species sua cuique manet, rerumque novatrix
ex aliis alias reparat natura figuras:
nec perit in toto quicquam, mihi credite, mundo,
sed variat faciemque novat, nascique vocatur
incipere esse aliud, quam quod fuit ante, morique
desinere illud idem. cum sint huc forsitan illa,
haec translata illuc, summa tamen omnia constant.
Ovid, Metamorphoses, Book XV, ll. 252-258
Nothing retains its form; new shapes from old.
Nature, the great inventor, ceaselessly
contrives. In all creation, be assured,
there is no death—no death, but only change
and innovation; what we people call birth
is but a different new beginning; death
is but to cease to be the same. Perhaps
this may have moved to that and that to this,
yet still the sum of things remains the same.
Translation by A.D. Melville
~ by matt on 1 September 2010.