May 7, 2010

From ancient Greece, a song of hope and consolation (While you live, shine…)

W H Chong — Culture Mulcher

W H Chong

Culture Mulcher


The song of Seikilos is the oldest complete song – music and lyrics – in the western canon, carved in literal stone. The pillar (in Turkey, dated c.200BC–100AD)  announces itself:

I am a tombstone, an icon. Seikilos placed me here as an everlasting sign of deathless remembrance.

This is the melody:


And the lyrics:

Hoson zes, phainou
Meden holos sy lypou;
Pros oligon esti to zen
To telos ho chronos apaitei

While you live, shine
Don’t suffer anything at all;
Life exists only a short while
And time demands its toll.


And a rather lovely intepretation:


Painting above by the Achilles painter c .460-420BC

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