But you, who are constantly making mention of this Archestratus, have made this entertainment full of intem- perance; for what of all the things which could unduly excite [p. 531] men has this fine epic poet omitted?—he, the only imitator of the life of Sardanapalus the son of Anacyndaraxes, who, Aristotle says, is made more obscure still by adding the name of his father; on whose tomb, Chrysippus says, the following inscription was engraved:—
Knowing that you are mortal, feed your soulAnd the great poet has said of the Phæacians—
On banquets and delights; for in the grave
There's no enjoyment left. I now am dust
Who once was king of mighty Nineveh;
The things which I did eat, the joys of love,
The insolent thoughts with which my wealth did fill me,
Are all I now have left; for all my power
And all my happiness is gone for ever.
This is the only prudent rule of life,
I never shall forget it, let who will
Hoard boundless treasures of uncounted gold.
To dress, to dance, to sing, our sole delight,And another person, not unlike Sardanapalus in disposition, gives this advice and these rules to those who are deficient in wisdom:—
The feast or bath by day, and love by night.
I to all mortals now give this advice:And Amphis the comic poet, in his Ialemus, says—
Live for the day with pleasure; he who dies
Is nought; an empty shade beneath the earth:
Man lives but a short space, and therefore should,
While life remains, enjoy himself.
The man who knows that he is but a mortal,And, in his play entitled the Gynæcocracy, he say nearly the same—
And yet seeks not enjoyment while alive,
Leaving all other cares, is but a fool
In mine and all wise men's opinion,
And most unhappy in his destiny.
Drink and play, our mortal lifeAnd a man of the name of Bacchides, who lived on the same principles as Sardanapalus, after he was dead had the following inscription placed on his tomb:—
On earth can but a brief space last;
Death alone will last for ever,
When once our too brief term is past.
Eat, drink, indulge thy soul with all delights,[p. 532]
This stone is all that now remains for Bacchides.