Now mighty Zeus was raised in Crete, and not one
of the blessed gods knew about him. In every limb he grew strong,
while doves looked after him in a holy cave
bringing ambrosia from Ocean’s streams,
a mighty eagle, ever drawing nectar from a rock,
in its beak carried a drink for wise Zeus.
After defeating his father Cronus, wide-seeing Zeus
made the eagle immortal and settled it in heaven.
Just so did he bestow honour on the trembling doves
who are the messengers of summer and winter.
In honor of Greek Independence Day, we present this work by a giant of Greek literature.
Then flesh dissolved, glances congealed, the heart’s pulse stopped,
and the great mind leapt to the peak of its holy freedom,
fluttered with empty wings, then upright through the air
soared high and freed itself from its last cage, its freedom.
All things like frail mist scattered till but one brave cry
for a brief moment hung in the calm benighted waters:
“Forward, my lads, sail on, for Death’s breeze blows in a fair wind!”
Nothing is sweeter than love; all other bliss comes second.
And compared to it, even honey is too bitter to hold in my mouth.
This I say: Whom Kypris has not kissed
Does not know her flowers, what kinds of things roses are.