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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Hymn to Virtue

By Aristotle (384–322 B.C.)

Translation of John Addington Symonds

VIRTUE, to men thou bringest care and toil;

Yet art thou life’s best, fairest spoil!

O virgin goddess, for thy beauty’s sake

To die is delicate in this our Greece,

Or to endure of pain the stern strong ache.

Such fruit for our soul’s ease

Of joys undying, dearer far than gold

Or home or soft-eyed sleep, dost thou unfold!

It was for thee the seed of Zeus,

Stout Herakles, and Leda’s twins, did choose

Strength-draining deeds, to spread abroad thy name:

Smit with the love of thee

Aias and Achilleus went smilingly

Down to Death’s portal, crowned with deathless fame.

Now, since thou art so fair,

Leaving the lightsome air,

Atarneus’ hero hath died gloriously.

Wherefore immortal praise shall be his guerdon:

His goodness and his deeds are made the burden

Of songs divine

Sung by Memory’s daughters nine,

Hymning of hospitable Zeus the might

And friendship firm as fate in fate’s despite.