(c. 600 BCE / Greece)

On What Is Best

Some celebrate the beauty
of knights, or infantry,
or billowing flotillas
at battle on the sea.
Warfare has its glory,
but I place far above
these military splendors
the one thing that you love.

For proof of this contention
examine history:
we all remember Helen,
who left her family,
her child, and royal husband,
to take a stranger's hand:
her beauty had no equal,
but bowed to love's command.

As love then is the power
that none can disobey,
so too my thoughts must follow
my darling far away:
the sparkle of her laughter
would give me greater joy
than all the bronze-clad heroes

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Comments (18)

Thank you for sharing this. I think something went wrong during the upload of the last verse. The original surely has a fine closing line that by some accident we're not seeing. Without that line there is no rhyme for " joy" and the reading rhythm ends abruptly. I hope that it is not too late to recover that line. Again, thank you.
The madness of warfare, the absurdity of praising armies and military display. There is no beauty, no love, no sense, nothing praiseworthy in battle Love on the other hand has everything. All praiseworthy are comprised in love I got carried away reading this poem. It is truly beautiful and full of wisdom.
The translaor has put in stuff of his own which we could do wothout.
Lovely depiction of mighty feeling and spiritual experience of love elegantly brought forth with conviction.
.............beautifully said, there's no power stronger ★
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