Poem - Hermarchus

  • Hermarchus

    Seeing the bust of Epicurus



    Ho! I--Master, I held from grief. We laid

    Your body to its rest beneath the sky

    And sun. What then to grieve? Thy atoms fly

    Scattered, thy soul at more than peace which said

    "Death is nothing"--but here! Thy sculptured head

    Is wreathed with leaves of bay. Ah, how can I

    Fall to grief? Your students with laughing cries

    Honor you--your 'membrance blesses their bread.

    Should scholarchs fail, and birds alone here warble--

    Should vine and olive go to sage and sorrel--

    Still aged men would carve your like in marble

    And shining youth crown thy head with laurel.


    -josh

  • Love it!


    Can I post this on the SoFE page?

    "Please always remember my doctrines!" - Epicurus' last words

  • Absolutely! I find Hermarchus a fascinating character, and I wish we knew more about him. Wrote this one last night and didn't think much of it, but when I read it this morning I made a few line changes and decided I liked it after all.

  • I do mean "FALL to grief". Hermarchus, despite his protest in Line 1, has been grieving already internally. Maybe he feels the triple burden--the death of Epicurus, the responsibility for the school, the care of the children of Metrodorus--maybe he feels it's all too much. But when he sees that one of the young scholars has placed a wreath of laurel onto the cold marble bust, and that out of reverence and joy rather than grief, he is overcome by an emotion of relief and catharsis. Even should he fail in his task (as scholarch), he now understands that the master's teachings will endure.

  • Absolutely! I find Hermarchus a fascinating character, and I wish we knew more about him. Wrote this one last night and didn't think much of it, but when I read it this morning I made a few line changes and decided I liked it after all.

    He was the first convert to Epicureanism in Mytilene, and was there to wrap Epicurus' body in a blanket upon his death. Not much is known about him, but I did write an essay on the ethics of vegetarianism based on him.


    ttp://societyofepicurus.com/hermarchus-on-the-ethics-of-vegetarianism-and-treatment-of-animals/

    "Please always remember my doctrines!" - Epicurus' last words

  • Thanks, Hiram. That looks like a good read, I'll look at it more closely later today. I was myself a vegetarian for 14 months (basically up until I went over-the-road), and still have sympathies there. That's mostly an objection to how we raise them rather than how we kill them, pain being an evil and all. My parents have started raising animals again, on a small hobby farm; and I have always supported hunting and fishing. (I don't do either...purely out of laziness and to avoid the mess!)