A kindlier sea

It’s not often that you get a translation that is as good as the original but I think that this comes close.

In my copy of select epigrams from the Greek Anthology (J.W.Mackail), someone has pencilled in the following translation for this verse – an epitaph for a drowned sailor

Ναυτίλε, μὴ πεύθου τίνος ἐνθάδε τύμβος ὅδ᾽ εἰμί,
ἀλλ᾽ αὐτὸς πόντου τύγχανε χρηστοτέρου.

Sailor that saileth by,
Ask not whose tomb am I;
But may thine own life be
Than mine a kindlier sea.

Section 3 21

The name of a previous owner of the book is inscribed on the first page W.B.Harrison Merton College Oxford. The book was printed in 1908 but if he’s still alive, Thank W.B. For the translation.

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