Around 650 BCE, mourning a brother-in-law lost at sea, the warrior-poet Archilochus tells his friend that sorrow is something that the Gods expect us to endure. The illustration shows mourners from a Greek vase of the sixth century BCE. Archilochus is the earliest poet of personal experience that we have from Greece: learn more about him on his poet page here.

Hear the poem in Greek and follow in English here.

The loss of a loved one is hard, but it has inspired some very beautiful poetry. This selection begins with Catullus’s

farewell to a beloved brother.

In this poem, the inspiration for a famous English translation, Callimachus remembers his

poet-friend, Heraclitus.

Catullus expresses both consolation and desire in his half-serious lament for

Lesbia’s sparrow.

Archilochus, the seventh-century BCE warrior-poet, explains that

loss must be endured.

Finally, in the Elysian fields Aeneas is shown Marcellus, Augustus’s tragically short-lived


See the index to Pantheon Poets’ selections of poetry on a theme here.