Archilochus, Fragment 67a


O heart, my heart, besieged by troubles you cannot escape,

rise up. Fight off your enemies and dash your chest, unturned,

against them. Take your stand amid the spears close by your foes

unfailingly. Do not, when you subdue, exult in public.

And when you are subdued, do not collapse at home and cry.

Instead, rejoice when things are good and grieve when they are bad—

but not too much. Perceive what rhythm holds the human race.



Archilochus was a 7th century BCE lyric poet from the island of Paros, Greece. His work, on martial and amatory themes, now survives only in fragments.

Stephanie McCarter

Stephanie McCarter is a Classics professor, translator, and essayist at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. She has published essays in Eidolon, Electric Literature, Literary Hub, The Millions, Entropy, Avidly, and elsewhere. She is currently working on two translations of ancient poetry, one of Horace’s lyric poetry and one of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. She is also the author of numerous academic articles and a book of criticism, Horace between Freedom and Slavery: The First Book of Epistles. You can read more about her at her website:

English translation copyright (c) Stephanie McCarter, 2018.