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Selected and rare materials, excerpts and observations from ancient, medieval and contemporary authors, travelers and researchers about Cyprus.
 
 
 
 
 
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SALAMIS

SALAMIS IN THE ISLAND OF CYPRUS.
BY ALEXANDER PALMA DI CESNOLÀ, F.S.A.,
page 61

"At Salamis, a rectangular marble tablet, nine inches and a quarter in length, and three inches and a half in height, with a sepulchral inscription of six lines in small irregular Greek capital letters, without division of words, forming three elegiac distiche, was found. This elegant poem is a welcome addition to the Greek anthology, and is evidently the composition of a poet of considerable merit. It reads thus:—

 

 

 

 

We may translate the Greek poem in these lines:—

" Phileas, the Muses' hope and love, hath sped
To the dark chambers of th' untimely dead.
He lived , three years and twenty; now asleep
Their extreme hope his aged parents weep—
Their brideless son. Dread Goddess ! send in rest
This chaste one to the regions of the blest."

This charming elegy will forcibly remind the reader of the almost parallel passages in the unsurpassed poetry of Milton:—

" For Lycidas is dead, dead ere his prime,
Young Lycidas, and hath not left his peer.
Who would not sing for Lycidas ?
He knew Himself to sing, and build the lofty rhyme.
Weep no more, woful shepherds, weep no more;
For Lycidas, your sorrow, is not dead,
Sunk though he be beneath the watery floor:
So sinks the day-star in the ocean bed,
And yet anon repairs his drooping head,
And tricks his beams, and with new-spangled ore
Flames in the forehead of the morning sky:
So Lycidas sunk low, but mounted high,
Through the dear might of Him that walked the waves;
Where, other groves and other streams along,
With nectar pure his oozy locks he laves,
And hears the inexpressive nuptial song
In the blest kingdoms meek of joy and love.
There entertain him all the saints above,
In solemn troops and sweet societies,
That sing, and singing, in their glory move,
And wipe the tears for ever from his eyes."

And, again, we may compare the ελπίδα, τάν μούναν of the fourth line with the sentiment expressed in the sixth stanza of Shelley's Adonais.


" But now thy youngest, dearest one, has perished,
The nursling of thy widowhood, who grew,
Like a pale flower by some sad maiden cherished,
And fed with true love tears instead of dew;
Most musical of mourners, weep anew !
Thy extreme hope, the loveliest and the last,
The bloom, whoso petals, nipt before they blew,
Died on the promise of the fruit, is waste;
The broken lily lies—the storm is overpast."
The Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone, M.P., in a letter to me, dated 29th July 1882, writes of this inscription. "The references which it contains to a future life are of great interest, and seem to savour of Egyptian ideas, which probably were in vogue in the island." "When I commenced my excavations in Cyprus, I found that some native workmen, who were employed in extracting from the ruins of Kitium a selection of stones suitable for building purposes, had met with a large fragment, bearing an inscription in fine Greek capital letters. The site where this was found was on the line of the walls of the ancient town, towards the south-east, and not far from a spot which contains a structure retaining the shape of a doorway. The stone itself was calcareous, and of the form of a modern door, with semicircular head (fig. 116). The

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