Brockliss, William. 2019. Homeric Imagery and the Natural Environment. Hellenic Studies Series 82. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_BrocklissW.Homeric_Imagery_and_the_Natural_Environment.2019.
7. Beauty and Transience? Flowers and Death in Greek Elegy and Homeric Poetry
ἔαρος, ὅτ’ αἶψ’ αὐγῆις αὔξεται ἠελίου,
τοῖς ἴκελοι πήχυιον ἐπὶ χρόνον ἄνθεσιν ἥβης
τερπόμεθα, πρὸς θεῶν εἰδότες οὔτε κακὸν
5 οὔτ’ ἀγαθόν· Κῆρες δὲ παρεστήκασι μέλαιναι,
ἡ μὲν ἔχουσα τέλος γήραος ἀργαλέου,
ἡ δ’ ἑτέρη θανάτοιο· μίνυνθα δὲ γίνεται ἥβης
καρπός, ὅσον τ’ ἐπὶ γῆν κίδναται ἠέλιος.
αὐτὰρ ἐπὴν δὴ τοῦτο τέλος παραμείψεται ὥρης,
10 αὐτίκα δὴ τεθνάναι βέλτιον ἢ βίοτος·
Sends forth [ phúei ], when immediately they are increased by the rays of the sun,
Like them we enjoy the flowers of youth for a cubit’s
Span, knowing from the gods neither evil
5 Nor good; but the black Fates stand beside us,
One having the fulfillment of grievous old age,
The other of death; the fruit of youth is
As brief as the time the sun spreads over the earth.
But when this end of the season passes,
10 Straightway dying is better than life.
φύλλα τὰ μέν τ’ ἄνεμος χαμάδις χέει, ἄλλα δέ θ’ ὕλη
τηλεθόωσα φύει, ἔαρος δ’ ἐπιγίγνεται ὥρη·
ὣς ἀνδρῶν γενεὴ ἡ μὲν φύει ἡ δ’ ἀπολήγει.
The wind scatters some leaves on the ground, but the flourishing forest
Grows [phúei] others, and the season of spring comes;
Just so one generation of men grows [phúei] and another ceases.
“οἵη περ φύλλων γενεή, τοίη δὲ καὶ ἀνδρῶν”·
παῦροί μιν θνητῶν οὔασι δεξάμενοι
στέρνοις ἐγκατέθεντο· πάρεστι γὰρ ἐλπὶς ἑκάστωι
ἀνδρῶν, ἥ τε νέων στήθεσιν ἐμφύεται.
“Like a generation of leaves, just so is a generation of men”;
Few mortals, receiving this with their ears
Have placed it in their breasts; for hope, which grows
In the chests of youths, accompanies each man.
Presumably, the hope refererred to in the fourth line is a kind of blind hope that youth and life will last; in Simonides’ opinion, Glaucus’ image challenges such delusions.
κοῦφο⎦ν ἔχω⎣ν θυμ⎦ὸν πόλλ’ ἀτέλεσ⎣τα νοεῖ·
οὔ⎦τε γὰρ ἐλπ⎣ίδ’ ἔχ⎦ει γηρασέμεν ⎣οὔτε θανεῖσθαι,
οὐδ’, ὑ⎦γιὴς ὅτα⎣ν ἦι, φ⎦ροντίδ’ ἔχει κ⎣αμάτου.
νή⎦πιοι, οἷς ταύ⎣τηι⎦ κεῖται νόος, ο⎣ὐδὲ ἴσασιν
10 ὡς χρό⎦νος ἔ⎣σθ’ ἥβη⎦ς καὶ βιότου ὀλ⎣ίγος
θνη⎦τοῖς. ἀλλὰ ⎣σὺ⎦ ταῦτα μαθὼν ⎣βιότου ποτὶ τέρμα
ψυχῆι τῶν⎦ ἀγαθῶν τλῆθι χα⎣ριζόμενος.
With a light heart he thinks of many things that will have no end;
Nor does he have any expectation that he will grow old and die;
Nor, while he is healthy, does he worry about sickness;
The fools, whose minds are thus disposed, do not even know
10 That the time of youth and life is short
For mortals. But you—learn these things and endure to the end of life
Rejoicing at good things in your soul!
If these lines did indeed precede fr. 19 West2, then in the combined poem Simonides contrasted the reasonable expectation (ἐλπ[ίδ’ fr. 20.7) that we shall grow old and die with the blind hope that we shall live and thrive forever (ἐλπίς, fr. 19.4). Youths are seduced by the false promise of the latter. 
κεῖσθαι πρόσθε νέων ἄνδρα παλαιότερον,
ἤδη λευκὸν ἔχοντα κάρη πολιόν τε γένειον,
θυμὸν ἀποπνείοντ’ ἄλκιμον ἐν κονίηι,
25 αἱματόεντ’ αἰδοῖα φίλαις ἐν χερσὶν ἔχοντα—
αἰσχρὰ τά γ’ ὀφθαλμοῖς καὶ νεμεσητὸν ἰδεῖν,
καὶ χρόα γυμνωθέντα· νέοισι δὲ πάντ’ ἐπέοικεν,
ὄφρ’ ἐρατῆς ἥβης ἀγλαὸν ἄνθος ἔχηι,
ἀνδράσι μὲν θηητὸς ἰδεῖν, ἐρατὸς δὲ γυναιξὶ
30 ζωὸς ἐών, καλὸς δ’ ἐν προμάχοισι πεσών.
ἀλλά τις εὖ διαβὰς μενέτω ποσὶν ἀμφοτέροισι
στηριχθεὶς ἐπὶ γῆς, χεῖλος ὀδοῦσι δακών.
Having fallen among the first fighters before the youths,
Already with a white head and gray chin,
Breathing out his bold spirit in the dust,
25 Holding his bloody genitals in his own hands—
These are shameful things for eyes to see and a source of blame,
And his flesh is also naked; for young men everything is fitting,
So long as the glorious flower of lovely youth holds them;
[A youth] is admirable for men to see, desirable for women
30 While he is alive, and beautiful/fine having fallen among the first fighters.
But let any man remain in place, standing with both feet well apart,
Fixed on the earth, biting his lip with his teeth.
At the start of the poem, in a phrase that offers a clear contrast with the first two lines quoted above, Tyrtaeus states that “it is beautiful/fine for a noble man fighting for his fatherland to die having fallen among the first fighters” (τεθνάμεναι γὰρ καλὸν ἐνὶ προμάχοισι πεσόντα / ἄνδρ’ ἀγαθὸν περὶ ἧι πατρίδι μαρνάμενον). This usage of καλόν in the neuter (“it is beautiful/fine”) in line 1 is then echoed by the use of the καλός in the masculine near the end of the poem (“[he is] beautiful/fine,” 30). In this way, Tyrtaeus’ poem, strikingly, conflates the ethical fineness (καλόν, 1) of the young man’s death for his country with the esthetic fineness or beauty of his dead body (καλός, 30).
ἀρηϊκταμένῳ, δεδαϊγμένῳ ὀξέϊ χαλκῷ,
κεῖσθαι· πάντα δὲ καλὰ θανόντι περ, ὅττι φανήῃ·
ἀλλ’ ὅτε δὴ πολιόν τε κάρη πολιόν τε γένειον
75 αἰδῶ τ’ αἰσχύνωσι κύνες κταμένοιο γέροντος,
τοῦτο δὲ οἴκιστον πέλεται δειλοῖσι βροτοῖσιν.”
To lie slain in war, rent by the sharp
Bronze; all things are beautiful for the dead youth, whatever appears;
But when the dogs befoul the gray head
75 And gray chin and genitals of a dead old man,
This is a most pitiable thing for wretched mortals.”