The Lake of Memory

Thou shalt find to the left of the House of Hades a spring,
And by the side thereof standing a white cypress.
To this spring approach not near.
But thou shalt find another, from the Lake of Memory
Cold water flowing forth, and there are guardians before it.
Say, ‘I am a child of Earth and starry Heaven;
But my race is of Heaven (alone). This ye know yourselves.
But I am parched with thirst and I perish. Give me quickly
The cold water flowing forth from the Lake of Memory.’
And of themselves they will give thee to drink of the holy spring-
And thereafter among the other heroes thou shalt have lordship.

[Plate from Petelia, South Italy, fourth-third century B.C.]

The inscribed plate, with its chain and case. Now in the British Museum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(For the image above, click here.)

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