TO DEATH [THANATOS]
Fumigation from Manna
Hear me, O Death [Thanatos], whose empire unconfin’d, extends to mortal tribes of ev’ry kind.
On thee, the portion of our time depends, whose absence lengthens life, whose presence ends.
Thy sleep perpetual bursts the vivid folds, by which the soul, attracting body holds:
Common to all of ev’ry sex and age, for nought escapes thy all-destructive rage;
Not youth itself thy clemency can gain, vig’rous and strong, by thee untimely slain.
In thee, the end of nature’s works is known, in thee, all judgment is absolv’d alone:
No suppliant arts thy dreadful rage controul, no vows revoke the purpose of thy soul;
O blessed pow’r regard my ardent pray’r, and human life to age abundant spare.
Orphic Hymn 89 to Death, translation by Thomas Taylor