Sunday, 7 September 2008

Solon on The Ten Ages of Man


Solon, an ancient Athenian statesman and legislator credited for sowing the seeds of Athenian democracy, liked to write poetry in his spare time. In the below he describes what he sees as the the stages in the life of a man, each stage constisting of seven years.
The youthfull boy loses the first row of teeth
He grew while a baby in seven years;
When god has completed the next seven years for him
He shows the signs that yourthful prime is on its way;
In the third seven, while his limbs are still growing
His chin grows downy with the bloom of changing skin
In the fourth seven every man is at his best
In strength, when men give proof of valour.
In the fifth it is time for a man to think of marriage,
And seek a family of children to come after him.
In the sixth a man's mind is now disciplined in everything,
And he no longer wishes to do reckles deeds.
In the seventh he is now at his best in mind and tongue,
And in the eighth, that is fourteen years in total.
In the ninth he is still able, but less powerful than before
In both his speech and wisdom in matters of great prowess.
And if anyone comes to complete the tenth in full measure,
He will not meet the fate of death unreasonably.