καὶ τοὶ μὲν ναίουσιν ἀκηδέα θυμὸν ἔχοντες
ἐν μακάρων νήσοισι παρ᾽ Ὠκεανὸν βαθυδίνην,
ὄλβιοι ἥρωες, τοῖσιν μελιηδέα καρπὸν
τρὶς ἔτεος θάλλοντα φέρει ζείδωρος ἄρουρα.
τηλοῦ ἀπ᾽ ἀθανάτων: τοῖσιν Κρόνος ἐμβασιλεύει.
τοῦ γὰρ δεσμὸν ἔλυσε πατὴρ ἀνδρῶν τε θεῶν τε.
τοῖσι δ᾽ ὁμῶς νεάτοις τιμὴ καὶ κῦδος ὀπηδεῖ.
Πέμπτον δ᾽ αὖτις ἔτ᾽ ἄλλο γένος θῆκ᾽ εὐρύοπα Ζεὺς
ἀνδρῶν, οἳ γεγάασιν ἐπὶ χθονὶ πουλυβοτείρῃ.
μηκέτ᾽ ἔπειτ᾽ ὤφελλον ἐγὼ πέμπτοισι μετεῖναι
ἀνδράσιν, ἀλλ᾽ ἢ πρόσθε θανεῖν ἢ ἔπειτα γενέσθαι.
νῦν γὰρ δὴ γένος ἐστὶ σιδήρεον: οὐδέ ποτ᾽ ἦμαρ
παύονται καμάτου καὶ ὀιζύος, οὐδέ τι νύκτωρ
φθειρόμενοι. χαλεπὰς δὲ θεοὶ δώσουσι μερίμνας:
ἀλλ᾽ ἔμπης καὶ τοῖσι μεμείξεται ἐσθλὰ κακοῖσιν.
Ζεὺς δ᾽ ὀλέσει καὶ τοῦτο γένος μερόπων ἀνθρώπων,
εὖτ᾽ ἂν γεινόμενοι πολιοκρόταφοι τελέθωσιν.
οὐδὲ πατὴρ παίδεσσιν ὁμοίιος οὐδέ τι παῖδες,
οὐδὲ ξεῖνος ξεινοδόκῳ καὶ ἑταῖρος ἑταίρῳ,
οὐδὲ κασίγνητος φίλος ἔσσεται, ὡς τὸ πάρος περ.
αἶψα δὲ γηράσκοντας ἀτιμήσουσι τοκῆας:
μέμψονται δ᾽ ἄρα τοὺς χαλεποῖς βάζοντες ἔπεσσι
σχέτλιοι οὐδὲ θεῶν ὄπιν εἰδότες: οὐδέ κεν οἵ γε
γηράντεσσι τοκεῦσιν ἀπὸ θρεπτήρια δοῖεν
χειροδίκαι: ἕτερος δ᾽ ἑτέρου πόλιν ἐξαλαπάξει.
οὐδέ τις εὐόρκου χάρις ἔσσεται οὔτε δικαίου
οὔτ᾽ ἀγαθοῦ, μᾶλλον δὲ κακῶν ῥεκτῆρα καὶ ὕβριν
ἀνέρες αἰνήσουσι: δίκη δ᾽ ἐν χερσί, καὶ αἰδὼς
οὐκ ἔσται: βλάψει δ᾽ ὁ κακὸς τὸν ἀρείονα φῶτα
μύθοισιν σκολιοῖς ἐνέπων, ἐπὶ δ᾽ ὅρκον ὀμεῖται.
ζῆλος δ᾽ ἀνθρώποισιν ὀιζυροῖσιν ἅπασι
δυσκέλαδος κακόχαρτος ὁμαρτήσει, στυγερώπης.
καὶ τότε δὴ πρὸς Ὄλυμπον ἀπὸ χθονὸς εὐρυοδείης
λευκοῖσιν φάρεσσι καλυψαμένα χρόα καλὸν
ἀθανάτων μετὰ φῦλον ἴτον προλιπόντ᾽ ἀνθρώπους
Αἰδὼς καὶ Νέμεσις: τὰ δὲ λείψεται ἄλγεα λυγρὰ
θνητοῖς ἀνθρώποισι: κακοῦ δ᾽ οὐκ ἔσσεται ἀλκή.
(ll. 170-201) Thereafter, would that I were not among the men of the fifth generation, but either had died before or been born afterwards. For now truly is a race of iron, and men never rest from labour and sorrow by day, and from perishing by night; and the gods shall lay sore trouble upon them. But, notwithstanding, even these shall have some good mingled with their evils. And Zeus will destroy this race of mortal men also when they come to have grey hair on the temples at their birth. The father will not agree with his children, nor the children with their father, nor guest with his host, nor comrade with comrade; nor will brother be dear to brother as aforetime. Men will dishonour their parents as they grow quickly old, and will carp at them, chiding them with bitter words, hard-hearted they, not knowing the fear of the gods. They will not repay their aged parents the cost their nurture, for might shall be their right: and one man will sack another’s city. There will be no favour for the man who keeps his oath or for the just or for the good; but rather men will praise the evil-doer and his violent dealing. Strength will be right and reverence will cease to be; and the wicked will hurt the worthy man, speaking false words against him, and will swear an oath upon them. Envy, foul-mouthed, delighting in evil, with scowling face, will go along with wretched men one and all. And then Aidos and Nemesis, with their sweet forms wrapped in white robes, will go from the wide-pathed earth and forsake mankind to join the company of the deathless gods: and bitter sorrows will be left for mortal men, and there will be no help against evil.
From Hesiod’s Works and Days (c. 7th century BC)