Those who visit this blog on a regular basis know that I'm a fan of Solon and his reformations of the political landscape of Athens in the sixth century BC. Solon (Σόλων) was an Athenian statesman and lawmaker who lived from 638 BC to 558 BC. He spent most of his adult life trying to legislate against political, economic, and moral decline in archaic Athens. His ideologies are often credited with having laid the foundations for Athenian democracy. Solon's reforms created a system where the power was in the hands of the people, because instead of leaving justice to be administered by the aristocracy. He was also a poet and some of his work has miraculously survived. Today, I would like to share one of the fragments of his work that have survived.

O ye fair children of Memory and Olympian Zeus,
ye Muses of Pieria, hear me as I pray.
Grant, that I may be blessed with prosperity by the Gods,
and that among all men I may ever enjoy fair fame ;
that I may be as a sweet savor to my friends and
a bitterness in the mouth of my enemies,
by the ones respected, by the others feared. 

Wealth I do indeed desire, but ill-gotten wealth I will not have :
punishment therefor surely cometh with time.
Wealth which the gods give, cometh to a man as an abiding possession,
solid from the lowest foundation to the top;
but that which is sought with presumptuous disregard of right and wrong,
cometh not in the due course of nature. 

It yields to the persuasion of dishonest practices and followed against its will ;
and soon there is joined thereto blind folly which leadeth to destruction.
Like fire, it taketh its beginning from small things;
but, though insignificant at first, it endeth in ruin. 

For the works of unprincipled men do not continue long.
Zeus watcheth all things to the end.
Often, in the spring season, a
wind riseth suddenly and disperseth the clouds,
and, stirring up the depths of the surging, barren sea,
and laying waste the fair works of the husbandman
over the surface of the corn-bearing earth,
cometh to the lofty habitation of the gods in heaven
and bringeth the blue sky once more to view ;

the sun shineth forth in his beauty over the fertile earth,
and clouds are no longer to be seen.
Like such a sudden wind is the justice of Zeus.
He is not, like mortal men, quick to wrath for each offense ;
but no man who hath an evil heart ever escapeth his watchful eye,
and surely, in the end, his justice is made manifest.

One man payeth his penalty early, another late.
If the guilty man himself escape and the fate of the gods come not upon him
and overtake him not, it cometh full surely in aftertime :
the innocent pay for his offense —
his children or his children's children in later generations. 
[Fragment 13]