19 June 2015

Pierre Antony MacKay

Pierre MacKay, my partner and ξυνεργὸς, died quietly on Sunday morning, June 14. Typically for him on Sunday, he was doing the New York Times crossword puzzle, and he went so gently he didn't drop his pencil. Readers of Surprised by Time will be intensely familiar with his work: he is responsible for the wonderful Mistra and Evliya Çelebi translations used here. I am putting a few photographs of him below. His daughters, Camilla and Alexandra, and I are having a gathering here at home on Saturday. We will be using the marvellous Callimachus poem below. It has been very personal to us: every evening for twelve years, when the weather has permitted, we have eaten out under our grape arbor and talked the sun down out of the sky.
Εἰπέ τις, Ἡράκλειτε, τεὸν μόρον ἐς δέ με δάκρυ
    ἤγαγεν ἐμνήσθην δ᾿ ὁσσάκις ἀμφότεροι
ἠέλιον λέσχῃ κατεδύσαμεν. ἀλλὰ σὺ μέν που,
    ξεῖν᾿ Ἁλικαρνησεῦ, τετράπαλαι σποδιή,
αἱ δὲ τεαὶ ζώουσιν ἀηδόνες, ᾗσιν ὁ πάντων
    ἁρπακτὴς Ἀίδης οὐκ ἐπὶ χεῖρα βαλεῖ
Someone told me of your death, Heraclitus, and it moved me to tears, when I remembered how often the sun set on our talking. And you, my Halicarnassian friend, lie somewhere, gone long long ago to dust; but they live, your Nightingales, on which Hades who siezes all shall not lay his hand.            by W. R. Paton


  1. A beautiful tribute to a unique and special fellow. May you be comforted, dear one, in your mourning.

  2. I tried to emailed you but the message bounced back today. I was trying to say just that: write about Pierre when bearable. Wonderful tribute! You are in my thoughts. Ευψύχει.


I will not publish Anonymous comments.