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But this I know, and this I feel,
To-day I 'll haste to quaff my wine, As onward to the tomb I steal,
As if to-morrow ne'er would shine; That still as death approaches nearer, But if to-morrow comes, why then The joys of life are sweeter, dearer;1 I'll haste to quaff my wine again. And had I but an hour to live,
And thus while all our days are bright, That little hour to bliss
Nor time has dimmed their bloomy light,
Let us the festal hours beguile
With mantling cup and cordial smile; I CARE not for the idle state
And shed from each new bowl of wine Of Persia's king, the rich, the great:8
The richest drop on Bacchus' shrine. I envy not the monarch's throne,
For Death may come, with brow un. Nor wish the treasured gold my own.
pleasant, But oh! be mine the rosy wreath,
May come, when least we wish him Its freshness o'er my brow to breathe;
present, Be mine the rich perfumes that flow,
And beckon to the sable shore, To cool and scent my locks of snow.4
And grimħly bid us - drink no more! what he thinks a similar instance of this simpli
ODE IX.5 city of manner:Ipse quis sit, utrum sit, an non sit, id
I PRAY thee, by the gods above, nescit.
Give me the mighty bowl I love, Longepierre was a good critic; but perhaps And let me sing, in wild delight, the line which he has selected is a specimen of a carelessness not very commendable. At the
“I will — I will be mad to-night! same time I confess that none of the Latin poets Alcmæon once, as legends tell, have ever appeared to me so capable of imitating the graces of Anacreon as Catullus, if he had not
Was frenzied by the fiends of hell; allowed a depraved imagination to hurry him so
Orestes, too, with naked tread, often into mere vulgar licentiousness.
Frantic paced the mountain-head; 1 That still as death approaches nearer, The joys of life are sweeter, dearer;
Cornelius de Pauw pronounces the whole ode to Pontanus has a very delicate thought upon the
be the spurious production of some lascivious
monk, who was nursing his buard with unguents. subject of old age :
But he should have known that this was an Quid rides, Matrona ? senem quid temnis ancient eastern custom, which, if we may believe amantem?
Savary, still exists : " Vous voyez, Monsieur Quisquis amat nullà est conditione senex. (says this traveller), que l'usage antique de se Why do
you scorn my want of youth, parfumer la tête et la barbe, * célébré par le And with a smile my brow behold?
prophète Roi, subsiste encore de nos jours." Lady dear! believe this truth,
Lettre 12. Savary likewise cites this very ode of That he who loves cannot be old.
Anacreon. Angerianus has not thought the idea 2 “The German poet Lessing has imitated
inconsistent, having introduced it in the following
lines: this ode. Vol. i. p. 24." — Degen; “Gail de Editionibus."
Hæc mihi cura, rosis et cingere tempora myrto, Baxter conjectures that this was written upon
Et curas multo delapidare mero. the occasion of our poet's returning the nioney to
Hæc mihi cura, comas et barbam tingere succo Polycrates, according to the anecdote in Stobæus. Assyrio et dulces continuare jocos. 3 I care not for the idle state
This be my care, to wreath my brow with flowers,
To drench my sorrows in the ample bowl;
pour rich perfume o'er my beard in showers, “There is a fragment of Archilochus in Plu
And give full loose to mirth and joy of soul ! tarch, ‘De tranquillitate animi,' which our poet has very closely imitated here; it begins,
5 The poet is here in a frenzy of enjoyment,
and it is, indeed, “amabilis insania ;”. Ού μοι τα Γύγεω του πολυχρυσού μέλει.”
Furor di poesia, In one of the monkish imitators of Anacreon
Di lascivia, e di vino, we find the same thought:
Bacco, A pollo, et Amore.
Ritratti del Cavalier Marino.
This is truly, as Scaliger expresses it, 4 Be mine the rich perfumes that flow,
et sapidum furere furorem. In the original, μύροισι καταβρέχειν υπήνην. * “ Sicut unguentum in capite quod descendit On account of this idea of perfuming the beard, in barbam Aaronis.” – Psaume 133.
And why? a murdered mother's shade When a dream came o'er my mind,
Just when I was nearly blest,
“Tell me, gentle youth, I pray thee, Alcides self, in days of yore, Imbrued his hands in youthful gore,
What in purchase shall I pay thee
For this little waxen toy, And brandished, with a maniac joy,
Image of the Paphian boy?” The quiver of the expiring boy:
Thus I said, the other day, And Ajax, with tremendous shield,
To a youth who past my way: Infuriate scoured the guiltless field.
“Sir,” (he answered, and the while But I, whose hands no weapon ask, Answered all in Doric style,) No armor but this joyous flask;
“Take it, for a trifle take it; The trophy of whose frantic hours
’T was not I who dared to make it; Is but a scattered wreath of flowers,
No, believe me, 't was not I; Ev’n I can sing with wild delight, Oh, it has cost me many a sigh, “I will - I will be mad to-night!” And I can no longer keep
Little gods, who murder sleep!
“Here, then, here,” (I said with joy,) How am I to punish thee,
“ Here is silver for the boy: For the wrong thou 'st done to me, He shall be my bosom guest, Silly swallow, prating thing 2 —
Idol of my pious breast!”
Now, young Love, I have thee mine, (So the fabled tale is told,)
Warm me with that torch of thine; Shall I tear that tongue away,
Make me feel as I have felt, Tongue that uttered such a lay?
Or thy waxen frame shall melt: Ah, how thoughtless hast thou been!
I must burn with warm desire, Long before the dawn was seen,
Or thou, my boy
in yonder fire. 6 1 This ode is addressed to a swallow. I find
ODE XII. from Degen and from Gail's index, that the German poet Weisse has imitated it, Sherz. Lied They tell how Atys, wild with love, er.” lib. ii. carm. 5:; that Ramler also has Roams the mount and haunted grove; " imitated it, “ Lyr. Blumenlese,” lib. iv. p. 335;; and some others. See “Gail de Editionibus.
4 It is difficult to preserve with any grace the We are here referred by Degen to that dull narrative simplicity of this ode, and the humor book, " The Epistles of Alciphron," tenth epis of the turn with which it concludes. I feel, intle, third book; where lophon complains to deed, that the translation must appear vapid, if Eraston of being wakened by the crowing of not ludicrous, to an English reader. a cock, from his vision of riches.
5 And I can no longer keep 2 Silly swallow, prating thing, etc.
Little gods, who murder sleep! The loquacity of the swallow was proverbial I have not literally rendered the epithet travized; thus Nicostratus : -
Tóperta; if it has any meaning here, it is ane, Εί το συνεχώς και πολλα και ταχέως λαλείν
perhaps, better omitted. ήν του φρονείν παράσημον, αι χελιδόνες
6 I must burn with warm desire, ελέγοντ’ αν ημών σωφρονέστεραι πολύ.
Or thou, my boy — in yonder fire. If in prating from morning till night,
From this Longepierre conjectures, that, whatA sign of our wisdom there be,
ever Anacreon might say, he felt sometimes the The swallows are wiser by right,
inconveniences of old age, and here solicits from For they prattle much faster than we. the power of Love a warmth which he could no 3 Or, as Tereus did, of old, etc.
longer expect from Nature. Modern poetry has confirmed the name of
7 They tell how Atys, wild with love, Philomel upon the nightingale ; but many re
Roams the mount and haunted grove. spectable authorities among the ancients assigned There are many contradictory stories of the this metamorphose to Progne, and made Philo loves of Cybele and Atys. It is certain that he mel the swallow, as Anacreon does here.
was mutilated, but whether by his own fury, or
ODES OF ANACREON.
Cybele's name he howls around,
ODE XIII. I will, I will, the conflict's past, And I'll consent to love at last. Cupid has long, with smiling art, Invited me to yield my heart; And I have thought that peace of mind Should not be for a smile resigned; And so repelled the tender lure, And hoped my heart would sleep se
I took to arms, undaunted, too;4
4 And what did I unthinking do?
I took to arms, undaunted, too. Longepierre has here quoted an epigram from the Anthologia, in which the poet assumes Reason as the armor against Love. "Ωπλισμαι πρός έρωτα περί στέρνοισι λογισμόν,
ουδέ με νικήσει, μόνος εών προς ένα θνατός δ' αθανάτω συνελεύσομαι' ήν δε βοηθών
Βάκχον έχη, τί μόνος προς δυ’ εγώ δύναμαι ; With Reason I cover my breast as a shield, And fearlessly meet little Love in the field; Thus fighting his godship, I 'll ne'er be dismayed; But if Bacchus should ever advance to his aid, Alas! then, unable to combat the two, Unfortunate warrior, what should I do?
This idea of the irresistibility of Cupid and Bacchus united, is delicately expressed in an Italian poem, which is so truly Anacreontic, that its introduction here may be pardoned. It is an imitation, indeed, of our poet's sixth ode.
Lavossi A more in quel vicino fiume
Sarei, piu che non sono ebro d' A more.
T was not a cooling, crystal draught,
He shot himself into my heart ! Dryden has parodied this thought in the following extravagant lines:
I'm all o'er Love;
But, slighted in his boasted charms, The angry infant flew to arms; He slung his quiver's golden frame, He took his bow, his shafts of flame, And proudly summoned me to yield, Or meet him on the martial field. And what did I unthinking do?
Cybele's jealousy, is a point upon which authors are not agreed.
1 Cybele's name he howls around, etc. I have here adopted the accentuation which Elias Andreas gives to Cybele:
In montibus Cybèlen
magno sonans boatu. 2 Oft too, by Claros' hallowed spring, etc.
This fountain was in a grove, consecrated to Apollo, and situated between Colophon and Lebedos, in Ionia. The god had an oracle there. Scaliger thus alludes to it in his Anacreontica :
Semel ut concitus æstro,
quo plus canunt, plura volunt.
3 While floating odors, etc. Spaletti has quite mistaken the import of Kopeo eis, as applied to the poet's mistress —"Meâ fatigatus amicâ; " -- thus interpreting it in a sense which must want either delicacy or gallantry; if not, perhaps, both.
Received the God, and died away.
ODE XIV.1 Count me, on the summer trees, Every leaf that courts the breeze ; 2
1 The poet, in this catalogue of his mistresses, means nothing more, than, by a lively hyperbole, to inform us, that his heart, unfettered by any one object, was warm with devotion towards the sex in general. Cowley is indebted to this ode for the hint of his ballad, called “The Chronicle;” and the learned Menage has imitated it in a Greek Anacreontic, which has so much ease and spirit, that the reader may not be displeased at seeing it here :
ΠΡΟΣ ΒΙΩΝΑ. .
έγωγε μη δυναίμην. .
Every leaf, etc.
Count me, on the foamy deep,
This figure is called, by rhetoricians, the Impossible (adúvatov), and is very frequently made use of in poetry. The amatory writers have exhausted a world of imagery by it, to express the infinite number of kisses which they require from the lips of their mistresses : in this Catullus led the way:
Quam sidera multa, cum tacet nox,
Where such countless wantons rove, etc. Corinth was very famous for the beauty and number of its courtesans. Venus was the deity principally worshipped by the people, and their constant prayer was, that the gods should increase the number of her worshippers. We may perceive from the application of the verb kopevOláselv, in Aristophanes, that the lubricity of the Corinthians had become proverbial.
4 There, indeed, are nymphs divine,
Dangerous to a soul like mine! “With justice has the poet attributed beauty to the women of Greece." -- DEGEN.
M. de Pauw, the author of “Dissertations upon the Greeks,” is of a different opinion; he thinks, that by a capricious partiality of nature, the other sex had all the beauty; and by this supposition endeavors to account for a very singular depravation of instinct among that people.
Many in Ionia smile;
ODE XV.2 . Tell me, why, my sweetest dove, Thus your humid pinions move, Shedding through the air in showers Essence of the balmiest flowers ? Tell me whither, whence you rove, Tell me all, my sweetest dove.
Curious stranger, I belong
Soon, my bird, I 'll set you free:”
Led by what chart, transports the timid dove The wreaths of conquest, or the vows of love? See the poem.
Daniel Heimsius, in speaking of Dousa, who adopted this method at the siege of Leyden, expresses a similar sentiment. Quo patriæ non tendit amor? Mandata referre postquam hominem nequiit mittere, misit avem.
Fuller tells us that, at the siege of Jerusalem, the Christians intercepted a letter, tied to the legs of a dove, in which the Persian Emperor promised assistance to the besieged. –
Holy War," cap. 24. book i.
3 She, whose eye has maddened many, etc.
For Túpavvov, in the original, Zeune and Schneider conjecture that we should read tupav.. vov, in allusion to the strong influence which this object of his love held over the mind of Polycrates. See DEGEN.
4 Venus, for a hymn of love,
Warbled in her votive grove, etc. “ This passage is invaluable, and I do not think that anything so beautiful or so delicate has ever been said. What an idea does it give of the poetry of the man, from whom Venus herself, the mother of the Graces and the Pleasures, purchases a little hymn with one of her favorite doves! --LONGEPIERRE.
De Pauw objects to the authenticity of this ode, because it makes Anacreon his own panegyrist; but poets have a license for praising themselves, which, with some indeed, may be considered as comprised under their general privilege of fiction.
1 Gades' warm, desiring train. The Gaditanian girls were like the Baladières of India, whose dances are thus described by a French author: “Les danses sont presque toutes des pantomimes d'amour ; le plan, le dessein, les attitudes, les mesures, les sons et les cadences de ces ballets, tout respire cette passion et en exprime les voluptés et les fureurs." —“Histoire du Commerce des Europ. dans les deux Indes." RAYNAL.
The music of the Gaditanian females had all the voluptuous character of their dancing, as appears from Martial : Cantica qui Nili, qui Gaditana susurrat.
Lib. iii. epig. 63. Lodovico Ariosto had this ode of our bard in his mind, when he wrote his poem “ De diversis amoribus." See the “ Anthologia Italorum.”
2 The dove of Anacreon, bearing a letter from the poet to his mistress, is met by a stranger, with whom this dialogue is imagined.
The ancients made use of letter-carrying pigeons, when they went any distance from home, as the most certain means of conveying intelligence back. That tender domestic attachment which attracts this delicate little bird through every danger and difficulty till it settles in its native nest, affords to the author of “The