Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

But this I know, and this I feel,
As onward to the tomb I steal,
That still as death approaches nearer,
The joys of life are sweeter, dearer;1
And had I but an hour to live,
That little hour to bliss I'd give.

[ocr errors]

To-day I 'll haste to quaff my wine,
As if to-morrow ne'er would shine;
But if to-morrow comes, why then-
I 'll haste to quaff my wine again.
And thus while all our days are bright,
Nor time has dimmed their bloomy light,
Let us the festal hours beguile
With mantling cup and cordial smile;
And shed from each new bowl of wine
The richest drop on Bacchus' shrine.
For Death may come, with brow un-

pleasant, May come, when least we wish him

present, And beckon to the sable shore, And grimly bid us — drink no more !

"

ODE VIII.2 I CARE not for the idle state Of Persia's king, the rich, the great:3 I envy not the monarch's throne, Nor wish the treasured gold my own. But oh! be mine the rosy wreath, Its freshness o'er my brow to breathe; Be mine the rich perfumes that flow, To cool and scent my locks of snow.4 what he thinks a similar instance of this simplicity of manner: Ipse quis sit, utrum sit, an non sit, id quoque

nescit.

Longepierre was a good critic; but perhaps the line which he has selected is a specimen of a carelessness not very commendable. At the same time I confess that none of the Latin poets have ever appeared to me so capable of imitating the graces of Anacreon as Catullus, if he had not allowed a depraved imagination to hurry him so often into mere vulgar licentiousness.

1 That still as death approaches nearer,

The joys of life are sweeter, dearer;
Pontanus has a very delicate thought upon the
subject of old age:-
Quid rides, Matrona ? senem quid temnis

amantem ?
Quisquis amat nullâ est conditione senex.
Why do you scorn my want of youth,

And with a smile my brow behold?
Lady dear! believe this truth,

That he who loves cannot be old. 2 “The German poet Lessing has imitated this ode. Vol. i. p. 24." - Degen; “Gail de Editionibus."

Baxter conjectures that this was written upon the occasion of our poet's returning the noney to Polycrates, according to the anecdote in Stobæus.

3 I care not for the idle state

Of Persia's king, etc. “There is a fragment of Archilochus in Plutarch, ' De tranquillitate animi,' which our poet has very closely imitated here; it begins, Ού μοι τα Γύγεω του πολυχρυσού μέλει.”

BARNES. In one of the monkish imitators of Anacreon we find the same thought:

Ψυχήν έμήν έρωτώ,
τί σοι θέλεις γένεσθαι;

Θέλεις Γύγεω τα και τα ;
4 Be mine the rich perfumes that flow,

To cool and scent my locks of snow.
In the original, μύροισι καταβρέχειν υπήνην.
On account of this idea of perfuming the beard,

ODE IX.5 I PRAY thee, by the gods above, Give me the mighty bowl I love, And let me sing, in wild delight, “ I will — I will be mad to-night!" Alcmæon once, as legends tell, Was frenzied by the fiends of hell; Orestes, too, with naked tread, Frantic paced the mountain-head; Cornelius de Pauw pronounces the whole ode to be the spurious production of some lascivious monk, who was nursing his bard with unguents. But he should have known that this was an ancient eastern custom, which, if we may believe Savary, still exists : Vous voyez, Monsieur (says this traveller), que l'usage antique de se parfumer la tête et la barbe,* célébré par le prophète Roi, subsiste encore de nos jours.Lettre 12. Savary likewise cites this very ode of Anacreon. Angerianus has not thought the idea inconsistent, having introduced it in the following lines:Hæc mihi cura, rosis et cingere tempora myrto,

Et curas multo delapidare mero. Hæc mihi cura, comas et barbam tingere succo

Assyrio et dulces continuare jocos. This be my care, to wreath my brow with flowers,

To drench my sorrows in the ample bowl; To pour rich perfume o'er my beard in showers, And give full loose to mirth and joy of soul !

5 The poet is here in a frenzy of enjoyment, and it is, indeed, amabilis insania ;

Furor di poesia,
Di lascivia, e di vino,
Triplicato furore,
Bacco, A pollo, et Amore.

Ritratti del Cavalier Marino.
This is truly, as Scaliger expresses it,

Insanire dulce et sapidum furere furorem. * Sicut unguentum in capite quod descendit in barbam Aaronis."

- Psaume 133.

And why? a murdered mother's shade
Haunted them still where'er they strayed.
But ne'er could I a murderer be,
The grape alone shall bleed for me;
Yet can I shout, with wild delight,
“I will — I will be mad to-night.”

Alcides' self, in days of yore,
Imbrued his hands in youthful gore,
And brandished, with a maniac joy,
The quiver of the expiring boy:
And Ajax, with tremendous shield,
Infuriate scoured the guiltless field.
But I, whose hands no weapon ask,
No armor but this joyous flask;
The trophy of whose frantic hours
Is but a scattered wreath of flowers,
Ev'n I can sing with wild delight,
“I will — I will be mad to-night!”

When a dream came o'er my mind,
Picturing her I worship, kind,
Just when I was nearly blest,
Loud thy matins broke my rest !

ODE XI.4
“Tell me, gentle youth, I pray

thee, What in purchase shall I pay

thee For this little waxen toy, Image of the Paphian boy?Thus I said, the other day, To a youth who past my way: “Sir,” (he answered, and the while Answered all in Doric style,) “ Take it, for a trifle take it; 'T was not I who dared to make it; No, believe me, 't was not I; Oh, it has cost me many a sigh, And I can no longer keep Little gods, who murder sleep! “Here, then, here,” (I said with joy,) “ Here is silver for the boy: He shall be my bosom guest, Idol of my pious breast!”

Now, young Love, I have thee mine, Warm me with that torch of thine; Make me feel as I have felt, Or thy waxen frame shall melt: I must burn with warm desire, Or thou, my boy

- in yonder fire.6

[ocr errors]

er.

[ocr errors]

ODE X.1
How am I to punish thee,
For the wrong thou 'st done to me,
Silly swallow, prating thing 2 —
Shall I clip that wheeling wing ?
Or, as Tereus did, of old, 3
(So the fabled tale is told,)
Shall I tear that tongue away,
Tongue that uttered such a lay?
Ah, how thoughtless hast thou been!
Long before the dawn was seen,

1 This ode is addressed to a swallow. I find from Degen and from Gail's index, that the German poet Weisse has imitated it," Sherz. Lied

lib. ii. carm. 5.; that Ramler also has imitated it, “ Lyr. Blumenlese,” lib. iv. p. 335;; and some others. See “ Gail de Editionibus.

We are here referred by Degen to that dull book, " The Epistles of Alciphron,” tenth epistle, third book; where Iophon complains to Eraston of being wakened by the crowing of a cock, from his vision of riches.

2 Silly swallow, prating thing, etc. The loquacity of the swallow was proverbialized; thus Nicostratus :

Εί το συνεχώς και πολλα και ταχέως λαλείν
ήν του φρονείν παράσημον, αι χελιδόνες
ελέγονταν ημών σωφρονέστεραι πολύ.
If in prating from morning till night,

A sign of our wisdom there be,
The swallows are wiser by right,.
For they prattle much faster than we.

3 Or, as Tereus did, of old, etc. Modern poetry has confirmed the name of Philomel upon the nightingale ; but many respectable authorities among the ancients assigned this metamorphose to Progne, and made Philomel the swallow, as Anacreon does here.

ODE XII.
They tell how Atys, wild with love,
Roams the mount and haunted grove;

7 4 It is difficult to preserve with any grace the narrative simplicity of this ode, and the humor of the turn with which it concludes. I feel, indeed, that the translation must appear vapid, if not ludicrous, to an English reader.

5 And I can no longer keep

Little gods, who murder sleep! I have not literally rendered the epithet navTópekta; if it has any meaning here, it is one, perhaps, better omitted.

6 I must burn with warm desire,

Or thou, my boy --- in yonder fire. From this Longepierre conjectures, that, whatever Anacreon might say, he felt sometimes the inconveniences of old age, and here solicits from the power of Love a warmth which he could nolonger expect from Nature. 7 They tell how Atys, wild with love,

Roams the mount and haunted grove. There are many contradictory stories of the loves of Cybele and Atys. It is certain that he was mutilated, but whether by his own fury, or

Cybele's name he howls around, 1
The gloomy blast returns the sound !
Oft too, by Claros' hallowed spring, 2
The votaries of the laurelled king
Quaff the inspiring, magic stream,
And rave in wild, prophetic dream.
But frenzied dreams are not for me,
Great Bacchus is my deity!
Full of mirth, and full of him,
While floating odors round me swim,3
While mantling bowls are full supplied,
And you sit blushing by my side,
I will be mad and raving too
Mad, my girl, with love for you!

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

cure.

an

I took to arms, undaunted, too;4
Assumed the corslet, shield, and spear,
And, like Pelides, smiled at fear.
Then (hear it, all ye powers above !)
I fought with Love! I fought with Love !
And now his arrows all were shed,
And I had just in terror fled-
When, heaving an indignant sigh,
To see me thus unwounded fly,
And, having now no other dart,
He shot himself into my heart ! 6
My heart — alas the luckless day!

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 προς έρωτα περί στέρνοισι λογισμόν,

ουδέ με νικήσει, μόνος εών προς ένα θνατος δ' αθανάτω συνελεύσομαι: ήν δε βοηθόν

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 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
Ove giuro (Pastor) che bevend io
Bevei le fiamme, anzi l'istesso Dio,
Ch'or con l'humide piume
Lascivetto mi scherza al cor intorno.
Ma che sarei s'io lo bevessi un giorno,
Bacco, nel tuo liquore ?

Sarei, piu che non sono ebro d'Amore.
The urchin of the bow and quiver
Was bathing in a neighboring river,
Where, as I drank on yester-eve,
(Shepherd-youth, the tale believe,)
'T was not a cooling, crystal draught,
'T was liquid flame I madly quaffed;
For Love was in the rippling tide,
I felt him to my bosom glide;
And now the wily, wanton minion
Plays round my heart with restless pinion.
A day it was of fatal star,
But ah, 't were even more fatal far,
If, Bacchus, in thy cup of fire,
I found this fluttering, young desire :
Then, then indeed my soul would prove,
Ev'n more than ever, drunk with love !
5 And, having now no other dart,

He shot himself into my heart ! Dryden has parodied this thought in the following extravagant lines:

I'm all o'er Love; Nay, I am Love, Love shot, and shot so fast, He shot himself into my breast at last.

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,
veluti qui Clarias aquas
ebibere loquaces,

quo plus canunt, plura volunt.

3 While floating odors, etc. Spaletti has quite mistaken the import of Koperteis, as applied to the poet's mistress - "Meâ fatigatus amicân; " -- thus interpreting it in a sense which must want either delicacy or gallantry; if not, perhaps, both.

[blocks in formation]

3

Count me, on the foamy deep,
Every wave that sinks to sleep;
Then, when you have numbered these
Billowy tides and leafy trees,
Count me all the flames I prove,
All the gentle nymphs I love.
First, of pure Athenian maids
Sporting in their olive shades,
You may reckon just a score,
Nay, I 'll grant you fifteen more.
In the famed Corinthian grove,
Where such countless wantons rove, 3
Chains of beauties may be found,
Chains, by which my heart is bound;
There, indeed, are nymphs divine,
Dangerous to a soul like minė.4
Many bloom in Lesbos' isle;

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,
furtivos hominum vident amores;
tam te basia multa basiare
vesano satis, et super, Catullo est :
quæ nec pernumerare curiosi
possint, nec mala fascinare lingua.

Carm. 7.

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.
Εί άλσέων τα φύλλα,
λειμωνίους τε ποίας,
εί νυκτός άστρα πάντα,
παρακτίους τε ψάμμους,
αλός τε κυματώδη,
δύνη, Βίων, αριθμείν,
και τους έμούς έρωτας
δύνη, Βίων, αριθμείν.
κόρην, γυναίκα, χήραν,
σμικρήν, μήσης, μεγίστην,
λευκήν τε και μέλαιναν,
ορειάδας, ναπαίας,
νηρηίδας τε πάσας
ο σός φίλος φίλησε.
Πάντων κόρος μέν έστιν.
αυτην νέων Ερώτων,
δέσποιναν 'Αφροδίτην,
χρυσήν, καλήν, γλυκείαν,
εράσμιαν, ποθεινήν,
αεί μόνην φιλήσαι

έγωγε μη δυναίμην.
Tell the foliage of the woods,
Tell the billows of the floods,
Number midnight's starry store,
And the sands that crowd the shore,
Then, my Bion, thou mayst count
Of my loves the vast amount.
I've been loving, all my days,
Many nymphs, in many ways;
Virgin, widow, maid, and wife -
I've been doting all my life.
Naiads, Nereids, nymphs of fountains,
Goddesses of groves and mountains,
Fair and sable, great and small,
Yes, I swear I've loved them all!
Soon was every passion over,
I was but the moment's lover;
Oh! I'm such a roving elf,
That the Queen of Love herself,
Though she practised all her wiles,
Rosy blushes, wreathed smiles,
All her beauty's proud endeavor
Could not chain my heart for ever.
2 Count me, on the summer trees,

Every leaf, etc.

As many stellar eyes of light,
As through the silent waste of night,
Gazing upon this world of shade,
Witness some secret youth and maid,
Who fair as thou, and fond as I,
In stolen joys enamoured lie, -
So many kisses, ere I slumber,
Upon those dew-bright lips I'll number;
So many kisses we shall count,
Envy can never tell the amount.
No tongue shall blab the sum, but mine;
No lips shall fascinate, but thine!
3 In the famed Corinthian grove,

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 kopiOláselv, 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;
Rhodes a pretty swarm can boast;
Caria too contains a host.
Sum them all — of brown and fair
You may count two thousand there.
What, you stare? I pray you, peace!
More I 'll find before I cease.
Have I told you all my flames,
'Mong the amorous Syrian dames?
Have I numbered every one,
Glowing under Egypt's sun?
Or the nymphs, who blushing sweet
Deck the shrine of Love in Crete;
Where the God, with festal play,
Holds eternal holiday?
Still in clusters, still remain
Gades' warm, desiring train;
Still there lies a myriad more
On the sable India's shore;
These, and many far removed,
All are loving — all are loved !

1

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

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
To the bard of Teian song;
With his mandate now I fly
To the nymph of azure eye;
She, whose eye has maddened many 3
But the poet more than any.
Venus, for a hymn of love,
Warbled

ner votive grove, 4
('T was in sooth a gentle lay,)
Gave me to the bard away.
See me now his faithful minion, -
Thus with softly-gliding pinion,
To his lovely girl I bear
Songs of passion through the air.
Oft he blandly whispers me,
“Soon, my bird, I 'll set you free.”
But in vain he 'll bid me fly,
I shall serve him till I die.
Never could my plumes sustain
Ruffling winds and chilling rain,
O’er the plains, or in the dell,
On the mountain's savage swell,
Seeking in the desert wood
Gloomy shelter, rustic food.
Pleasures of Memory a fine and interesting ex-
emplification of his subject.

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 refurre 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 tupov 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

« PoprzedniaDalej »