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But oh, it is the worst of pain,
ODE XXX.1 ’T was in a mocking dream of nightI fancied I had wings as light As a young bird's, and flew as fleet; While Love, around whose beauteous feet, I knew not why, hung chains of lead, Pursued me, as I trembling fled; And, strange to say, as swift as thought, Spite of my pinions, I was caught ! What does the wanton Fancy mean By such a strange, illusive scene?
fear she whispers to my breast, That you, sweet maid, have stolen its rest; That though my fancy, for a while, Hath hung on many a woman's smile, I soon dissolved each passing vow, And ne'er was caught by love till now!
Cupid bade me wing my pace,
carpebam, et somno lumina victa dabam; cum me sævus Amor prensum, sursumque capillis
excitat, et lacerum pervigilare jubet. tu famulus meus, inquit, ames
cum mille puellas, solus lo, solus, dure jacere potes? exilio et pedibus nudis, tunicaque soluta,.
omne iter impedio, nullum iter expedio. nunc propero, nunc ire piget; rursumque redire
pænitet ; et pudor est stare via media. ecce tacent voces hominum, strepitusque fera
rum, et volucrum cantus, turbaque fida canum. solus ego ex cunctis paveo somnumque torumque,
et sequor imperium, sæve Cupido, tuum. Upon my couch I lay, at night profound, My languid eyes in magic slumber bound, When Cupid came and snatched me from my bed, And forced me many a weary way to tread. “What! (said the god) shall you, whose vows are
known, Who love so many nymphs, thus sleep alone?” I rise and follow ; all the night I stray, Unsheltered, trembling, doubtful of my way; Tracing with naked foot the painful track, Loth to proceed, yet fearful to go back. Yes, at that hour, when Nature seems interred, Nor warbling birds, nor lowing flocks are heard, 1, I alone, a fugitive from rest, Passion my guide, and madness in my breast, Wander the world around, unknowing where, The slave of love, the victim of despair !
3 Till my brow dropt with chilly dew.
I have followed those who read τειρεν ιδρώς for treipev ü&pos; the former is partly authorized by the MS. which reads πείρεν ιδρώς.
4 And now my soul, exhausted, dying,
To my lip was faintly flying; etc. In the original, he says, his heart flew to his nose; but our manner more naturally transfers it to the lips. Such is the effect that Plato tells us he felt from a kiss, in a distich quoted by Aulus Gellius:-την ψυχήν, Αγαθώνα φιλών, επί χείλεσιν έσχον. ήλθε γάρ ή τλήμων ως διαβησομένη. Whene'er thy nectared kiss I sip,
And drink thy breath, in trance divine,
Ready to fly and mix with thine. Aulus Gellius subjoins a paraphrase of this epigram, in which we find a number of those mignardises of expression, which mark the effemination of the Latin language.
This shall be my only curse,
Of the smile from lips we love! 1 Barnes imagines from this allegory, that our poet married very late in life. But I see nothing in the ode which alludes to matrimony, except it be the lead upon the feet of Cupid ; and I agree in the opinion of Madame Dacier, in her life of che poet, that he was always too fond of pleasure to marry.
2 The design of this little fiction is to intimate, that much greater pain attends insensibility than
ODES OF ANACREON.
And now I thought the spark had fled,
ODE XXXII.2 Strew me a fragrant bed of leaves, Where lotus with the myrtle weaves; And while in luxury's dream I sink, Let me the balm of Bacchus drink! In this sweet hour of revelry Young Love shall my attendant be Drest for the task, with tunic round His snowy neck and shoulders bound, Himself shall hover by my side, And minister the racy tide!
Affect the still, cold sense of death?
Oh, swift as wheels that kindling roll, Our life is hurrying to the goal: A scanty dust, to feed the wind, Is all the trace 't will leave behind. Then wherefore waste the rose's bloom Upon the cold, insensate tomb? Can flowery breeze, or odor's breath,
ODE XXXIII.3 ’T was noon of night, when round the
pole The sullen Bear is seen to roll; And mortals, wearied with the day, Are slumbering all their cares away: An infant, at that dreary hour, Came weeping to my silent bower, And waked me with a piteous prayer, To shield him from the midnight air. “ And who art thou,” I waking cry, “ That bid'st my blissful visions fly?" 4
Ah, gentle sire!” the infant said,
I heard the baby's tale of woe; I heard the bitter night-winds blow; And sighing for his piteous fate, I trimmed my lamp and oped the gate.
1 And fanning light his breezy pinion,
Rescued my soul from death's dominion. “The facility with which Cupid recovers him, signifies that the sweets of love make us easily
, forget any solicitudes which he may occasion. -LA FOSSE.
2 We here have the poet, in his true attributes, reclining upon myrtles, with Cupid for his cup-bearer. Some interpreters have ruined the picture by making'Epws the name of his slave. None but Love should fill the goblet of Anacreon. Sappho, in one of her fragments, has assigned this office to Venus. 'Edè, Kúpe, χρυσείαισιν εν κυλίκεσσιν αβρούς συμμεμιγμέγον θαλίαισι νέκταρ οινοχούσα τούτοισι τοις ταίροις έμοίς γε και σοίς. Which may be thus paraphrased:
Hither, Venus, queen of kisses,
Compare with this ode (says the German commentator] the beautiful poem in Ramler's * Lyr. Blumenlese,' lib. iv. p. 296., ‘Amor als Diener.""
3 M. Bernard, the author of “L'Art d'aimer,' has written a ballet called “Les Surprises de l'Amour,”' in which the subject of the third entrée is Anacreon, and the story of this ode suggests one of the scenes. — (Euvres de Bernard, Anac. scene 4.
The German annotator refers us here to an imitation by Uz, lib. iii., “ Amor und sein Bruder; ” and a poem of Kleist,“ Die Heilung.”
La Fontaine has translated, or rather imitated, this ode. 4“ And who art thou," I waking cry, That bid'st
my blissful visions fly?” Anacreon appears to have been a voluptuary even in dreaming, by the lively regi which he expresses at being disturbed from his visionary enjoyments. See the Odes x. and xxxvii.
'T was Love! the little wandering sprite,
And now the embers' genial ray Had warmed his anxious fears away; “I pray thee,” said the wanton child, (My bosom trembled as he smiled,) "I pray thee let me try my bow, For through the rain I've wandered so, That much I fear the midnight shower Has injured its elastic power." The fatal bow the urchin drew; Swift from the string the arrow flew; As swiftly flew as glancing flame, And to my inmost spirit came ! “Fare thee well,” I heard him say, As laughing wild he winged away; “Fare thee well, for now I know The rain has not relaxt my bow; It still can send a thrilling dart, As thou shalt own with all thy heart!”
And chirp thy song with such a glee,3
ODE XXXIV.2 Oh thou, of all creation blest, Sweet insect, that delight'st to rest Upon the wild wood's leafy tops, To drink the dew that morning drops,
1 'T was Love! the little wandering sprite, etc.
See the beautiful description of Cupid, by Moschus, in his first idyl.
2 In a Latin ode addressed to the grasshopper, Rapin has preserved some of the thoughts of our author:
O quæ virenti graminis in toro,
saltus oberras, otiosos
ingeniosa ciere cantus.
thou lyest on springing fowers,
See what Licetus says about grasshoppers, cap. 93. and 185.
Unworn by age's dim decline, The fadeless blooms of youth are thine. Melodious insect, child of earth, In wisdom mirthful, wise in mirth; Exempt from every weak decay, That withers vulgar frames away;
3 And chirp thy song with such a glee, etc.
“Some authors have affirmed (says Madame Dacier), that it is only male grasshoppers which sing, and that the females are silent; and on this circumstance is founded a bon-mot of Xenarchus, the comic poet, who says, eit' eioiv oi τέττιγες ούκ ευδαίμονες, ών ταις γυναιξίν ουδ' ότι ούν φωνής ενί; are not the grasshoppers happy in having dumb wives ? ? » This note is originally Henry Stephen's; but I choose rather to make a lady my authority for it.
4 The Muses love thy shrilly tone; etc.
Phile, de Animal. Proprietat. calls this insect Movoais pidos, the darling of the Muses; and Movowv õpruv, the bird of the Muses; and we find Plato compared for his eloquence to the grasshopper, in the following punning lines of Timon, preserved by Diogenes Laertius :των πάντων δ' ηγείτο πλατύστατος, αλλ' άγορήτης
ήδυέπης τέττιξιν ισόγραφος, οι θ’ Εκαδήμου δένδρει έφεζόμενοι όπα λειριόεσσαν ιείσι.
This last line is borrowed from Homer's Iliad, 7, where there occurs the very same simile.
5 Melodious insect, child of earth. Longepierre has quoted the two first lines of an epigram of Antipater, from the first book of the " Anthologia," where he prefers the grasshopper to the swan : αρκεί τέττιγας μεθύσαι δροσος, αλλά πίοντες αείδειν κυκνων εισί γεγονότεροι. . In dew, that drops from morning's wings,
The gay Cicada sipping floats ;
Sweeter than any cygnet's notes.
With not a drop of blood to stain
Within the leaves a slumbering bee;
1 Theocritus has imitated this beautiful ode in his nineteenth idyl ; but is very inferior, I think, to his original, in delicacy of point and naïveté of expression. Spenser, in one of his smaller compositions, has sported more diffusely on the same subject. The poem to which allude, begins thus:Upon a day, as Love lay sweetly slumbering
All in his mother's lap; A gentle bee, with his loud trumpet murmuring,
About him flew by hap, etc.
In Almeloveen's collection of epigrams, there is one by Luxorius, correspondent somewhat with the turn of Anacreon, where Love complains to his mother of being wounded by a rose.
The ode before us is the very flower of simplicity. The infantine complainings of the little god, and the natural and impressive reflections which they draw from Venus, are beauties of inimitable grace.
I may be pardoned, perhaps, for introducing here another of Menage's Anacreontics, not for its similitude to the subject of this ode, but for some faint traces of the same natural simplicity, which it appears to me to have preserved:
"Έρως ποτ' εν χορείαις
και οι βλέποντες οξύ. .
ODE XXXVI.2 IF hoarded gold possest the power To lengthen life's too fleeting hour, And purchase from the hand of death A little span, a moment's breath, How I would love the precious ore ! And every hour should swell my store; That when Death came, with shadowy
pinion, To waft me to his bleak dominion, I might, by bribes, my doom delay, And bid him call some distant day. But, since, not all earth's golden store Can buy for us one bright hour more,
“Be not ashamed, my boy," I cried, For I was lingering by his side ; “ Corinna and thy lovely mother, Believe me, are so like each other, That clearest eyes are oft betrayed, And take thy Venus for the maid.' Zitto, in his “ Cappriciosi Pensieri,” has given a translation of this ode of Anacreon.
2 Fontenelle has translated this ode, in his dialogue between Anacreon and Aristotle in the shades, where, on weighing the merits of both these personages, he bestows the prize of wisdom upon the poet.
“ The German imitators of this ode are, Lessing, in his
Gestern Brüder,' etc. ; Gleim, in the ode, * An den Tod;'and Schmidt, in ‘Der Poet.' Blumenl., Gotting. 1783, p. 7." — DEGEN. 3 That when Death came, with shadowy pinion, To waft me to his bleak dominion, etc.
The commentators, who are so fond of disputing de lanâ caprinâ, have been very busy on the authority of the plhrase ιν' αν θανείν επέλθη. The reading of ίν' άν Θάνατος επέλθη, which De Medenbach proposes in his “ Amanitates Literariæ,” was already hinted by Le Fèvre, who seldom suggests any thing worth notice.
Why should we vainly mourn our fate,
Saw me chasing, free and wild,
Again, sweet sleep, that scene restore, Oh! let me dream it o'er and o'er!"4
ODE XXXVII.2 'T WAS night, and many a circling bowl Had deeply warmed my thirsty soul; As lulled in slumber I was laid, Bright visions o'er my fancy played. With maidens, blooming as the dawn, I seemed to skim the opening lawn; Light, on tiptoe bathed in dew, We flew, and sported as we flew !
ODE XXXVIII.5 Let us drain the nectared bowl, Let us raise the song of soul To him, the god who loves so well The nectared bowl, the choral swell; The god who taught the sons of earth To thrid the tangled dance of mirth; Him, who was nurst with infant Love, And cradled in the Paphian grove; Him, that the snowy Queen of Charms So oft has fondled in her arms.6
Some ruddy striplings, who lookt on With cheeks, that like the wine-god's
1 The goblet rich, the board of friends,
Whose social souls the goblet blends. This communion of friendship, which sweetened the bowl of Anacreon, has not been forgotten by the author of the following scholium, where the blessings of life are enumerated with proverbial simplicity: -vylaively uèv õplotov ανδρί θνητω. δεύτερον δε, καλόν φυήν γένεσθαι. το τριτον δε, πλουτεϊν άδολώς. και το τέταρτον συνέβαν μετά των φίλων. Of mortal blessing here the first is health, And next those charms by which the eye we
move; The third is wealth, unwounding guiltless wealth, And then, sweet intercourse with those we
love! 2“ Compare with this ode the beautiful poem Der Traum' of Uz." — Degen.
Le Fèvre, in a note upon this ode, enters into an elaborate and learned justification of drunkenness; and this is probably the cause of the severe reprehension which he appears to have suffered for his Anacreon. “Fuit olim fateor (says he in a note upon Longinus), cum Sapphonem amabam. Sed ex quo illa me perditissima fæmina pene miserum perdidit cum sceleratissimo suo congerrone, (Anacreontem dico, si nescis, Lector,) noli sperare," etc, He adduces on this ode the authority of Plato, who allowed ebriety, at the Dionysian festivals, to men arrived at their forti
He likewise quotes the following line from Alexis, which he says no one, who is not totally ignorant of the world, can hesitate to confess the truth of:
ουδείς φιλοπότης έστιν άνθρωπος κακός. . “No lover of drinking was ever a vicious man
3 When sudden all my dream of joys,
Blushing nymphs and laughing boys,
All were gone! “Nonnus says of Bacchus, almost in the same words that Anacreon uses, —
έγρόμενος δε παρθένον ουκ εκίχησε, και ήθελεν αυθις ιαύειν.”
Waking, he lost the phantom's charms,
LONGEPIERRE. 4. “Again, sweet sleep, that scene restore,
Oh! let me dream it o'er and o'er!” Doctor Johnson, in his preface to Shakspeare, animadverting upon the commentators of that poet, who pretended, in every little coincidence of thought, to detect an imitation of some ancient poet, alludes in the following words to the line of Anacreon before us: “I have been told that when Caliban, after a pleasing dream, says, 'I cried to sleep again,' the author imitates Anacreon, who had, like any other man, the same wish on the same occasion."
5 “Compare with this beautiful ode to Bacchus the verses of Hagedorn, lib. V., Das Gesellschaftliche;' and of Bürger, p. 51, etc.DEGEN. 6 Him, that the snowy Queen of Charms
So oft has fondled in her arms. Robertellus, upon the epithalamium of Catullus, mentions an ingenious derivation of Cythe