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But this I know, and this I feel,
To-day I 'll haste to quaff my wine,
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
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;
And with a smile my brow behold?
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,
Θέλεις Γύγεω τα και τα ;
To cool and scent my locks of snow.
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,
Ritratti del Cavalier Marino.
Insanire dulce et sapidum furere furorem. * “ Sicut unguentum in capite quod descendit in barbam Aaronis."
- Psaume 133.
And why? a murdered mother's shade
Alcides' self, in days of yore,
When a dream came o'er my mind,
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
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
A sign of our wisdom there be,
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.
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
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 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
Sarei, piu che non sono ebro d'Amore.
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,
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.
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,
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 :
έγωγε μη δυναίμην.
Every leaf, etc.
As many stellar eyes of light,
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;
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
ner votive grove, 4
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