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Yes, Cupid ! ere my soul retire, | Press from his dank and clinging hair
And now the embers' genial ray
(My bosom trembled as he smiled), ODE XXXIII. 1
I pray thee let nie try my bow,
For through the rain I've waudered so, 'Twas noon of night, when round the That much I fear the ceaseless shower pole
Has injured its elastic power.' The sollen Bear is seen to roll;
The fatal bow the urchin drew , And mortals, wearied with the day, Swift from the string the arrow flew; Are slumbering all their cares away: Oh! swift it flew as glancing flame, An infant, at that dreary hour, And to my very soul it came ! Came weeping to my silent bower, * Fare thee well,' I heard him say, And waked me with a piteous prayer, As laughing wild he winged away ; To save him from the midnight air ! • Fare thee well, for now I know 'And who art thou,' I waking cry, The rain has not relaxed my bow; That bid'st my blissful visions fly?' It still can send a maddening dart, O gentle sire! the infant said, As thou shalt own with all thy heart ! *In pity take me to thy shed; Nor fear deceit : a lonely child I wander o'er the gloomy wild. Chill drops the rain, and not a ray, Tlumes the drear and misty way!
ODE XXXIV.3 I hear the baby's tale of woe; I hear the bitter night-winds blow; On thou, of all creation blest, And, sighing for his piteous fate, Sweet insect ! that delight'st to rest I trimmed my lamp, and oped the gate. Upon the wild wood's leafy tops, 'Twas Love! the little wandering To drink the dew that morning drops, sprite,
And chirp thy song with such a glee, His pinion sparkled through the night! That happiest kings may envy thee ! I knew him by his bow and dart; Whatever decks the velvet field, I knew him by my fluttering heart ! Whate'er the circling seasons yield, I take him in, and fondly raise Whatever buds, whatever blows, The dying embers' cheering blaze; For thee it buds, for thee it grows.
Anacreon appears to have been a volup- Oh thou, that on the grassy bed tuary even in dreaming, by the lively regret Which Nature's vernal hand has spread, which he expresses at being disturbed from Reclinest soft, and turu'st thy song, his visionary enjoyments. See the Odes x. and The dewy herbs and leaves among! vii,
Whether thou liest on springing flowers, * See the beautiful description of Cupid, by
Drunk with the balmy morning-showers, Moschus, in his first idyl.
Or, etc. 3 Father Rapin, in a Latin ode addressed to see what Licetus says about grasshoppers, cap. the grasshopper, has preserved some of the 93 and 185. thoughts of our author :
+ 'Some authors have affirmed (says Madame
Dacier) that it is only male grasshoppers which O quæ virenti graminis in toro,
sing, and that the females are silent; and on this Cicada, blande sidis, et herbidos
circumstance is founded a bon-mot of Xenarchus, Saltas oberras, otiosos
the comic poet, who says, “Are not the grass. Ingeniosa ciere cantus.
hoppers happy in having dumb wives ?". This Seu forte adultis floribus incubas, note is originally Henry Stephens'; but I chose Cæli caducis ebria fletibus, etc.
rather to make Madame Dacier mvauthority for it.
Nor yet art thou the peasant's fear,
Luckless urchin not to see
To Venus quick he runs, he flies ! 'Twas he who gave that voice to thee, Oh mother! I am wounded through "Tis he who tunes thy minstrelsy. I die with pain—in sooth I do! Unworn by age's dim decline,
Stung by some little angry thing, The fadeless blooms of youth are thine. Some serpent on a tiny wingMelodious insect! child of earth !! A bee it was --for once, I know, In wisdom mirthful, wise in mirth; I heard a rustic call it so.' Exempt from every weak decay, Thus he spoke, and she the while That withers vulgar frames away ;
Heard him with a soothing smile; With not a drop of blood to stain Then said, My infant, if so much The current of thy purer vein ;
Thou feel the little wild bee's touch, So blest an age is passed by thee How must the heart, ah, Cupid ! be, Thou seem'st a little deity!
The hapless heart that's stung by thee!
I Longepierre has quoted the two first lines of
The gay Cicada sipping floats;
Sweeter than any cygnet's notes.
All in his mother's lap,
About him flew by hap, etc.
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 ini. mitable grace. I hope I shall be pardoned for inFroducing another Greek Anacreontic of Menage, not for its similitude to the subject of this ode, but for some faint traces of this natural simplicity, which it appears to me to have preserved :
Ερως ποτ' εν χορείαις
Την μοι φιλης Κορινναν
Και οι βλεποντες οξυ.
And take thy Venus for the maid."
As lulled in slumber I was laid, If hoarded gold possessed a power
Bright visions o'er my fancy played ! To lengthen life's too fleeting hour,
With virgins, blooming as the dawn, And purchase from the hand of death
I seemed to trace the opening lawn; A little span, a moment's breath,
Light, on tiptoe bathed in dew, How I would love the precious ore
We tlew, and sported as we flew ! And every day should swell my store;
Some ruddy striplings, young and That when the Fates would send their
With blush of Bacchus on their cheek To waft me off on shadowy pinion,
Saw me trip the flowery wild I might some hours of life obtain,
With dimpled girls, and slily smiled And bribe him back to hell again.
Smiled indeed with wanton glee; But, since we ne'er can charm away
But ah ! 'twas plain they envied me. The mandate of that awful day,
And still I flew-and now I caught Why do we vainly weep at fate,
The panting nymphs, and fondly And sigh for life's uncertain date?
thought The light of gold can ne'er illume
To kiss-when all my dream of joys, The dreary midnight of the tomb !
Dimpled girls and ruddy boys, And why should I then pant for trea- All were gone !.. Alas?' I said, sures ?
Sighing for the illusions fled, Mine be the brilliant round of plea- oh! let me dream them o'er and
*Sleep! again my joys restore, sures ; The goblet rich, the board of frienas,
o'er !' 5
LET us drain the nectared bowl,
Let us raise the song of soul
Hini, who instructs the sons of earth
To thrid the tangled (lance of mirth ; 'Twas night, and many a circling bowl Him, who was nursed with infant Love, Had deeply warmed my swimming soul; And cradled in the Paphian grove ;
I Fontenelle has translated this ode, in his illa me perditissima fæmina pene miserum perdidialogue between Anacreon and Aristotle in the dit cum sceleratissimo suo cungerrone (Anacreole shades, where he bestows the prize of wisdom tem dico, si vescis Lector), noli sperare,' etc. etc. upon the poet.
He adduces on this ode the authority of Plato, ? This communion of friendship, which sweet- who allowed ebriety, at the Dionysian festivals, ened the bowl of Anacreon, has not been for- to men arrived at their fortieth year. He likegotten by the author of the following scholium, wise quotes the following line froin Alexis, which where the blessings of life are enumerated with he says no one, who is not totally ignorant of proverbial simplicity :
the world, can hesitate to confess the truth of: *f mortal blessings here, the first is bealth,
Ονδεις φιλοποτης εστιν ανθρωπος κακος. . And next, those charms by which the eye we No lover of drinking was ever a vicious man.'
* Nonnus says of Bacehus, almost in the same The third is wealth. unwounding, guiltless wealth, words that Anacreon uses : And then, an intercourse with those we love !
Εγρομενος δε 3 Compare with this ode the beautiful poem,
Παρθενoν ουκ εκιχησε, και ηθελεν αυθις ιανειν. der Traum of Uz'--Degen. Le Fevre, in a note
Waking, he lost the phantom's charms, upon this ode, enters into an elaborate and
He found no beauty in his arms; learned jastification of drunkenness; and this is
Again to slumber he essayed, probably the cause of the severe reprehension
Again to clasp the shadowy inaid ! which I believe he suffered for his Anacreon.
-Longepierre. 'Fuit olim fateor (says he, in a note upon Longi. 5 Doctor Johnson, in his preface to Shakspeare, das), cum Sapphonem amabam, Sed ex quo animadverting upon the commentators of that
Him, that the snowy Queen of Charms To him, the god who loves so well Has fondled in her twining arms. The nectared bowl, the choral swell ! From him that dream of transport
flows, Which sweet intoxication knows;
How I love the festive boy,
Tripping with the dance of joy!
How I love the inellow sage,
Smiling through the veil of age !
And whene'er this man of years To the winds they fly, they fly! In the dance of joy appears, Grasp the bowl; in nectar sinking,
Age is on his temples hung, Man of sorrow, drown thy thinking ! Ob! can the tears we lend to thought But his heart—his heart is young ?? In life's account avail us aught? Can we discern, with all our lore,
ODE XL. The path we're yet to journey o'er? No, no, the walk of life is dark, I KNOW that Heaven ordains me here 'Tis wine alone can strike a spark !! To run this mortal life's career ; Then let me quaff the foamy tide, The scenes which I have journeyed And through the dance meandering o'er glide;
Return no more-alas ! no more ;
Then surely, Care, thou canst not twine
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 tried to sleep again,” the author imitates Anacreon, who had, like any other man, the same wish on the same occasion.'
The brevity of life allows arguments for the voluptuary as well as the moralist. Among many parallel passages which Longepierre has adduced, I shall content myself with this epigram from the Anthologia Λουσαμενοι, Προδικη, πυκασωμεθα, και τον ακ
ρατον Ελκωμεν, κυλικας μειζονας αραμενοι. Ραιος ο χαιροντων εστι βιος. ειτα τα λοιπα
Γηρας κωλυσει, και το τελος θανατος.
Fly, my beloved, to yonder stream,
For age will steal the rosy form,
· Saint Pavin makes the same distinction in a sonnet to a young girl:
Je sais bien que les destinées
Belle iris, que je vous ai vue.
And I full many a year have told;
Thou shalt not find my love is old.
How much his little age may be,
That first I set my eyes on thee !
I'll gather joy's luxurious flowers, And, while she weaves a frontlet fair
My soul, to festive feeling true,
One pang of envy never knew;
and little has it learned to dread WHEN Spring begems the dewy scene, Away-I hate the slanderous dart,
The gall that Envy's tongue can shed. How sweet to walk the velvet green,
Which steals to wound the unwary And hear the Zephyr's languid sighs,
heart; As o'er the scented mead he fies!
And oh! I hate, with all my soul,
Discordant clamours o'er the bowl,
Where every cordial heart should be,
Attuned to peace and harmony. Is love and bliss, entranced to lie?
Come, let us hear the soul of song Where the embowering branches
Expire the silver harp along : meet
And through the dance's ringlet move, Oh! is not this divinely sweet?
With maidens mellowing into love;
Sure such a life should never cease !
Blushes o'er each fervid head,
And while the harp, impassioned, flings eve, Beside me all in blushes lie;
Tuneful rapture from the strings,
At length to Fortune, and to you,
3 The character of Anacreon is here very Delusive Hope! a last adieu.
strikingly depicted. His love of social, harmó The charm that once beguiled is o'er,
nized pleasures is expressed with a warmth, amiAnd I have reached my destined shore !
able and endearing. Among the epigrams Away, away, your flattering arts
imputed to Anacreon is the following; it is the May now betray some simpler hearts,
only one worth translation, and it breathes the And you will smile at their believing, same sentiments with this ode: And they shall weep at your deceiving !
Ου φιλος, ος κρητηρι παρα πλεω οινοποταζων, 'The same commentator has quoted an epitaph,
Νεικεα και πολεμον δακρυοεντα λεγει. written upon our poet by Jalian, where he nakes | Αλλ' όστις Μονσεων τε, και αγλαα δωρ' Αφροδιτης him give the precepts of good fellowship even
Ευμμισγων, ερατης μνησκεται ευφροσυνης. from the tomb :
When to the lip the brimming cup is pressed, This lesson oft in life I sung,
And hearts are all atloat upon the stream, And from my grave I still shall cry,
Then banish from my board the unpolished guest,
Who makes the seats of war his barbarous * Drink, mortal! drink, while time is young, Ere death has made thee cold as I.'
theme. * Thus Horace:
But bring the man, who o'er his goblet wreathes
The Muse's laurel with the Cyprian flower: Quid habes illius, illius
Oh! give me him whose heart expansive breathes Quæ spirabat amores,
All the refinements of the social hour. Qua me surpuerat mihi.
* On the barbiton a host of authorities may be And does there then remain but this collected, which, after all, leave us ignorant of
And hast thou lost each rosy ray the nature of the instrument. There is scarcely Of her, who breathed the soul of bliss, any point upon which we are so totally unin
And stole me from myself away? forined as the music of the ancients, The