Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

The old themselves grow young in soul !
Oh, when I drink, true joy is mine,
There 's bliss in every drop of wine.
All other blessings I have known,
I scarcely dared to call my own;
But this the Fates can ne'er destroy,
Till death o'ershadows all my joy.

And freshened by the goblet's dews,
My soul invokes the heavenly Muse.
When wine I drink, all sorrow's o'er;
I think of doubts and fears no more;
But scatter to the railing wind
Each gloomy phantom of the mind.
When I drink wine, the ethereal boy,
Bacchus himself, partakes my joy;
And while we dance through vernal bow-

ers, 1 Whose every breath comes fresh from

flowers, In wine he makes my senses swim, Till the gale breathes of naught but him!

ODE LI.3 Fly not thus my brow of snow, Lovely wanton! fly not so. Though the wane of age is mine, Though youth's brilliant flush be thine, Still I 'm doomed to sigh for thee, Blest, if thou couldst sigh for me! See, in yonder flowery braid, Culled for thee, my blushing maid, 4 How the rose, of orient glow, Mingles with the lily's snow; Mark, how sweet their tints agree, Just, my girl, like thee and me!

Again I drink, — and, lo, there seems A calmer light to fill my dreams; The lately ruffled wreath I spread With steadier hand around my head; Then take the lyre, and sing“ how blest The life of him who lives at rest!But then comes witching wine again, With glorious woman in its train; And, while rich perfumes round me rise, That seem the breath of woman's sighs, Bright shapes, of every hue and form, Upon my kindling fancy swarm, Till the whole world of beauty seems To crowd into my dazzled dreams! When thus I drink, my heart refines, And rises as the cup declines; Rises in the genial flow, That none but social spirits know, When, with young revellers, round the

bowl,

If with water you fill up your glasses,

You 'll never write anything wise ;
For wine 's the true horse of Parnassus,

Which carries a bard to the skies! 1 And while we dance through vernal bowers, etc.

If some of the translators had observed Doctor Trapp's caution, with regard to trodvávoeolv u'év aŭpais, Cave ne cælum intelligas, they would not have spoiled the simplicity of Anacreon's fancy, by such extravagant conceptions as the following:

Quand je bois, mon æil s'imagine
Que, dans un tourbillon plein de parfums divers,
Bacchus m'importe dans les airs,
Rempli de sa liqueur divine.
Or this: -

Indi mi mena
Mentre lieto ebro, deliro,
Baccho in giro
Per la vaga aura sere

erena.

2 When, with young revellers, round the bowl, The old themselves grow young in soul !

Subjoined to Gail's edition of Anacreon, we find some curious letters upon the Diacou of the ancients, which appeared in the French Journals. At the opening of the Odéon in Paris, the managers of that spectacle requested Professor Gail to give them some uncommon name for their fêtes. He suggested the word “ Thiase," which was adopted; but the literati of Paris questioned the propriety of the term, and addressed their criticisms to Gail through the medium of the public prints.

3 Alberti has imitated this ode ; and Capilupus, in the following epigram, has given a version of it: Cur, Lalage, mea vita, meos contemnis amores?

cur fugis e nostro pulchra puella sinu ? ne fugias, sint sparsa livet inea tempora canis,

inque tuo roseus fulgeat ore color. aspice ut inte xtas deceant quoque flore corollas

candida purpureis lilia mista rosis. Oh! why repel my soul's impassioned vow,

And fly, beloved maid, these longing arms ? Is it, that wintry time has strewed my brow, While thine are all the summer's roseate

charms? See the rich garland culled in vernal weather,

Where the young rosebud with the lily glows; So, in Love's wreath we both may twine together, And I the lily be, and thou the rose. 4 See, in yonder flowery braid,

Culled for thee, my blushing inaid. “ In the same manner that Anacreon pleads for the whiteness of his locks, from the beauty of the color in garlands, a shepherd, in Theocritus, endeavors to recommend his black hair :--

42

ODES OF ANACREON.

ODE LII.1 Away, away, ye men of rules, What have I to do with schools ? They'd make me learn, they'd make

me think, But would they make me love and drink? Teach me this, and let me swim My soul upon the goblet's brim; Teach me this, and let me twine Some fond, responsive heart to mine, 2 For, age begins to blanch my brow, I ’ve time for naught but pleasure now.

ODE LIII. WHEN I behold the festive train Of dancing youth, I 'm young again ! Memory wakes her magic trance, And wings me lightly through the dance, Come, Cybeba, smiling maid ! Cull the flower and twine the braid; Bid the blush of summer's rose Burn upon my forehead's snows; And let me, while the wild and young Trip the mazy dance along, Fling my heap of years away, And be as wild, as young, as they. Hither haste, some cordial soul ! Help to my lips the brimming bowl; And you shall see this hoary sage Forget at once his locks and age. He still can chant the festive hymn, He still can kiss the goblet's brim;5 As deeply quaff, as largely fill, And play the fool right nobly still.

Fly, and cool my goblet's glow At yonder fountain's gelid fow; I ’ll quaff, my boy, and calmly sink This soul to slumber as I drink. Soon, too soon, my jocund slave, You ’ll deck your master's grassy grave; And there 's an end - — for ah, you know They drink but little wine below ! 3

και το ίoν μέλαν έστι, και ά γραπτά υάκινθος, αλλ' έμπας εν τοίς στεφανοίς τα πρώτα λέγονται.”

LONGEPIERRE, BARNES, etc. 1 “This is doubtless the work of a more modern poet than Anacreon; for at the period when he lived rhetoricians were not known." -DEGEN.

Though this ode is found in the Vatican manuscript, I am much inclined to agree in this argument against its authenticity; for though the dawnings of the art of rhetoric might already have appeared, the first who gave it any celebrity was Corax of Syracuse, and he flourished in the century after Anacreon.

Our poet anticipated the ideas of Epicurus, in his aversion to the labors of learning, as well as his devotion to voluptuousness. Πάσαν παιδείαν μακάριοι φεύγετε, said the philosopher of the garden in a letter to Pythocles.

2 Teach me this, and let me twine

Some fond, responsive heart to mine. By χρυσής Αφροδίτης here, I understand some beautiful girl, in the same manner that Avalos is often used for wine. “Golden” is frequently an epithet of beauty. Thus in Virgil, Venus aurea; and in Propertius, Cynthia aurea. Tibullus, however, calls an old woman “golden.”

The translation" d'Autori Anonimi,'' as usual, wantons on this passage of Anacreon :

E m' insegni con piu rare
Forme accorte d' involare
Ad amabile beltade

Il bel cinto d' onestade.
3 And there's an end — for ah, you know

They drink but little wine below!
Thus Mainard:

La Mort nous guette ; et quand ses lois
Nous ont enfermés une fois
Au sein d'une fosse profonde,
Adieu bons vins et bon repas ;

ODE LIV.6 METHINKS, the pictured bull we see Is amorous Jove it must be he!

Ma science ne trouve pas

Des cabarets en l'autre monde. From Mainard, Gombauld, and De Cailly, old French poets, some of the best epigrams of the English language have been borrowed.

4 Bid the blush of summer's rose

Burn upon my forehead's snows; etc. Licetus, in his “Hieroglyphica," quoting two of our poet's odes, where he calls to his attendants for garlands, remarks, Constat igitur floreas coronas poetis et potantibus in symposio convenire, non autem sapientibus et philosophiam affectantibus." -- " It appears that wreaths of flowers were adapted for poets and revellers at banquets, but by no means became those who had pretensions to wisdom and philosophy.” On this principle, in his 152d chapter, he discovers a refinement in Virgil, describing the garland of the poet Silenus, as fallen off; which distinguishes, he thinks, the divine intoxication of Silenus from that of common drunkards, who always wear their crowns while they drink. Such is the labor ineptiarum of commentators!

5 He still can kiss the goblet's brim ; etc.

Wine is prescribed by Galen, as an excellent medicine for old men : "Quod frigidos et humoribus expletos calefaciat," etc. ; but Nature was Anacreon's physician.

There is a proverb in Eriphus, as quoted by Athenæus, which says,

“ that wine makes an old man dance, whether he will or not.”

λόγος έστ' αρχαίος, ου κακώς έχων,
οίνον λέγουσι τους γέροντας, ώ πάτερ,

πείθειν χορέειν ου θέλοντας. .
6 “This ode is written upon a picture which

ODES OF ANACREON,

43

How fondly blest he seems to bear
That fairest of Phoenician fair !
How proud he breasts the foamy tide,
And spurns the billowy surge aside !
Could any beast of vulgar vein,
Undaunted thus defy the main ?
No: he descends from climes above,
He looks the God, he breathes of Jove !1

ODE LV.2 While we invoke the wreathed spring,

Resplendent rose! to thee we 'll sing;3 Resplendent rose, the flower of flowers, Whose breath perfumes the Olympian

bowers; Whose virgin blush, of chastened dye, Enchants so much our mortal eye. When pleasure's spring-tide season glows, The Graces love to wreathe the rose; And Venus, in its fresh-blown leaves, 4 An emblem of herself perceives. Oft hath the poet's magic tongue The rose's fair luxuriance sung; And long the Muses, heavenly maids, Have reared it in their tuneful shades. When, at the early glance of morn, It sleeps upon the glittering thorn, 'T is sweet to dare the tangled fence, To cull the timid floweret thence, And wipe with tender hand away The tear that on its blushes lay!

5

represented the rape of Europa.” — MADAME DACIER.

It may probably have been a description of one of those çoins, which the Sidonians struck off in honor of Europa, representing a woman carried across the sea by a bull. Thus Natalis Comes, lib. viii. cap. 23.,

Sidonii numismata cum fæminâ tauri dorso insidente ac mare transfretante cuderunt in ejus honorem.In the little treatise upon the goddess of Syria, attributed very falsely to Lucian, there is mention of this coin, and of a temple dedicated by the Sidonians to Astarte, whom some, it

appears, confounded with Europa.

The poet Moschus has left a very beautiful idyl on the story of Europa. 1 No: he descends from climes above,

He looks the God, he breathes of Jove ! Thus Moschus: κρύψε θεών και τρέψε δέμας και γίνετο ταυρος. The God forgot himself, his heaven, for love, And a bull's form belied the almighty Jove.

2 This ode is a brilliant panegyric on the rose. “All antiquity (says Barnes] has produced nothing more beautiful.”

From the idea of peculiar excellence, which the ancients attached to this flower, arose a pretty proverbial expression, used by Aristophanes, according to Suidas, ρόδα μ' είρηκας, “ You have spoken roses, a phrase somewhat similar to the dire des fleurettes of the French. In the same idea of excellence originated, I doubt not, a very curious application of the word pódov, for whiá the inquisitive reader may consult Gaulminus upon the epithalamium of our poet, where it is introduced in the romance of Theodorus. Muretus, in one of his elegies, calls his mistress his

Carmine digna rosa est; vellem caneretur ut

illam Teius argutâ cecinit testudine vates.

3 Resplendent rose! to thee we ’ll sing. I have passed over the line συν εταίρει αύξει Médinu, which is corrupt in this original reading, and has been very little improved by the annotators. I should suppose it to be an interpolation, if it were not for a line which occurs afterwards: φέρε δή φύσιν λέγωμεν. 4 And Venus, in its fresh-blown leaves, etc.

Belleau, in a note upon an old French poet, quoting the original here αφροδισίων τάθυρμα, , translates it, comme les délices et mignardises de Venus. 5 Oft hath the poet's magic tongue

The rose's fair luxuriance sung ; etc. The following is a fragment of the Lesbian poetess. It is cited in the romance of Achilles Tatius, who appears to have resolved the numbers into prose. Eί τοις άνθεσιν ήθελεν ο Ζευς επιθειναι βασιλέα, το ρόδον αν των ανθέων εβασίλευε. γης έστι κόσμος, φυτων αγλάϊσμα, οφθαλμόςάνθέων, λείμωνος ερυθημα, κάλλος άστραπτον "Έρωτος πνει, 'Αφροδίτην προξενεί, ευείδεσι φύλλοις κομά, ευκινητοϊς πετάλοις τρυφα, το πέταλον τω Ζεφύρω γελά.

If Jove would give the leafy bowers
A queen for all their world of flowers,
The rose would be the choice of Jove,
And blush, the queen of every grove.
Sweetest child of weeping morning,
Gem, the vest of earth adorning,
Eye of gardens, light of lawns,
Nursling of soft summer dawns ;
Love's own earliest sigh it breathes,
Beauty's brow with lustre wreathes,
And, to young Zephyr's warm caresses,
Spreads abroad its verdant tresses,
Till, blushing with the wanton's play,
Its cheek wears even a richer ray !

rose :

Jam te igitur rursus teneo, formosula, jam te (Quid trepidas ?) teneo ; jam, rosa, te teneo.

Eleg. 8. Now I again may clasp thee, dearest, What is there now, on earth, thou fearest? Again these longing arms infold thee, Again, my rose, again I hold thee. This, like most of the terms of endearment in the modern Latin poets, is taken from Plautus; they were vulgar and colloquial in his time, but are among the elegancies of the modern Latinists.

Passeratius alludes to the ode before us, in the beginning of his poem on the Rose :

[ocr errors]

44

ODES OF ANACREON.

'T is sweet to hold the infant stems, Yet dropping with Aurora's gems, And fresh inhale the spicy sighs That from the weeping buds arise.

Listen,

When revel reigns, when mirth is high, And Bacchus beams in every eye, Our rosy fillets scent exhale, And fill with balm the fainting gale. There 's naught in nature bright or gay, Where roses do not shed their ray. When morning paints the orient skies, Her fingers burn with roseate dyes; 1 Young nymphs betray the rose's hue, O’er whitest arms it kindles through. In Cytherea's form it glows, And mingles with the living snows.

And when, at length, in pale decline, Its florid beauties fade and pine, Sweet as in youth, its balmy breath Diffuses odor even in death! 4 Oh! whence could such a plant have sprung? for thus the tale is

sung When, humid, from the silvery stream, Effusing beauty's warmest beam, Venus appeared, in flushing hues, Mellowed by ocean's briny dews; When, in the starry courts above, The pregnant brain of mighty Jove Disclosed the nymph of azure glance, The nymph who shakes the martial

lance; Then, then, in strange eventful hour, The earth produced an infant flower, Which sprung, in blushing glories drest, And wantoned o’er its parent breast. The gods beheld this brilliant birth, And hailed the Rose, the boon of earth! With nectar drops, a ruby tide, The sweetly orient buds they dyed,5

The rose distils a healing balm, The beating pulse of pain to calm; Preserves the cold inurnèd clay,2 And mocks the vestige of decay: 3

:

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

1 When morning paints the orient skies,

Her fingers burn with roseate dyes; etc. In the original here, he enumerates the

many epithets of beauty, borrowed from roses, which were used by the poets, trapà Tôv oopwv. We see that poets were dignified in Greece with the title of sages: even the careless Anacreon, who lived but for love and voluptuousness, was called by Plato the wise Anacreon - fuit hæc sapientia quondam.

2 Preserves the cold inurnèd clay, etc. He here alludes to the use of the rose in em. balming; and, perhaps (as Barnes thinks), to the rosy unguent with which Venus anointed the corpse of Hector. - Homer's Iliad y. It may likewise regard the ancient practice of putting garlands of roses on the dead, as in Statius, Theb. lib. x. 782.

hi sertis, hi veris honore soluto Accumulant artus, patriâque in sede reponunt

Cor odoratum. Where veris honor, though it mean every kind of flowers, may seem more particularly to refer to the rose, which our poet in another ode calls čapos pédnua. We read, in the "Hieroglyphics”. of Pierius, lib. lv., that some of the ancients used to order in their wills, that roses should be annually scattered on their tombs, and Pierius has adduced some sepulchral inscriptions to this purpose.

3 And mocks the vestige of decay. When he says that this flower prevails over time itself, he still alludes to its efficacy in embalment (tenerâ poneret ossa rosâ. Propert. lib. i. eleg. 17.), or perhaps to the subsequent idea of its fragrance surviving its beauty; for he can scarcely mean to praise for duration the nimium breves flores of the rose.

Philostratus compares

Ambrosium late rosa tunc quoque spargit odo

rem,
Cum fluit, aut multo languida sole jacet.
Nor then the rose its odor loses,

When all its flushing beauties die ;
Nor less ambrosial balm diffuses,

When withered by the solar eye.
5 With nectar drops, a ruby tide,

The sweetly orient buds they dyed, etc. The author of the “ Pervigilium Veneris” (a poem attributed to Catullus, the style of which appears to me to have all the labored luxuriance of a much later period) ascribes the tincture of the rose to the blood from the wound of Adonis –

- rose

Fusæ aprino de cruore according to the emendation of Lipsius. In the following epigram this hue is differently accounted for :Illa quidem studiosa suum defendere Adonim,

gradivus stricto quem petit ense ferox, affixit duris vestigia cæca rosetis,

albaque divino picta cruore rosa est. While the enamoured queen of joy Flies to protect her lovely boy,

On whom the jealous war-god rushes ;

And bade them bloom, the flowers divine
Of him who gave the glorious vine;
And bade them on the spangled thorn
Expand their bosoms to the morn.

ODE LVI.1 He, who instructs the youthful crew To bathe them in the brimmer's dew, And taste, uncloyed by rich excesses, All the bliss that wine possesses; He, who inspires the youth to bound Elastic through the dance's round, Bacchus, the god again is here, And leads along the blushing year; The blushing year with vintage teems, Ready to shed those cordial streams, Which, sparkling in the cup of mirth, Illuminate the sons of earth! 2

ODE LVII.3
WHOSE was the artist hand that spread
Upon this disk the ocean's bed? 4
And, in a flight of fancy, high
As aught on earthly wing can fly,
Depicted thus, in semblance warm,
The Queen of Love's voluptuous form
Floating along the silvery sea
In beauty's naked majesty!
Oh! he hath given the enamoured sight
A witching banquet of delight,
Where, gleaming through the waters

clear,
Glimpses of undreamt charms appear,
And all that mystery loves to screen,
Fancy, like Faith, adores unseen.5

Light as a leaf, that on the breeze Of summer skims the glassy seas, She floats along the ocean's breast, Which undulates in sleepy rest; While stealing on, she gently pillows Her bosom on the heaving billows.

[ocr errors]

waves.

Then, when the ripe and vermil

wine, Blest infant of the pregnant vine, Which now in mellow clusters swells, Oh! when it bursts its roseate cells, Brightly the joyous stream shall flow, To balsam every mortal woe! None shall be then cast down or weak, For health and joy shall light each cheek; No heart will then desponding sigh, For wine shall bid despondence fly. Thus till another autumn's glow Shall bid another vintage flow. She treads upon a thorned rose, And while the wound with crimson flows, The snowy floweret feels her blood, and blushes!

1 “Compare with this elegant ode the verses of Uz, lib. i. • Die Weinlese." — DEGEN.

This appears to be one of the hymns which were sung at the anniversary festival of the vintage; one of the earlanviou ünvou, as our poet himself terms them in the fifty-ninth ode. We cannot help feeling a sort of reverence for these classic relics of the religion of antiquity. Horace may be supposed to have written the nineteenth ode of his second book, and the twenty-fifth of the third, for some bacchanalian celebration of this kind. 2 Which, sparkling in the cup of mirth,

Illuminate the sons of earth! In the original πότον άστoνoν κομίζων. Μadame Dacier thinks that the poet here had the nepenthe of Homer in his mind. Odyssey, lib. iv. This nepenthe was a something of exquisite charm, infused by Helen into the wine of her guests, which had the power of dispelling every anxiety. A French writer, De Meré, conjectures that this spell, which made the bowl so beguiling, was the charm of Helen's conversation. See Bayle, art. Helène.

3 This ode is a very animated description of a picture of Venus on a discus, which represented the goddess in her first emergence from the

About two centuries after our poet wrote, the pencil of the artist Apelles embellished this subject, in his famous painting of the Venus Anadyomene, the model of which, as Pliny informs us, was the beautiful Campaspe, given to him by Alexander; though, according to Natalis Comes, lib. vii. cap. 16., it was Phryne who sat to Apelles for the face and breast of this Venus.

There are a few blemishes in the reading of the ode before us, which have influenced Faber, Heyne, Brunck, etc., to denounce the whole poem as spurious. But, non ego paucis offendar maculis. I think it is quite beautiful enough to be authentic. 4 Whose was the artist hand that spread

Upon this disk the ocean's bed? The abruptness of άρα τις τόρευσε πόντον, is finely expressive of sudden admiration, and is one of those beauties, which we cannot but admire in their source, though, by frequent imitation, they are now become familiar and un impressive.

5 And all that mystery loves to screen,

Fancy, like Faith, adores unseen, etc. The picture here has all the delicate character of the semi-reducta Venus, and affords a happy specimen of what the poetry of passion ought to be -- glowing but through a veil, and stealing upon the heart from concealment. Few of the ancients have attained this modesty of description, which, like the golden cloud that hung over Jupiter and Juno, is impervious to every beam but that of fancy.

« ForrigeFortsæt »