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And purchase from the hand of death
That when the Fates would send their minion,
I might some hours of life obtain,
As lull'd in slumber I was laid,
All were gone! "Alas!" I said,
Sighing for the illusions fled,
Sleep! again my joys restore,
Oh! let me dream them o'er and o'er !"
"T WAS night, and many a circling bowl Had deeply warm'd my swimming soul;
"The German imitators of it are, Lessing, in his poem 'Gestern Brüder, etc.' Gleim, in the ode An den Tod,' and Schmidt in der Poet. Blumenl. Gotting. 1783, p. 7."Degen.
That when the Fates would send their minion,
To waft me off on shadowy pinion, etc.] The commentators, who are so fond of disputing "de lana caprina," have been very busy on the authority of the phrase ' av baverv επελθη. The reading of ev' αν Θάνατος επιλέη, which De Medenbach proposes in his Amanitates Litterariæ, was already hinted by Le Fevre, who seldom suggests any thing worth notice.
The goblet rich, the board of friends,
Whose flowing 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. Υγιαίνειν μεν αριστον ανδρι θνητω. Δεύτερον δε, καλόν φυήν γενεσθαι. Το τρίτον δε, πλουτειν αδόλως. Και το τέταρτον, συνήξαν μετά των φίλων.
Of mortal blessings here, the first is health,
And next, those charms by which the eye we move; The third is wealth, unwounding, guiltless wealth, And then, an intercourse with those we love!
1 "Compare with this ode the beautiful poem, 'der Traum of Üz.'"-Degen.
Monsieur Le Fevre, in a note upon this ode, enters into an elaborate and learned justification of drunkenness; and
LET us drain the nectar'd bowl,
Let us raise the
song of soul
Παρθενον ουχ' επίχησε, και ηθελεν αυθις εαυεν.
Again to slumber he essay'd,
Again to clasp the shadowy maid! Longepierre. "Sleep! again my joys restore,
this is probably the cause of the severe reprehension which Oh! let me dream them o'er and o'er!] Doctor Johnson, I believe he suffered for his Anacreon. Fuit olim fateor in his preface to Shakspeare, animadverting upon the com (says he, in a note upon Longinus,) cum Sapphonem ama-mentators of that poet, who pretended, in every little coinci bam. Sed ex quo illa me perditissima fœmina pene miserum dence of thought, to detect an imitation of some ancient perdidit cum sceleratissimo suo congerrone (Anacreontem poet, alludes in the following words to the line of Anacreon dico, si nescis Lector,) noli sperare," etc. etc. He adduces on this ode the authority of Plato, who allowed ebriety, at the Dionysian festivals, to men arrived at their fortieth year. 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 εστιν ανθρωπος κακος. "No lover of drinking was ever a vicious man."
-when all my dream of joys,
Dimpled girls and ruddy boys,
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."
1 "Compare with this beautiful ode the verses of Hagedorn, lib. v. das Gesellschaftliche; and of Bürger, p. 51," etc. etc.-Degen.
Him, that the snowy Queen of Charms
Has fondled in her twining arms.] Robertellus, upon the epithalamium of Catullus, mentions an ingenious aerivation of Cytherea, the name of Venus, apa TO XUBLIN TOUg
All were gone! Nonnus says of Bacchus, almost in the paras, which seems to hint that "Love's fairy favours are
same words that Anacreon uses,
lost, when not concealed."
Oh! can the tears we lend to thought
And through the dance meandering glide;
To souls that court the phantom Care,
I KNOW that Heaven ordains me here
The scenes which I have journey'd o'er
I neither know nor ask to know.
Then surely, Care, thou canst not twine
How I love the festive boy,
But his heart-his heart is young!
No, no, the walk of life is dark,
'Tis wine alone can strike a spark!] The brevity of life allows arguments for the voluptuary as well as the moralist. Among many parallel passages which Longepierre bas adduced, I shall content myself with this epigram from the Anthologia:
Λουσάμενοι, Προδική, πυκασωμεθα, και τον ακρατο
Of which the following is a loose paraphrase:
Fly, my beloved, to yonder stream,
We'll plunge us from the noontide beam!
Age is on his temples hung,
But his heart-his heart is young!] Saint Pavin makes the same distinction in a sonnet to a young girl.
Je sais bien que les destinées
Ont mal compassé nos années;
Fair and young, thou bloomest now,
Thou shalt not find my love is old. My love's a child; and thou canst say How much his little age may be, For he was born the very day That first I set my eyes on thee!
WHEN Spring begems the dewy scene,
No, no, the heart that feels with me,
Can never be a slave to thee!] Longepierre quotes an epigram here from the Anthologia, on account of the similarity of a particular phrase; it is by no means anacreontic, but has an interesting simplicity which induced me to paraphase it, and may atone for its intrusion.
Ελπις, και συ, τυχή, μεγα χαιρετε. τον λιμον" εύρον.
At length to Fortune, and to you,
Away, away, your flattering arts
May now betray some simpler hearts,
And they shall weep at your deceiving!
Bacchus shall bid my winter bloom,
And Venus dance me to the tomb!] The same commentator has quoted an epitaph, written upon our poet by Julian where he makes him give the precepts of good-fellowship from the tomb.
Πολλακι μεν τοδ' αείσα, και εκ τύμβου δε βοήσω Πίνετε, πριν ταυτην αμφιβαλησθε κονιν.
This lesson oft in life I sung,
And from my grave I still shall cry,
And with the maid, whose every sigh
And does there then remain but this,
YES, be the glorious revel mine,
And while the red cup circles round,
Let the bright nymph, with trembling eye,
And, while she weaves a frontlet fair
Oh! let me snatch her sidelong kisses,
And little has it learn'd to dread
The gall that Envy's tongue can shed.
And through the dance's ringlet move,
WHILE Our rosy fillets shed
1 The character of Anacreon is here very strikingly depicted. His love of social, harmonized pleasures is expressed with a warmth, amiable and endearing. Among the epigrams imputed to Anacreon is the following; it is the only one worth translation, and it breathes the same sentiments with this ode:
Ου φίλος, ος κρητήρι παρα πλέω οινοποτάζων,
Αλλ' οστις Μουσεων τε, και αγλαά δώρ Αφροδίτης
When to the lip the brimming cup is press'd,
And hearts are all afloat upon the stream,
But bring the man, who o'er his goblet wreathes
Some airy nymph, with fluent limbs,
A youth, the while, with loosen'd hair
Sings, to the wild harp's tender tone,
BUDS of roses, virgin flowers,
melody; for this is a nicety of progression of which modern music is not susceptible.
The invention of the barbiton is, by Athenæus, attributed to Anacreon. See his fourth book, where it is called T εύρημα του Ανακρέοντος. Neanthes of Cyzicus, as quoted by Gyraldus, asserts the same. Vide Chabot. in Horat on the words "Lesboum barbiton," in the first ode.
And then, what nectar in his sigh,
As o'er his lip the murmurs die!] Longepierre has quoted here an epigram from the Anthologia:
Κούρη τις μ' εφίλησε ποθέσπερα χείλεσιν υγρους. Νεκταρ την το φίλημα, το γαρ στομα νεκταρος επνει Νυν μεθυω το φίλημα, πολύν τον έρωτα ποπωιωή, Of which the following may give some idea:
The kiss that she left on my lip
Has Cupid left the starry sphere,
To wave his golden tresses here?] The introduction of these deities to the festival is merely allegorical. Madame Dacier thinks that the poet describes a masquerade, where these deities were personated by the company in masks. The translation will conform with either idea.
All, all here, to hail with me
The Genius of Festivity!] Kos, the deity or genius of mirth. Philostratus, in the third of his pictures (as all the annotators have observed) gives a very beautiful description of this god.
And while the harp, impassion'd, flings Tuneful rapture from the strings, etc.] On the barbiton a host of authorities may be collected, which, after all, leave 1 This spirited poem is an eulogy on the rose; and again, us ignorant of the nature of the instrument. There is in the fifty-fifth ode, we shall find our author rich in the scarcely any point upon which we are so totally uninform- praises of that flower. In a fragment of Sappho, in the ed as the music of the ancients. The authors (a) extant romance of Achilles Tatius, to which Barnes refers us, the upon the subject are, I imagine, little understood; but cer- rose is very elegantly styled "the eye of flowers;" and the tainly if one of their moods was a progression by quarter-same poetess, in another fragment, calls the favours of the tones, which we are told was the nature of the enharmonic Muse "the roses of Pieria." See the notes on the fiftyscale, simplicity was by no means the characteristic of their fifth ode.
(a) Collected by Meibomius.
"Compare with this forty-fourth ode (says the German annotator) the beautiful ode of Uz, die Rose."
Drink and smile, and learn to think
Of dimpled Spring, the wood-nymph wild!
While virgin Graces, warm with May,
WITHIN this goblet, rich and deep,
Why should we breathe the sigh of fear,
For Death will never heed the sigh,
In search of thorns, from pleasure's way;
Which Bacchus loves, which Bacchus gave;
SEE, the young, the rosy Spring,
When with the blushing, naked Graces,
With some celestial, glowing maid, etc.] The epithet Babuxoxos, which he gives to the nymph, is literally "fullbosomed:" if this was really Anacreon's taste, the heaven of Mahomet would suit him in every particular. See the Koran, cap. 72.
Then let us never vainly stray,
In search of thorns from Pleasure's way, etc.] I have thus endeavoured to convey the meaning of T & TOV V vμ; according to Regnier's paraphrase of the line:
E che val, fuor della strada
'Tis true, my fading years decline,
Whose cheeks the flush of morning wear;
I'm call'd to wind the dance's clue,
The only thyrsus e'er I'll ask!
The imperative da is infinitely more impressive, as in
But look, the morn, in russet mantle clad,
Barnes conjectures, in his life of our poet, that this ode was written after he had returned from Athens, to settle in his paternal seat at Teos; there, in a little villa at some distance from the city, which commanded a view of the Ægean Sea and the islands, he contemplated the beauties of nature, and enjoyed the felicities of retirement. Vide Barnes, in Anac. vita. xxxv. This supposition, however unauthenticated, forms a pleasant association, which makes the poem more interesting.
Monsieur Chevreau says, that Gregory Nazianzenus haz paraphrased somewhere this description of Spring. I cannot find it. See Chevreau, Euvres Mêlées.
"Compare with this ode (says Degen) the verses of Hagedorn, book fourth, der Frühling, and book fifth, der Mai." While virgin Graces, warm with May,
Fling roses o'er her dewy way!] De Pauw reads, Xxp Tas pоs SрUOUT, "the roses display their graces." This is not uningenious; but we lose by it the beauty of the personification, to the boldness of which Regnier has objected very frivolously.
The murmuring billows of the deep
Have languish'd into silent sleep, etc.] It has been justly remarked that the liquid flow of the line aЯUVETNI 1 The fastidious affectation of some commentators has is perfectly expressive of the tranquillity which it denounced this ode as spurious. Degen pronounces the four last lines to be the patch-work of some miserable versificator; and Brunck condemns the whole ode. It appears to me to be elegantly graphical; full of elegant expressions and luxurious imagery. The abruptness of 15 s poc CaveVTOS is striking and spirited, and has been imitated rather languidly by Horace:
Vides ut alta stet nive candidum
And cultured field, and winding stream, etc.] By BpoTev spy," the works of men," (says Baxter,) he means cities, temples, and towns, which are then illuminated by the beams of the sun.
But brandishing a rosy flask, etc.] Arxos was a kind of leathern vessel for wine, very much in use, as should seem by the proverb ασκός και θύλακος, which was applied to those who were intemperate in cating and drinking. This
Let those who pant for glory's charms
With blushes borrow'd from my wine,
WHEN my thirsty soul I steep,
I would spurn them all away!
WHEN Bacchus, Jove's immortal boy, The rosy harbinger of joy,
Who, with the sunshine of the bowl,
A flow of joy, a lively heat,
WHEN I drink, I feel, I feel
Warm with the goblet's freshening dews,
I think of doubts and fears no more;
And, while we dance through breathing bowers,
Who, with the sunshine of the bowl,
Thaws the winter of our soul.] Avasos is the title which he gives to Bacchus in the original. It is a curious circumstance, that Plutarch mistook the name of Levi among the Jews for Av (one of the bacchanal cries,) and accordingly supposed they worshipped Bacchus.
1 Faber thinks this spurious; but, I believe, he is singular in his opinion. It has all the spirit of our author. Like the wreath which he presented in the dream, " smells of Anacreon."
The form of this ode, in the original, is remarkable. It is a kind of song of seven quatrain stanzas, each beginning with the line
Οτ' εγω πιω τον οίνον,
The first stanza alone is incomplete, consisting but of three lines.
"Compare with this poem (says Degen) the verses of
proverb is mentioned in some verses quoted by Athenæus, Hagedorn, lib. v. der Wein, where that divine poet has from the Hesione of Alexis.
The only thyrsus e'er I'll ask!] Phornutus assigns as a eason for the consecration of the thyrsus to Bacchus, that inebriety often renders the support of a stick very necessary. Ivy leaves my brow entwining, etc.] "The ivy was consecrated to Bacchus (says Montfaucon,) because he formerly ay hid under that tree, or, as others will have it, because its leaves resemble those of the vine. Other reasons for its consecration, and the use of it in garlands at banquets, may be found in Longepierre, Barnes, etc. etc.
Arm you, arm you, men of might,
Hasten to the sanguine fight. I have adopted the interpretation of Regnier and others:
Altri segua Marte fero;
Che sol Bacco è 'l mio conforto.
1 This, the preceding ode, and a few more of the same character, are merely chansons à boire. Most likely they were the effusions of the moment of conviviality, and were sung, we imagine, with rapture in Greece; but that interest ing association, by which they always recalled the convivial emotions that produced them, can be very little felt by the most enthusiastic reader; and much less by a phlegmatic grammarian, who sees nothing in them but dialects and particles.
wantoned in the praises of wine."
When I drink, I feel, I feel
(says Longepierre) whom wine has inspired with poetry. Visions of poetic zeal!] "Anacreon is not the only one There is an epigram in the first book of the Anthologia, which begins thus:
Οίνος του χαριεντι μέγας πόλει ίππος αοιδώς
Which hurries a bard to the skies!
And, while we dance through breathing bowers, etc.] If some of the translators had observed Doctor Trapp's caution, with regard to have ups, "Cave ne cœluni intelligas," they would not have spoiled the simplicity of Anacreon's fancy, by such extravagant conceptions of the passage. Could our poet imagine such bombast as the following:
Quand je bois, mon œil s'imagine