by Anacreon (c582BCE - c485BCE)
Translation by Thomas Moore (1779 - 1852)

Language: English  after the Greek (Ελληνικά) 
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!

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 'twill leave behind.
Then wherefore waste the rose's bloom
Upon the cold, insensate tomb?
Can flowery breeze, or odor's breath,
Affect the still, cold sense of death?
Oh no; I ask no balm to steep
With fragrant tears my bed of sleep:
But now, while every pulse is glowing,
Now let me breathe the balsam flowing;
Now let the rose, with blush of fire,
Upon my brow in sweets expire;
And bring the nymph whose eye hath power
To brighten even death's cold hour.
Yes, Cupid! ere my shade retire,
To join the blest elysian choir;
With wine, and love, and social cheer,
I'll make my own elysium here!

Explanatory note, in Thomas Moore's edition: "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 [Greek: Eros] 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.
Hither, Venus, queen of kisses.
This shall be the night of blisses;
This the night, to friendship dear.
Thou shalt be our Hebe here.
Fill the golden brimmer high,
Let it sparkle like thine eye;
Bid the rosy current gush.
Let it mantle like thy blush.
Goddess, hast thou e'er above
Seen a feast so rich in love?
Not a soul that is not mine!
Not a soul that is not thine!


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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2017-08-23
Line count: 30
Word count: 197