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

To all that breathe the air of heaven
Language: English  after the Greek (Ελληνικά) 
To all that breathe the air of heaven,
Some boon of strength has Nature given.
In forming the majestic bull,
She fenced with wreathed horns his skull;
A hoof of strength she lent the steed,
And winged the timorous hare with speed.
She gave the lion fangs of terror,
And, o'er the ocean's crystal mirror,
Taught the unnumbered scaly throng
To trace their liquid path along;
While for the umbrage of the grove,
She plumed the warbling world of love.

To man she gave, in that proud hour,
The boon of intellectual power.
Then, what, oh woman, what, for thee,
Was left in Nature's treasury?
She gave thee beauty--mightier far
Than all the pomp and power of war.
Nor steel, nor fire itself hath power
Like woman, in her conquering hour.
Be thou but fair, mankind adore thee,
Smile, and a world is weak before thee!1

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1 Moore's note: Longepierre's remark here is ingenious; "The Romans," says he, "were so convinced of the power of beauty, that they used a word implying strength in the place of the epithet beautiful".


Based on

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

Text added to the website: 2010-04-19 00:00:00
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:03:39
Line count: 22
Word count: 146