Monday, November 9, 2015

To Anacreon in Heaven

Three translations. For the title, cf. this video.

Mimnermus (7th century BC), Fr. 1

What life, what joy without the golden goddess
Venus? I’d die before I lost these things:
my secret loves, my gentle gifts, my bed.
These sweetly luring flowers of youth burst forth 
in men and women.
                                      But in painful age,
the handsomest succumbs to ugliness,
and bitter worries dig into his heart.
The light of the sun is no more joy to him.
He’s hated by fair boys, and scorned by maids:
so cruelly does the god torment the old.


τίς δὲ βίος, τί δὲ τερπνὸν ἄτερ χρυσέης Ἀφροδίτης;
τεθναίην, ὅτε μοι μηκέτι ταῦτα μέλοι,
κρυπταδίη φιλότης καὶ μείλιχα δῶρα καὶ εὐνή,
οἷ᾿ ἥβης ἄνθεα γίνεται ἁρπαλέα
ἀνδράσιν ἠδὲ γυναιξίν· 

                                       ἐπεὶ δ᾿ ὀδυνηρὸν ἐπέλθῃ
γῆρας, ὅ τ᾿ αἰσχρὸν ὅμως καὶ καλὸν ἄνδρα τιθεῖ,
αἰεί μιν φρένας ἀμφὶ κακαὶ τείρουσι μέριμναι,
οὐδ᾿ αὐγὰς προσορέων τέρπεται ἠελίου,
ἀλλ᾿ ἐχθρὸς μὲν παισίν, ἀτίμαστος δὲ γυναιξίν·
οὕτως ἀργαλέον γῆρας ἔθηκε θεός.

Anacreon (5th century BC) 360

You, whose glance has a virgin’s grace,
You don’t know that I burn for you.
Don’t you know that your chariot
holds my soul by a bridle?
ὦ παῖ παρθένιον βλέπων
δίζημαί σε, σὺ δ᾿ οὐ κοεῖς,
οὐκ εἰδὼς ὅτι τῆς ἐμῆς
ψυχῆς ἡνιοχεύεις.

Horace (1st century BC), I.38

Boy, I hate gilt and sickly things from Persia.
Don’t bind me either with a linden garland,
Nor stop to wonder where the autumn roses
          Bloom out of season.

Don’t strain to please me, but bring simple myrtle:
That I command you. For a little myrtle
Suits you just fine, just like me the drinker
          Under the trellis.


Persicos odi, puer, apparatus;
Displicent nexæ philyrâ coronæ.
Mitte sectari, rosa quo locorum
          Sera moretur.

Simplici myrto nihil allabores
Sedulus curo: neque te ministrum
Dedecet myrtus neque me sub arta
          Vite bibentem.

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