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It may be necessary to mention that, in arranging the Odes, the Translator
BARNES. . ODE
18 40. Επειδη βροτος ετυχθην 24
11 42. Ποθεω μεν Διονυσου
10 46. Ιδε, πως εαρος φανεντος 37
14 48. “Οταν ο Βακχος εισελθη 26
2 59. Τον μελανοχρωτα βοτρυν 52
ó της Κυθηρης 45 62. Αγε δη, φερ ημιν, ω παι 57
64. Γουνουμαι σ' ελαφηβολε 60
4 66. θεαων ανασσα, Κυπρι 02
40 For the order of the rest, see the Notes.
AN ODE BY THE TRANSLATOR.
Επι ροδινοις ταπησι,
Κ' ουκ εμοι κρατειν εδωκας;
REMARKS ON ANACREON.
THERE is very little known with certainty of the life of Anacreon. Chamæleon Heracleotes, who wrote upon the subject, has been lost in the general wreck of ancient literature. The editors of the poet have collected the few trifling anecdotes which are scattered through the extant authors of antiquity; and supplying the deficiency of materials by fictions of their own imagination, they have arranged what they call a life of Anacreon. These specious fabrications are intended to indulge that interest which we naturally feel in the biography of illustrious men ; but it is rather a dangerous kind of illusion, as it confounds the limits of history and romance, and is too often supported by unfaithful citation.2
1 The History of Anacreon by Gacon (le poëte him in his old age at a country villa near sans fard) is professedly a romance; nor does Téos ? Mademoiselle Scuderi, from whom he borrowed 2 The learned Bayle has detected some infidelithe idea, pretend to historical veracity in her ties of quotation in Le Fevre. Dictionnaire account of Anacreon and Sappho. These, then, Historique, etc. Madame Dacier is not more are allowable; but how can Barnes be forgiven, accurate than her father; they have almost made who, with all the confidence of a biographer, Anacreon prime minister to the monarch of traces every wandering of the poet, and settles ! Samos.
Our poet was born in the city of Téos, in the delicious region of Ionia, where everything respired voluptuousness.
The time of his birth appears to have been in the sixth century before Christ, and he flourished at that remark. able period when, under the polished tyrants Hipparchus and Polycrates, Athens and Samos were the rival asylums of genius. The name of his father is doubtful, and therefore cannot be very interesting. His family was perhaps illustrious; but those who discover in Plato that he was a descendant of the monarch Codrus, exhibit, as usual, more zeal than accuracy.3
The disposition and talents of Anacreon recommended him to the monarch of Samos, and he was formed to be the friend of such a prince as Polycrates. Susceptible only to the pleasures, he felt not the corruptions of the court; and while Pythagoras fled from the tyrant, Anacreon was celebrating his praises on the lyre. We are told, too, by Maximus Tyrius, that by the influence of his amatory songs he softened the mind of Polycrates into a spirit of benevolence towards his subjects.
The amours of the poet and the rivalship of the tyranti I shall pass over in silence; and there are few, I presume, who will regret the omission of most of those anecdotes, which the industry of some editors has not only promulged, but discussed. Whatever is repugnant to modesty and virtue is considered in ethical science, by a supposition very favourable to humanity, as impossible ; and this amiable persuasion should be much more strongly entertained where the transgression wars with nature as well as virtue. But why are we not allowed to indulge in the presumption? Why are we officiously reminded that there have been such instances of depravity ?
Hipparchus, who now maintained at Athens the power which his father Pisistratus had usurped, was one of those elegant princes who have polished the fetters of their subjects. He was the first, according to Plato, who edited the poems of Homer, and commanded them to be sung by the rhapsodists at the celebration of the Panathenæa. As his court was the galaxy of genius, Anacreon should not be absent. Hipparchus sent a barge for him; the poet embraced the invitation, and the muses and the loves were wafted with him to Athens.5
The manner of Anacreon's death was singular. We are toll that in the eighty-fifth year of his age he was choked by a grape-stone ;6 and however we may smile at their enthusiastic partiality, who pretend that it was a peculiar indulgence of Heaven, which stole him from the world by this easy and characteristic death, we cannot help admiring that his fate should be so emblematic of his disposition. Cælius Calcagninus alludes to this catastrophe in the following epitaph on our poet :
1 The Asiatics were as remarkable for genius 4 In the romance of Clelia, the anecdote to as for luxury. 'Ingenia Asiatica inclyta per gentes which I allude is told of a young girl, with whom fecere poetæ, Anacreon, inde Mimnermus et Anacreon fell in love while she personated the Antimachus,' etc.-Solinus.
god Apollo in a mask. But here Mademoiselle 2 I have not attempted to lefine the particular Scuderi consulted nature more than truth. Olympiad, but have adopted the idea of Bayle, 5 There is a very interesting French poem who says, “Je n'ai point marqué d'Olympiade; founded upon this anecdote, imputed to Desyvecar, pour un homme qui a vécu 85 ans, il me taux, and called Anacreon Citoyen. semble que l'on ne doit point s'enfermer dans des 6 Fabricius appears not to trust very implicitly bornes si étroites.'
in this story. It must be confessed that Lucian, 3 This mistake is founded on a false interpreta- who tells us that Sophocles was choked by a tion of a very obvious passage in Plato's Dialogue grape-stone, in the very same treatise men:ions on Temperance; it originated with Madame the longevity of Anacreon, and yet is silent on Dacier, and has been received implicitly by the manner of his death. Could he have been many. Gail, a late editor of Anacreon, seems to ignorant of such a remarkable coincidence, or, claim to himself the merit of detecting this error; knowing, could he have neglected to remark it? but Bayle had observed it before him.
See Regnier's Introduction to his Anacreon.
*Then, hallowed sage, those lips which poured along
A grape has closed for ever!
In bands that ne'cr shall sever!
Expired his rosy breath:
Since poor Anacreon's death!' According to some authorities, Anacreon and Sappho were contemporaries ; and any thought of an interchange between hearts so congenial in warmth of passion and delicacy of genius gives such play to the imagination, that the mind loves to indulge in it. But the vision dissolves before historical truth; and Chamæleon and Hermesianax, who are the source of the supposition, are considered as having merely indulged in a poetical apachronism. 2
To infer the moral dispositions of a poet from the tone of sentiment which pervades his works, is sometimes a very, fallacious analogy ; but the soul of Anacreon speaks so unequivocally through his odes, that we may consult them as the faithful mirrors of his heart.3 We find him there the elegant voluptuary, diffusing the seductive charm sentiment over passions and propensities at which rigid morality must frown. His heart, devoted to indolence, seems to think that there is wealth enough in happiness, but seldom happiness enough in wealth ; and the cheerfulness with which he brightens his old age is interesting and endearing : like his own rose, he is fragrant even in decay. But the most peculiar feature of his mind is that love of simplicity which he attributes to himself so very feelingly, and which breathes characteristically through all that he has sung: In truth, if we omit those vices in our estimate which ethnic religion not only connived at, but consecrated, we shall say that the disposition of our poet was amiable ; his morality was relaxed, but not abandoned ; and Virtue with her zone loosened may be an emblem of the character of Anacreon.4
At te, sancte senex, acinus sub tartara misit; Lyæum, Venerem, Cupidinemque
Senex lusit Anacreon poeta, Vos, hederæ, tumulum, tumulum vos, cingite Sed quo tempore nec capaciores lauri;
Rogabat cyathos, nec inquietis
Urebatur amoribus, sed Ipsis
Nullum præ se habitum gerens amantis.
To Love and Bacchus, ever young, 2 Barnes is convinced of the synchronism of
While sage Anacreon touched the lyre,
He neither felt the loves he sung, Anacreon' and Sappho, but very gratuitously. In Nor filled his bowl to Bacchus higher. citing his authorities, it is strange that heneg.
Those flowery days had faded long, lected the line which Fulvius Ursinus has quoted, When youth could act the lover's part; as from Anacreon, among the testimonies to
And passion trembled in his song, Sappho :
But never, never reached his heart, Ειμι λαβων εισαρας Σαπφω παρθενον αδυφωνον. .
4 Anacreon's character has been variously Fabricius thinks that they might have been coloured. Barnes lingers on it with enthusiastic contemporary, but considers their amour as a admiration; but he is always extravagant, if not tale of imagination. Vossius rejects the idea sometimes even profane. Baillet, who is in the entirely; as also Olaus Borrichius, etc. etc. opposite extreme, exaggerates too much the testi
* An Italian poet, in some verses on Belleau's monies which he has consulted ; and we cannot translation of Anacreon, pretends to imagine
that surely agree with him when he cites such a comour bard did not feel as he wrote:
piler as Athenæus, as 'un des plus savans
Of his person and physiognomy time has preserved such uncertain memorials, that perhaps it were better to leave the pencil to fancy; and few can read the Odes of Anacreon without imagining the form of the animated old bard, crowned with roses, and singing to the lyre.
After the very enthusiastic eulogiums bestowed by the ancients and moderns
poems of Anacreon, we need not be diffident in expressing our raptures at their beauty, nor hesitate to pronounce them the most polished remains of antiquity. They are all beauty, all enchantment.? He steals us so insensibly along with him, that we sympathize even in his excesses. In his amatory odes there is a delicacy of compliment not to be found in any other ancient poet. Love at that period was rather an unrefined emotion; and the intercourse of the sexes was animated more by passion thap sentiment. They knew not those little tendernesses which form the spiritual part of affection; their expression of feeling was therefore rude and unvaried, and the poetry of Love deprived of its most captivating graces. Anacreon, however, attained some ideas of this gallantry; and the same delicacy of mind which led him to this refinement prevented him from yielding to the freedom of language which has sullied the pages of all the other poets. His descriptions are warm; but the warmth is in the ideas, not the words. He is sportive without being wanton, and ardent without being licentious. His poetic invention is most brilliantly displayed in those allegorical fictions which so many have endeavoured to imitate, because all have confessed them to be inimitable. Simplicity is the distinguishing feature of these odes, and they interest by their innocence while they fascinate by their beauty: they are, indeed, the infants of the Muses, and may be said to lisp in numbers.
I shall not be accused of enthusiastic partiality by those who have read and felt the original ; but to others I am conscious that this should not be the language of a translator, whose faint reflection of these beauties can but little justify his admiration of them.
In the age of Anacreon music and poetry were inseparable. These kindred talents were for a long time associated, and the poet always sung his own compositions to the lyre. It is probable that they were not set to any regular air, but rather a kind of musical recitation, which was varied according to the fancy and feelings of the moment. The poems of Anacreon were sung at banquets as late as the time of Aulus Gellius, who tells us that he heard one of the odes performed at a birthday entertainment.* critiques de l'antiquité.'-Jugement des Savans, 2 'We may perceive,' says Vossius, 'that the M.C.V.
iteration of his words conduces very much to Barnes could not have read the passage to the sweetness of his style.' Henry Stephen which he refers, when he accuses Le Fevre of remarks the same beauty in a note on the fortyhaving censured our poet's character in a note fourth ode. This figure of iteration is his most on Longinus: the note in question is manifest appropriate grace. The modern writers of Juirony, in allusion to some reprehension which venilia and Basia have adopted it to an excess Le Fevre had suffered for his Anacreon; and it which destroys the effect. is evident that praise rather than censure is inti- 3 In the Paris edition there are four of the mated.
original odes set to music, by citizens Le Sueur, 1 Besides those which are extant, he wrote Gossec, Mehul, and Cherubini. On chante du hymns, elegies, epigrams, etc. Some of the epi. Latin et de l'Italien,' says Gail, quelquefois grams still
exist. Horace alludes to a poem of même sans les entendre ; qui empêche que nous his upon the rivalry of Circe and Penelope in the ne chantions des odes Grecques ?•*The chromatic affections of Ulysses, lib. i. od. 17. The scholiast learning of these composers is very unlike what upon Nicander cites a fragment from a poem we are told of the simple melody of the ancients upon sleep by Anacreon, and attributes to him and they have all mistaken the accentuation of likewise a medicinal treatise. Fulgentius men- the words. tions a work of his upon the war between Jupiter 4 The Parma commentator is rather careless in and the Titans, and the origin of the consecration referring to this passage of Aulus Gellius (lib. of the eagle.
xix, cap. 9).--The ode was not sung by the