Tuesday, March 01, 2016


Wine and Worries

Anacreontea 45 (tr. David A. Campbell):
When I drink wine, my worries go to sleep. What do I care about troubles, about sorrows, about worries? I must die, even if I do not wish to: why puzzle over life? Let's drink the wine of fair Lyaeus; for when we drink, our worries go to sleep.

ὅταν πίνω τὸν οἶνον,
εὕδουσιν αἱ μέριμναι.
τί μοι πόνων, τί μοι γόων,
τί μοι μέλει μεριμνῶν;
θανεῖν με δεῖ, κἂν μὴ θέλω·        5
τί τὸν βίον πλανῶμαι;
πίωμεν οὖν τὸν οἶνον
τὸν τοῦ καλοῦ Λυαίου·
σὺν τῷ δὲ πίνειν ἡμᾶς
εὕδουσιν αἱ μέριμναι.        10
Imitated by Dioscorus of Aphrodito 28, tr. Leslie S.B. MacCoull, Dioscorus of Aphrodito: His Work and His World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), p. 120:
I want always to dance, I want always to play the lyre. I strike up my lyre to praise the solemn festival with my words. The Bacchae have cast a spell on me. . . . When I drink wine, my cares go to sleep. What do I care for pains and groans, what do I care for troubles? I love a young soldier, a Herakles with longing eyes, a lion tamer; ever one to save our cities.

MacCoull ad loc:
[T]his poem seems to be the last drinking song to come out of Egypt (already sadly noted by Crönert in Gnomon 2 [1926] 663–666). The Moslem conquest was to put a damper on such pleasures, and the civilizing work of Nestor Gianaclis, the Alexandrian Greek who single-handedly revived the Egyptian vineyards in the early twentieth century, was to be short-lived.

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