Tuesday, April 05, 2016


Let Us Be Merry

Anacreontea 38 (tr. David A. Campbell, with his notes):
Let us be merry and drink wine
and sing of Bacchus,
the inventor of the choral dance,
the lover of all songs,
leading the same life as the Loves,        5
the darling of Cythere1;
thanks to him Drunkenness was brought forth,
the Grace was born,
Pain takes a rest
and Trouble goes to sleep.        10
So the drink is mixed
and tender boys are bringing it,
and grief has fled, mingling
with the wind-fed storm:
let us take our drink, then,        15
and let our worries go:
what is the good
of hurting yourself with cares?
How can we know the future?
Man's life is unclear.        20
I want to be drunk and dance,
to perfume myself and have fun
(with the handsome youths and)2
with beautiful women too.
Those who wish can
bother with worries.        25
Let us be merry and drink wine
and sing of Bacchus.

1 Aphrodite.
2 A line to this effect seems to have been lost.

ἱλαροὶ πίωμεν οἶνον,
ἀναμέλψομεν δὲ Βάκχον,
τὸν ἐφευρετὰν χορείας,
τὸν ὅλας ποθοῦντα μολπάς,
τὸν ὁμότροπον Ἐρώτων,        5
τὸν ἐρώμενον Κυθήρης,
δι᾿ ὃν ἡ Μέθη λοχεύθη,
δι᾿ ὃν ἡ Χάρις ἐτέχθη,
δι᾿ ὃν ἀμπαύεται Λύπα,
δι᾿ ὃν εὐνάζετ᾿ Ἀνία.        10
τὸ μὲν οὖν πῶμα κερασθὲν
ἁπαλοὶ φέρουσι παῖδες,
τὸ δ᾿ ἄχος πέφευγε μιχθὲν
ἀνεμοτρόφῳ θυέλλῃ·
τὸ μὲν οὖν πῶμα λάβωμεν,        15
τὰς δὲ φροντίδας μεθῶμεν·
τί γάρ ἐστί σοι <τὸ> κέρδος
ὀδυνωμένῳ μερίμναις;
πόθεν οἴδαμεν τὸ μέλλον;
ὁ βίος βροτοῖς ἄδηλος·        20
μεθύων θέλω χορεύειν,
μεμυρισμένος τε παίζειν ...
μετὰ καὶ καλῶν γυναικῶν.
μελέτω δὲ τοῖς θέλουσι
ὅσον ἐστὶν ἐν μερίμναις.        25
ἱλαροὶ πίωμεν οἶνον,
ἀναμέλψομεν δὲ Βάκχον.

post 22 μετὰ τῶν καλῶν ἐφήβων add. Barnes,
             μετὰ μὲν καλῶν ἐφήβων add. Coulon
The translation is a good one, although I miss the repeated δι᾿ ὃν in lines 7-10, which reminds me of the repeated pronoun "thou" in hymns or invocations—see Eduard Norden (1868-1941), Agnostos Theos: Untersuchungen zur Formengeschichte religiöser Rede (Leipzig: Teubner: 1913), pp. 149-155.

Paris, Musée du Louvre, E741 (Beazley Archive vase number 305010)

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