Posts tagged ‘1st century bce’

Saturday, 1 June 2019

The Tavern Dancing Girl by Unknown

See the Syrian girl, her tresses with the Greek tiara bound,
Skill’d to strike the castanets, and foot it to their merry sound,
Through the tavern’s reeky chamber, with her cheeks all flush’d with wine,
Strikes the rattling reeds, and dances, while around the guests recline.
“Wherefore thus, footsore and weary, plod through summer’s dust and heat?
Better o’er the wine to linger, laid in yonder cool retreat!
There are casks, and cans, and goblets,—roses, fifes, and lutes are there,—
Shady walks, where arching branches cool for us the sultry air.
There, from some Mænalian grotto, all unseen, some rustic maid
Pipes her shepherd notes, that babble sweetly through the listening glade.
There, in cask pitch’d newly over, is a vintage clear and strong;
There, among the trees, a brooklet brawls with murmurs hoarse along;
There be garlands, where the violet, mingling with the crocus, blows,
Chaplets of the saffron twining through the blushes of the rose;
Lilies, too, which Acheloës shall in wicker baskets bring,
Lilies fresh and sparkling, newly dipped within some virgin spring.
There are little cheeses also, dried between the verdant rushes,
Yellow plums, the bloom upon them, which they took from Autumn’s blushes,
Chestnuts, apples ripe and rosy, cakes which Ceres might applaud;
Here, too, dwelleth gentle Amor; here is Bacchus, jovial god!
Blood-red mulberries, and clusters of the trailing vine between,
Rush-bound cucumbers are there, too, with their sides of bloomy green.
There, too, stands the cottage-guardian, in his hand a willow-hook,
But he bears no other weapon: maidens unabash’d may look.
Come, my Alibida, hither! See! your ass is fairly beat!
Spare him, as I know you love him. How he’s panting with the heat!
Now from brake and bush is shrilling the cicada’s piercing note;
E’en the lizard now is hiding in some shady nook remote.
Lay ye down!—to pause were folly—by the glassy fountain’s brink,
Cool your goblet in the crystal, cool it ever, ere you drink.
Come, and let your wearied body ‘neath the shady vine repose,
Come, and bind your languid temples with a chaplet of the rose!
Come, and ye shall gather kisses from the lips of yon fair girl;
He, whose forehead ne’er relaxes, ne’er looks smiling, is a churl!
Why should we reserve these fragrant garlands for the thankless dust?
Would ye that their sweets were gather’d for the monumental bust?
Wine there!—wine and dice!—To-morrow’s fears shall fools alone benumb.
By the ear Death pulls me. “Live!” he whispers softly. “Live! I come!”

From: Martin, Theodore, Poems; Original and Translated, 1863: Printed for Private Circulation: London, pp. 320-322.

Date: 1st century BCE (original in Latin); 1863 (translation in English

By: Unknown

Translated by: Theodore Martin (1816-1909)

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Lament Not, Wayfarer by Carphyllidas

Lament not, wayfarer, that passest by my tomb;
not even in death have I any cause for tears.
Children’s children do I leave:
with one wife was I blessed, whose years were as my own.
Three sons I gave in marriage,
and oft have I rocked their children on my breast.
Nor death nor sickness of one of them all have I bewailed,
but they have given me due rites of funeral, and sent me
to sleep the sleep delectable, in the land of the leal.

From: Tomson, Graham R. (ed.), Selections from the Greek Anthology, 1895, Walter Scott: London, p. 95.

Date: 1st century BCE (original in Greek); 1895 (translation in English)

By: Carphyllidas (1st century BCE)

Translated by: Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Thracians, who Howl Around an Infant’s Birth by Aulus Licinius Archias

Thracians, who howl around an infant’s birth
And give the funeral hour to songs and mirth,
Well in your grief and gladness are express’d
That life is labour and that death is rest.

From: Bland, Robert, Translations Chiefly from the Greek Anthology, with Tales and Miscellaneous Poems, 1806, Richard Phillips: London, p. 48.

Date: 1st century BCE (original in Greek); 1806 (translation in English)

By: Aulus Licinius Archias (fl. c120-61 BCE)

Translated by: Robert Bland (?1779-1825)

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Charon by Zonas

You who pull the oars, who meet the dead,
who leave them at the other bank, and glide
across the reedy marsh, please take
my boy’s hand as he climbs into the dark hull.
Look. The sandals trip him, and you see,
he is afraid to step there barefoot.


Date: 1st century BCE (original in Greek); 1998 (translation in English)

By: Zonas (1st century BCE)

Translated by: Brooks Haxton (1950- )

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Song of Resentment by Ban Jieyu

Newly cut white silk from Qi,
Clear and pure as frost and snow.
Made into a fan for joyous trysts,
Round as the bright moon.
In and out of my lord’s cherished sleeve,
Waved back and forth to make a light breeze.
Often I fear the arrival of the autumn season,
Cool winds overcoming the summer heat.
Discarded into a box,
Affection cut off before fulfillment.


Date: 1st century BCE (original); 2002 (translation)

By: Ban Jieyu (c48-c6 BCE)

Translated by: David R. Knegtes (19??- )

Saturday, 3 June 2017

The Sick Wife by Anonymous

She had been ill for years and years;
She sent for me to say something.
She couldn’t say what she wanted
Because of the tears that kept coming of themselves.
“I have burdened you with orphan children,
With orphan children two or three.
Don’t let our children go hungry or cold;
If they do wrong, don’t slap or beat them.
When you take out the baby, rock it in your arms.
Don’t forget to do that.”
Last she said,
“When I carried them in my arms they had no clothes
And now their jackets have no linings.”

[She dies.]

I shut the doors and barred the windows
And left the motherless children.
When I got to the market and met my friends, I wept.
I sat down and could not go with them.
I asked them to buy some cakes for my children.
In the presence of my friends I sobbed and cried.
I tried not to grieve, but sorrow would not cease.
I felt in my pocket and gave my friends some money.
When I got home I found my children
Calling to be taken into their mother’s arms.
I walked up and down in the empty room
This way and that a long while.
Then I went away from it and said to myself
“I will forget and never speak of her again.”

From: Waley, Arthur, A Hundred and Seventy Chinese Poems, 1918, Constable and Company: London, pp. 29-30.

Date: 1st century BCE (original); 1918 (translation)

By: Anonymous

Translated by: Arthur David Waley (1889-1966)

Saturday, 25 February 2017

O Phileros, Why a Torch, that We Need Not? by Valerius Aedituus

O Phileros, why a torch, that we need not?
Just as we are we’ll go, our hearts aflame.
That flame no wild wind’s blast can ever quench,
Or rain that falls torrential from the skies;
Venus herself alone can quell her fire,
No other force there is that has such power.

From: Aulus Gellius and Rolfe, John C. (ed. and transl.), The Attic Nights of Aulus Gellius. With an English Translation, 1927, William Heinemann Ltd: London and Harvard University Press: Cambridge, Mass., p. 385.

Date: 1st century BCE (original in Latin); 1927 (translation in English)

By: Valerius Aedituus (1st century BCE)

Translated by: John Carew Rolfe (1859-1943)

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Raising the Alarm by Meleager of Gadara

Help! He is gone. That wild boy, Love, has escaped!
Just now, as day was breaking, he flew from his bed and was gone.
Description? Sweetly tearful, talks forever, swift, irreverent,
Slyly laughing, wings on his back, and carries a quiver.
His last name? I don’t know, for his father and mother,
Whoever they are, in earth or heaven, won’t admit it.
Everyone hates him, you see. Take care, take care,
Or even now he’ll be weaving new snares for your heart.
But hush—look there, turn slowly. You don’t deceive me, boy,
Drawing your bow so softly where you hide in Zenophile’s eyes.


Date: 1st century BCE (original in Greek); 2013 (translation in English)

By: Meleager of Gadara (1st century BCE)

Translated by: Thomas McEvilley (1939-2013)

Sunday, 23 October 2016

At Last It’s Come by Sulpicia

At last it’s come, and to be said to hide this kind of love
would shame me more than rumors that I’d laid it bare.
Won over by the pleading of my Muse, Cytherea
delivered him to me. She placed him in my arms.
Venus has fulfilled what she promised: Let my joys be told
by one who is said to have no joy of her own.
I would hate to keep what I’ve written under seal where none
could read me sooner than my lover, for pleasure
Likes a little infamy; discretion is nothing but a tedious pose.
Let it be known I have found a fitting partner.

From: Rayor, Diane J. and Batstone, William W. (eds.), Latin Lyric and Elegaic Poetry: An Anthology of New Translations, 1995, Routledge: New York, p. 84.

Date: 1st century BCE (original in Latin); 1994 (translation in English)

By: Sulpicia (1st century BCE)

Translated by: Mary Maxwell (19??- )