Posts tagged ‘6th Century’

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Stay in Town by Julianus Antecessor

Stay in town, little wight,
Safe at home:
If you roam,
The cranes who delight
Upon pygmies to sup,
Will gobble you up.
Stay at home.

From: Appleton, William Hyde (ed.), Greek Poets in English Verse by Various Translators, 1893, Houghton, Mifflin and Company: Boston and New York, p. 307.

Date: 6th century (original in Greek); 1849 (translation in English)

By: Julianus Antecessor (6th century)

Translated by: Henry Wellesley (1791-1866)

Friday, 13 March 2020

Lines from “On the Loves of Hero and Leander” by Musaeus Grammaticus

Speak Goddesse, of the Torch, a witnesse made
To love stoln, Nuptials convoy’d through the shade,
Ne’re seene by th’ incorrupted morning-light;
Of Sestos and Abydos: here by night
Leander swimming, Hero marry’d there.
Hearke, the Torch ruffled by the wind I heare,
The steering Torch that did to Venus guide,
The flaming Signall of the clowded Bride,
The Torch that for night-service aiery Jove
Should make a Starre, the starre of wandring Love,
The marriage-starre, because it still gave ayme,
And watcht the marriage-houres with sleeplesse flame;
Till by the rude wind th’ envious Gust was blowne;
And then (aye me) change Hymen’s softer tone,
And let our Verse with one sad close be crown’d,
O’th’ Torch extinguisht, and Leander drown’d.
Vpon the Sea-shore, parted by the floud
Two Cities Sestos and Abydos stood,
Iust o’rethwart neighbours; his bow Cupid bent,
And to both Cities the same Arrow sent,
Wherewith a youth and virgin were inflam’d,
He sweet Leander, she chast Hero nam’d,
He at Abydos, she at Sestos borne;
Starres, like each other, which their Townes adorne.
Do mee a favour if you passe that way,
Aske for the Tow’r where Sestian Hero lay,
And held the Torch, wafting Leander o’re:
Aske for his Dwelling on the adverse shore,
Where still his fun’rals old Abydos keepes,
And in his Love’s and Death’s remembrance weepes.
But dwelt he at Abydos? how then came
He to love Hero, she to catch his flame?

From: Musaeus Grammaticus and Stapylton, Robert (transl,), [Erotopaignion] The loves of Hero and Leander : a Greeke poem / written by Musæus ; translated by Sir Robert Stapylton, 1645, Henry Hall: Oxford, pp. 1-[unnumbered].

Date: 6th century (original in Greek); 1645 (translation in English)

From: Musaeus Grammaticus (6th century)

Translated by: Robert Stapylton (?-1669)

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Melancholy in the Women’s Apartments by Jiang Zong

A silent, blue pavilion by the highway,
With white snow fluttering past its silken windows.
The love-birds on the lake are not alone,
Behind the curtains Suhe incense smokes.
The screen seems bent on shutting out the moonlight,
The unfeeling lantern-flame glares on her, sleeping alone.
“In Liaoxi with its frozen rivers, spring is very short,
From Jibei the geese are coming, several thousand leagues.
May you cross quickly over the mountain passes,
Knowing my beauty, like peach or plum, will last but a moment.”

From: Minford, John and Lau, Joseph S. M. (eds.), Classical Chinese Literature: An Anthology of Translations, Volume I: From Antiquity to the Tang Dynasty, 2000, Columbia University Press: New York and The Chinese University Press: Hong Kong, p. 561.

Date: 6th century (original); 1967 (translation)

By: Jian Zong (518-590)

Translated by: John David Frodsham (1930-2016)

Monday, 28 August 2017

The Tercets by Llywarch Hen

Set is the snare, the ash clusters glow,
Ducks plash in the pools; breakers whiten below;
More strong than a hundred is the heart’s hidden woe.

Long is the night; resounding the shore,
Frequent in crowds a tumultuous roar;
The evil and good disagree evermore.

Long is the night; the hill full of cries;
O’er the tree-tops the wind whistles and sighs;
Ill nature deceives not the wit of the wise.

The greening birch saplings a-sway in the air
Shall deliver my feet from the enemy’s snare;
It is ill with a youth thy heart’s secrets to share.

The saplings of oak in yonder green glade
Shall loosen the snare by an enemy laid;
It is ill to unbosom thy heart to a maid.

The saplings of oak in their full summer pride
Shall loosen the snare by the enemy tied;
It is ill to a babbler thy heart to confide.

The brambles with berries of purple are dressed;
In silence the brooding thrush clings to her nest;
In silence the liar can never take rest.

Rain is without–wet the fern plume;
White the sea gravel–fierce the waves’ spume;
There is no lamp like reason man’s life to illume.

Rain is without, but the shelter is near;
Yellow the furze, the cow-parsnip is sere;
God in Heaven, how could’st Thou create cowards here!

Rain and still rain, dank these tresses of mine!
The feeble complain of the cliff’s steep incline;
Wan is the main; sharp the breath of the brine.

Rain falls in a sheet; the Ocean is drenched;
By the whistling sleet the reed-tops are wrenched;
Feat after feat; but Genius lies quenched.

From: Graves, Alfred Perceval (transl. and ed.), Welsh Poetry Old and New in English Verse, 1912, Longmans, Green and Co: London, pp. 10-11.

Date: 6th century (original in Welsh); 1912 (translation in English)

By: Llywarch Hen (c534-c608)

Translated by: Alfred Perceval Graves (1846-1931)

Thursday, 16 February 2017

The Song of Adebon by Aneirin

The apple-tree is not far from the apple.
The industrious is not akin to the spendthrift.
No one is a hero when naked among thistles.
Every one who swears strongly fails (to perform).
Do not be the friend of one who loves injustice.
We cannot die twice.
To be dumb is not an appropriate quality for an orator.
Do not love to be foremost in conversation.
Jewels are the dainties of the feeble-minded.
Savage from hoof to horn.
Peace is lost in a mansion.
Where there is a large house there will be continual entertainments.
There is always a way for him who seeks it.
Kind gentles, victorious over the foe,
Smile on the Gorchan (song) of Adebon.
And so ends the Gorchan Adebon.

From: Nash, D. W., Taliesin; or, The Bards and Druids of Britain. A Translation of the Remains of the Earliest Welsh Bards, and an Examination of the Bardic Mysteries, 1858, John Russell Smith: London, p. [unnumbered].

Date: 6th century (original in Welsh); 1858 (translation in English)

By: Aneirin (6th century)

Translated by: David William Nash (1809/10-1876)

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Last Verse of “Mu’allaqa” by Imra’ ul-Qais bin Hujr al-Kindi

Friend, thou seest the lightning. Mark where it wavereth,
gleameth like fingers twisted, clasped in the cloud-rivers.
Like a lamp new-lighted, so is the flash of it,
trimmed by a hermit nightly pouring oil-sésame.
Stood I long a watcher, twin-friends how dear with me,
till in Othéyb it faded, ended in Dáriji.
By its path we judged it: rain over Káttan is;
far in Sitár it falleth, streameth in Yáthboli.
Gathereth gross the flood-head dammed in Kutéyfati.
Woe to the trees, the branched ones! Woe the kanáhboli!
El Kanáan hath known it, quailed from the lash of it.
Down from their lairs it driveth hot-foot the ibexes.
Known it too hath Téyma; standeth no palm of her
there, nor no house low-founded, — none but her rock-buildings.
Stricken stood Thabíra whelmed by the rush of it,
like an old chief robe-folded, bowed in his striped mantle.
Nay, but the Mujéymir, tall-peaked at dawn of day,
showed like a spinster’s distaff tossed on the flood-water.
Cloud-wrecked lay the valley piled with the load of it,
high as in sacks the Yemámi heapeth his corn-measures.
Seemed it then the song-birds, wine-drunk at sun-rising,
loud through the valley shouted, maddened with spiceries.
While the wild beast corpses, grouped like great bulbs up-torn,
cumbered the hollow places, drowned in the night-trouble.

From: Blunt, Wilfrid Scawen and Blunt, Lady Anne, The Seven Golden Odes of Pagan Arabia, Known Also As the Moallakat, Translated from the Arabic by Lady Anne Blunt. Done into English Verse by Wilfrid Scawen Blunt, 1903, Chiswick Press: London, pp. 7-8.

Date: 6th century (original in Arabic); 1903 (translation in English)

By: Imra’ ul-Qais bin Hujr al-Kindi (501-544)

Translated by: Anne Isabella Noel Blunt (1837-1917) and Wilfrid Scawen Blunt (1840-1922)

Friday, 4 March 2016

Preiddeu Annwn: The Spoils of Annwn by Taliesin

I praise the Lord, Prince of the realm, King.
His sovereignty has extended across the world’s tract.
Equipped was the prison of Gweir in the Mound Fortress,
throughout the account of Pwyll and Pryderi.
No one before him went into it,
into the heavy blue/gray chain; a faithful servant it held.
And before the spoils of Annwfyn bitterly he sang.
And until Judgment shall last our bardic invocation.
Three fullnesses of Prydwen we went into it
Except seven none rose up from the Fortress of the Mound.

I am honored in praise. Song was heard
in the Four-Peaked Fortress, four its revolutions.
My poetry, from the cauldron it was uttered.
From the breath of nine maidens it was kindled.
The cauldron of the chief of Annwfyn: what is its fashion?
A dark ridge around its border and pearls.
It does not boil the food of a coward; it has not been destined.
The flashing sword of Lleawch has been lifted to it.
And in the hand of Lleminawc it was left.
And before the door of hell lamps burned.
And when we went with Arthur, brilliant difficulty,
except seven none rose up from the Fortress of Mead-Drunkenness.

I am honored in praise; song is heard
in the Fortress of Four-Peaks, isle of the strong door.
Flowing water and jet are mingled.
Sparkling wine their liquor before their retinue.
Three fullnesses of Prydwen we went on the sea.
Except seven none rose up from the Fortress of Hardness.

I merit not the Lord’s little men of letters.
Beyond the Glass Fortress they did not see the valor of Arthur.
Six thousand men stood upon the wall.
It was difficult to speak with their sentinel.
Three fullnesses of Prydwen went with Arthur.
Except seven none rose up from the Fortress of Guts (Hindrance?).

I do not merit little men, slack their will.
They do not know which day the chief was created,
what hour of the midday the owner was born,
what animal they keep, silver its head.
When we went with Arthur, sorrowful strife,
except seven none rose up from the Fortress of Enclosedness.

Monks howl like a choir of dogs
from an encounter with lords who know:
Is there one course of wind? is there one course of water?
Is there one spark of fire of fierce tumult?

Monks pack together like young wolves
from an encounter with lords who know.
They do not know when midnight and dawn divide.
Nor wind, what its course, what its onrush,
what place it ravages, what region it strikes.
The grave of the saint is hidden (or: lost, vanishing, in the Otherworld), both grave and ground (or: champion).
I praise the Lord, great prince,
that I be not sad; Christ endows me.


Date: ?14th century (manuscript original); 1996 (translation)

By: Taliesin (6th century)

Translated by: Sarah Higley (19??- )

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Excerpt from “The Poem of Tarafa (The Mu’Allaqa of Ibn Tarafa)” by Ṭarafah ibn al-‘Abd ibn Sufyān ibn Sa‘d Abū ‘Amr al-Bakrī al-Wā’ilī

Were it not for three enjoyments which youth affords, I swear
by thy prosperity, that I should not be solicitous how soon
my friends visited me on my death-bed:

First, to rise before the censurers awake, and to drink tawny
wine, which sparkles and froths when the clear stream is poured
into it.

Next, when a warrior, encircled by foes, implores my aid, to
bend towards him my prancing charger, fierce as a wolf among the
GADHA-trees, whom the sound of human steps has awakened,
and who runs to quench his thirst at the brook.

Thirdly, to shorten a cloudy day, a day astonishingly dark, by
toying with a lovely delicate girl under a tent supported by pillars,

A girl, whose bracelets and garters seem hung on the stems of
OSHAR-trees, or of ricinus, not stripped of their soft leaves.

Suffer me, whilst I live, to drench my head with wine, lest,
having drunk too little in my life-time, I should be thirsty in another state.

A man of my generous spirit drinks his full draught to day;
and to-morrow, when we are dead, it will be known, which of us
has not quenched his thirst.

From: Jones, Sir William, The Works of Sir William Jones in Six Volumes, Volume IV, 1799, G. G. and J. Robinson: London, p. 267.

Date: 1782 (translated)

By: Ṭarafah ibn al-‘Abd ibn Sufyān ibn Sa‘d Abū ‘Amr al-Bakrī al-Wā’ilī (6th century)

Translated by: William Jones (1746-1794)