Nerthe

Wees vrolijk (doodsmozaïek)

“Ἦ ῥ’ ὑπὸ σοὶ Χαρίδας ἀναπαύεται;” — “εἰ τὸν Ἀρίμμα
τοῦ Κυρηναίου παῖδα λέγεις, ὑπ’ ἐμοί.”
“ὦ Χαρίδα, τί τὰ νέρθε;” — “πολὺ σκότος.” — “αἱ δ’ ἄνοδοι τί;”
“ψεῦδος.” — “ὁ δὲ Πλούτων;” — “μῦθος.” — “ἀπωλόμεθα.”
“οὗτος ἐμὸς λόγος ὔμμιν ἀληθινός, εἰ δὲ τὸν ἡδύν
βούλει, Πελλαίου βοῦς μέγας εἰν Ἀΐδῃ.”
(Callimachus, Ep. 15 = Anth. Gr. 7.524)

‘Art thou the grave of Charidas?’ ‘If for Arimmas’ son,
The Cyrenaean, you inquire, I am the very one.’
‘How goes it, Charidas, below?’ ‘Much gloom.’ ‘And the way back?’
‘A lie, there is none.’ ‘Pluto, then?’ ‘Pluto’s a myth.’ ‘Alack!’
‘I’m telling you the truth. If you want fairy tales instead,
The market price of oxen here is half a crown a head.’
(tr. G.M. Young)

Kruptometha

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David d’Angers, Jeune fille grecque

Ἠϊθέοις οὐκ ἔστι τόσος πόνος ὁππόσος ἡμῖν
ταῖς ἀταλοψύχοις ἔχραε θηλυτέραις.
τοῖς μὲν γὰρ παρέασιν ὁμήλικες, οἷς τὰ μερίμνης
ἄλγεα μυθεῦνται φθέγματι θαρσαλέῳ,
παίγνιὰ τ’ ἀμφιέπουσι παρήγορα, καὶ κατ’ ἀγυιὰς
πλάζονται, γραφίδων χρώμασι ῥεμβόμενοι .
ἡμῖν δ’ οὐδὲ φάος λεύσσειν θέμις, ἀλλὰ μελάθροις
κρυπτόμεθα, ζοφεροῖς φροντίσι τηκόμεναι.
(Agathias Scholasticus, Anth. Pal. 5.297)

Young men do not have as much suffering as is inflicted upon us tender-hearted women. They have friends of their own age to whom they can confidently tell their cares and sorrows, the games they pursue can cheer them, and they stroll the streets and let their eyes wander from one colorful picture to another. We on the contrary are not even allowed to look on the light, but are kept hidden in dark chambers, the prey of our thoughts. (tr. William Roger Paton, revised by Michael A. Tueller)

Mues

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Ὦ μύες, εἰ μὲν ἐπ’ ἄρτον ἐληλύθατ’, ἐς μυχὸν ἄλλον
στείχετ’ (ἐπεὶ λιτὴν οἰκέομεν καλύβην),
οὗ καὶ πίονα τυρὸν ἀποδρέψεσθε καὶ αὔην
ἰσχάδα καὶ δεῖπνον συχνὸν ἀπὸ σκυβάλων·
εἰ δ’ ἐν ἐμαῖς βύβλοισι πάλιν καταθήξετ’ ὀδόντα,
κλαύσεσθ’ οὐκ ἀγαθὸν κῶμον ἐπερχόμενοι.
(Ariston, Anth. Gr. 6.303)

Mice, if you have come for bread, go to some other corner (my hut is ill-supplied), where ye shall nibble fat cheese and dried figs, and get a plentiful dinner from the scraps. But if ye sharpen your teeth again on my books ye shall suffer for it and find that ye come to no pleasant banquet. (tr. William Roger Paton)

Lōpodutas

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Τοὺς κυκλίους τούτους, τοὺς “αὐτὰρ ἔπειτα” λέγοντας,
μισῶ, λωποδύτας ἀλλοτρίων ἐπέων.
καὶ διὰ τοῦτ’ ἐλέγοις προσέχω πλέον· οὐδὲν ἔχω γὰρ
Παρθενίου κλέπτειν ἢ πάλι Καλλιμάχου.
“θηρὶ μὲν οὐατόεντι” γενοίμην, εἴ ποτε γράψω,
εἴκελος, “ἐκ ποταμῶν χλωρὰ χελιδόνια.”
οἱ δ’ οὕτως τὸν Ὅμηρον ἀναιδῶς λωποδυτοῦσιν,
ὥστε γράφειν ἤδη “μῆνιν ἄειδε, θεά.”
(Pollianus, Anth. Gr. 11.130)

I hate these cyclic poets* who say “natheless eftsoon,” filchers of the verses of others, and so I pay more attention to elegies, for there is nothing I want to steal from Callimachus or Parthenius. Let me become like an “eared beast”** if ever I write “from the rivers sallow celandine.”*** But these epic poets strip Homer so shamelessly that they already write “Sing, O Goddess, the wrath.”****

* Contemporary writers of epic poems.
** So Callimachus calls a donkey.
*** Probably a quotation from Parthenius. He like Callimachus, wrote elegies.
**** i.e. the very first words of his poem.

(tr. William Roger Paton, with his notes)

Hadion

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Ἅδιον οὐδὲν ἔρωτος· ἃ δ’ ὄλβια, δεύτερα πάντα
ἐστίν· ἀπὸ στόματος δ’ ἔπτυσα καὶ τὸ μέλι.
τοῦτο λέγει Νοσσίς· τίνα δ’ ἁ Κύπρις οὐκ ἐφίλασεν,
οὐκ οἶδεν τήνας τἄνθεα, ποῖα ῥόδα.
(Nossis, Anth. Gr. 5.170)

Nothing is sweeter than love; all good things come second: even honey I spat from my mouth. Nossis says this, and whomever Cypris has not kissed does not know what roses her flowers are. (tr. William Roger Paton, revised by Michael A. Tueller)

Achō

DP208016
Alexandre Cabanel, Echo

Ἀχὼ φίλα, μοὶ συγκαταίνεσόν τι. — τί;
ἐρῶ κορίσκας: ἁ δὲ μ’ οὐ φιλεῖ. — φιλεῖ.
πρᾶξαι δ’ ὁ καιρὸς καιρὸν οὐ φέρει. — φέρει.
τὺ τοίνυν αὐτᾷ λέξον ὡς ἐρῶ. — ἐρῶ.
καὶ πίστιν αὐτᾷ κερμάτων τὺ δός. — τὺ δός.
ἀχώ, τί λοιπόν, ἢ πόθου τυχεῖν; — τυχεῖν.
(Gauradas, Anth. Gr. 16.152)

Wilt grant a favour if I name it? – Name it.
I love, but doubt if she’s not shy. – Not shy.
Then I’ve the right if I could claim it. – Claim it.
Then tell her for her love sigh I. – Ay, ay.
I have a little gift to make her. – Make her.
Then all that’s left to do’s to take her. – Take her.
(tr. John Maxwell Edmonds)

Agrupnos

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Πταίης μοι κώνωψ, ταχὺς ἄγγελος, οὔασι δ’ ἄκροις
Ζηνοφίλας ψαύσας προσψιθύριζε τάδε·
“ἄγρυπνος μίμνει σε· σὺ δ’, ὦ λήθαργε φιλούντων,
εὕδεις.” εἶα, πέτευ· ναί, φιλόμουσε, πέτευ·
ἥσυχα δὲ φθέγξαι, μὴ καὶ σύγκοιτον ἐγείρας
κινήσῃς ἐπ’ ἐμοὶ ζηλοτύπους ὀδύνας.
ἢν δ’ ἀγάγῃς τὴν παῖδα, δορᾷ στέψω σε λέοντος,
κώνωψ, καὶ δώσω χειρὶ φέρειν ῥόπαλον.
(Meleager, Anth. Gr. 5.152)

Fly for me, mosquito: be my swift messenger. Alight on the rim of Zenophila’s ear and whisper this: “He is awake, and waits for you; but you forget those who love you, and sleep.” Up, fly! Yes, musical one, fly! But speak quietly, so you don’t wake the man who is sleeping with her and arouse in him pangs of jealousy against me. If you bring the girl, I will hood you with a lion’s pelt, mosquito, and give you a club to carry in your hand*.

* The mosquito would thus be attired like Heracles. While other instances of mosquitoes imitating Heracles are (not surprisingly) unknown, Love was sometimes depicted wearing a lion skin.

(tr. William Roger Paton, revised by Michael A. Tueller, with the latter’s note)