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three pairs of lovers with space

ANONYMOUS EPIGRAMS IN THE GARLAND OF MELEAGROS

 

The Garland (Stephanos) of Meleagros was an anthology of Greek epigrams compiled roughly around the time Seleukos VI was reigning in Asia Minor (95-93 BC). It was the earliest of the main sources for The Greek Anthology put together by Konstantinos Kephalas in the 10th century. It is so called because it was assembled by Meleagros of Gadara, using his own epigrams and those of other poets.

Presented here are all those touching on Greek love that were not attributed to named poets. (One that was originally denoted as anonymous has been put on the webpage for Leonidas of Tarentum, to whom it probably belongs).

Almost nothing can be deduced about the date of any of these epigrams beyond the likelihood that they are Hellenistic (meaning that they post-date the death of Alexander in 323 BC) and belong to The Garland of Meleager (meaning that they pre-date the very early 1st century BC). Whether or not they are correctly assigned to this period is often in serious doubt: inclusion here is down to the best guesses of A. S. F. Gow and D. L. Page in their The Greek Anthology. Hellenistic Epigrams (Cambridge, 1965).

The translations are by W. R. Paton in The Greek Anthology, Volumes I, II and IV: Loeb Classical Library Vols. LXVII, LXVIII and LXXXV (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1916-8). The only amendments are to undo his Latinisation of Greek names in favour of more literal transliteration of the Greek.

 

V.  EROTIC EPIGRAMS BY VARIOUS POETS

142

On Dionysios’ garland of roses

Which is it? Is the garland the rose of Dionysios, or is he the rose of his garland? The garland loses, I think.

εἰς στέφανον ῥόδων Διονυσίου

Τίς, ῥόδον ὁ στέφανος Διονυσίου, ἢ ῥόδον αὐτὸς τοῦ στεφάνου; δοκέω, λείπεται ὁ στέφανος.

 

VII.  SEPULCHRAL EPIGRAMS

714

I sing of Rhegion, that at the point of the shoaly coast of Italy tastes ever of the Sicilian sea, because under the leafy poplar she laid Ibykos[1] the lover of the lyre, the lover of boys, who had tasted many pleasures; and over his tomb she shed in abundance ivy and white reeds. Ῥήγιον Ἰταλίης τεναγώδεος ἄκρον ἀείδω,
     αἰεὶ Θρινακίου γευομένην ὕδατος,
οὕνεκα τὸν φιλέοντα λύρην φιλέοντά τε παῖδας
     Ἴβυκον εὐφύλλῳ θῆκεν ὑπὸ πτελέῃ,
ἡδέα πολλὰ παθόντα· πολὺν δ᾿ ἐπὶ σήματι κισσὸν
     χεύατο καὶ λευκοῦ φυταλιὴν καλάμου.

 

Rhegion fantasy
Rhegion


XII.  THE BOYISH MUSE

39

Nikandros’s light is out. All the bloom has left his complexion, and not even the name of charm survives, Nikandros whom we once counted among the immortals. But, ye young men, let not your thoughts mount higher than beseems a mortal; there are such things as hairs. Ἐσβέσθη Νίκανδρος, ἀπέπτατο πᾶν ἀπὸ χροιῆς
     ἄνθος, καὶ χαρίτων λοιπὸν ἔτ᾿ οὐδ᾿ ὄνομα,
ὃν πρὶν ἐν ἀθανάτοις ἐνομίζομεν. ἀλλὰ φρονεῖτε
     μηδὲν ὑπὲρ θνητούς, ὦ νέοι· εἰσὶ τρίχες.

 
40

Take not off my cloak, Sir, but look on me even as if I were a draped statue with the extremities only of marble.[2] If you wish to see the naked beauty of Antiphilos you will find the rose growing as if on thorns. Μὴ ᾿κδύσῃς, ἄνθρωπε, τὸ χλαίνιον, ἀλλὰ θεώρει
     οὕτως ἀκρολίθου κἀμὲ τρόπον ξοάνου.
γυμνὴν Ἀντιφίλου ζητῶν χάριν, ὡς ἐπ᾿ ἀκάνθαις
     εὑρήσεις ῥοδέαν φυομένην κάλυκα.

Explanation: “Antiphilus warns prospective lovers that though his face retains its youthful charm his body does not. The author, with some originality, puts in the mouth of the ἐρώμενος a criticism which, in one form or another, commonly comes from the lover.”[3]


61

Look! consume not all Knidos utterly, Aribazos;[4] the very stone is softened and is vanishing. Ἄθρει· μὴ διὰ παντὸς ὅλαν κατάτηκ᾿, Ἀρίβαζε,
     τὰν Κνίδον· ἁ πέτρα θρυπτομένα φέρεται.
 Knidos Roman 1
Knidos

62

Ye Persian mothers, beautiful, yea beautiful are the children ye bear, but Aribazos is to me a thing more beautiful than beauty. Ματέρες αἱ Περσῶν, καλὰ μὲν καλὰ τέκνα τεκεσθε·
     ἀλλ᾿ Ἀρίβαζος ἐμοὶ κάλλιον ἢ τὸ καλόν.

 
66

Judge, ye Loves, of whom the boy is worthy. If truly of the god, let him have him, for I do not contend with Zeus. But if there is something left for mortals too, say, Loves, whose was Dorotheos and to whom is he now given. Openly they call out that they are in my favour; but he departs. I trust that thou, too, mayst not be attracted to beauty in vain.[5] Κρίνατ᾿, Ἔρωτες, ὁ παῖς τίνος ἄξιος. εἰ μὲν ἀληθῶς
     ἀθανάτων, ἐχέτω· Ζανὶ γὰρ οὐ μάχομαι.
εἰ δέ τι καὶ θνατοῖς ὑπολείπεται, εἴπατ᾿, Ἔρωτες,
     Δωρόθεος τίνος ἦν, καὶ τίνι νῦν δέδοται.
ἐν φανερῷ φωνεῦσιν· ἐμὴ χάρις.—ἀλλ᾿ ἀποχωρεῖ.
     μὴ †μετι πρὸς τὸ καλὸν καὶ σὺ μάταια φέρῃ.


67

I see not lovely Dionysios. Has he been taken up to heaven, Father Zeus, to be the second cup-bearer of the immortals? Tell me, eagle, when thy wings beat rapidly over him, how didst thou carry the pretty boy? has he marks from thy claws? Τὸν καλὸν οὐχ ὁρόω Διονύσιον. ἆρά γ᾿ ἀναρθείς,
     Ζεῦ πάτερ, <ἀθανάτοις> δεύτερος οἰνοχοεῖ;
αἰετέ, τὸν χαρίεντα, ποτὶ πτερὰ πυκνὰ τινάξας,
     πῶς ἔφερες; μή που κνίσματ᾿ ὄνυξιν ἔχει;
Boston MFA 95.36. Kantharos ca. 485. Zeus pursuing a boywhite dtl
Zeus pursuing a boy, probably Ganymede (Kantharos, ca. 485 BC, in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts)

 
69

Take thy delight, Zeus, with thy former Ganymede, and look from afar, O King, on my Dexandros. I grudge it not. But if thou carriest away the fair boy by force, no longer is thy tyranny supportable. Let even life go if I must live under thy rule. Ζεῦ, προτέρῳ τέρπου Γανυμήδεϊ· τὸν δ᾿ ἐμόν, ὦναξ,
     Δέξανδρον δέρκευ τηλόθεν· οὐ φθονέω.
εἰ δὲ βίῃ τὸν καλὸν ἀποίσεαι, οὐκέτ᾿ ἀνεκτῶς
     δεσπόζεις· ἀπίτω καὶ τὸ βιοῦν ἐπὶ σοῦ.

 

79

Antipatros kissed me when my love was on the wane, and set ablaze again the fire from the cold ash. So against my will I twice encountered one flame. Away, ye who are like to be love-sick, lest touching those near me I burn them. Ἀντίπατρός μ᾿ ἐφίλησ᾿ ἤδη λήγοντος ἔρωτος,
     καὶ πάλιν ἐκ ψυχρῆς πῦρ ἀνέκαυσε τέφρης·
δὶς δὲ μιῆς ἄκων ἔτυχον φλογός. ὦ δυσέρωτες,
     φεύγετε, μὴ πρήσω τοὺς πέλας ἁψάμενος.

 

87

Persistent Love, thou ever whirlest at me no desire for woman, but the lightning of burning longing for males. Now burnt by Demon, now looking on Ismenos, I ever suffer long pain. And not only on these have I looked, but my eye, ever madly roving, is dragged into the nets of all alike. Τλῆμον Ἔρως, οὐ θῆλυν ἐμοὶ πόθον, ἀλλά τιν᾿ αἰεὶ
     δινεύεις στεροπὴν καύματος ἀρσενικοῦ.
ἄλλοτε γὰρ Δήμωνι πυρούμενος, ἄλλοτε λεύσσων
     Ἰσμηνόν, δολιχοὺς αἰὲν ἔχω καμάτους.
οὐ μούνοις δ᾿ ἐπὶ τοῖσι δεδόρκαμεν· ἀλλ᾿ ἐπιπάντων
     ἄρκυσι πουλυμανῆ κανθὸν ἐφελκόμεθα.
Berlin Antikensammlung ca. 465 nmk.dtl
Kylix of ca. 465 BC in the Antikensammlung, Berlin

 

88

Two loves, descending on me like the tempest, consume me, Eumachos, and I am caught in the toils of two furious passions. On this side I bend towards Asandros, and on that again my eye, waxing keener, turns to Telephos. Cut me in two, I should love that, and dividing the halves in a just balance, carry off my limbs, each of you, as the lot decides. Δισσοί με τρύχουσι καταιγίζοντες ἔρωτες,
     Εὔμαχε, καὶ δισσαῖς ἐνδέδεμαι μανίαις·
ᾗ μὲν ἐπ᾿ Ἀσάνδρου κλίνω δέμας, ᾗ δὲ πάλιν μοι
     ὀφθαλμὸς νεύει Τηλέφου ὀξύτερος.
τμήξατ᾿, ἐμοὶ τοῦθ᾿ ἡδύ, καὶ εἰς πλάστιγγα δικαίην
     νειμάμενοι, κλήρῳ τἀμὰ φέρεσθε μέλη.

 

90

No longer do I love. I have wrestled with three passions that burn: one for a courtesan, one for a maiden, and one for a lad. And in every way I suffer pain. For I have been sore exercised, seeking to persuade the courtesan’s doors to open, the foes of him who has nothing, and again ever sleepless I make my bed on the girl’s couch, giving the child but one thing and that most desirable, kisses.[6] Alack! how shall I tell of the third name? For from that I have gained naught but glances and empty hopes. Οὐκέτ᾿ ἐρῶ. πεπάλαικα πόθοις τρισίν· εἷς μὲνἑταίρης,
     εἷς δέ με παρθενικῆς, εἷς δέ μ᾿ ἔκαυσε νέου·
καὶ κατὰ πᾶν ἤλγηκα. γεγύμνασμαι μέν, ἑταίρης
     πείθων τὰς ἐχθρὰς οὐδὲν ἔχοντι θύρας·
ἔστρωμαι δὲ κόρης ἐπὶ παστάδος αἰὲν ἄϋπνος,
     ἓν τὸ ποθεινότατον παιδὶ φίλημα διδούς.
οἴμοι· πῶς εἴπω πῦρ τὸ τρίτον; ἐκ γὰρ ἐκείνου
     βλέμματα καὶ κενεὰς ἐλπίδας οἶδα μόνον.

 

96

Not in vain is this saying bruited among mortals, “The gods have not granted everything to everyone.” Faultless is thy form, in thy eyes is illustrious modesty, and the bloom of grace is on thy bosom. And with all these gifts thou vanquishest the young men; but the gods did not grant to thee to have the same grace in thy feet. But, good Pyrrhos, this boot shall hide thy foot[7] and give joy to thee, proud of its beauty.[8] Οὔτι μάταν θνατοῖσι φάτις τοιάδε βοᾶται,
     ὡς “οὐ πάντα θεοὶ πᾶσιν ἔδωκαν ἔχειν.”
εἶδος μὲν γὰρ ἄμωμον, ἐπ᾿ ὄμμασι δ᾿ ἁ περίσαμος
     αἰδώς, καὶ στέρνοις ἀμφιτέθαλε χάρις,
οἷσι καὶ ἠϊθέους ἐπιδάμνασαι· ἀλλ᾿ ἐπὶ ποσσὶν
     οὐκέτι τὰν αὐτὰν δῶκαν ἔχειν σε χάριν.
πλὴν κρηπὶς κρύψει ποδὸς ἴχνιον, ὠγαθὲ Πύρρε,
     κάλλεϊ δὲ σφετέρῳ τέρψει ἀγαλλόμενον.

 

99

I am caught by Love, I who had never dreamt it, and never had I learnt to feed a male flame hot beneath my heart. I am caught. Yet it was no longing for evil, but a pure glance, foster-brother of modesty, that burnt me to ashes. Let it consume away, the long labour of the Muses; for my mind is cast in the fire, bearing the burden of a sweet pain. Ἠγρεύθην ὑπ᾿ Ἔρωτος ὁ μηδ᾿ ὄναρ, οὐδ᾿ ἔμαθον πῦρ
     ἄρσεν ποιμαίνειν θερμὸν ὑπὸ κραδίας,
ἠγρεύθην. ἀλλ᾿ οὔ με κακῶν πόθος, ἀλλ᾿ ἀκέραιον
     σύντροφον αἰσχύνῃ βλέμμα κατηνθράκισεν.
τηκέσθω Μουσέων ὁ πολὺς πόνος· ἐν πυρὶ γὰρ νοῦς
     βέβληται, γλυκερῆς ἄχθος ἔχων ὀδύνης.

 

107

Ye Graces, if lovely Dionysios’ choice be for me, lead him on as now from season to season in ever-renewed beauty, but if, passing me over, he love another, let him be cast out like a stale myrtle-berry mixed with the dry sweepings. Τὸν καλόν, ὦ Χάριτες, Διονύσιον, εἰ μὲν ἕλοιτο
     τἀμά, καὶ εἰς ὥρας αὖθις ἄγοιτε καλόν·
εἰ δ᾿ ἕτερον στέρξειε παρεὶς ἐμέ, μύρτον ἕωλον
     ἐρρίφθω ξηροῖς φυρόμενον σκυβάλοις.

 

111

Winged is Love and thou art swift of foot, and the beauty of both is equal. We are only second to him, Eubios, because we have no bow and arrows. Πτανὸς Ἔρως, σὺ δὲ ποσσὶ ταχύς· τὸ δὲ κάλλος ὁμοῖον
     ἀμφοτέρων. τόξοις, Εὔβιε, λειπόμεθα.

 

112

Silence, ye young men; Arkesilaos is leading Love hither, having bound him with the purple cord of Kypris. Εὐφαμεῖτε νέοι· τὸν Ἔρωτ᾿ ἄγει Ἀρκεσίλαος,
     πορφυρέῃ δήσας Κύπριδος ἁρπεδόνῃ.


Explanation: Kypris is an epithet of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and mother of Eros (Love), who has himself fallen in love with Arkesilaos.



116

I will go to serenade him, for I am, all of me, mighty drunk. Boy, take this wreath that my tears bathe. The way is long, but I shall not go in vain; it is the dead of night and dark, but for me Themison is a great torch. Κωμάσομαι· μεθύω γὰρ ὅλος μέγα. παῖ, λάβε τοῦτον
     τὸν στέφανον, τὸν ἐμοῖς δάκρυσι λουόμενον·
μακρὴν δ᾿ οὐχὶ μάτην ὁδὸν ἵξομαι· ἔστι δ᾿ ἀωρὶ
     καὶ σκότος· ἀλλὰ μέγας φανὸς ἐμοὶ Θεμίσων.
 Bronzino Agnolo. Venus Cupid  a Satyr

Aphrodite, Eros and a Satyr by Agnolo Bronzino

123

When Menecharmos[9], Antikles’ son, won the boxing match, I crowned him with ten soft fillets, and thrice I kissed him all dabbled with blood as he was, but the blood was sweeter to me than myrrh. Πυγμῇ νικησαντα τὸν Ἀντικλέους Μενέχαρμον
     λημνίσκοις μαλακοῖς ἐστεφάνωσα δέκα,
καὶ τρισσῶς ἐφίλησα πεφυρμένον αἵματι πολλῷ·
     ἀλλ᾿ ἐμοὶ ἦν σμύρνης κεῖνο μελιχρότερον.
 Olympia Archaeolog. M. Attic kylix by Epiktetos. Youths boxing ca. 500 dtl
Youths boxing by Epiktetos (Attic kylix of ca. 500 BC,  Olympia Archaeological Museum)

130

I said and said it again, “He is fair, he is fair,” but I will still say it, that Dositheos is fair and has lovely eyes. These words we engraved on no oak or pine, no, nor on a wall, but Love burnt them into my heart. But if any man deny it, believe him not. Yea, by thyself, O God, I swear he lies, and I who say it alone know the truth. Εἶπα, καὶ αὖ πάλιν εἶπα· “Καλός, καλός·” ἀλλ᾿ἔτι φήσω,
     ὡς καλός, ὡς χαρίεις ὄμμασι Δωσίθεος.
οὐ δρυός, οὐδ᾿ ἐλάτης ἐχαράξαμεν, οὐδ᾿ ἐπὶ τοίχου
     τοῦτ᾿ ἔπος· ἀλλ᾿ ἐν ἐμῇ καῦσεν Ἔρως κραδίᾳ.
εἰ δέ τις οὐ φήσει, μὴ πείθεο. ναὶ μὰ σέ, δαῖμον,
     ψεύδετ᾿· ἐγὼ δ᾿ ὁ λέγων τἀτρεκὲς οἶδα μόνος.

 

136

Ye chattering birds, why do you clamour? Vex me not, as I lie warmed by the lad’s delicate flesh, ye nightingales that sit among the leaves. Sleep, I implore you, ye talkative women-folk;[10] hold your peace. Ὄρνιθες ψίθυροι, τί κεκράγατε; μή μ᾿ ἀνιᾶτε,
     τὸν τρυφερῇ παιδὸς σαρκὶ χλιαινόμενον,
ἑζόμεναι πετάλοισιν ἀηδόνες· εὗδε λάληθρον
     θῆλυ γένος, δέομαι, μείνατ᾿ ἐφ᾿ ἡσυχίης.

 

140

When I saw Archestratos the fair I said, so help me Hermes I did, that he was not fair; for he seemed not passing fair to me. I had but spoken the word and Nemesis seized me, and at once I lay in the flames and Zeus, in the guise of a boy, rained his lightning on me. Shall I beseech the boy or the goddess for mercy? But to me the boy is greater than the goddess. Let Nemesis go her way. Τὸν καλὸν ὡς ἰδόμαν Ἀρχέστρατον, οὐ μὰ τὸν Ἑρμᾶν,
     οὐ καλὸν αὐτὸν ἔφαν· οὐ γὰρ ἄγαν ἐδόκει.
εἶπα, καὶ ἁ Νέμεσίς με συνάρπασε, κεὐθὺς ἐκείμαν
     ἐν πυρί, παῖς δ᾿ ἐπ᾿ ἐμοὶ Ζεὺς ἐκεραυνοβόλει.
τὸν παῖδ᾿ ἱλασόμεσθ᾿, ἢ τὰν θεόν; ἀλλὰ θεοῦ μοι
     ἔστιν ὁ παῖς κρέσσων· χαιρέτω ἁ Νέμεσις.

 

143

“O Hermes, when shot he extracted the bitter arrow ………………………………“And I, O stranger, met with the same fate.” “But desire for Apollophanes wears me away.” “O lover of sports, thou hast outstripped me; we both have leapt into the same fire.”[11]

Ἑρμῆ, τοξευθεὶς ἐξέσπασε πικρὸν [ὀϊστὸν]
     . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . ἐφήβῳ.
     Κἠγὼ τὴν αὐτήν, ξεῖνε, λέλογχα τύχην.
Ἀλλά μ᾿ Ἀπολλοφάνους τρύχει πόθος. Ὦ φιλάεθλε,
     ἔφθασας· εἰς ἓν πῦρ οἱ δύ᾿ ἐνηλάμεθα.

Interpretation: “This epigram is obviously corrupt and probably also defective, and its content is problematic. The two vocatives show that it was a dialogue between a passer-by […] and somebody [… who] might well be Hermes” [various reasons are given for this]. “If this is on the right lines, possibly the passer-by said something like, ‘I was wounded by love but drew the arrow from the wound and no longer expose myself to fire’, and Hermes replied, ‘I too have healed my wounds but still think of Apollophanes’, and is answered, ‘Then you were before me, but we were both scorched by the same flame’.[12]

 

145

Rest, ye lovers of lads, from your empty labour; cease from your troubles, ye perverse men; we are maddened by never fulfilled hopes. It is like to baling the sea on to the dry land and reckoning the number of grains in the Libyan sand to court the love of boys, whose vainglorious beauty is sweet to men and gods alike. Look on me, all of you; for all my futile toil of the past is as water shed on the dry beach. Παύετε, παιδοφίλαι, κενεὸν πόνον· ἴσχετε μόχθων,
     δύσφρονες· ἀπρήκτοις ἐλπίσι μαινόμεθα.
ἶσον ἐπὶ ψαφαρὴν ἀντλεῖν ἅλα, κἀπὸ Λιβύσσης
     ψάμμου ἀριθμητὴν ἀρτιάσαι ψεκάδα,
ἶσον καὶ παίδων στέργειν πόθον, οἷς τὸ κεναυχὲς
     κάλλος ἐνὶ χθονίοις ἡδύ τ᾿ ἐν ἀθανάτοις.
δέρκεσθ᾿ εἰς ἐμὲ πάντες· ὁ γὰρ πάρος εἰς κενὸν ἡμῶν
     μόχθος ἐπὶ ξηροῖς ἐκκέχυτ᾿ αἰγιαλοῖς.

 

151

Stranger, if thou sawest somewhere among the boys one whose bloom was most lovely, undoubtedly thou sawest Apollodotos. And if, having seen him, thou wast not overcome by burning fiery desire, of a surety thou art either a god or a stone. Εἴ τινά που παίδων ἐρατώτατον ἄνθος ἔχοντα
     εἶδες, ἀδιστάκτως εἶδες Ἀπολλόδοτον.
εἰ δ᾿ ἐσιδών, ὦ ξεῖνε, πυριφλέκτοισι πόθοισιν
     οὐκ ἐδάμης, πάντως ἢ θεὸς ἢ λίθος εἶ.

 

152[13]

Herakleitos, my beloved, is a Magnet,[14] not attracting iron by stone, but my spirit by his beauty. Μάγνης Ἡράκλειτος, ἐμοὶ πόθος, οὔτι σίδηρον
     πέτρῳ, πνεῦμα δ᾿ ἐμὸν κάλλει ἐφελκόμενος.

 

155

A. Don’t speak to me again like that. B. How am I to blame? He sent me himself. A. What! will you say it a second time? B. A second time. He said “Go.” But come, don’t delay, they are waiting for you. A. First of all I will find them and then I will come. I know from experience what the third story will be.[15] α. Μή μ᾿ εἴπῃς πάλιν ὧδε. β. Τί δ᾿ αἴτιος; αὐτὸςἔπεμψε.
     α. Δεύτερον οὖν φήσεις; β. Δεύτερον. εἶπεν· Ἴθι.
ἀλλ᾿ ἔρχευ, μὴ μέλλε. μένουσί σε. α. Πρῶτον ἐκείνους
     εὑρήσω, χἤξω· τὸ τρίτον οἶδα πάλαι.

 

156

Even like unto a storm in springtime, Diodoros, is my love, determined by the moods of an uncertain sea. At one time thou displayest heavy rain-clouds, at another again the sky is clear and thy eyes melt in a soft smile. And I, like a shipwrecked man in the surge, count the blind waves as I am whirled hither and thither at the mercy of the mighty storm. But show me a landmark either of love or of hate, that I may know in which sea I swim. Εἰαρινῷ χειμῶνι πανείκελος, ὦ Διόδωρε,
     οὑμὸς ἔρως, ἀσαφεῖ κρινόμενος πελάγει·
καὶ ποτὲ μὲν φαίνεις πολὺν ὑετόν, ἄλλοτε δ᾿ αὖτε
     εὔδιος, ἁβρὰ γελῶν δ᾿ ὄμμασιν ἐκκέχυσαι.
τυφλὰ δ᾿, ὅπως ναυηγὸς ἐν οἴδματι, κύματα μετρῶν
     δινεῦμαι, μεγάλῳ χείματι πλαζόμενος.
ἀλλά μοι ἢ φιλίης ἔκθες σκοπὸν ἢ πάλι μίσους,
     ὡς εἰδῶ ποτέρῳ κύματι νηχόμεθα.

 

160

Bravely shall I bear the sharp pain in my vitals and the bond of the cruel fetters. For it is not now only, Nikandros, that I learn to know the wounds of love, but often have I tasted desire. Do both thou, Adrasteia[16], and thou, Nemesis, bitterest of the immortals, exact due vengeance for his evil resolve.[17] Θαρσαλέως τρηχεῖαν ὑπὸ σπλάγχνοισιν ἀνίην
     οἴσω, καὶ χαλεπῆς δεσμὸν ἀλυκτοπέδης.
οὐ γάρ πω, Νίκανδρε, βολὰς ἐδάημεν Ἔρωτος
     νῦν μόνον, ἀλλὰ πόθων πολλάκις ἡψάμεθα.
καὶ σὺ μέν, Ἀδρήστεια, κακῆς ἀντάξια βουλῆς
     τῖσαι, καὶ μακάρων πικροτάτη Νέμεσις.

 

[1] The sixth century BC Ibykos, considered in antiquity one of the nine great lyric poets, “became obsessed with the love of boys” (Souda, iota 80).

[2] “The adj. denotes a statue of which the extremities only were carved in marble or stone, the rest of wood.” (A. S. F. Gow and D. L. Page, The Greek Anthology. Hellenistic Epigrams, Cambridge, 1965, p. 566)

[3] A. S. F. Gow and D. L. Page, The Greek Anthology. Hellenistic Epigrams, Cambridge, 1965, p. 566.

[4] Aribazos was a Persian name (as implied by the next epigram). Knidos was a Greek city in Asia, where presumably some Persians were to be found in Hellenistic times.

[5] I take the last line to be addressed to the boy, Dorotheus, who would not abide by the verdict of the Loves, but this line is corrupt, and the whole is rather obscure. There was evidently a terrestrial rival in addition to Zeus. [Translator’s note]

[6] This seems to be the meaning; had he wished to say he had kissed her once only he must have used the aorist. [Translator’s note]

[7] Literally, “the step of thy foot,” indicating that the malformation was in the actual foot, not, e.g. in the ankle. [Translator’s note]

[8] The verses seem to have been sent with a present of a pair of ornamental boots. [Translator’s note]

[9] "The name seems too appropriate to the subject to belong to a real boy.” (A. S. F. Gow and D. L. Page, The Greek Anthology. Hellenistic Epigrams, Cambridge, 1965, p. 574)

[10] The nightingale was Philomela. [Translator’s note]

[11] The verses seem to have been a dialogue between a statue of Hermes in the gymnasium and a stranger, but owing to their mutilation it is difficult to make sense of them. It is evident from the context of No. 144 (the poems here being arranged under motives) that the god was represented as being in love. [Translator’s note]

[12] A. S. F. Gow and D. L. Page, The Greek Anthology. Hellenistic Epigrams (Cambridge, 1965) pp. 566-7.

[13] The couplet has adhered to the preceding one “and has lost its own heading. It need not therefore have been anonymous in Meleager’s Garland, and may indeed be by Meleager himself for Heraclitus is among his names for ἐρώμενοι  […].  It is however too common to warrant that conclusion.” (A. S. F. Gow and D. L. Page, The Greek Anthology. Hellenistic Epigrams (Cambridge, 1965) p. 574)

[14] Meaning either a native of Magnesia (as the boy was) or the Magnesian stone, the magnet. [Translator’s note]. A. S. F. Gow and D. L. Page (The Greek Anthology. Hellenistic Epigrams, Cambridge, 1965, p. 574) say the word is doing double duty with “a magnet” as the primary meaning.

[15] A dialogue between a slave and a boy he is sent to invite. I take the point of it to be that the man pretends that there will be other guests to “chaperon” the boy. The boy refuses to believe this, and declines a tête-à-tête. The point of the last words, however, is obscure [Translator’s note]. However, A. S. F. Gow and D. L. Page in their The Greek Anthology. Hellenistic Epigrams (Cambridge, 1965) p. 563 say the gender of the second person in the dialogue is unclear and “he” is more likely a female courtesan of some kind.

[16] Adrasteia, originally a distinct goddess, became increasingly associated with Nemesis (the goddess of divine retribution), but is here evidently still distinct from her.

[17] His evil resolve “is his refusal to gratify the author; the punishment no doubt that commonly threatened in such cases – that the boy shall himself be the victim of unrequited love. (A. S. F. Gow and D. L. Page, The Greek Anthology. Hellenistic Epigrams, Cambridge, 1965, p. 575)

 

 

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