Odes of Anacreon - Ode 58


When Gold, as fleet as zephry's pinion,
Escapes like any faithless minion,
And flies me (as he flies me ever),
Do I pursue him? never, never!
No, let the false deserter go,
For who would court his direst foe?
But when I feel my lightened mind
No more by grovelling gold confined,
Then loose I all such clinging cares,
And cast them to the vagrant airs.
Then feel I, too, the Muse's spell,
And wake to life the dulcet shell,
Which, roused once more, to beauty sings,
While love dissolves along the strings!

But, scarcely has my heart been taught
How little Gold deserves a thought,
When, lo! the slave returns once more.
And with him wafts delicious store
Of racy wine, whose genial art
In slumber seals the anxious heart.
Again he tries my soul to sever
From love and song, perhaps forever!

Away, deceiver! why pursuing
Ceaseless thus my heart's undoing?
Sweet is the song of amorous fire,
Sweet the sighs that thrill the lyre;
Oh! sweeter far than all the gold
Thy wings can waft, thy mines can hold.
Well do I know thy arts, thy wiles —
They withered Love's young wreathed smiles;
And o'er his lyre such darkness shed,
I thought its soul of song was fled!
They dashed the wine-cup, that, by him,
Was filled with kisses to the brim.
Go — fly to haunts of sordid men,
But come not near the bard again.
Thy glitter in the Muse's shade,
Scares from her bower the tuneful maid;
And not for worlds would I forego
That moment of poetic glow,
When my full soul, in Fancy's stream,
Pours o'er the lyre its swelling theme.
Away, away! to worldlings hence,
Who feel not this diviner sense;
Give gold to those who love that pest, —
But leave the poet poor and blest.
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