Odes of Anacreon - Ode 60


A WAKE to life, my sleeping shell,
To Phaebus let thy numbers swell;
And though no glorious prize be thine,
No Pythian wreath around thee twine,
Yet every hour is glory's hour
To him who gathers wisdom's flower.
Then wake thee from thy voiceless slumbers,
And to the soft and Phrygian numbers,
Which, tremblingly, my lips repeat,
Send echoes from thy chord as sweet.
'T is thus the swan, with fading notes,
Down the Cayster's current floats,
While amorous breezes linger round,
And sigh responsive sound for sound.

Muse of the Lyre! illume my dream,
Thy Phaebus is my fancy's theme;
And hallowed is the harp I bear,
And hallowed is the wreath I wear,
Hallowed by him, the god of lays,
Who modulates the choral maze.
I sing the love which Daphne twined
Around the godhead's yielding mind;
I sing the blushing Daphne's flight
From this ethereal son of Light;
And how the tender, timid maid
Flew trembling to the kindly shade;
Resigned a form, alas, too fair,
And grew a verdant laurel there;
Whose leaves, with sympathetic thrill,
In terror seemed to tremble still!
The god pursued, with winged desire;
And when his hopes were all on fire,
And when to clasp the nymph he thought,
A lifeless tree was all he caught;
And, stead of sighs that pleasure heaves,
Heard but the west-wind in the leaves!

But, pause, my soul, no more, no more —
Enthusiast, whither do I soar?
This sweetly-maddening dream of soul
Hath hurried me beyond the goal,
Why should I sing the mighty darts
Which fly to wound celestial hearts,
When ah, the song, with sweeter tone,
Can tell the darts that wound my own?
Still be Anacreon, still inspire
The descant of the Teian lyre:
Still let the nectared numbers float,
Distilling love in every note!
And when some youth, whose glowing soul
Has felt the Paphian star's control,
When he the liquid lays shall hear,
His heart will flutter to his ear,
And drinking there of song divine,
Banquet on intellectual wine!
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