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Anacreon

(570 BC – 488 BC)

I Pray Thee, by the Gods Above


I pray thee, by the gods above,
Give me the mighty bowl I love,
And let me sing, in wild delight,
'I will-I will be mad tonight!'
Alcmæon once, as legends tell,
Was frenzied by the fiends of hell;
Orestes too, with naked tread,
Frantic pac'd the mountain-head;
And why? a murder'd mother's shade
Before their conscious fancy play'd.
But I can ne'er a murderer be,
The grape alone shall bleed by me;
Yet can I rave, in wild delight,
'I will-I will be mad tonight.'
The son of Jove, in days of yore,
Imbru'd his hands in youthful gore,
And brandish'd, with a maniac joy,
The quiver of th' expiring boy:
And Ajax, with tremendous shield,
Infuriate scour'd the guiltless field.
But I, whose hands no quiver hold,
No weapon but this flask of gold;
The trophy of whose frantic hours
Is but a scatter'd wreath of flowers;
Yet, yet can sing with wild delight,
'I will-I will be mad tonight!'

Submitted: Wednesday, September 19, 2012

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