Anacreon

(570 BC – 488 BC)

Three songs


i

The women tell me, 'Man, you're old;
don't be so bold.
Look into a mirror
to make it clearer:
your hair
ain't there.'

But I can't see what lies
above my eyes.
I do see more reason to play the game,
when Death takes aim.

ii

If wealth with all its money
could make us never die,
I'd give my life to earning,
and then, when Death came by,

I'd pay him and forget him.
But there's no way to spend
yourself into forever.
So since my life must end,

what good does money do me,
or why then should I mourn
the certainty of dying,
which comes with being born?

My riches are in friendship
and drinking wine at ease,
and moon-lit celebrations
of Love's solemnities.

iii

Old Gyges had a ton of gold
when he was Asia's king;
his treasure houses leave me cold,
I don't grudge him a thing.

What counts with me is scented hair,
rose garlands, and today;
so let's drink while the weather's fair:
tomorrow's far away.

- translated from the Greek by Jon Corelis

Submitted: Thursday, November 27, 2003

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