Callimachus

(310/305 BC / Cyrene, Ancient Libya)

A Youth in Haste - Poem by Callimachus

A Youth, in haste, to Mitylene came,
And anxious, thus reveal'd his am'rous flame
To Pittacus the wife; O sacred Sire,
For two fair nymphs I burn with equal fire,
One lovely maid in rank and wealth like me,
But one superior, and of high degree.
Since both return my love, and each invites
To celebrate with her the nuptial rites,
Perplex'd with doubts, for sage advice I come:
Whom shall I wed? 'Tis you must fix my doom.
So spake th' impatient youth; th' attentive sage
Rais'd the support of his declining age,
An ancient staff; and pointing to the ground
Where sportive striplings lash'd their tops around
With eager strokes; let yonder boys, he cry'd,
Solve the dispute, and your long doubts decide.
The youth drew nigh, and listen'd with surprize,
Whilst from the laughing crowd these words arise,
'Let equal tops with equal tops contend.'
The boys prevail'd, and soon the contest end.
The youth departing shun'd the wealthy dame,
And chose th' inferior maid to quench his flame.

Go thou, my friend, obey the sage, and lead
An equal beauty to thy nuptial bed.


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 14, 2016



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