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E'en thus our hunters came of yore
Back from their vain and weary quest. Had they not seen th'untrodden shore,
And could they midst our wilds find rest? The lightning of their glance was fled, They dwelt amongst us as the dead!
They lay beside our glancing rills,
With visions in their darken'd eye; Their joy was not amidst the hills,
Where elk and deer before us fly; Their spears upon the cedar hung, Their javelins to the wind were flung.
They bent no more the forest bow,
They arm'd not with the warrior band,
Son of the Stranger! if at eve
Silence be midst us in thy place, Yet go not where the mighty leave
The strength of battle and of chase! Let no vain dreams thy heart beguile, Oh! seek thou not the Fountain Isle!
F. H. New Monthly Magazine.
THE reader will exercise his own judgment in determining the relative merits of the following translations, of one of Anacreon's Odes. For our parts, we think the best of them, compared to Moore's, is like Cooper's translation of the Iliad compared to Pope's.-ED.
I subjoin different translations of an ode of Anacreon, because I consider it one of the few genuine relics of this poet, and a chef-d'œuvre in the art of contrast. These verses would suggest to any painter the picture of an old man seated upon the turf, amidst myrtles and roses, rising under the weight of years by his buoyant gaiety, forgetting past sorrows, and dreamof pleasures to come. The contrasts in this single personage are further heightened by the figure of love, who, with the levity and curiosity of youth, hastens forward to pour out wine for the old man, and listens to his song. But to pourtray the still greater contrast which is produced by the solemnity of the old man's song, is beyond the painter's art. For, instead of the praises of pleasure, his theme is the shortness of life, and the long and inevitable sleep of death; whence he deduces the conclusive argument, that we must hasten to enjoy the present hour.-It appears to me that translators have not sufficiently availed themselves of these sudden transitions. The ancients were rather intemperate in their use of them; the moderns are too cautious in avoiding them.
Underneath the myrtle shade,
On flowery beds supinely laid,
What shall I do, but drink away
Fill to me, Love! nay, fill it up!
MOORE'S TRANSLATION. Strew me a breathing bed of leaves, Where Lotus with the myrtle weaves, And while in Luxury's dream I sink, Let me the balm of Bacchus drink! In this delicious hour of joy, Young Love shall be my goblet-boy; Folding his little golden vest, With cinctures round his snowy breast, Himself shall hover by my side And minister the racy tide! Swift as the wheels that rundling roll, Our life is hurrying to the goal: A scanty dust to feed the wind, Is all the trace 'twill leave behind. Why do we shed the roses bloom, Upon the cold, insensate tomb?
Can flowery breeze or odour's breath,
On beds of tender myrtle leaves,
Love, his mantle thrown behind,
As the chariot-wheel rolls on,
What avails the perfume thrown
Call the mistress of my heart:
AN ITALIAN TRANSLATION.
Sovra i mirti e fra le rose,
Ahi! l' umana vita fugge
A me il nappo, e la corona
Vieni e meco ti trastulla;