Lyre

I, too, wish to sing of heroic deeds
(about the Atreides, and about Kadmus),
but the lyre’s strings
can only produce sounds of love.
Recently, I changed the strings,
and then the lyre itself,
and tried to sing of the feats of Hercules,
but still the lyre kept singing songs of love.
So, fare well, you heroes!
because my lyre sings only songs of love.

 

by Anacreon (570 BC – 488 BC)
a Greek lyric poet, notable for his drinking songs and hymns.
Anacreon wrote all of his poetry in the ancient Ionic dialect.

 

Original text:
ΘΕΛΩ ΛΕΓΕΙΝ ΑΤΡΕΙΔΑΣ,
ΘΕΛΩ ΔΕ ΚΑΔΜΟΝ ΑΙΔΕΙΝ,
Ο ΒΑΡΒΙΤΟΣ ΔΕ ΧΟΡΔΑΙΣ
ΕΡΩΤΑ ΜΟΥΝΟΝ ΗΧΕΙ.
ΗΜΕΙΨΑ ΝΕΥΡΑ ΠΡΩΗΝ
ΚΑΙ ΤΗΝ ΛΥΡΗΝ ΑΠΑΣΑΝ·
ΚΑΓΩ ΜΕΝ ΗΙΔΟΝ ΑΘΛΟΥΣ ΗΡΑΚΛΕΟΥΣ,
ΛΥΡΗ ΔΕ ΕΡΩΤΑΣ ΑΝΤΕΦΩΝΕΙ.
ΧΑΙΡΟΙΤΕ ΛΟΙΠΟΝ ΗΜΙΝ, ΗΡΩΕΣ·
Η ΛΥΡΗ ΓΑΡ ΜΟΝΟΥΣ ΕΡΩΤΑΣ ΑΙΔΕΙ.

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