Lord Byron's Poems

Early Poems: Translation From Anacreon Ode 1

Greek: Thel'o legein Atpeidas, k.t.l. 1

ODE 1.


I wish to tune my quivering lyre, i

To deeds of fame, and notes of fire;

To echo, from its rising swell,

How heroes fought and nations fell,

When Atreus' sons advanc'd to war,

Or Tyrian Cadmus rov'd afar;

But still, to martial strains unknown,

My lyre recurs to Love alone.

Fir'd with the hope of future fame, ii

I seek some nobler Hero's name;

The dying chords are strung anew,

To war, to war, my harp is due:

With glowing strings, the Epic strain

To Jove's great son I raise again;

Alcides and his glorious deeds,

Beneath whose arm the Hydra bleeds;

All, all in vain; my wayward lyre

Wakes silver notes of soft Desire.

Adieu, ye Chiefs renown'd in arms!

Adieu the clang of War's alarms! iii

To other deeds my soul is strung,

And sweeter notes shall now be sung;

My harp shall all its powers reveal,

To tell the tale my heart must feel;

Love, Love alone, my lyre shall claim,

In songs of bliss and sighs of flame.

Footnote 1: The motto does not appear in 'Hours of Idleness' or 'Poems O. and T.'

Footnote i: 'I sought to tune' -- . - 'MS. Newstead'.

Footnote ii:

'The chords resumed a second strain,

To Jove's great son I strike again.

Alcides and his glorious deeds,

Beneath whose arm the Hydra bleeds'.

'MS. Newstead'.

Footnote iii:

'The Trumpet's blast with these accords

To sound the clash of hostile swords -

Be mine the softer, sweeter care

To soothe the young and virgin Fair'.

'MS. Newstead'.