all right

Occasionally adding corroborative details to add verisimilitude to otherwise bald and unconvincing,
but veridicous accounts
with careful attention, indefatigable assiduity, and nice discrimination.

15 February, 2013

“Love among the Roses”

An anonymous Anacreontic verse (Anacreonta, Fragment, 35):

Ἔρως ποτ’ ἐν ῥόδοισι
κοιμωμένην μέλιτταν
οὐκ εἶδεν, ἀλλ’ ἐτρώθη.
τὸν δάκτυλον παταχθείς
τᾶς χειρὸς ὠλόλυξε,
δραμὼν δὲ καὶ πετασθείς
πρὸς τὴν καλὴν Κυθήρην·
“ὄλωλα, μῆτερ,” εἶπεν,
“ὄλωλα κἀποθνήσκω· 

ὄφις μ’ ἔτυψε μικρός
πτερωτός, ὃν καλοῦσιν

μέλιτταν οἱ γεωργοί.”
ἃ δ’ εἶπεν· “εἰ τὸ κέντρον
πονεῖς τὸ τᾶς μελίττας,
πόσον δοκεῖς πονοῦσιν,
Ἔρως, ὅσους σὺ βάλλεις;”

My translation:

Once love among the roses
did not discern a bee;
and on a little finger
it stung him, painfully.

He wept and bellowed loudly,
and ran, with outspread wings,
to lovely Aphrodite.

He cried, “I’m done for, Mother;
I’m done for, woe is me!
A tiny wingèd serpent
did smite me mortally—
the farmers call it ‘bee’.”
She said,  “Reflect, my darling,
how much a bee sting smarts:
how more, then, must they suffer
whom thou hitst with thy darts?”

Thomas Moore’s translation:

Cupid once upon a bed
Of roses laid his weary head;
Luckless urchin, not to see
Within the leaves a slumbering bee!
The bee awaked—with anger wild.
The bee awaked, and stung the child.
Loud and piteous are his cries;
To Venus quick he runs, he flies;
“Oh mother!—I am wounded through—
I die with pain—what shall I do?
Stung by some little angry thing,
Some serpent on a tiny wing—
A bee it was—for once, I know,
I heard a peasant call it so.”
Thus he spoke, and she the while
Heard him with a soothing smile;
Then said: “My infant, if so much
Thou feel the little wild-bee’s touch,
How must the heart, ah, Cupid, be,
The hapless heart, that’s stung by thee?”

Robert Herrick’s translation:

Cupid as he lay among
Roses, by a Bee was stung.
Whereupon in anger flying
To his Mother, said thus crying;
Help! O help! your Boy’s a dying.
And why, my pretty Lad, said she?
Then blubbering, replyed he,
A winged Snake has bitten me,
Which Country people call a Bee.
At which she smil’d; then with her hairs
And kisses drying up his tears:
Alas! said she, my Wag! if this
Such a pernicious torment is:
Come, tell me then, how great’s the smart
Of those, thou woundest with thy Dart! 

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