With the Bust of Anakreon and a Vial of Rose Oil


When winter robbed the roses that crowned Anakreon's
Brow at the joyous feast when he plucked the strings,
So did Aphrogeneia let trickle her precious oil on his hair,
And a waft of roses imbued his every song.
But only when a lover sings the songs of the venerable one,
Does the marvelous scent come to fill a chamber or hall.


Translation: Charles L. Cingolani                        Copyright © 2008




Mit einem Anakreonskopf und einem Flaeschchen Rosenoel


Als der Winter die Rosen geraubt, die Anakreons Scheitel
Kraenzten am fröhlichen Mahl, wo er die Saiten geruehrt,
Traeufelt’ ihr koestliches Oel in das Haar ihm Aphrogeneia,
Und ein rosiger Hauch haftet an jeglichem Lied.
Doch nur wo ein Liebender singt die Toene des Greisen,
Fuellet Hallen und Saal wieder der herrliche Duft.


Eduard Moerike 1845
. . . The poem is written in the ancient form of an epigram—a witty, often paradoxical remark, concisely expressed—as was appropriate when writing about the ancient Greek lyric poet Anakreon . . . .