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Translation from Anacreon

ODE  3

Lord Byron

( From the 1807 edition of Hours of Idleness )


'Twas now the hour when Night had driven,

Her car half round yon sable heaven,

Bootes only seem'd to roll

His Arctic charge around the Pole;

While mortals lost in gentle sleep,

Forgot to smile, or ceas'd to weep;

At this lone hour, the Paphian boy,

Descending from the realms of joy;

Quick to my gate, directs his course,

And knocks with all his little force;

My visions fled, alarm'd I rose,

"What stranger breaks my blest repose?"

Alas !   replies the wily child,

In faultering accents, sweetly mild;

"A hapless infant here I roam,

"Far from my dear maternal home;

"Oh !   shield me from the wint'ry blast,

"The nightly storm is pouring fast,

"No prowling robber lingers here;

"A wandering baby, who can fear?"

I heard his seeming artless tale,

I heard his sighs upon the gale;

My breast was never pity's foe,

But felt for all the baby's woe,

I drew the bar, and by the light,

Young Love, the infant, met my sight;

His bow across his shoulders flung,

And thence his fatal quiver hung,

( Ah !   little did I think the dart,

Would rankle soon within my heart; )

With care I tend my weary guest,

His little fingers chill my breast,

His glossy curls, his asure wing,

Which droop with nightly showers, I wring:

His shivering limbs the embers warm

And, now, reviving from the storm,

Scarce had he felt his wonted glow,

Than swift he seized his slender bow;

"I fain would know, my gentle host,"

He cried,  "if this its strength has lost;

"I fear, relax'd with midnight dews,

"The strings their former aid refuse;"

With poison tipt, his arrow flies,

Deep in my tortur'd heart it lies:

Then loud the joyous urchin laught,

"My bow can still impel the shaft;

" 'Tis firmly fix'd, thy sighs reveal it,

"Say, courteous host, canst thou not feel it? "


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