Alcaeus: Autumn

Behold! the tender Autumn flower
Is purpling on the hill,
The roses wither on the bower,
And vanished is the dill.
The morning air is keen and bright,
The afternoon is full of light,
And Hesper ushers in the night
With breezes damp and chill.

The purple harvest of the vine
Is bleeding in the press,
And Bacchus comes to taste the wine
And all our labours bless.
Then bring a golden bowl immense,
And mix enough to drown your sense,
And care not if you soon commence
Your secrets to confess.

For wine a mirror is, to show
The image that is fair,
The friend of lightsome mirth, the foe
Of shadow-haunting care.
So fill your Teian goblet up,
And scatter jewels from the cup,
And drink until the last hiccough
Shall drown your latest woe.

Translation by James S. Easby-Smith.

Rudyard Kipling: A Servant When He Reigneth

Three things make earth unquiet
And four she cannot brook
The godly Agur counted them
And put them in a book—
Those Four Tremendous Curses
With which mankind is cursed;
But a Servant when He Reigneth
Old Agur entered first.

An Handmaid that is Mistress
We need not call upon.
A Fool when he is full of Meat
Will fall asleep anon.
An Odious Woman Married
May bear a babe and mend;
But a Servant when He Reigneth
Is Confusion to the end.

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Alcaeus: Spring

I FEEL the coming of the flowery Spring,
Wakening tree and vine;
A bowl capacious quickly bring
And mix the honeyed wine.

Weave for my throat a garland of fresh dill,
And crown my head with flowers,
And o’er my breast sweet perfumes spill
In aromatic showers.

Translation by James S. Easby-Smith, published 1901.

Portrait of Lina Cavalieri by Giovanni Boldini, 1901.

Lina (Natalina) Cavalieri was born on Christmas Day 1874 in Viterbo. She lost her parents at the age of fifteen and became a ward of the state, sent to live in a Roman Catholic orphanage. She soon ran away, to Paris. Blessed with beauty and a good singing voice, she obtained work as a singer at one of the city’s café-concerts. She performed at a variety of music halls and other such venues around Europe, while working to develop her voice.

In 1900, she made her opera debut in Lisbon, as Nedda in Pagliacci and married the Russian Prince Alexandre Bariatinsky. In 1905, she starred opposite Enrico Caruso in Umberto Giordano’s opera Fedora at the Sarah Bernhardt Theater in Paris. She was at the height of her career, known for her grace and beauty as well as for her voice.

John William Godward: A Grecian Girl (1908)

THE SIMILARITIES of A Grecian Girl, painted in 1908, with Grecian Reverie, painted nearly twenty years earlier, are remarkable. All through his life, John William Godward was haunted by the same dreams and obsessions.

Rainer Maria Rilke: Autumn

THE LEAVES are falling, falling as from far,
As if far gardens in the skies were dying;
They fall, and ever seem to be denying.

And in the night the earth, a heavy ball,
Into a starless solitude must fall.

We all are falling. My own hand no less
Than all things else; behold, it is in all.
Yet there is One who, utter gentleness,
Holds all this falling in His hands to bless.

First published 1902. Translation by Margarete Münsterberg.

John William Godward: With Violets Wreathed and Robe of Saffron Hue (1902).

Stettin used to be the main Baltic port of Prussia and later the German Empire. The Amphitrite monument was made by Reinhold Felderhoff, probably of sandstone, and unveiled in 1902. It was designed to match the Port Gate built in 1725–27 by Gerhard Cornelius von Walrave and placed opposite to it. The design is based on the Apollo Fountain in the gardens of Versailles and showed the Greek goddess of the oceans riding a chariot in the shape of a shell, pulled by two horses.

In 1932 it was dismantled, partly because it stood in the way of growing traffic and partly because religious Stettiners took offense in the presence of a naked pagan goddess at this central spot of their city. It was decided to transfer the monument to the municipal museum but parts got stolen and its further fate is unknown. Only postcards remain.