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.

Alcaeus: The Storm

JOVE descends in sleet and snow,
Howls the vexed and angry deep;
Every storm forgets to flow,
Bound in winter’s icy sleep,
Ocean wave and forest hoar
To the blast responsive roar.

Drive the tempest from your door,
Blaze on blaze your hearthstone piling,
And unmeasured goblets pour
Brimful, high with nectar smiling.
Then, beneath your poet’s head
Be a downy pillow spread.

Translated by John Herman Merivale (1779–1844).

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.