Open main menu

Page:Masterpieces of Greek Literature (1902).djvu/83

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


 

ALCAEUS




All the poets from whose works extracts have been given, with the exception of Tyrtaeus, were Ionians. But in the perfection of lyric poetry the Ionians have no place, and the Aeolians and Dorians hold the lead side by side. This difference existed between them, however, that the Aeolians sang solos, treating of their own joys and sorrows, while the Dorians composed complex odes, for a trained chorus, in celebration of public events.

Alcaeus was a noble of Mytilene, the chief town of Lesbos, who flourished as early as 612 B. C. His life was spent largely in war, party strife, and wanderings, and its character is reflected in his poems, of which only a few fragments remain.

The following poem has been imitated by Horace, in the ninth Ode of his first book.


WINTER

The rain of Zeus descends, and from high heaven
A storm is driven:
And on the running water-brooks the cold
Lays icy hold:
Then up! beat down the winter; make the fire 5
Blaze high and higher;
Mix wine as sweet as honey of the bee
Abundantly;
Then drink with comfortable wool around

Your temples bound. 10