The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 1/Translation from Anacreon (Ode 1)

For works with similar titles, see Translation from Anacreon (Byron).


Θέλω λέγειν Ἀτρείδας, κ.τ.λ.[1]



I wish to tune my quivering lyre,[2]
To deeds of fame, and notes of fire;
To echo, from its rising swell,
How heroes fought and nations fell,
When Atreus' sons advanc'd to war,
Or Tyrian Cadmus rov'd afar;
But still, to martial strains unknown,
My lyre recurs to Love alone.
Fir'd with the hope of future fame,[3]
I seek some nobler Hero's name;
The dying chords are strung anew,
To war, to war, my harp is due:
With glowing strings, the Epic strain
To Jove's great son I raise again;
Alcides and his glorious deeds,
Beneath whose arm the Hydra bleeds;
All, all in vain; my wayward lyre
Wakes silver notes of soft Desire.
Adieu, ye Chiefs renown'd in arms!
Adieu the clang of War's alarms![4]
To other deeds my soul is strung,
And sweeter notes shall now be sung;
My harp shall all its powers reveal,
To tell the tale my heart must feel;
Love, Love alone, my lyre shall claim,
In songs of bliss and sighs of flame.

  1. [The motto does not appear in Hours of Idleness or Poems O. and T.]
  2. I sought to tune ——.—[MS. Newstead.]
  3. The chords resumed a second strain,
    To Jove's great son I strike again.
    Alcides and his glorious deeds,
    Beneath whose arm the Hydra bleeds.—[MS. Newstead.]
  4. The Trumpet's blast with these accords
    To sound the clash of hostile swords—
    Be mine the softer, sweeter care
    To soothe the young and virgin Fair.—[MS. Newstead.]