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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

The Epicure

By Anacreon (582–485 B.C.)

Translation of Abraham Cowley

FILL the bowl with rosy wine!

Around our temples roses twine!

And let us cheerfully awhile,

Like the wine and roses, smile.

Crowned with roses, we contemn

Gyges’ wealthy diadem.

To-day is ours, what do we fear?

To-day is ours; we have it here:

Let’s treat it kindly, that it may

Wish, at least, with us to stay.

Let’s banish business, banish sorrow;

To the gods belongs to-morrow.

UNDERNEATH this myrtle shade,

On flowery beds supinely laid,

With odorous oils my head o’erflowing,

And around it roses growing,

What should I do but drink away

The heat and troubles of the day?

In this more than kingly state

Love himself shall on me wait.

Fill to me, Love, nay fill it up;

And, mingled, cast into the cup

Wit, and mirth, and noble fires,

Vigorous health, and gay desires.

The wheel of life no less will stay

In a smooth than rugged way:

Since it equally doth flee,

Let the motion pleasant be.

Why do we precious ointments show’r?

Noble wines why do we pour?

Beauteous flowers why do we spread,

Upon the monuments of the dead?

Nothing they but dust can show,

Or bones that hasten to be so.

Crown me with roses while I live,

Now your wines and ointments give

After death I nothing crave;

Let me alive my pleasures have,

All are Stoics in the grave.