THE EPIGRAMS OF MELEAGROS OF GADARA
Meleagros of Gadara in the Seleukid kingdom was an admired Syrian poet writing in Greek in roughly around the time Seleukos VI was reigning (96-94 BC). He was brought up in Tyre and later settled in Kos. He compiled The Garland (Stephanos) of Meleagros, an anthology of epigrams that was the earliest of the main sources for The Greek Anthology put together by Konstantinos Kephalas in the 10th century. This included 134 of his own epigrams, most of them on the love of courtesans or boys. Presented here are all those touching on the latter love. All but one of them are from the The Boyish Muse, the book of The Greek Anthology dedicated to this subject.
The translations are by W. R. Paton in The Greek Anthology, Volumes I and IV: Loeb Classical Library Vols. LXVII and LXXXV (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1916 & 1918). The only amendments are to undo his Latinisation of Greek names in favour of more literal transliteration of the Greek.
V. EROTIC EPIGRAMS BY VARIOUS POETS
Warning against corrupting boys
My heart is not mad for boys. What joy is there, Loves, in mounting a man, if he wants to take without giving anything? One hand washes the other! A beautiful wife . . . every male . . . masculine clinches.
Οὔ μοι παιδομανὴς κραδία. τί δὲ τερπνόν, Ἔρωτες,
XII. THE BOYISH MUSE
|I am caught, I who once laughed often at the serenades of young men crossed in love. And at thy gate, Myiskos, winged Love has fixed me, inscribing on me “Spoils won from Chastity.”||Ἠγρεύθην ὁ πρόσθεν ἐγώ ποτε τοῖς δυσέρωσι
κώμοις ἠϊθέων πολλάκις ἐγγελάσας·
καί μ᾿ ἐπὶ σοῖς ὁ πτανὸς Ἔρως προθύροισι, Μυΐσκε,
στῆσεν ἐπιγράψας “Σκῦλ᾿ ἀπὸ Σωφροσύνης.”
|Herakleitos was fair, when there was a Herakleitos, but now that his prime is past, a screen of hide declares war on those who are behind-mounters. But, son of Polyxenos, seeing this, be not insolently haughty. Even on the buttocks too there is a Nemesis growing.||
Ἦν καλὸς Ἡράκλειτος, ὅτ᾿ ἦν ποτέ· νῦν δὲ παρ᾿ ἥβην
|I do not count Theron fair any longer, nor Apollodotos, once gleaming like fire, but now already a burnt-out torch. I care for the love of women. Let it be for goat-mounting herds to press in their arms hairy pansy-boys.||Οὐκέτι μοι Θήρων γράφεται καλός, οὐδ᾿ ὁ πυραυγὴς
πρίν ποτε, νῦν δ᾿ ἤδη δαλός, Ἀπολλόδοτος.
στέργω θῆλυν ἔρωτα· δασυτρώγλων δὲ πίεσμα
λασταύρων μελέτω ποιμέσιν αἰγοβάταις.
|Drink strong wine, thou unhappy lover, and Bacchos, the giver of forgetfulness, shall send to sleep the flame of thy love for the lad. Drink, and draining the cup full of the vine-juice drive out abhorred pain from thy heart.||Ζωροπότει, δύσερως, καὶ σοῦ φλόγα τὰν φιλόπαιδα
κοιμάσει λάθας δωροδότας Βρόμιος·
ζωροπότει, καὶ πλῆρες ἀφυσσάμενος σκύφος οἴνας,
ἔκκρουσον στυγερὰν ἐκ κραδίας ὀδύναν.
|The South Wind, blowing fair for sailors, O ye who are sick for love, has carried off Andragathos, my soul’s half. Thrice happy the ships, thrice fortunate the waves of the sea, and four times blessed the wind that bears the boy. Would I were a dolphin that, carried on my shoulders, he could cross the seas to look on Rhodes, the home of sweet lads.||Οὔριος ἐμπνεύσας ναύταις Νότος, ὦ δυσέρωτες,
ἥμισύ μευ ψυχᾶς ἅρπασεν Ἀνδράγαθον.
τρὶς μάκαρες νᾶες, τρὶς δ᾿ ὄλβια κύματα ποντου,
τετράκι δ᾿ εὐδαίμων παιδοφορῶν ἄνεμος.
εἴθ᾿ εἴην δελφίς, ἵν᾿ ἐμοῖς βαστακτὸς ἐπ᾿ ὤμοις
πορθμευθεὶς ἐσίδῃ τὰν γλυκόπαιδα Ῥόδον.
|Kypris denies that she gave birth to Love now that she sees Antiochos among the young men, a second Love. But, ye young men, love this new Love; for of a truth this boy has proved to be a Love better than Love.||Ἀρνεῖται τὸν Ἔρωτα τεκεῖν ἡ Κύπρις, ἰδοῦσα
ἄλλον ἐν ἠϊθέοις Ἵμερον Ἀντίοχον.
ἀλλά, νέοι, στέργοιτε νέον Πόθον· ἦ γὰρ ὁ κοῦρος
εὕρηται κρείσσων οὗτος Ἔρωτος Ἔρως.
|Praxiteles the sculptor wrought a statue of Love in Parian marble, fashioning the son of Kypris. But now Love, the fairest of the gods, making his own image, hath moulded Praxiteles, a living statue, so that the one amid mortals and the other in heaven may be the dispenser of love-charms, and a Love may wield the sceptre on earth as among the immortals. Most blessed the holy city of the Meropes, which nurtured a new Love, son of a god, to be the prince of the young men.||Εἰκόνα μὲν Παριην ζωογλύφος ἄνυσ᾿ Ἔρωτος
Πραξιτέλης, Κύπριδος παῖδα τυπωσάμενος,
νῦν δ᾿ ὁ θεῶν κάλλιστος Ἔρως ἔμψυχον ἄγαλμα,
αὑτὸν ἀπεικονίσας, ἔπλασε Πραξιτέλην·
ὄφρ᾿ ὁ μὲν ἐν θνατοῖς, ὁ δ᾿ ἐν αἰθέρι φίλτρα βραβεύῃ,
γῆς θ᾿ ἅμα καὶ μακάρων σκηπτροφορῶσι πόθοι.
ὀλβίστη Μερόπων ἱερὰ πόλις, ἃ θεόπαιδα
καινὸν Ἔρωτα νέων θρέψεν ὑφαγεμόνα.
|Praxiteles the sculptor of old time wrought a delicate image, but lifeless, the dumb counterfeit of beauty, endowing the stone with form; but this Praxiteles of to-day, creator of living beings by his magic, hath moulded in my heart Love, the rogue of rogues. Perchance, indeed, his name only is the same, but his works are better, since he hath transformed no stone, but the spirit of the mind. Graciously may he mould my character, that when he has formed it he may have within me a temple of Love, even my soul.||Πραξιτέλης ὁ πάλαι ζωογλύφος ἁβρὸν ἄγαλμα
ἄψυχον, μορφᾶς κωφὸν ἔτευξε τύπον,
πέτρον ἐνειδοφορῶν· ὁ δὲ νῦν, ἔμψυχα μαγεύων,
τὸν τριπανοῦργον Ἔρωτ᾿ ἔπλασεν ἐν κραδίᾳ.
ἦ τάχα τοὔνομ᾿ ἔχει ταὐτὸν μόνον, ἔργα δὲ κρέσσω,
οὐ λίθον, ἀλλὰ φρενῶν πνεῦμα μεταρρυθμίσας.
ἵλαος πλάσσοι τὸν ἐμὸν τρόπον, ὄφρα τυπώσας
ἐντὸς ἐμὴν ψυχὴν ναὸν Ἔρωτος ἔχῃ.
|Delicate children, so help me Love, doth Tyre nurture, but Myiskos is the sun that, when his light bursts forth, quenches the stars.||Ἁβρούς, ναὶ τὸν Ἔρωτα, τρέφει Τύρος· ἀλλὰ Μυΐσκος
ἔσβεσεν ἐκλάμψας ἀστέρας ἠέλιος.
|If I see Theron, I see everything, but if I see everything and no Theron, I again see nothing.||Ἢν ἐνίδω Θήρωνα, τὰ πάνθ᾿ ὁρῶ· ἢν δὲ τὰ πάντα
βλέψω, τόνδε δὲ μή, τἄμπαλιν οὐδὲν ὁρῶ.
|Herakleitos in silence speaks thus from his eyes: “I shall set aflame even the fire of the bolts of Zeus.” Yea, verily, and from the bosom of Diodoros comes this voice: “I melt even stone warmed by my body’s touch.” Unhappy he who has received a torch from the eyes of the one, and from the other a sweet fire smouldering with desire.||Σιγῶν Ἡράκλειτος ἐν ὄμμασι τοῦτ᾿ ἔπος αὐδᾷ·
“Καὶ Ζηνὸς φλέξω πῦρ τὸ κεραυνοβόλον.”
ναὶ μὴν καὶ Διόδωρος ἐνὶ στέρνοις τόδε φωνεῖ·
“Καὶ πέτρον τήκω χρωτὶ χλιαινόμενον.”
δύστανος, παίδων ὃς ἐδέξατο τοῦ μὲν ἀπ᾿ ὄσσων
λαμπάδα, τοῦ δὲ πόθοις τυφόμενον γλυκὺ πῦρ.
Explanation: There is a contrast between the two: the attraction of Heraclitus is on the surface, visible; that of Diodorus is deep within. The former is ablaze (λαμπάδα), the latter smouldering (λαμπάδα).”
|If Zeus still be he who stole Ganymede in his prime that he might have a cup-bearer of the nectar, I, too, may hide lovely Myiskos in my heart, lest before I know it he swoop on the boy with his wings.||Εἰ Ζεὺς κεῖνος ἔτ᾿ ἐστίν, ὁ καὶ Γανυμήδεος ἀκμὴν
ἁρπάξας, ἵν᾿ ἔχῃ νέκταρος οἰνοχόον,
κἠμοὶ τὸν καλὸν ἐστὶν ἐνὶ σπλάγχνοισι Μυΐσκον
κρύπτειν, μή με λάθῃ παιδὶ βαλὼν πτέρυγας.
|I wish not Charidemos to be mine; for the fair boy looks to Zeus, as if already serving the god with nectar. I wish it not. What profits it me to have the king of heaven as a competitor for victory in love? I am content if only the boy, as he mounts to Olympos, take from earth my tears to wash his feet in memory of my love; and could he but give me one sweet, melting glance and let our lips just meet as I snatch one kiss! Let Zeus have all the rest, as is right; but yet, if he were willing, perchance I, too, should taste ambrosia.||Οὐκ ἐθέλω Χαρίδαμον· ὁ γὰρ καλὸς εἰς Δία λεύσσει,
ὡς ἤδη νέκταρ τῷ θεῷ οἰνοχοῶν·
οὐκ ἐθέλω· τί δέ μοι τὸν ἐπουρανιων βασιλῆα
ἄνταθλον νίκης τῆς ἐν ἔρωτι λαβεῖν;
ἀρκοῦμαι δ᾿, ἢν μοῦνον ὁ παῖς ἀνιὼν ἐς Ὄλυμπον,
ἐκ γῆς νίπτρα ποδῶν δάκρυα τἀμὰ λάβῃ,
μναμόσυνον στοργῆς· γλυκὺ δ᾿ ὄμμασι νεῦμα δίυγρον
δοίη, καί τι φίλημ᾿ ἁρπάσαι ἀκροθιγές.
τἄλλα δὲ πάντ᾿ ἐχέτω Ζεύς, ὡς θέμις· εἰ δ᾿ ἐθελήσοι,
ἦ τάχα που κἠγὼ γεύσομαι ἀμβροσίας.
|I will stand up even against Zeus if he would snatch thee from me, Myiskos, to pour out the nectar for him. And yet Zeus often told me himself, “What dost thou dread? I will not smite thee with jealousy; I have learnt to pity, for myself I have suffered.” That is what he says, but I, if even a fly buzz past, am in dread lest Zeus prove a liar in my case.||Στήσομ᾿ ἐγὼ καὶ Ζηνὸς ἐναντίον, εἴ σε, Μυΐσκε,
ἁρπάζειν ἐθέλοι νέκταρος οἰνοχόον.
καίτοι πολλάκις αὐτὸς ἐμοὶ τάδ᾿ ἔλεξε· “Τί ταρβεῖς;
“οὔ σε βαλῶ ζήλοις· οἶδα παθὼν ἐλεεῖν.”
χὠ μὲν δὴ τάδε φησίν· ἐγὼ δ᾿, ἢν μυῖα παραπτῇ,
ταρβῶ μὴ ψεύστης Ζεὺς ἐπ᾿ ἐμοὶ γέγονεν.
|Sweet dawn has come, and lying sleepless in the porch Damis is breathing out the little breath he has left, poor wretch, all for having looked on Herakleitos; for he stood under the rays of his eyes like wax thrown on burning coals. But come, awake, all luckless Damis! I myself bear Love’s wound, and shed tears for thy tears.||Ἤδη μὲν γλυκὺς ὄρθρος· ὁ δ᾿ ἐν προθύροισιν ἄϋπνος
Δᾶμις ἀποψύχει πνεῦμα τὸ λειφθὲν ἔτι,
σχέτλιος, Ἡράκλειτον ἰδών· ἔστη γὰρ ὑπ᾿ αὐγὰς
ὀφθαλμῶν, βληθεὶς κηρὸς ἐς ἀνθρακιήν.
ἀλλά μοι ἔγρεο, Δᾶμι δυσάμμορε· καὐτὸς Ἔρωτος
ἕλκος ἔχων ἐπὶ σοῖς δάκρυσι δακρυχέω.
|If I perish, Kleoboulos (for cast, nigh all of me, into the flame of lads’ love, I lie, a burnt remnant, in the ashes), I pray thee make the urn drunk with wine ere thou lay it in earth, writing thereon, “Love’s gift to Death.”||Ἤν τι πάθω, Κλεόβουλε, (τὸ γὰρ πλέον ἐν πυρὶ παίδων
βαλλόμενος κεῖμαι λείψανον ἐν σποδιῇ·)
λίσσομαι, ἀκρήτῳ μέθυσον, πρὶν ὑπὸ χθόνα θέσθαι,
κάλπιν, ἐπιγράψας “Δῶρον Ἔρως Ἀΐδῃ.”
|If Love had neither bow, nor wings, nor quiver, nor the barbed arrows of desire dipped in fire, never, I swear it by the winged boy himself, couldst thou tell from their form which is Zoilos and which is Love.||Εἰ μὴ τόξον Ερως, μηδὲ πτερά, μηδὲ φαρέτραν,
μηδὲ πυριβλήτους εἶχε πόθων ἀκίδας,
οὐκ, αὐτὸν τὸν πτανὸν ἐπόμνυμαι, οὔποτ᾿ ἂν ἔγνως
ἐκ μορφᾶς τίς ἔφυ Ζωΐλος ἢ τίς Ἔρως.
|If Love had a chlamys and no wings, and wore no bow and quiver on his back, but a petasus, yea, I swear it by the splendid youth himself, Antiochos would be Love, and Love, on the other hand, Antiochos.||Εἰ χλαμύδ᾿ εἶχεν Ἔρως, καὶ μὴ πτερά, μηδ᾿ ἐπὶ νώτων
τόξα τε καὶ φαρέτραν, ἀλλ᾿ ἐφόρει πέτασον,
ναί, τὸν γαῦρον ἔφηβον ἐπόμνυμαι, Ἀντίοχος μὲν
ἦν ἂν Ἔρως, ὁ δ᾿ Ἔρως τἄμπαλιν Ἀντίοχος.
|Love-sick deceivers of your souls, ye who know the flame of lads’ love, having tasted the bitter honey, pour about my heart cold water, cold, and quickly, water from new-melted snow. For I have dared to look on Dionysios. But, fellow-slaves, ere it reach my vitals, put the fire in me out.||Ψυχαπάται δυσέρωτες, ὅσοι φλόγα τὰν φιλόπαιδα
οἴδατε, τοῦ πικροῦ γευσάμενοι μέλιτος,
ψυχρὸν ὕδωρ †νίψαι, ψυχρόν, τάχος, ἄρτι τακείσης
ἐκ χιόνος τῇ ᾿μῇ χεῖτε περὶ κραδίῃ·
ἦ γὰρ ἰδεῖν ἔτλην Διονύσιον. ἀλλ᾿, ὁμόδουλοι,
πρὶν ψαῦσαι σπλάγχνων, πῦρ ἀπ᾿ ἐμεῦ σβέσατε.
|Save me, good sirs! No sooner, saved from the sea, have I set foot on land, fresh from my first voyage, than Love drags me here by force, and as if bearing a torch in front of me, turns me to look on the loveliness of a boy. I tread in his footing, and seizing on his sweet image, formed in air, I kiss it sweetly with my lips. Have I then escaped the briny sea but to cross on land the flood of Kypris that is far more bitter?||Ὤνθρωποι, βωθεῖτε· τὸν ἐκ πελάγευς ἐπὶ γαῖαν
ἄρτι με πρωτόπλουν ἴχνος ἐρειδόμενον
ἕλκει τῇδ᾿ ὁ βίαιος Ἔρως· φλόγα δ᾿ οἶα προφαίνων
παιδὸς †ἀπεστρέπτει κάλλος ἐραστὸν ἰδεῖν.
βαίνω δ᾿ ἴχνος ἐπ᾿ ἴχνος, ἐν ἀέρι δ᾿ ἡδὺ τυπωθὲν
εἶδος ἀφαρπάζων χείλεσιν ἡδὺ φιλῶ.
ἆρά γε τὴν πικρὰν προφυγὼν ἅλα, πουλύ τι κείνης
πικρότερον χέρσῳ κῦμα περῶ Κύπριδος;
|Receive me, ye carousers, the newly landed, escaped from the sea and from robbers, but perishing on land. For now just as, leaving the ship, I had but set my foot on the earth, violent Love caught me and drags me here, here where I saw the boy go through the gate; and albeit I would not I am borne hither swiftly by my feet moving of their own will. I come thus as a reveller filled with fire about my spirit, not with wine. But, dear strangers, help me a little, help me, strangers, and for the sake of Love the Hospitable receive me who, nigh to death, supplicate for friendship.||Οἰνοπόται δέξασθε τὸν ἐκ πελάγευς, ἅμα πόντον
καὶ κλῶπας προφυγόντ᾿, ἐν χθονὶ δ᾿ ὀλλύμενον.
ἄρτι γὰρ ἐκ νηός με μόνον πόδα θέντ᾿ ἐπὶ γαῖαν
ἀγρεύσας ἕλκει τῇδ᾿ ὁ βίαιος Ἔρως,
ἐνθάδ᾿ ὅπου τὸν παῖδα διαστείχοντ᾿ ἐνόησα·
αὐτομάτοις δ᾿ ἄκων ποσσὶ ταχὺς φέρομαι.
κωμάζω δ᾿ οὐκ οἶνον ὑπὸ φρένα, πῦρ δὲ γεμισθείς.
ἀλλὰ φίλοι, ξεῖνοι, βαιὸν ἐπαρκέσατε,ἀρκέσατ᾿, ὦ ξεῖνοι, κἀμὲ Ξενίου πρὸς Ἔρωτος
δέξασθ᾿ ὀλλύμενον τὸν φιλίας ἱκέτην.
|It is Kypris, a woman, who casts at us the fire of passion for women, but Love himself rules over desire for males. Whither shall I incline, to the boy or to his mother? I tell you for sure that even Kypris herself will say, “The bold brat wins.”||Ἁ Κύπρις θήλεια γυναικομανῆ φλόγα βάλλει·
ἄρσενα δ᾿ αὐτὸς Ἔρως ἵμερον ἁνιοχεῖ.
ποῖ ῥέψω; ποτὶ παῖδ᾿ ἢ ματέρα; φαμὶ δὲ καὐτὰν
Κύπριν ἐρεῖν· “Νικᾷ τὸ θρασὺ παιδάριον.”
|O eyes, betrayers of the soul, boy-hunting hounds, your glances ever smeared with Kypris’ bird-lime, ye have seized on another Love, like sheep catching a wolf, or a crow a scorpion, or the ash the fire that smoulders beneath it. Do even what ye will. Why do you shed showers of tears and straight run off again to Hiketas? Roast yourselves in beauty, consume away now over the fire, for Love is an admirable cook of the soul.||Ὠ προδόται ψυχῆς, παίδων κύνες, αἰὲν ἐν ἰξῷ
Κύπριδος ὀφθαλμοὶ βλέμματα χριόμενοι,
ἡρπάσατ᾿ ἄλλον Ἔρωτ᾿, ἄρνες λύκον, οἷα κορώνη
σκορπίον, ὡς τέφρη πῦρ ὑποθαλπόμενον.
δρᾶθ᾿ ὅ τι καὶ βούλεσθε. τί μοι νενοτισμένα χεῖτε
δάκρυα, πρὸς δ᾿ Ἱκέτην αὐτομολεῖτε τάχος;
ὀπτᾶσθ᾿ ἐν κάλλει, τύφεσθ᾿ ὑποκαόμενοι νῦν,
ἄκρος ἐπεὶ ψυχῆς ἐστὶ μάγειρος Ἔρως.
|Delightful is Diodoros and the eyes of all are on Herakleitos, Dion is sweet-spoken, and Ouliades has lovely loins. But, Philokles, touch the delicate-skinned one, and look on the next and speak to the third, and for the fourth—etcetera; so that thou mayst see how free from envy my mind is. But if thou cast greedy eyes on Myiskos, mayst thou never see beauty again.||Τερπνὸς μὲν Διόδωρος, ἐν ὄμμασι δ᾿ Ἡράκλειτος,
ἡδυεπὴς δὲ Δίων, ὀσφύϊ δ᾿ Οὐλιάδης.
ἀλλὰ σὺ μὲν ψαύοις ἁπαλόχροος, ᾧ δέ, Φιλόκλεις,
ἔμβλεπε, τῷ δὲ λάλει, τὸν δὲ . . . τὸ λειπόμενον·
ὡς γνῷς οἷος ἐμὸς νόος ἄφθονος· ἢν δὲ Μυΐσκῳ
λίχνος ἐπιβλέψῃς, μηκέτ᾿ ἴδοις τὸ καλόν.
|Philokles, if thou art beloved by the Loves and sweet-breathed Peitho, and the Graces that gather a nosegay of beauty, mayst thou have thy arm round Diodoros, may sweet Dorotheos stand before thee and sing, may Kallikrates lie on thy knee. May Dion warm this your horn (that hits its target well), stretching it out in his hand, may Ouliades peel it, may Philon give you a sweet kiss, may Theron chatter away, and may you press Eudemos’ breast under his cloak. For if God were to grant thee all these delights, blessed man, what a Roman salad of boys wouldst thou dress.||Εἴ σε Πόθοι στέργουσι, Φιλόκλεες, ἥ τε μυρόπνους
Πειθώ, καὶ κάλλευς ἀνθολόγοι Χάριτες,
ἀγκὰς ἔχοις Διόδωρον, ὁ δὲ γλυκὺς ἀντίος ᾄδοι
Δωρόθεος, κείσθω δ᾿ εἰς γόνυ Καλλικράτης,
ἰαίνοι δὲ Δίων τόδ᾿ ἐΰστοχον ἐν χερὶ τείνων
σὸν κέρας, Οὐλιάδης δ᾿ αὐτὸ περισκυθίσαι,
δοίη δ᾿ ἡδὺ φίλημα Φίλων, Θήρων δὲ λαλήσαι,
θλίβοις δ᾿ Εὐδήμου τιτθὸν ὑπὸ χλαμύδι.
εἰ γάρ σοι τάδε τερπνὰ πόροι θεός, ὦ μάκαρ, οἵαν
ἀρτύσεις παίδων Ῥωμαϊκὴν λοπάδα.
|Myiskos, shooting me, whom the Loves could not wound, under the breast with his eyes, shouted out thus: “It is I who have struck him down, the overbold, and see how I tread underfoot the arrogance of sceptred wisdom that sat on his brow.” But I, just gathering breath enough, said to him, “Dear boy, why art thou astonished? Love brought down Zeus himself from Olympos.”||Τόν με Πόθοις ἄτρωτον ὑπὸ στέρνοισι Μυΐσκος
ὄμμασι τοξεύσας, τοῦτ᾿ ἐβόησεν ἔπος·
“Τὸν θρασὺν εἷλον ἐγώ· τὸ δ᾿ ἐπ᾿ ὀφρύσι κεῖνοφρύαγμα
σκηπτροφόρου σοφίας ἠνίδε ποσσὶ πατῶ.”
τῷ δ᾿, ὅσον ἀμπνεύσας, τόδ᾿ ἔφην· “Φίλε κοῦρε, τί θαμβεῖς;
καὐτὸν ἀπ᾿ Οὐλύμπου Ζῆνα καθεῖλεν Ἔρως.”
|I know but one beauty in the world; my greedy eye knows but one thing, to look on Myiskos, and for all else I am blind. He represents everything to me. Is it just on what will please the soul that the eyes look, the flatterers?||Ἓν καλὸν οἶδα τὸ πᾶν, ἕν μοι μόνον οἶδε τὸ λίχνον
ὄμμα, Μυΐσκον ὁρᾷν· τἄλλα δὲ τυφλὸς ἐγώ.
πάντα δ᾿ ἐκεῖνος ἐμοὶ φαντάζεται· ἆρ᾿ ἐσορῶσιν
ὀφθαλμοὶ ψυχῇ πρὸς χάριν, οἱ κόλακες;
|Delicate Diodoros, casting fire at the young men, has been caught by Timarion’s wanton eyes, and bears, fixed in him, the bitter-sweet dart of Love, Verily this is a new miracle I see; fire is ablaze, burnt by fire.||Ὁ τρυφερὸς Διόδωρος ἐς ἠϊθέους φλόγα βάλλων
ἤγρευται λαμυροῖς ὄμμασι Τιμαρίου,
τὸ γλυκύπικρον Ἔρωτος ἔχων βέλος. ἦ τόδε καινὸν
θάμβος ὁρῶ· φλέγεται πῦρ πυρὶ καιόμενον.
Explanation: Timarion was a courtesan featuring in other epigrams by Meleagros, in some as an old woman. Here, “Timarion appears, we must imagine, in her salad days. We are offered a novel variation of a paederastic epigram in which the ἐρώμενος is enamoured of a hetaerae.”
|It lightened sweet beauty; see how he flasheth flame from his eyes. Hath Love produced a boy armed with the bolt of heaven? Hail! Myiskos, who bringest to mortals the fire of the Loves, and mayest thou shine on earth, a torch befriending me.||Ἤστραψε γλυκὺ κάλλος· ἰδοὺ φλόγας ὄμμασι βάλλει.
ἆρα κεραυνομάχαν παῖδ᾿ ἀνέδειξεν Ἔρως;
χαῖρε Πόθων ἀκτῖνα φέρων θνατοῖσι, Μυΐσκε,
καὶ λάμποις ἐπὶ γᾷ πυρσὸς ἐμοὶ φίλιος.
|Ye Graces, looking straight on lovely Aristagoras, you took him to the embrace of your soft arms; and therefore he shoots forth flame by his beauty, and discourses sweetly when it is meet, and if he keep silence, his eyes prattle delightfully. Let him stray far away, I pray; but what does that help? For the boy, like Zeus from Olympos, has learnt of late to throw the lightning far.||Ὦ Χάριτες, τὸν καλὸν Ἀρισταγόρην ἐσιδοῦσαι
ἀντίον, εἰς τρυφερὰς ἠγκαλίσασθε χέρας·
οὕνεκα καὶ μορφᾷ βάλλει φλόγα, καὶ γλυκυμυθεῖ
καίρια, καὶ σιγῶν ὄμμασι τερπνὰ λαλεῖ.
τηλόθι μοι πλάζοιτο. τί δὲ πλέον; ὡς γὰρ Ὀλύμπου
Ζεὺς νέον οἶδεν ὁ παῖς μακρὰ κεραυνοβολεῖν.
|Love in the night brought me under my mantle the sweet dream of a softly-laughing boy of eighteen, still wearing the chlamys; and I, pressing his tender flesh to my breast, culled empty hopes. Still does the desire of the memory heat me, and in my eyes still abideth sleep that caught for me in the chase that winged phantom. O soul, ill-starred in love, cease at last even in dreams to be warmed all in vain by beauty’s images.||Ἡδύ τί μοι διὰ νυκτὸς ἐνύπνιον ἁβρὰ γελῶντος
ὀκτωκαιδεκέτους παιδὸς ἔτ᾿ ἐν χλαμύδι
ἤγαγ᾿ Ἔρως ὑπὸ χλαῖναν· ἐγὼ δ᾿ ἁπαλῷ περὶ χρωτὶ.
στέρνα βαλὼν κενεὰς ἐλπίδας ἐδρεπόμαν.
καί μ᾿ ἔτι νῦν θάλπει μνήμης πόθος· ὄμμασι δ᾿ ὕπνον
ἀγρευτὴν πτηνοῦ φάσματος αἰὲν ἔχω.
ὦ δύσερως ψυχή, παῦσαί ποτε καὶ δι᾿ ὀνείρων
εἰδώλοις κάλλευς κωφὰ χλιαινομένη.
|Pain has begun to touch my heart, for hot Love, as he strayed, scratched it with the tip of his nails, and, smiling, said, “Again, O unhappy lover, thou shalt have the sweet wound, burnt by biting honey.” Since when, seeing among the youths the fresh sapling Diophantos, I can neither fly nor abide.||Ἦρκταί μευ κραδίας ψαύειν πόνος· ἦ γὰρ ἀλύων
ἀκρονυχεὶ ταύταν ἔκνισ᾿ ὁ θερμὸς Ἔρως·
εἶπε δὲ μειδήσας· “Ἕξεις πάλι τὸ γλυκὺ τραῦμα,
ὦ δύσερως, λάβρῳ καιόμενος μέλιτι.”
ἐξ οὗ δὴ νέον ἔρνος ἐν ἠϊθέοις Διόφαντον
λεύσσων οὔτε φυγεῖν οὔτε μένειν δύναμαι.
|I saw Alexis walking in the road at noon-tide, at the season when the summer was just being shorn of the tresses of her fruits; and double rays burnt me, the rays of love from the boy’s eyes and others from the sun. The sun’s night laid to rest again, but love’s were kindled more in my dreams by the phantom of beauty. So sleep, who releases others from toil, brought pain to me, imaging in my soul a loveliness which is living fire.||Εἰνόδιον στείχοντα μεσαμβρινὸν εἶδον Ἄλεξιν,
ἄρτι κόμαν καρπῶν κειρομένου θέρεος.
διπλαῖ δ᾿ ἀκτῖνές με κατέφλεγον· αἱ μὲν Ἔρωτος,
παιδὸς ἀπ᾿ ὀφθαλμῶν, αἱ δὲ παρ᾿ ἠελίου.
ἀλλ᾿ ἃς μὲν νὺξ αὖθις ἐκοίμισεν· ἃς δ᾿ ἐν ὀνείροις
εἴδωλον μορφῆς μᾶλλον ἀνεφλόγισεν.
λυσίπονος δ᾿ ἑτέροις ἐπ᾿ ἐμοὶ πόνον ὕπνος ἔτευξεν
ἔμπνουν πῦρ ψυχῇ κάλλος ἀπεικονίσας.
|Ye pastoral pipes, no longer call on Daphnis in the mountains to please Pan the goat-mounter; and thou, lyre, spokesman of Phoibos, sing no longer of Hyakinthos crowned with maiden laurel. For Daphnis, when there was a Daphnis, was the delight of the Mountain Nymphs, and Hyakinthos was thine; but now let Dion wield the sceptre of the Loves.||Αἰπολικαὶ σύριγγες, ἐν οὔρεσι μηκέτι Δάφνιν
φωνεῖτ᾿, αἰγιβάτῃ Πανὶ χαριζόμεναι·
μηδὲ σὺ τὸν στεφθέντα, λύρη, Φοίβοιο προφῆτι,
δάφνῃ παρθενίῃ μέλφ᾿ Ὑάκινθον ἔτι.
ἦν γὰρ ὅτ᾿ ἦν Δάφνις μὲν Ὀρειάσι, σοὶ δ᾿ Ὑάκινθος
τερπνός· νῦν δὲ Πόθων σκῆπτρα Δίων ἐχέτω.
|In summer, when I was athirst, I kissed the tender-fleshed boy and said, when I was free of my parching thirst, “Father Zeus, dost thou drink the nectareous kiss of Ganymede, and is this the wine he tenders to thy lips?” For now that I have kissed Antiochos, fairest of our youth, I have drunk the sweet honey of the soul.||Διψῶν ὡς ἐφίλησα θέρευς ἁπαλόχροα παῖδα,
εἶπα τότ᾿ αὐχμηρὰν δίψαν ἀποπροφυγών·
“Ζεῦ πάτερ, ἆρα φίλημα τὸ νεκτάρεον Γανυμήδευς
πίνεις, καὶ τόδε σοι χείλεσιν οἰνοχοεῖ;
καὶ γὰρ ἐγὼ τὸν καλὸν ἐν ἠϊθέοισι φιλήσας
Ἀντίοχον, ψυχῆς ἡδὺ πέπωκα μέλι.”
|By Kypris, thou hast spoken what not even a god might, O spirit, who hast learnt to be too daring. Theron seemed not fair to thee. He seemed not fair to thee, Theron. But thou thyself hast brought it on thee, not dreading even the fiery bolts of Zeus. Wherefore, lo! indignant Nemesis hath exposed thee, once so voluble, to be gazed at, as an example of an unguarded tongue.||Ἐφθέγξω, ναὶ Κύπριν, ἃ μὴ θεός, ὦ μέγα τολμᾶν
θυμὲ μαθών· Θήρων σοὶ καλὸς οὐκ ἐφάνη·
σοὶ καλὸς οὐκ ἐφάνη Θήρων· ἀλλ᾿ αὐτὸς ὑπέστης,
οὐδὲ Διὸς πτήξας πῦρ τὸ κεραυνοβόλον.
τοιγάρ, ἰδού, τὸν πρόσθε λάλον προὔθηκεν ἰδέσθαι
δεῖγμα θρασυστομίης ἡ βαρύφρων Νέμεσις.
Explanation of the last line: “I.e. ‘you are now in love with him […];that is Nemesis’s revenge for all your rash talk’.” 
|Why weepest thou, O stealer of the wits? Why hast thou cast away thy savage bow and arrows, folding thy pair of outstretched wings? Doth Myiskos, ill to combat, burn thee, too, with his eyes? How hard it has been for thee to learn by suffering what evil thou wast wont to do of old!||Τί κλαίεις, φρενολῃστά; τί δ᾿ ἄγρια τόξα καὶ ἰοὺς
ἔρριψας, διφυῆ ταρσὸν ἀνεὶς πτερύγων;
ἦ ῥά γε καὶ σὲ Μυΐσκος ὁ δύσμαχος ὄμμασιν αἴθει;
ὡς μόλις οἷ᾿ ἔδρας πρόσθε παθὼν ἔμαθες.
|Sweet is the boy, and even the name of Myiskos is sweet to me and full of charm. What excuse have I for not loving? For he is beautiful, by Kypris, entirely beautiful; and if he gives me pain, why, it is the way of Love to mix bitterness with honey.||Ἡδὺς ὁ παῖς, καὶ τοὔνομ᾿ ἐμοὶ γλυκύς ἐστι Μυΐσκος
καὶ χαρίεις· τίν᾿ ἔχω μὴ οὐχὶ φιλεῖν πρόφασιν;
καλὸς γάρ, ναὶ Κύπριν, ὅλος καλός· εἰ δ᾿ ἀνιηρός,
οἶδε τὸ πικρὸν Ἔρως συγκεράσαι μέλιτι.
|Kypris is my skipper and Love keeps the tiller, holding in his hand the end of my soul’s rudder, and the heavy gale of Desire drives me storm-tossed; for now I swim verily in a Pamphylian sea of boys.||Κύπρις ἐμοὶ ναύκληρος, Ἔρως δ᾿ οἴακα φυλάσσει
ἄκρον ἔχων ψυχῆς ἐν χερὶ πηδάλιον·
χειμαίνει δ᾿ ὁ βαρὺς πνεύσας Πόθος, οὕνεκα δὴ νῦν
παμφύλῳ παίδων νήχομαι ἐν πελάγει.
|The goddess, queen of the Desires, gave me to thee, Theokles; Love, the soft-sandalled, laid me low for thee to tread on, all unarmed, a stranger in a strange land, having tamed me by his bit that grippeth fast. But now I long to win a friendship in which I need not stoop. But thou refusest him who loves thee, and neither time softens thee nor the tokens we have of our mutual continence. Have mercy on me, Lord, have mercy! for Destiny ordained thee a god; with thee rest for me the issues of life and death.||Σοί με Πόθων δέσποινα θεὴ πόρε, σοι με, Θεόκλεις,
ἁβροπέδιλος Ἔρως γυμνὸν ὑπεστόρεσεν,
ξεῖνον ἐπὶ ξείνης, δαμάσας ἀλύτοισι χαλινοῖς·
ἱμείρω δὲ τυχεῖν ἀκλινέος φιλίας.
ἀλλὰ σὺ τὸν στέργοντ᾿ ἀπαναίνεαι, οὐδέ σε θέλγει
οὐ χρόνος, οὐ ξυνῆς σύμβολα σωφροσύνης.
ἵλαθ᾿, ἄναξ, ἵληθι· σὲ γὰρ θεὸν ὥρισε Δαίμων·
ἐν σοί μοι ζωῆς πείρατα καὶ θανάτου.
|My life’s cable, Myiskos, is made fast to thee; in thee is all the breath that is left to my soul. For by thy eyes, dear boy, that speak even to the deaf, and by thy bright brow I swear it, if ever thou lookest at me with a clouded eye I see the winter, but if thy glance be blithe, the sweet spring bursts into bloom.||Εν σοὶ τἀμά, Μυΐσκε, βίου πρυμνήσι᾿
ἀνῆπται·ἐν σοὶ καὶ ψυχῆς πνεῦμα τὸ λειφθὲν ἔτι.
ναὶ γὰρ δὴ τὰ σά, κοῦρε, τὰ καὶ κωφοῖσι λαλεῦντα
ὄμματα, καὶ μὰ τὸ σὸν φαιδρὸν ἐπισκύνιον,
ἤν μοι συννεφὲς ὄμμα βάλῃς ποτέ, χεῖμα δέδορκα·
ἢν δ᾿ ἱλαρὸν βλέψῃς, ἡδὺ τέθηλεν ἔαρ.
|Sweet it is to mix with wine the bees’ sugary liquor, and sweet to love a boy when oneself is lovely too, even as Alexis now loves soft-haired Kleoboulos. These two are the immortal metheglin of Kypris.||Ἡδὺ μὲν ἀκρήτῳ κεράσαι γλυκὺ νᾶμα μελισσῶν·
ἡδὺ δὲ παιδοφιλεῖν καὐτὸν ἐόντα καλόν,
οἷα τὸν ἁβροκόμην στέργει Κλεόβουλον Ἄλεξις·
ἀθάνατον τούτω Κύπριδος οἰνόμελι.
|Kleoboulos is a white blossom, and Sopolis, who stands opposite him, is of honey tint—the two flower-bearers of Kypris . . . Therefrom comes my longing for the lads; for the Loves say they wove me of black and white.||Λευκανθὴς Κλεόβουλος· ὁ δ᾿ ἀντία τοῦδε μελίχρους
Σώπολις, οἱ δισσοὶ Κύπριδος ἀνθοφόροι.
τοὔνεκά μοι παίδων ἕπεται πόθος· οἱ γὰρ Ἔρωτες
ἐκ λευκοῦ πλέξαι φασί με καὶ μέλανος.
|Wintry is the wind, but Love the sweet-teared bears me, swept away by the revel, towards thee, Myiskos. And Desire’s heavy gale tosses me. But receive me, who sail on the sea of Kypris, into thy harbour.||Χειμέριον μὲν πνεῦμα· φέρει δ᾿ ἐπὶ σοί με, Μυΐσκε,
ἁρπαστὸν κώμοις ὁ γλυκύδακρυς Ἔρως.
χειμαίνει δὲ βαρὺς πνεύσας Πόθος, ἀλλά μ᾿ ἐς ὅρμον
δέξαι, τὸν ναύτην Κύπριδος ἐν πελάγει.
|Love hath wrought for thee, Kypris, gathering with his own hands the boy-flowers, a wreath of every blossom to cozen the heart. Into it he wove Diodoros the sweet lily and Asclepiades the scented white violet. Yea, and thereupon he pleated Herakleitos when, like a rose, he grew from the thorns, and Dion when he bloomed like the blossom of the vine. He tied on Theron, too, the golden-tressed saffron, and put in Ouliades, a sprig of thyme, and soft-haired Myiskos the ever-green olive shoot, and despoiled for it the lovely boughs of Aretas. Most blessed of islands art thou, holy Tyre, which hast the perfumed grove where the boy-blossoms of Kypris grow.||Παγκαρπόν σοι, Κύπρι, καθήρμοσε, χειρὶ τρυγήσας
παίδων ἄνθος, Ἔρως ψυχαπάτην στέφανον.
ἐν μὲν γὰρ κρίνον ἡδὺ κατέπλεξεν Διόδωρον,
ἐν δ᾿ Ἀσκληπιάδην, τὸ γλυκὺ λευκόϊον.
ναὶ μὴν Ἡράκλειτον ἐπέπλεκεν, ὡς ἀπ᾿ ἀκάνθης
†εἰς ῥόδον, οἰνάνθη δ᾿ ὥς τις ἔθαλλε Δίων·
χρυσάνθη δὲ κόμαισι κρόκον Θήρωνα συνῆψεν·
ἐν δ᾿ ἔβαλ᾿ ἑρπύλλου κλωνίον Οὐλιάδην,
ἁβροκόμην δὲ Μυΐσκον, ἀειθαλὲς ἔρνος ἐλαίης·
ἱμερτοὺς δ᾿ Ἀρέτου κλῶνας ἀπεδρέπετο.
ὀλβίστη νήσων ἱερὰ Τύρος, ἣ τὸ μυρόπνουν
ἄλσος ἔχει παίδων Κύπριδος ἀνθοφόρον.
Explanation: The list of ἐρώμενοi of Meleagros in Tyre culminates in Myiskos, the boy most often celebrated in Meleagros’s παιδικὰ; for him is reserved not only the final but also the longest and most complimentary mention – his symbol is the olive, ‘that lovely spray which crowns the winner’.
 “The corruption has proved incurable. […] It is hard to see what the general sense of the last phrase may have been.” (A. S. F. Gow and D. L. Page, The Greek Anthology. Hellenistic Epigrams, Cambridge, 1965, p. 613)
 Such were used in war in defend walls. [Translator’s note]
 “By wishing for himself the role of conveying dolphin, Meleager evokes a set of stories about ‘erotic dolphins’ that had been formulated in the late fourth and early third centuries. […] Aristotle (Hist. an. 631a) is the earliest source for the pederastic nature of dolphins: 'Among sea animals much evidence is reported for the mildness and gentleness on the part of dolphins, especially their love and desire for boys.’ “ (Kathryn J. Gutzwiller, “Meleager as erotic dolphin: a reading of ‘AP’ 12.52” in Hermathena, No. 173-4, 2002-3, pp. 101-2).
 The pederastic character of this and the following epigram rests on the belief that Praxiteles’s statue of the boy-god Eros at Thespiai was considered such an accurate likeness that it aroused desire in those that saw it. See, for example, The Greek Anthology XVI 204 and Athenaios, The Learned Banqueters 591a.
 Cos [Translator’s note]
 A. S. F. Gow and D. L. Page, The Greek Anthology. Hellenistic Epigrams, Cambridge, 1965, p. 656.
 “We are expected to remember that Zeus descended upon Ganymede in the form of an eagle.” (A. S. F. Gow and D. L. Page, The Greek Anthology. Hellenistic Epigrams, Cambridge, 1965, p. 661)
 “This implies both ‘I shall enjoy the supreme pleasure of Charidamus’s love’ and I shall be raised to the level of the gods.’ “ (A. S. F. Gow and D. L. Page, The Greek Anthology. Hellenistic Epigrams, Cambridge, 1965, p. 666)
 i.e. no eagle, but a fly. [Translator’s note]
 The chlamys and petasus (a broad-brimmed hat) were the costume of the ephebi (youths of seventeen to twenty). [Translator’s note]
 The title Xenius (Protector of strangers) was proper to Zeus. Meleager transfers it to Love. [Translator’s note]
 I gather that a “Roman platter” was a large dish containing various hors-d’œuvres, and not an elaborate made dish, but I find no information in dictionaries. One might render “frittura Romana,” a mixed dish familiar to those who know Roman cookery. [Translator’s note]
 Jerry Clack, Meleager The Poems, 1992, p. 79.
 The chlamys was the costume of the ephebi (youths of seventeen to twenty). [Translator’s note]
 A. S. F. Gow and D. L. Page, The Greek Anthology. Hellenistic Epigrams, Cambridge, 1965, p. 659.
 Or “a sea of boys of every tribe,” this being the original meaning of pamphylus. [Translator’s note]. A. S. F. Gow and D. L. Page say the word “combines the meanings of every race and Pamphylian; the adj. is chosen to allow of a geographical pun. The Pamphylian sea (Strabo 14.3.9, 6.1) was not specially notorious for rough weather.” (The Greek Anthology. Hellenistic Epigrams, Cambridge, 1965, p. 679).
 i.e. as I did when my passion made me abject. [Translator’s note]
 There were priestesses of Aphrodite so entitled. [Translator’s note]
 He puns on his name (melas = black, argos = white). There certainly would seem to be a couplet missing in the middle, for “therefrom” can only mean “in consequence of my name.” [Translator’s note]
 This, being a list of the boys Meleager himself knew at Tyre, cannot, as has been supposed, be the proem to a section of his Stephanus. The following epigram, on the other hand (if by Meleager), certainly stood at the end of the whole Stephanus. [Translator’s note]
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