From The Poems of Anyte of Tegea, Translated by Richard Aldington; Poems and Fragments of Sappho, translated by Edward Storer; from The Poet’s Translation Series, Second Set, No. 2; London: The Egoist LTD, 1919; pp. 1-10.
ANYTE OF TEGEA is one of the great women-poets of Greece. Twenty-five poems — four of them of doubtful authorship — are under her name in the “Anthology.” There are more of her poems in existence than of any other Greek poetess. All that is certainly known of her is that she lived at Tegea in Arcadia in the beginning of the third century B.C. Antipater of Thessalonika, in his epigram on the nine women-poets of Greece, speaks of “the words of Anyte, the woman-Homer”; and Meleager of Gadara wove into his Garland “many lilies of Anyte.” She is also mentioned by Pausanias and Tatianus.
THE POEMS OF
ANYTEA OF TEAGEA
TRANSLATED BY RICHARD ALDINGTON
LIE there, man-slaying cornel spear; no longer shall the blood of enemies drip from your sinister bronze blade.
Lie within the steep marble house of Athene and proclaim the manhood of Echekratos the Kretan.
An ox-great cauldron; Kleubotos, son of Epiaspis, dedicates it; wide Tegea was his home; the gift is to Athene;
Aristoteles Kleitorios made it, who had this name from his father.
TO PAN AND THE NYMPH
To shaggy-haired pan and to the Nymphs of the cotes, Theudotos the shepherd lays this gift beneath the rock.
They gave him rest when he was wearied with the burning heat, proffering him honey-sweet water in their hands.6
O shrill locust, Helios no longer beholds you, the singer, in the rich house of Haides;
For now you fly to the meadows of Klymene and to the wet flowers of golden Persephone.
A LOCUST AND A CICADA
Myro, a girl, letting fall a child’s tears, raised this little tomb for the locust that sang in the seed-land,
And for the oak-dwelling cicada; implacable Haides holds their double song.
You will never rise up again with a flutter of thick wings and rouse me from my bed in the morning;
For a thief came silently upon you in your sleep and killed you, pressing his finger into your throat.
Damis placed this stone to his horse after blood-red Ares struck his breast.
And the dark blood seethed through his tough hide and soaked the heavy turf.
You died, Maira, near your many-rooted home at Locri, swiftest of noise-loving hounds;
A spotted-throated viper darted his cruel venom into your light-moving limbs.7
No more, exulting in the calm seas, shall I rise from the depths and thrust through the waves;
No more shall I rush past the beautiful prow of a fair-rowlocked ship, delighting in the figure-head.
The dark waters of the sea dashed me to land and I lie here upon this narrow shore.
The earth of Lydia holds Amyntor, Philip’s son; he gained many things in iron battle.
No sickness led him to the house of night; he died, holding his round shield before his friend.
This is not the tomb of Themistokles Magnesios: I was set up as a monument of the envious bad-judgment of the Hellenes.
Mourning by the grave of her young daughter, Kleina calls upon her child;
She calls again and again upon the shade of Philainis who, unwedded, droops by the pale flood of Acheron.
I mourn the maiden Antibia, through the fame of whose beauty and wisdom
Many eager young men came to her father’s house. Fate, the destroyer, rolls hope far away from all.8
We lived together, O dear land of Miletos, spurning the sin of the lawless Galatians,
We, three girls, fellow-citizens, slain by the violent Ares of the Kelts.
We did not stay for dishonourable embraces but found a bridegroom in Haides.
A PERSIAN SLAVE
This man alive was a Persian slave; dead he is as great as great Darios.
Erato, clasping her father with her hand and shedding tears, spoke these last words:
“O my father, I am yours no longer, for now black death lays the dusk of the grave upon my eyes.”
In place of the happy bride-bed and sacred marriage songs, her mother laid her daughter in this marble tomb —
A girl who had your beauty and your stature, Thersis. And while we yet speak of her you also fade away.
You courage alone, Proarchus, slew you in battle; your death has sent black sorrow upon the house of your father, Pheidias.
Yet this stone above you shall speak the fair word that you died fighting for your dear country.9
ENGRAVED ON A STATUE OF APHRODITE
This is the land of Kypris, since it pleases her to gaze for ever from land over the glittering sea.
So that she may bear the sailors safe to land; and the sea quivers, looking upon her shining image.
TO A GIRL
Sit beneath the beautiful leaves of this laurel, and draw the sweet water from the fresh spring:
You are breathless from the heat; rest your dear limbs and let the breath of Zephyros touch them.
HERMES OF THE WAYS
I, Hermes, stand here at the cross-roads by the wind-beaten orchard, near the hoary-grey coast;
And I keep a resting-place for weary men. And the cool stainless spring gushes out.
Watch the horned he-goat of Bromios, how proud are the fierce eyes in his shaggy head!
He is proud because as they go together over the hills Nais holds in her hand a lock of hair on his cheek.
The children give you reins, O goat, and set a purple bridle around your shaggy mouth; they imitate the horse-contests around the God’s temple and you carry them along gently and happily.10
PAN OF THE FIELDS
“O Pan of the Fields, why do you sit by this lonely shaded wood, playing on your shrill-sounding pipe?”
“So that my young flocks may feed on these dewy hills, nibbling the fair-haired plants.”
FOR A FOUNTAIN
O wanderer, rest your tired limbs under this elm; the breeze murmurs in the light-green branches.
Drink a cool draught from the spring. This resting place is dear to wayfarers in the hot summer.