pigeon

Lovely Pigeon, by Anacreon (570 BC - 488 BC)

"Lovely pigeon, 

where, tell me where, do you fly from?

And why do you breathe out so much perfume, 

sprinkling it as you rush 

along in the air?

Who are you? What are you doing?


"Anacreon sent me

to his beloved boy, to Bathyllus, 

the one who now rules over all men, even over tyrants. 

The Cytherean one has sold me, 

receiving in exchange a little song;

but I, for Anacreon, 

perform so many services. 

Right now, as you see, 

I am conveying a letter of his. 

Yet he says that straightaway 

he will make me a free bird. 

But even if he lets me go, 

I will remain a slave at his side. 

Why should I fly away

into the hills, across the fields, 

just to perch in trees

and peck at some course fodder?

As for now, I dine on bread, 

eagerly snatching it from the hands 

of Anacreon himself; 

for drink he gives me

the wine which he tastes first, 

and drinking it down I dance with joy, 

and as my master strikes the lyre

I shade him with my wings. 

As he falls asleep, 

I slumber on the lyre itself. 
You have it all now - "

Anacreon, 570 BC - 488 BC