Alcaeus of Mytilene

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O violet-tressed Sappho chaste,
O maid with honeyed smile!
I fain would tell what is in my breast,
Did shame me not beguile.

Alcaeus of Mytilene (IPA: /ælˈsiːəs/; Attic Greek Ἀλκαῖος, Alkaios; c. 620 – 6th century BC), Greek lyric poet from Lesbos who is credited with inventing the Alcaic verse. He was included in the canonical list of nine lyric poets by the scholars of Hellenistic Alexandria. He was an older contemporary of his fellow Lesbian poet Sappho. He was born into the aristocratic governing class of Mytilene, the main city of Lesbos, where he was involved in political disputes and feuds.

Quotes[edit]

Raise a song for her, O Muse!
The violet-crownèd maiden,
And praise her soft throat's changing hues,
Her low voice, laughter-laden.
  • Not in hewn stones, nor in well-fashioned beams,
    Not in the noblest of the builder's dreams,
    But in courageous men of purpose great,
    There is the fortress, there the living State.
    • "The Bulwark of the State", as translated by James S. Easby-Smith
  • Raise a song for her, O Muse!
    The violet-crownèd maiden,
    And praise her soft throat's changing hues,
    Her low voice, laughter-laden.

    Sing yet again her thousand charms,
    Her eyes entrancing splendour,
    Her swarthy cheeks and supple arms
    And bosom dark and tender.

    Yea, sing forevermore of her,
    My mistress soft-beguiling,
    Fairest of all who are, or were,
    My Sappho, sweetly-smiling.

    • "No More for Lycus", as translated by James S. Easby-Smith
  • O violet-tressed Sappho chaste,
    O maid with honeyed smile!
    I fain would tell what is in my breast,
    Did shame me not beguile.
    • "To Sappho", as translated by Walter Petersen

External links[edit]

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