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Ah, cruel 'tis to love,
And cruel not to love,
But cruelest of all
To love and love in vain.

Anacreon (582 BC – 485 BC) was a Greek lyric poet, notable for his drinking songs and hymns.


  • To-day belongs to me,
    To-morrow who can tell.
    • Odes, VIII. (VIL), 9.
  • Persuasion's flowing well.
    • Odes, XVIII., 18 (6).
  • The black earth drinks, in turn
    The trees drink up the earth.
    The sea the torrents drinks, the sun the sea,
    And the moon drinks the sun.
    Why, comrades, do ye flout me,
    If I, too, wish to drink?
    • Odes, 21.
  • Nature gave horns to the bull,
    Hoofs gave she to the horse.
    To the lion cavernous jaws,
    And swiftness to the hare.
    The fish taught she to swim,
    The bird to cleave the air;
    To man she reason gave;
    Not yet was woman dowered.
    What, then, to woman gave she?
    The priceless gift of beauty.
    Stronger than any buckler,
    Than any spear more piercing.
    Who hath the gift of beauty.
    Nor fire nor steel shall harm her.
    • Odes, XXIV.
  • Ah, cruel 'tis to love,
    And cruel not to love,
    But cruelest of all
    To love and love in vain.
    • Odes, XXIX. (XXVII.), 1.
  • Love for lineage nothing cares.
    Tramples wisdom under foot.
    Worth derides, and only looks
    For money.
    • Odes, XXIX. (XXVIL, b), 5.
  • Cursed be he above all others
    Who's enslaved by love of money.
    Money takes the place of brothers,
    Money takes the place of parents.
    Money brings us war and slaughter.
    • Odes, XXIX. (XXVIL, b), 8.
  • Whence can we the future learn?
    Life to mortals is obscure.
    • Odes, XXXVIII. (XXXVL), 19.
  • But when an old man dances,
    His locks with age are grey.
    But he's a child in mind.
    • Odes, XXXIX. (XXXVII), 3.
  • I fled the headless darts of slanderous tongue.
    • Odes, XLII. (XL.), 11.
  • E'en though I would not, die I must;
    Why stray I thus through life?
    • XLV. (XLIII.), 5.
  • And last of all comes death.
    • Odes, L. (XL VIII.), 28.


  • Harbottle, Thomas Benfield. Dictionary of Quotations (Classical). London: Swan Sonnenschein, 1897.

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