Practice Makes Perfect?

Anacreonta 60a

“I will let my lyre sing.
There’s no contest now,
But practice is important for
Everyone who has seen
a flowering of their art.

I will play with my ivory pick,
Shouting along in a Phrygian measure,
Crooning a clear melody
Like some swan from the Kaustros,
Sounding a complex beat
along with the rushing wind.

Muse, dance with me:
For the kithara is Apollo’s sacred thing,
Like the bay and the tripod too.

My gossip is Apollo’s love,
That unrequited compulsion:
The girl remains safe.
She fled his weapons
And changed the nature of her form,
Rooting herself in the ground to grow.

Phoebus? Well, Phoebus arrived,
Imagining that he ruled the girl,
But he merely picked young leaves,
acting out the mysteries of Aphrodite.”

ἀνὰ βάρβιτον δονήσω·
ἄεθλος μὲν οὐ πρόκειται,
μελέτη δ᾿ ἔπεστι παντὶ
σοφίης λαχόντ᾿ ἄωτον.

ἐλεφαντίνῳ δὲ πλήκτρῳ
λιγυρὸν μέλος κροαίνων
Φρυγίῳ ῥυθμῷ βοήσω,
ἅτε τις κύκνος Καΰστρου
ποικίλον πτεροῖσι μέλπων
ἀνέμου σύναυλος ἠχῇ.

σὺ δέ, Μοῦσα, συγχόρευε·
ἱερὸν γάρ ἐστι Φοίβου
κιθάρη, δάφνη τρίπους τε.
λαλέω δ᾿ ἔρωτα Φοίβου,
ἀνεμώλιον τὸν οἶστρον·

σαόφρων γάρ ἐστι κούρα·
τὰ μὲν ἐκπέφευγε κέντρα,
φύσεως δ᾿ ἄμειψε μορφήν,
φυτὸν εὐθαλὲς δ᾿ ἐπήχθη·

ὁ δὲ Φοῖβος ᾖε, Φοῖβος,
κρατέειν κόρην νομίζων,
χλοερὸν δρέπων δὲ φύλλον
ἐδόκει τελεῖν Κυθήρην.

Fragment of mosaic. Daphne is running towards a laurel tree, parly close. Apollo is pursuing, but only his head is visible
Antakya Archaeological Museum Apollo and Daphne mosaic

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