The Sun Also Rises

Variations on a theme–two epigrams by Meleager preserved in the Greek Anthology:

5.172

Morning star, enemy of lovers,
Why so quick to rest above my bed
Just as dear Demo’s body warms mine?
If only you’d turn back your fast course,
Be the evening star, Hesperus, again,
O sweet light shining on me most relentlessly.
That time, when Zeus was with Alcmena,
You went the other way—
You’re no stranger to reversing course.

5.173

Morning star, why now, enemy of lovers,
Are you slow to rotate the world
When another man warms himself
Under Demo’s woolen cloak?
Yet, when the slim girl is in my arms
You’re quick to stop and fix yourself in place,
Thus shining on me your gleefully wicked light.

5.172

ὄρθρε, τί μοι, δυσέραστε, ταχὺς περὶ κοῖτονἐπέστης
ἄρτι φίλας Δημοῦς χρωτὶ χλιαινομένῳ;
εἴθε πάλιν στρέψας ταχινὸν δρόμον Ἕσπεροςεἴης,
ὦ γλυκὺ φῶς βάλλων εἰς ἐμὲ πικρότατον.
ἤδη γὰρ καὶ πρόσθεν ἐπ᾽ Ἀλκμήνῃ Διὸς ἦλθες
ἀντίος: οὐκ ἀδαής ἐσσι παλινδρομίης.

5.173

ὄρθρε, τί νῦν, δυσέραστε, βραδὺς περὶ κόσμον ἑλίσσῃ,
ἄλλος ἐπεὶ Δημοῦς θάλπεθ᾽ ὑπὸ χλανίδι;
ἀλλ᾽ ὅτε τὰν ῥαδινὰν κόλποις ἔχον, ὠκὺς ἐπέστης,
ὡς βάλλων ἐπ᾽ ἐμοὶ φῶς ἐπιχαιρέκακον.

Larry Benn has a B.A. in English Literature from Harvard College, an M.Phil in English Literature from Oxford University, and a J.D. from Yale Law School. Making amends for a working life misspent in finance, he’s now a hobbyist in ancient languages and blogs at featsofgreek.blogspot.com.