La Muse malade

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Hymn to the Muse

Ἄειδε μοῦσά μοι φίλη,
μολπῆς δ’ ἐμῆς κατάρχου·
αὔρη δὲ σῶν ἀπ’ ἀλσέων
ἐμὰς φρένας δονείτω.

Καλλιόπεια σοφά,
μουσῶν προκαθαγέτι τερπνῶν,
καὶ σοφὲ μυστοδότα,
Λατοῦς γόνε, Δήλιε, Παιάν,
εὐμενεῖς πάρεστέ μοι.

Sing to me, kind Muse, 
and begin my song.
Send a breeze from your groves
to stir my mind.

Wise Calliope, 
leader of the delight-making Muses, 
and skilful initiator into the mysteries,
son of Leto, Delian Paean, 
favor me with your presence.

— Mesomedes

Mesomedes of Crete, Greek lyric poet, who lived during the 2nd century A.D. He was a freedman of the emperor Hadrian, on whose favourite Antinous he is said to have written a panegyric. Two epigrams by him in the Greek anthology (Anthol. pal. xiv. 63, xvi. 323) and a hymn to Nemesis are extant. The hymn is of special interest as preserving the ancient musical notation written over the text. Two other hymns – to the muse Calliope and to the sun – formerly assigned to Dionysius of Alexandria, have also been attributed to him. ( 1911, Britannica)

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La Muse malade

Ma pauvre muse, hélas! qu’as-tu donc ce matin?
Tes yeux creux sont peuplés de visions nocturnes,
Et je vois tour à tour réfléchis sur ton teint
La folie et l’horreur, froides et taciturnes.

Le succube verdâtre et le rose lutin 
T’ont-ils versé la peur et l’amour de leurs urnes?
Le cauchemar, d’un poing despotique et mutin
T’a-t-il noyée au fond d’un fabuleux Minturnes?

Je voudrais qu’exhalant l’odeur de la santé
Ton sein de pensers forts fût toujours fréquenté,
Et que ton sang chrétien coulât à flots rythmiques,

Comme les sons nombreux des syllabes antiques,
Où règnent tour à tour le père des chansons,
Phoebus, et le grand Pan, le seigneur des moissons.

— Charles Baudelaire

English Translations here

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Когда я ночью жду ее прихода,
Жизнь, кажется, висит на волоске.
Что почести, что юность, что свобода
Пред милой гостьей с дудочкой в руке.

И вот вошла. Откинув покрывало,
Внимательно взглянула на меня.
Ей говорю: «Ты ль Данту диктовала
Страницы Ада?» Отвечает: «Я!».

1924 г.

— Анна Ахматова



When, in the night, I wait for her, impatient,

Life seems to me, as hanging by a thread.

What just means liberty, or youth, or approbation,

When compared with the gentle piper’s tread?

And she came in, threw out the mantle’s edges,

Declined to me with a sincere heed.

I say to her, “Did you dictate the Pages

Of Hell to Dante?” She answers, “Yes, I did.”

— Translated by Yevgeny Bonver

Other translations here

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From “Songs to Joannes”

We might have given birth to a butterfly

With the daily-news

Printed in blood on its wings

— Mina Loy

Read “Songs to Joannes” here

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FromParadiso XXXIII”

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

The Love which moves the sun and the other stars.

— Dante Alighieri

Read Canto “XXXIII” in Italian / English here

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From “Odyssey” Book I, Lines 1-2

ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ
πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσεν:

Tell me, O Muse, of that many-sided hero who traveled

far and wide after he had sacked the famous town of Troy. 

— Homer

Read Book 1 in Ancient Greek / English here