|The Rhyme Maker
c. 12th Century
indentions in this poem indicate the continuation of a line beyond the
parameters allowed on this web page. Compare with the
- S. H. Bass
more Wine Poems of
Medieval Europe at
Sequence In Praise Of Wine (Symonds)
Abbot Adam of Angers (Waddell)
standing corn is green by Sedulius Scottus
No Lust Like To Poetry (Symonds)
Poems with multiple translations:
you, consummate drinkers (Waddell)
Confession of Golias
Confession Of The Archpoet (Waddell)
by Helen Waddell
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|Dancing Girl of Syria
Medieval Poet (c. 5th century)
translated by Helen
Waddell (1889-1965), English poet
girl of Syria, her hair caught up with a fillet:
subtle in swaying those quivering flanks of hers
time to the Castanet's rattle: half-drunk in the smoky tavern,
dances, lascivious, wanton, clashing the rhythm.
what's the use, if you're tired, of being out in the dust and
you might as well lie still and get drunk on your settle?
tankards and cups and measures and roses and pipes and
a trellis-arbor cool with its shade of reeds,
somewhere somebody piping as if it were Pan's own grotto,
a shepherd's flute, the way they do in the fields.
here's a thin little wine, just poured from a cask that is pitchy,
a brook running by with the noise and gurgle of running water.
even garlands for you, violet wreaths and saffron,
golden melilot twining with crimson roses,
lilies plucked where they grow by the virgin river,
brings them in green willow baskets –
little cheeses for you that they dry in baskets of rushes,
plums that ripen in the autumn weather,
chestnuts, and the cheerful red of apples.
brief, here's Ceres, Love, and rowdy Bacchus
red-stained blackberries, and grapes in bunches, –
hanging from his withe sea-green cucumber.
here's the little god who keeps the arbor,
with his sickle and enormous belly.
O pilgrim ! See, the little donkey
tired and wistful. Spare the little donkey!
not a goddess love a little donkey?
out in the trees are shrilling, ear-splitting,
very lizard is hiding for coolness under his hedge.
you have sense you'll lie still and drench yourself from your
maybe you prefer the look of your wine in crystal?
ho, but it's good to lie here under the vines,
bind on your heavy head a garland of roses,
reap the scarlet lips of a pretty girl
be damned, you there with your Puritan eye-brows!
thanks will cold ashes give for the sweetness of garlands?
is it your mind to hang a rose wreath upon your tombstone?
down the wine and the dice, and perish who thinks of to-morrow!
Death twitching my ear, "Live," says he, "for I'm
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