A beautiful Pocket Poet selection of short poems, odes, and epigrams from ancient Greece, translated into English by a wide array of distinguished translators and poets
Greek literature abounds in masterpieces, two of them epics of great length, but it is rich also in poems of much smaller compass than the Iliad or the Odyssey. These shorter poems have never lacked for translators, and this volume includes English versions by a variety of poets both famous and obscure. Here are selections from the celebrated odes of Anacreon on the pleasures of drink, love, and beauty. Here are works by the Bucolic Poets, Bion’s “Lament for Adonis,” the romantic story of the lovers Hero and Leander, and the hugely entertaining Homeric pastiche “The Battle of the Frogs and Mice.” Pride of place is given to the glories of the Greek epigram; these are drawn from The Greek Anthology–one of the great treasures of Greek literature–a collection of short poems by a wide variety of poets (mostly men but including some women) from all periods, from the early to the Byzantine age, mostly written in elegiac couplets. Since the sixteenth century The Greek Anthology has provided inspiration for generations of poets in English and other languages; an example is Ben Jonson’s famous “Drink to me only with thine eyes” (see page 2). This Pocket Poet volume presents a gloriously compact treasury of the enduring and influential poems of the ancient Greeks.