I Fought With Love


I will, I will, the conflict's past,
And I'll consent to love at last.
Cupid has long, with smiling art,
Invited me to yield my heart;

And I have thought that peace of mind
Should not be for a smile resigned;
And so repelled the tender lure,
And hoped my heart would sleep secure.

But, slighted in his boasted charms,
The angry infant flew to arms;
He slung his quiver's golden frame,
He took his bow; his shafts of flame,

And proudly summoned me to yield,
Or meet him on the martial field.
And what did I unthinking do?
I took to arms, undaunted, too;

Assumed the corslet, shield, and spear,
And, like Pelides, smiled at fear.

* * * * *

Then (hear it, All ye powers above!)
I fought with Love! I fought with Love!
And now his arrows all were shed,
And I had just in terror fled --

When, heaving an indignant sigh,
To see me thus unwounded fly,
And, having now no other dart,
He shot himself into my heart!

My heart -- alas the luckless day!
Received the God, and died away.
Farewell, farewell, my faithless shield!
Thy lord at length is forced to yield.

Vain, vain, is every outward care,
The foe's within, and triumphs there.

Odes of Anacreon - Ode XIII
Translated from the Greek by Thomas Moore.

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