Tell me, why, my sweetest dove,
Thus your humid pinions move,
Shedding through the air in showers
Essence of the balmiest flowers?
Tell me whither, whence you rove,
Tell me, all, my sweetest dove.
Curious stranger, I belong
To the bard of Teian song;
With his mandate now I fly
To the nymph of azure eye; —
She, whose eye has madden’d many,
But the poet more than any.
Venus, for a hymn of love,
Warbled in her votive grove,
(’twas in sooth a gentle lay,)
Gave me to the bard away.
See me now his faithful minion, —
Thus with softly-gliding pinion,
To his lovely girl I bear
Songs of passion through the air.
Oft he blandly whispers me
„Soon, my bird, I’ll set you free”;
But in vain he’ll bid me fly,
I shall serve him till I die.
Never could my plumes sustain
Ruffling winds and chilling rain,
O’er the plains, or in the dell,
On the mountain’s savage swell,
Seeking in the desert wood
Gloomy shelter, rustic food.
Now I lead a life of ease,
Far from rugged haunts like these.
From Anacreon’s hand I eat
Food delicious, viands sweet;
Flutter o’er his goblet’s brim,
Sip the foamy wine with him.
Then, when I have wanton’d round
To his lyre’s beguiling sound;
Or with gently-moving wings
Fann’d the minstrel while he sings:
On his harp I sink in slumbers,
Dreaming still of dulcet numbers!
This is all — away — away
You have made me waste the day.
How I’ve chatter’d! prating crow
Never yet did chatter so.