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The Fall of Robespierre, Edited by Daniel E. White

Modification of Translation of a Celebrated Greek Song, by William Wordsworth

The poem (CC 16.1.1.449-51) was published in MP 13 February 1798 over the signature "PUBLICOLA" ("Cultivator of the Public"). Coleridge adapted Wordsworth's translation of a drinking song, which Mays describes as a schoolboy exercise. The Greek original was quoted by Athenaeus in the Deipnosophistae and included by Richard Brunck in Analecta Veterum Poetarum Graecorum (1772-76), where it is attributed to Callistratus (second century BCE).

I will bear my vengeful blade,
With the myrtle boughs array'd,
      As Harmodius before,
      As Aristogeiton bore:
 
When the tyrants' breast they gor'd
With the myrtle-braided sword;
      Gave to triumph freedom's cause,
      Gave to Athens equal laws.
Where, Harmodius! art thou fled?

We deem thee not among the dead.
      Dear son of fame! 'tis thine to rest
      In the islands of the blest;
 
Where old Maeonides reclin'd,
Still pours in song his mighty mind;
      While Achilles list'ning nigh,
      Nods his helmed head for joy.
 
I will bear my vengeful blade,
With the myrtle boughs array'd,
      As Harmodius did before,

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      As Aristogeiton bore!
 
Let thy name, Harmodius dear!
Live thro' Heav'n's eternal year:
      Long as Heaven and Earth survive,
      Dear Aristogeiton, live.
 
With the myrtle-braided sword
Ye the tyrants' bosom gor'd;
      Gave to triumph freedom's cause,
      Gave to Athens equal laws!

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13. Maeonides] Homer, who, reputedly, was either from Maeonia or was the son of Maeon.

Published @ RC

March 2008

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