The Muses frolicksom and gay


The 30th Ode of Anacreon.

Primary Text:

No MS; 1714 Steele, 47*.
The Muses frolicksom and gay
Caught Cupid as he sleeping lay;
With Myrtle Twigs his Hands they ty'd,
And laid him by Cleora's Side.

She stroak'd his Cheeks and often prest
The wanton Archer to her Breast;
Then loos'd his Hands--You're free, she said,
Yet he refus'd to leave the Maid.

In vain his Mother hunts about,
Offers Rewards to find him out;
In vain would set the Captive free,
He's pleas'd with such a Slavery.
Close by her Side he watching lies;
The Wretch who sees Cleora dies.


1696 Dacier, "Les Poesies d'Anacreon" her Les Poesies d'Anacreon et de Sapho, 158-61.


Another by Anne Finch. This is the eighth in the above series of ten poems; its source is the same as that for her "Melinda on an Insippid Beauty" and "A Sigh." The poem also shows her gift for exquisitely realized or delicate details (e.g., the way the Muses "chain" Cupid" with "myrtle twigs"); the poem was probably too daring for Ann to acknowledge, e.g, "She stroak'd his Cheeks and often prest/The wanton Archer to her Breast;/Then loos'd his Hands." For this reader too cloying, and ultimately anti-feminist. She disapproves of Cleora because Cleora sexually arouses the male.
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