(c. 135-c. 65 B.C.)
MELEĀGER of Gadara in Palestine -- 'the Syrian Athens,' he calls itmigrated to Tyre and, in later life, to Cos, where lived (perhaps his last love) the girl Phānion. A Cynic philosopher and writer of humorous essays, he also composed short poems and gathered in his ' Garland' -- a selection of such poems by himself and others -- the first of those anthologies from which our Palatine Anthology was to grow.
A little hare new-littered, from my mother's breast they tore me
(Long my ears and taper, swift my baby feet),
But in her bosom fair-skinned Phānion took and bore me --
Lovingly she gave me flowers of spring to eat.
No more I missed my mother. But of surfeit unbeseeming
And banquets overgenerous I fattened and I died.
Next her cottage then she laid me, that in dreaming
She might see my grave for ever by her own bedside.
( Anth. Pal., VII, 207.)
Sell him! -- just as he lies there in his mother's arms a-sleeping!
Sell him1 -- why should I trouble to rear this saucy thing?
With his nails that scratch so sharply, and all amid his weeping
These sudden shouts of laughter; snub nose and wanton wing!
A brazen, lynx-eyed creature, as babbling as a crier,
A savage that is brutal to his own mother dear,
An utter monster! Come, we'll sell him. Any buyer,
Outward bound, that wants an infant? Here now, here!
But look, what tears, what pleading! Ah, never fear I will --
It shan't be sold! Live happy, here with my Zēnophil.
( V, 178.)
O yes! O yes! O yes! I have lost him, Love the gipsy.
A moment since he fluttered from my bed, at break of day.
Weeps sweetly; laughter roguish; and the child's tongue runs as tipsy;
Saucy, and swift, and his shoulders with quiver and wings are gay.