Of these seventeen poems sixteen are in ancient Greek and were found in the collection called the Greek Anthology. Twelve of these sixteen were brief elegies of the type later called epigrams. Ten of these twelve are by Meleager of Gadara, who was Syrian by birth but Greek by education. His collection called the Garland (about 90 BC) established the style and spirit of the earliest anthologies of poems. The other two “epigrams” are by Philodemus, also of Gadara, who was an Epicurean philosopher of the circle of Calpurnius Piso in Herculaneum. The four selections from the Anacreontea are metrically different but also from the Greek Anthology. The seventeenth is the one Latin Poem, by Horace. All seventeen, with the possible exception of the undated Anacreontea, are from the first century BC. All are untitled in the original.
I pray you, Eros, in the name of my muse I pray you,
Oh let me sleep and forget for a while this lust for Heliodora.
My god, I pray by your bow which doesn’t know how to shoot
At anyone else but day and night sinks shafts of screams in me!
Alright, no more prayers, you sonofabitch, you won’t get away with it.
With my last strength I write this poem for the police—
It was love—
Love killed me.