Daphnis the herdsman and Damoetas once
Had driven, Aratus, to the selfsame glen.
One chin was yellowing, one shewed half a beard.
And by a brookside on a summer noon
The pair sat down and sang; but Daphnis led
The song, for Daphnis was the challenger.
"See! Galatea pelts thy flock with fruit,
And calls their master 'Lack-love,' Polypheme.
Thou mark'st her not, blind, blind, but pipest aye
Thy wood-notes. See again, she smites thy dog:
Sea-ward the fleeced flocks' sentinel peers and barks,
And, through the clear wave visible to her still,
Careers along the gently babbling beach.
Look that he leap not on the maid new-risen
From her sea-bath and rend her dainty limbs.
She fools thee, near or far, like thistle-waifs
In hot sweet summer: flies from thee when wooed,
Unwooed pursues thee: risks all moves to win;
For, Polypheme, things foul seem fair to Love."
And then, due prelude made, Damoetas sang.
"I marked her pelt my dog, I was not blind,
By Pan, by this my one my precious eye
That bounds my vision now and evermore!
But Telemus the Seer, be his the woe,
His and his children's, that he promised me!
Yet do I too tease her; I pass her by,
Pretend to woo another:--and she hears
(Heaven help me!) and is faint with jealousy;
And hurrying from the sea-wave as if stung,
Scans with keen glance my grotto and my flock.
'Twas I hissed on the dog to bark at her;
For, when I loved her, he would whine and lay
His muzzle in her lap. These things she'll note
Mayhap, and message send on message soon:
But I will bar my door until she swear
To make me on this isle fair bridal-bed.
And I am less unlovely than men say.
I looked into the mere (the mere was calm),
And goodly seemed my beard, and goodly seemed
My solitary eye, and, half-revealed,
My teeth gleamed whiter than the Parian marl.
Thrice for good luck I spat upon my robe:
That learned I of the hag Cottytaris--her
Who fluted lately with Hippocooen's mowers."
Damoetas then kissed Daphnis lovingly:
One gave a pipe and one a goodly flute.
Straight to the shepherd's flute and herdsman's pipe
The younglings bounded in the soft green grass:
And neither was o'ermatched, but matchless both.
Last updated January 14, 2019