Thou art come, lad, come!
Scarce thrice hath dusk to day
Given place—but lovers in an hour grow gray.
As spring’s more sweet than winter, grapes than thorns,
The ewe’s fleece richer than her latest-born’s;
As young girls’ charms the thrice-wed wife’s outshine,
As fawns are lither than the ungainly kine,
Or as the nightingale’s clear notes outvie
The mingled music of all birds that fly;
So at thy coming passing glad was I.
I ran to greet thee e’en as pilgrims run
To beechen shadows from the scorching sun:
Oh if on us accordant Loves would breathe,
And our two names to future years bequeath!
men say—’lived in olden days.
This was a yokel (in their country-phrase),
That was his mate (so talked these simple folk):
And lovingly they bore a mutual yoke.
The hearts of men were made of sterling gold,
When troth met troth, in those brave days of old,’
O Zeus, O gods
who age not nor decay!
Let e’en two hundred ages roll away,
But at the last these tidings let me learn,
Borne o’er the fatal pool whence none return:—
“By every tongue thy constancy is sung,
Thine and thy favourite’s—chiefly by the young.”
But lo, the future is in heaven’s high hand:
Meanwhile thy graces all my praise demand,
Not false lip-praise, not idly bubbling froth—
For though thy wrath be kindled, e’en thy wrath
Hath no sting in it: doubly I am caressed,
And go my way repaid with interest.
Oarsmen of Megara,
ruled by Nisus erst!
Yours be all bliss, because ye honoured first
That true child-lover, Attic Diocles.
Around his gravestone with the first spring-breeze
Flock the bairns all, to win the kissing-prize:
And whoso sweetliest lip to lip applies
Goes crown-clad home to its mother. Blest is he
Who in such strife is named the referee:
To brightfaced Ganymede full oft he’ll cry
To lend his lip the potencies that lie
Within that stone with which the usurers
Detect base metal, and which never errs.
Not for us only, Nicias, (vain
Sprung from what god soe’er, was Eros born:
Not to us only grace doth graceful seem,
Frail things who wot not of the coming morn.
No—for Amphitryon’s iron-hearted son,
Who braved the lion, was the slave of one:—
A fair curled creature, Hylas
was his name.
He taught him, as a father might his child,
All songs whereby himself had risen to fame;
Nor ever from his side would be beguiled
When noon was high, nor when white steeds convey
Back to heaven’s gates the chariot of the day,