Theocritus, translated into English Verse eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 147 pages of information about Theocritus, translated into English Verse.

      Thrice spat she on her robe, and, muttering low,
    Scanned me, with half-shut eyes, from top to toe: 
    Brought all her woman’s witcheries into play,
    Still smiling in a set sarcastic way,
    Till my blood boiled, my visage crimson grew
    With indignation, as a rose with dew: 
    And so she left me, inly to repine
    That such as she could flout such charms as mine.

      O shepherds, tell me true!  Am I not fair? 
    Am I transformed?  For lately I did wear
    Grace as a garment; and my cheeks, o’er them
    Ran the rich growth like ivy round the stem. 
    Like fern my tresses o’er my temples streamed;
    O’er my dark eyebrows, white my forehead gleamed: 
    My eyes were of Athene’s radiant blue,
    My mouth was milk, its accents honeydew. 
    Then I could sing—­my tones were soft indeed!—­
    To pipe or flute or flageolet or reed: 
    And me did every maid that roams the fell
    Kiss and call fair:  not so this city belle. 
    She scorns the herdsman; knows not how divine
    Bacchus ranged once the valleys with his kine;
    How Cypris, maddened for a herdsman’s sake,
    Deigned upon Phrygia’s mountains to partake
    His cares:  and wooed, and wept, Adonis in the brake. 
    What was Endymion, sweet Selene’s love? 
    A herdsman’s lad.  Yet came she from above,
    Down to green Latmos, by his side to sleep. 
    And did not Rhea for a herdsman weep? 
    Didst not thou, Zeus, become a wandering bird,
    To win the love of one who drove a herd? 
    Selene, Cybele, Cypris, all loved swains: 
    Eunice, loftier-bred, their kiss disdains. 
    Henceforth, by hill or hall, thy love disown,
    Cypris, and sleep the livelong night alone.

IDYLL XXI.

The Fishermen.

ASPHALION, A COMRADE.

    Want quickens wit:  Want’s pupils needs must work,
    O Diophantus:  for the child of toil
    Is grudged his very sleep by carking cares: 
    Or, if he taste the blessedness of night,
    Thought for the morrow soon warns slumber off.

      Two ancient fishers once lay side by side
    On piled-up sea-wrack in their wattled hut,
    Its leafy wall their curtain.  Near them lay
    The weapons of their trade, basket and rod,
    Hooks, weed-encumbered nets, and cords and oars,
    And, propped on rollers, an infirm old boat. 
    Their pillow was a scanty mat, eked out
    With caps and garments:  such the ways and means,
    Such the whole treasury of the fishermen. 
    They knew no luxuries:  owned nor door nor dog;
    Their craft their all, their mistress Poverty: 
    Their only neighbour Ocean, who for aye
    Bound their lorn hut came floating lazily.

      Ere the moon’s chariot was in mid-career,
    The fishers girt them for their customed toil,
    And banished slumber from unwilling eyes,
    And roused their dreamy intellects with speech:—­

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Theocritus, translated into English Verse from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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