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.
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:—