’Tis but the green trees whispering of our joys.
You’ve torn my plaidie, and I am half unclad.
Anon I’ll give thee a yet ampler plaid.
Generous just now, you’ll one day grudge me bread.
Ah! for thy sake my life-blood I could shed.
Artemis, forgive! Thy eremite breaks her vow.
Love, and Love’s mother, claim a calf and cow.
A woman I depart, my girlhood o’er.
Be wife, be mother; but a girl no more.
whispered talk the pair,
Their faces all aglow, long lingered there.
At length the hour arrived when they must part.
With downcast eyes, but sunshine in her heart,
She went to tend her flock; while Daphnis ran
Back to his herded bulls, a happy man.
Distaff, blithely whirling
distaff, azure-eyed Athena’s gift
To the sex the aim and object of whose lives is household thrift,
Seek with me the gorgeous city raised by Neilus, where a plain
Roof of pale-green rush o’er-arches Aphrodite’s hallowed fane.
Thither ask I Zeus to waft me, fain to see my old friend’s face,
Nicias, o’er whose birth presided every passion-breathing Grace;
Fain to meet his answering welcome; and anon deposit thee
In his lady’s hands, thou marvel of laborious ivory.
Many a manly robe ye’ll fashion, much translucent maiden’s gear;
Nay, should e’er the fleecy mothers twice within the selfsame year
Yield their wool in yonder pasture, Theugenis of the dainty feet
Would perform the double labour: matron’s cares to her are sweet.
To an idler or a trifler I had verily been loth
To resign thee, O my distaff, for the same land bred us both:
In the land Corinthian Archias built aforetime, thou hadst birth,
In our island’s core and marrow, whence have sprung the kings of earth:
To the home I now transfer thee of a man who knows full well
Every craft whereby men’s bodies dire diseases may repel:
There to live in sweet Miletus. Lady of the Distaff she
Shall be named, and oft reminded of her poet-friend by thee:
Men shall look on thee and murmur to each other, ’Lo! how small
Was the gift, and yet how precious! Friendship’s gifts are priceless