Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. II. Love
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume II. Love.  1904.
III. Love’s Beginnings
“I dreamt I saw great Venus”
Bion of Smyrna (fl. c. 100 B.C.)
From the Greek by Leigh Hunt

I DREAMT I saw great Venus by me stand,
Leading a nodding infant by the hand;
And that she said to me familiarly—
“Take Love, and teach him how to play to me.”
She vanished then. And I, poor fool, must turn        5
To teach the boy, as if he wished to learn.
I taught him all the pastoral songs I knew
And used to sing; and I informed him too,
How Pan found out the pipe, Pallas the flute,
Phœbus the lyre, and Mercury the lute.        10
But not a jot for all my words cared he,
But lo! fell singing his love-songs to me;
And told me of the loves of gods and men,
And of his mother’s doings; and so then
I forgot all I taught him for my part,        15
But what he taught me, I learnt all by heart.

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