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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
Idyl VII.
The Song of Simichidas
By Theocritus (fl. Third Century B.C.)
Translation of Andrew Lang

FOR Simichidas the Loves have sneezed; for truly the wretch loves Myrto as dearly as goats love the spring. But Aratus, far the dearest of my friends, deep, deep in his heart he keeps Desire,—and Aratus’s love is young! Aristis knows it, an honorable man,—nay, of men the best, whom even Phœbus would permit to stand and sing, lyre in hand, by his tripods. Aristis knows how deeply love is burning Aratus to the bone. Ah, Pan, thou lord of the beautiful plain of Homole,—bring, I pray thee, the darling of Aratus unbidden to his arms, whosoe’er it be that he loves. If this thou dost, dear Pan, then never may the boys of Arcady flog thy sides and shoulders with stinging herbs, when scanty meats are left them on thine altar. But if thou shouldst otherwise decree, then may all thy skin be frayed and torn with thy nails,—yes, and in nettles mayst thou couch! In the hills of the Edonians mayst thou dwell in midwinter-time, by the river Hebrus, close neighbor to the Polar star! But in summer mayst thou range with the uttermost Æthiopians beneath the rock of the Blemyes, whence Nile no more is seen.  1
  And you, leave ye the sweet fountain of Hyetis and Byblis; and ye that dwell in the steep home of golden Dione, ye Loves as rosy as red apples, strike me with your arrows, the desired, the beloved; strike, for that ill-starred one pities not my friend, my host! And yet assuredly the pear is over-ripe, and the maidens cry, “Alas, alas, thy fair bloom fades away!”  2
  Come, no more let us mount guard by these gates, Aratus, nor wear our feet away with knocking there. Nay, let the crowing of the morning cock give others over to the bitter cold of dawn. Let Molon alone, my friend, bear the torment at that school of passion! For us, let us secure a quiet life, and some old crone to spit on us for luck, and so keep all unlovely things away.  3
  Thus I sang, and sweetly smiling as before, he gave me the staff, a pledge of brotherhood in the Muses. Then he bent his way to the left, and took the road to Pyxa, while I and Eucritus, with beautiful Amyntas, turned to the farm of Phrasidemus. There we reclined on deep beds of fragrant lentisk, lowly strown, and rejoicing we lay in new-stript leaves of the vine. And high above our heads waved many a poplar, many an elm-tree, while close at hand the sacred water from the nymphs’ own cave welled forth with murmurs musical. On shadowy boughs the burnt cicalas kept their chattering toil, far off the little owl cried in the thick thorn brake, the larks and finches were singing, the ringdove moaned, the yellow bees were flitting about the springs. All breathed the scent of the opulent summer, of the season of fruits; pears at our feet and apples by our sides were rolling plentiful, the tender branches with wild plums laden were earthward bowed, and the four-year-old pitch seal was loosened from the mouth of the wine-jars.  4
  Ye nymphs of Castaly that hold the steep of Parnassus,—say, was it ever a bowl like this that old Chiron set before Heracles in the rocky cave of Pholus? Was it nectar like this that beguiled the shepherd to dance and foot it about his folds,—the shepherd that dwelt by Anapus on a time, the strong Polyphemus who hurled at ships with mountains? Had these ever such a draught as ye nymphs bade flow for us by the altar of Demeter of the threshing-floor?  5
  Ah, once again may I plant the great fan on her corn-heap, while she stands smiling by, with sheaves and poppies in her hands.  6

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