Read IDYLL III of Theocritus, free online book, by Theocritus, on ReadCentral.com.

The Serenade.

I pipe to Amaryllis; while my goats,
Tityrus their guardian, browse along the fell.
O Tityrus, as I love thee, feed my goats:
And lead them to the spring, and, Tityrus, ’ware
The lifted crest of yon gray Libyan ram.
Ah winsome Amaryllis! Why no more
Greet’st thou thy darling, from the caverned rock
Peeping all coyly? Think’st thou scorn of him?
Hath a near view revealed him satyr-shaped
Of chin and nostril? I shall hang me soon.
See here ten apples: from thy favourite tree
I plucked them: I shall bring ten more anon.
Ah witness my heart-anguish! Oh were I
A booming bee, to waft me to thy lair,
Threading the fern and ivy in whose depths
Thou nestlest! I have learned what Love is now:
Fell god, he drank the lioness’s milk,
In the wild woods his mother cradled him,
Whose fire slow-burns me, smiting to the bone.
O thou whose glance is beauty and whose heart
All marble: O dark-eyebrowed maiden mine!
Cling to thy goatherd, let him kiss thy lips,
For there is sweetness in an empty kiss.
Thou wilt not? Piecemeal I will rend the crown,
The ivy-crown which, dear, I guard for thee,
Inwov’n with scented parsley and with flowers:
Oh I am desperate what betides me, what?
Still art thou deaf? I’ll doff my coat of skins
And leap into yon waves, where on the watch
For mackerel Olpis sits: tho’ I ’scape death,
That I have all but died will pleasure thee.
That learned I when (I murmuring ‘loves she me?’)
The Love-in-absence, crushed, returned no sound,
But shrank and shrivelled on my smooth young wrist.
I learned it of the sieve-divining crone
Who gleaned behind the reapers yesterday:
‘Thou’rt wrapt up all,’ Agraia said, ’in her;
She makes of none account her worshipper.’
Lo! a white goat, and twins, I keep for thee:
Mermnon’s lass covets them: dark she is of skin:
But yet hers be they; thou but foolest me.
She cometh, by the quivering of mine eye.
I’ll lean against the pine-tree here and sing.
She may look round: she is not adamant.

[Sings] Hippomenes, when he a maid would wed,
Took apples in his hand and on he sped.
Famed Atalanta’s heart was won by this;
She marked, and maddening sank in Love’s abyss.

From Othrys did the seer Melampus stray
To Pylos with his herd: and lo there lay
In a swain’s arms a maid of beauty rare;
Alphesiboea, wise of heart, she bare.

Did not Adonis rouse to such excess
Of frenzy her whose name is Loveliness,
(He a mere lad whose wethers grazed the hill)
That, dead, he’s pillowed on her bosom still?

Endymion sleeps the sleep that changeth not:
And, maiden mine, I envy him his lot!
Envy Iasion’s: his it was to gain
Bliss that I dare not breathe in ears profane.

My head aches. What reck’st thou? I sing no more:
E’en where I fell I’ll lie, until the wolves
Rend me may that be honey in thy mouth!