Bion of Smyrna Poems : Achilles and Deïdamia

MYRSON. LYCIDAS.

MYRSON.
Will you, my Lycidas, now sing for me
A soothing sweet Sicilian melody--
A love-song, such as once the Cyclops young
On the sea-shore to Galatea sung?

LYCIDAS.
I'll pipe or sing for you. What shall it be?

MYRSON.
The song of Scyros dearly pleases me,
Sweet love--the pleasant life of Pelides led--
His furtive kisses, and the furtive bed.
How he, a boy, put on a virgin's dress,
Assumed a virgin's mien, and seemed no less;
And how Deïdamia, maiden coy,
Found her girl bedmate was a wicked boy.

LYCIDAS.
The herdsman, Paris, on an evil day,
To Ida, bore the lovely Helena,
Oenone grieved; and Lacedemon raged,
And all th' Achæans in the feud engaged.
Hellenes, Elians, and Mycenians, came,
And brave Laconians, to retake the Dame.
When Greece her battle led across the deep,
Himself at home no warrior then might keep.
Achilles only went not then, indeed,
Hid with the daughters of king Lycomede.
A seeming virgin with a virgin's bloom,
Instead of arms his white hand plied the loom.
No virgin of them all had airs more fine,
A rosier cheek, or step more feminine:
He veiled his hair; but Mars and fiery Love,
That stings young manhood, all his thoughts did move.
He lingered by Deïdamia's side,
Close as he could, from morn till eventide;
Often he kissed her hand, and often raised
Her broidered work; her work and fingers praised.
Of all the maids his only messmate she;
And he would fain his bedmate have her be.
And thus he sued with furtive meaning deep;--
'With one another other sisters sleep;
In station, love, and age, we twain are one,
Why should we, maidens both, each sleep alone?
Since we together are all day, I wonder
Why we are made at night to sleep asunder?'

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Thursday, April 28, 2011 - 00:51

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