Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THEOCRITUS; FOR A. LANG'S TRANSLATION, by EDMUND WILLIAM GOSSE

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THEOCRITUS; FOR A. LANG'S TRANSLATION, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The poplars and the ancient elms
Last Line: The tomb of helice.
Subject(s): Poetry & Poets; Theocritus (310-250 B.c.)

THE poplars and the ancient elms
Make murmurous noises high in air;
The noonday sunlight overwhelms
The brown cicalas basking there;
But here the shade is deep, and sweet
With new-mown grass and lentisk-shoots,
And far away the shepherds meet
With noisy fifes and flutes.

Their clamour dies upon the ear;
So now bring forth the rolls of song,
Mouth the rich cadences, nor fear
Your voice may do the poet wrong;
Life up the chalice to our lips, --
Yet see, before we venture thus,
A stream of red libation drips
To great Theocritus.

We are in Sicily to-day;
And, as the honied metre flows,
Battos and Corydon, at play,
Will lose the syrinx, gain the rose;
Soft Amaryllis, too, will bind
Dark violets round her shining hair,
And in the fountain laugh to find
Her sun-browned face so fair.

We are in Sicily to-day;
Ah! foolish world, too sadly wise,
Why didst thou e'er let fade away
Those ancient, innocent ecstasies?
Along the glens, in chequered flight,
Hither to-day the nymphs shall flee,
And Pan forsake for our delight
The tomb of Helice.

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