Home  »  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895  »  Theocritus

Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Charles Hartley Langhorne 1818–45


THEOCRITUS! Theocritus! ah, thou hadst pleasant dreams

Of the crystal spring Burinna, and the Haleus’ murmuring streams;

Of Physcus, and Neaethus, and fair Arethusa’s fount,

Of Lacinion’s beetling crag, and Latymnus’ woody mount;

Of the fretted rocks and antres hoar that overhang the sea,

And the sapphire sky and thymy plains of thy own sweet Sicily;

And of the nymphs of Sicily, that dwelt in oak and pine—

Theocritus! Theocritus! what pleasant dreams were thine!

And of the merry rustics who tend the goats and sheep,

And the maids who trip to milk the cows at morning’s dewy peep,

Of Clearista with her locks of brightest sunny hair,

And the saucy girl Eunica, and sweet Chloe kind and fair;

And of those highly favor’d ones, Endymion and Adonis,

Loved by Selena the divine, and the beauteous Dionis;

Of the silky-hair’d caprella, and the gentle lowing kine—

Theocritus! Theocritus! what pleasant dreams were thine!

Of the spring time, and the summer, and the zephyr’s balmy breeze;

Of the dainty flowers, and waving elms, and the yellow humming bees;

Of the rustling poplar and the oak, the tamarisk and the beech,

The dog-rose and anemone,—thou hadst a dream of each!

Of the galingale and hyacinth, and the lily’s snowy hue,

The couch-grass, and green maiden-hair, and celandine pale blue,

The gold-bedropt cassidony, the fern, and sweet woodbine—

Theocritus! Theocritus! what pleasant dreams were thine!

Of the merry harvest-home, all beneath the good green tree,

The poppies and the spikes of corn, the shouting and the glee

Of the lads so blithe and healthy, and the girls so gay and neat,

And the dance they lead around the tree with ever twinkling feet;

And the bushy piles of lentisk to rest the aching brow,

And reach and pluck the damson down from the overladen bough,

And munch the roasted bean at ease, and quaff the Ptelean wine—

Theocritus! Theocritus! what pleasant dreams were thine!

And higher dreams were thine to dream—of Heracles the brave,

And Polydeukes good at need, and Castor strong to save;

Of Dionysius and the woe he wrought the Theban king;

And of Zeus the mighty centre of Olympus’ glittering ring;

Of Tiresias, the blind old man, the fam’d Aonian seer;

Of Hecatè, and Cthonian Dis, whom all mankind revere;

And of Daphnis lying down to die beneath the leafy vine—

Theocritus! Theocritus! what pleasant dreams were thine!

But mostly sweet and soft thy dreams—of Cypris’ loving kiss,

Of the dark-haired maids of Corinth, and the feasts of Sybaris;

Of alabaster vases of Assyrian perfume,

Of ebony, and gold, and pomp, and softly-curtain’d room;

Of Faunus piping in the woods to the Satyrs’ noisy rout,

And the saucy Panisks mocking him with many a jeer and flout;

And of the tender-footed Hours, and Pieria’s tuneful Nine—

Theocritus! Theocritus! what pleasant dreams were thine!