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Two idylls from bion the smyrnean


Once a fowler, young and artless,
To the quiet greenwood came;
Full of skill was he and heartless
In pursuit of feathered game.
And betimes he chanced to see Eros perching in a tree.
"What strange bird is that, I wonder?" Thought the youth, and spread his snare; Eros, chuckling at the blunder, Gayly scampered here and there.
Do his best, the simple clod Could not snare the agile god! Blubbering, to his aged master Went the fowler in dismay, And confided his disaster With that curious bird that day; "Master, hast thou ever heard Of so ill-disposed a bird?" "Heard of him? Aha, most truly!" Quoth the master with a smile; "And thou too, shall know him duly-- Thou art young, but bide awhile, And old Eros will not fly From thy presence by and by! "For when thou art somewhat older That same Eros thou didst see, More familiar grown and bolder, Shall become acquaint with thee; And when Eros comes thy way Mark my word, he comes to stay!" II Once came Venus to me, bringing Eros where my cattle fed-- "Teach this little boy your singing, Gentle herdsman," Venus said.
I was young--I did not know Whom it was that Venus led-- That was many years ago! In a lusty voice but mellow-- Callow pedant! I began To instruct the little fellow In the mysteries known to man; Sung the noble cithern's praise, And the flute of dear old Pan, And the lyre that Hermes plays.
But he paid no heed unto me-- Nay, that graceless little boy Coolly plotted to undo me-- With his songs of tender joy; And my pedantry o'erthrown, Eager was I to employ His sweet ritual for mine own! Ah, these years of ours are fleeting! Yet I have not vainly wrought, Since to-day I am repeating What dear lessons Eros taught; Love, and always love, and then-- Counting all things else for naught-- Love and always love again!

Poem by Eugene Field
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