Issue 14 · Fall 2014
(Idyll III of Bion)
Venus the magnificent visited me dreaming,
in her lovely hand leading Eros her child,
his head earthward bowed. She addressed her to me:
Dearest Shepherd, take Love and teach him to sing.
She spoke, and was gone. And I in my innocence
coached the boy Eros in my repertoire of pastoral song,
as if he were eager to learn:
how Pan wrought the flute and Athena the pipe,
how Hermes the lyre and honeyed Apollo the harp.
I crammed him with lore, but he paid me no heed,
singing instead his own lovesongs to me, schooling me
in mortal desires and immortal yearnings, the arts of his mother.
And all I taught Eros I soon clean forgot,
but learned by heart each of the lovesongs he taught.