Daphnis and Chloe



Ἐν Λέσβῳ θηρῶν ἐν ἄλσει Νυμφῶν θέαμα εἶδον κάλλιστον ὧν εἶδον· εἰκόνα γραπτήν, ἱστορίαν ἔρωτος. καλὸν μὲν καὶ τὸ ἄλσος, πολύδενδρον, ἀνθηρόν, κατάρρυτον· μία πηγὴ πάντα ἔτρεφε, καὶ τὰ ἄνθη καὶ τὰ δένδρα· ἀλλ᾿ ἡ γραφὴ τερπνοτέρα καὶ τέχνην ἔχουσα περιττὴν καὶ τύχην ἐρωτικήν· ὥστε πολλοὶ καὶ τῶν ξένων κατὰ φήμην ᾔεσαν, τῶν μὲν Νυμφῶν ἱκέται, τῆς δὲ εἰκόνος θεαταί.

2. γυναῖκες ἐπ᾿ αὐτῆς τίκτουσαι καὶ ἄλλαι σπαργάνοις κοσμοῦσαι, παιδία ἐκκείμενα, ποίμνια τρέφοντα, ποιμένες ἀναιρούμενοι, νέοι συντιθέμενοι, λῃστῶν καταδρομή, πολεμίων ἐμβολή, πολλὰ ἄλλα καὶ πάντα ἐρωτικά.

3. ἰδόντα με καὶ θαυμάσαντα πόθος ἔσχεν ἀντιγράψαι τῇ γραφῇ· καὶ ἀναζητησάμενος ἐξηγητὴν τῆς εἰκόνος τέτταρας βίβλους ἐξεπονησάμην, ἀνάθημα μὲν Ἔρωτι καὶ Νύμφαις καὶ Πανί, κτῆμα δὲ τερπνὸν πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις, ὃ καὶ νοσοῦντα ἰάσεται, καὶ λυπούμενον παραμυθήσεται,



The Story of Daphnis and Chloe


On Lesbos while hunting I saw in a Nymphs’ grove a display, the fairest I ever saw: an image depicted, a story of love. Fair also was the grove, thick with trees, flowery, well watered: a single spring nourished it all, flowers and trees alike. But that depiction was lovelier still, owning outstanding technique and an amorous subject, so that its prestige drew many visitors, even strangers, to worship the Nymphs and to view the image.

2. In it were women giving birth and other women adorning babies in swaddling clothes, babies abandoned and beasts feeding them, shepherds taking them up, youngsters plighting their troth, a pirate raid, an enemy invasion, and much more, all of it amorous.

3. I looked and marveled, and a longing seized me to rival the depiction in words; I sought out an interpreter of the image and have carefully fashioned four books, an offering to Love and the Nymphs and Pan, a delightful possession for all mankind that will heal the sick and encourage the depressed, that will stir memories in

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.longus-story_daphnis_chloe.2009