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Moschus' "Europa", translated by David Bruce Gain:

Cypris was once the giver of the theme


Of fair Europa's most delightful dream.
'twas night's third watch, near dawn, when we are pressed
By sleep that gives us all most honeyed rest,
When chained eyes are joyed by a retinue
Of dear departing flocks of dreams, all true.
'twas then th' Europa Phoenix had begot
Learned in her high bower of her heavenly lot.
She had a body no man had yet known;
Two women strove to have her as their own.
Each was in fact a land; she saw thm spar,
One like a neighbour, one like one from far.
The one from her country held her close pressed,
As her mother who'd fed her at her breast;
But th' other's hands of force soon made her yield;
She'd cried: "Zeus, bearer of the goat-skin shield,
Has made you mine"; her heart was filled with dread;
It was so real she leaped right off her bed.
At last her mouth preferred her frightened suit
(Thoughts of the two long left the maiden mute):
"What god has sent such ghosts? What is the theme
Of my balmy bedroom's dread-drawing dream?
No daughter could more miss the stranger's charms
That, like a mother's, chained me to her arms.
Good gods, just grant my pleasure persevere".
With this she rose and sought each high-born peer,
Girls of her rank, born in the self-same year.
Her joy in dance, in play, in every look
Of bright and beauteous bodies in a brook,
With cropped and scented lillies in each hand;
Sighted, at once, as wont, they sought the strand,
Baskets in hand, hugging the flowery lea,
Joyed by roses and the sound of the sea.
The basket held in Europa's hard hold,
Hephaestus' work, was of glittering gold.
Libya held this present in her hand
When bedded by the shaker of the land,
A present it was quite right to assign
To fair Telephassa, of Libya's line.
She gave it to the daughter whom she bred;
She gave it to Europa the unwed.
It was a work that only he could fill
With witnesses to such surpassing skill.
Inachus' Ino, still of the kine,
With frantic feet beat the blue-lacquered brine;
High on the beetling brow of either brim
A huge crowd saw the heaving heifer swim.
A second scene saw her lose each hard horn;
By seven-fold Nile a girl again was born,
By Zeus' touch; she was of bronze, each fold
Of flowing Nile of silver, he of gold.
With Hermes, beneath the rounded rim, lies
Argus, known for his ever-watchful eyes.
The outstretched's red blood saw a bright bird bloom
And soar in all the showy pride of plume;
The lip was covered with a swift ship's sail,
Formed from the frame of his unfolded tail.
Such was the basket of fine glittering gold
Fair beauteous Europa held in her hold.
Each girl came quickly to her own employ,
Where her own flower gave each a greedy joy,
Narcissus, hyacinth, violet and thyme,
That sprang in spring in that most copious clime.
Each girl strove hard to seize the greatest share
Of sallow saffron's spicy yellow hair.
The queen was not content with what they chose,
Though in their midst, her sole delight the rose.
Th' others' more modest charms befit a Joy;
Her's, like Aphrodite's, can never cloy.
But briefly by blooms could she be beguiled,
Her maiden band but briefly undefiled.
Zeus saw; his sore heart sensed Cypris' aim,
Which solely serves to make the savage tame.
The best to hinder jealous Hera's ire
And cheat the modest maiden with desire,
Forthwith he doffed the god and donned the bull,
Not one in harness the packed wain feels pull,
Not one by whose ploughing the furrow's stirred,
Or one that fills his stall or heads the herd,
White-foreheaded, body of yellow hue,
Flashing fierce longing from his eyes so blue,
With horns so fine and even as t' impugn
The primacy e'en of the crescent moon.
Straightway the fields of flowers saw him shown,
Yet frighting not the ones no man had known;
They forthwith felt an overwhelming pull
To come up close and stroke the beauteous bull,
Whose sacred scent possessed such potent powers
As to outfragrance e'en a field of flowers.
He, nearing her, determined to devote
The spotless to him, licked her fragrant throat.
She unfoamed the face froth had made so full;
She touched and toyed; at last she bussed the bull.
With low as soft as a Mygdonian flute,
She kneeled, head turned; just looks preferred his suit.
She bade her gorgeous-haired ones not be slack
(She rose when he had beckoned to his back):
"'tis not the time, age-fellows, to abide;
Great joy now calls; our bull now bids us ride.
'twill take us all; when other bulls are wild,
His looks proclaim him o so meek and mild.
Mount his bowed back; he's neither bull nor brute;
He'd prove his mind a man's, were he not mute".
Smiling, she mounts his back; so would the rest,
Bu the bold bull, his dear desire possessed,
Sprang swift and sudden on the salty sea;
Europa turned, preferred a passioned plea
To her dear friends behind, soft hands outspread,
But none could follow where the fleet had fled.
The sea-shore reached, he fared forward o'er the brine
As if he had fish fins, not hooves of kine.
E'er, as he drives, all beasts the seas afford
Rise up, play in his path and own their lord.
E'en Nereids leave the briny depths below,
And, mounting dolphins, ride them all a-row.
Before them all the shaker of the land,
Who holds the briny pathways in his hand,
Brother, loud roarer of the watery way,
Smoothed the wild waves and led him o'er the spray,
And Tritons flanking him (their shells were long)
Sounded, like pipers, the deep marriage song.
All the while, seated Europa was borne
On his broad back, holding his huge long horn
In one hand, while th' other held her bright cloak,
Lest, trailing, surging seas should see it soak.
It, sailing o'er shoulders in a wild whirl,
Lightened his lovely load, the gorgeous girl.
She, now so far from her loved fatherland,
Seeing nor mountain top nor wave-beat strand,
But only sea below and heavens on high,
Gazing, lifting her voice in forlorn cry:
"Whither, bull god, bear you me o'er the brine,
On paths unpassable to shambling kine?
'tis speeding ships that course the watery way,
While earth-bound bulls e'er shun its sodden spray.
What food, what drink, is to be had on brine?
Such skills as yours suit but a power divine,
Since bulls suit sea no more than dophins shore,
While sea is land to you, each hoof an oar.
It may well be you shall full soon be whirred,
Topping grey mists, to soar just like a bird.
Cursed day I found a bull and lost my own,
Mounted so strange a ship and sailed alone!
Great lord of sodden sea-spray, be at hand
To help me now, great shaker of the land!
So shall this sudden sodden voyage of mine
Lack not as pilot a power divine".
So she, and soon heard the well-horned bull say:
"Fear not the perils of the watery way.
I seem a bull and my importance small,
Sweet girl, but am the sire supreme of all.
I seem whate'er I wish; swooped from above,
I voyage far, a seeming bull, in love.
In Crete, once my nurse, shall we make our bed,
And in the self-same Crete shall we be wed.
Famed are the children we shall both see spring
From our bodies, and each shall prove a king".
At last his winning words were proved complete;
At last they landed on the shores of Crete.
On a bed the Hours made, in his own shape,
He freed the virgin of her cumbering crepe.
She whom no man before had been inside
Became at once Zeus the almighty's bride,
And, an e'en greater gift, at once she won
The name of mother from Cronus' son.

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