Silenus in Proteus
Oh those were happy days, heaped up with wine-skins,
And ivy-wreathed and thyrsus-swinging days,
Swimming like streamy-tressed wanton Bacchantes,
When I was with thee, and sat kingly on thee,
My ass of asses. Then quite full of wine—
Morning, eve—and leaning on a fawn,
Still pretty steady, and on t’other side
Some vinous-lipped nymph of Ariadne,
Her bosom a soft cushion for my right:
Half dreaming and half waking, both in bliss,
I sat upon my ass and laughed at Jove.
But thou art dead, my dapple, and I too
Shall ride thee soon about the Elysian meadow,
Almost a skeleton as well as thou.
And why, oh dearest, couldst not keep thy legs
That sacred hair, sacred to sacred me?
Was this thy gratitude for pats and fondlings,
To die like any other mortal ass?
Was it for this, oh son of Semele,
I taught thee then, a little tumbling one,
To suck the goatskin oftener than the goat?