Song (“The Snake Is…”)

      The Snake is come out,
      And the bee is about,
In the sunny delight of Hymettus;
      O would I were he,
      The gay dappled bee,
For then the Narcissus would let us
      Drink out of her bosom,
      Ambrosian blossom,
To the health of her neighbour, the Olive,
      The first drop of spring;
      Oh! happy the thing
That in Greece the mellifluous can so live.

      The green frog of the ditch
      Pours his love loud and rich,
Coaxing the water-maid’s shoulder,
      And from round golden eyes
      Darts in amorous wise
A sheaf of love’s bee-stings like arrows;
      And Love’s in the wood,
      In a goat-footed mood,
Dancing with Pan and his fellows;
      So my nymphs may beware
      Of their treasury rare
Of bosoms and cheeks the sun mellows.

      But here O! ho! cold,
      Snowy, mountainous, old,
Is the earth of the barbarous island.

* * *

[Gosse, 1890]