Silenus , when he led the Satyrs home,
Young Satyrs, tender-hooft and ruddy-horn'd,
With Bacchus equal-aged, sat down sometimes
Where softer herbs invited, then releast
From fawn-skin pouch a well-compacted pipe,
And sprinkled song with wisdom.
Some admired
The graceful order of unequal reeds;
Others cared little for the melody
Or what the melody's deep bosom bore,
And thought Silenus might have made them shine.
They whisper'd this: Silenus overheard,
And mildly said " 'Twere easy: thus I did
When I was youthful: older, I perceive
No pleasure in the buzzes of the flies,
Which like what you like, O my little ones!"
Some fancied he reproved them, and stood still,
Until they saw how grave the Satyr boys
Were looking; then one twicht an upright ear
And one a tail recurv'd, or stroked it down.
Audacious innocence! A bolder cried
" Sound us a song of war;" a timider,
" Tell us a story that will last til night."
Silenus smiled on both, and thus replied.
" Chromis hath sung fierce battles, swords of flame,
Etherial arrows wing'd with ostrich-plumes,
Chariots of chrysolite and ruby reins,
And horses champing pearls and quaffing blood.
Mnasylos tells wide stories: day is short,
Night shorter; they thro months and years extend.
When suns are warm, my children, let your hearts
Beat, but not beat for battles; when o'ercast,
Mnasylos and his tepid fogs avoid.
" I hear young voices near us; they are sweet;
Go where they call you; I am fain to rest;
Leave me, and ask for no more song to-day."
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