The Tender of the Flock
What manner of adversary are you, O Cupid,
My newest enemy and cleaver of a heart
Rent in two by Love's dart unwanted?
Scarce would I seek your quiver emptied of all
Implements of Love's war, if but to liberate
This shepherd boy from a wasting sickness
Brought upon an unsuspecting and pure spirit.
Content have I been to drink in Nature's
Beauty and surfeit my pining soul with
Her manifold bounties.
She and she alone has been,
To present, sufficient food for all
My youthful cravings.
Now, because of you,
Despised one, my once
Simple eye has become darkened.
The Serpent has coiled round and round.
He holds tight fast and lets flow his venom
Slow and insuperable till my full
Allegiance becomes guaranteed.
That dear, dear and innocent tender
Of the fold abides no more.
Your arrows, O Cupid, are they clad
In lead or are they sheathed in gold?
O, cunning and ruthless One, I have become
Weary from a desire heretofore unknown.
I am sickened at my very center.
Flesh and resolve, at one time resistant
To sin's allure, are now troubled by
They rumble deep within a frame of roiling
And burning blood that seeks an unlikely cooling.
Come closer, dear Cupid, for I speak only in jest.
Truly, do I love you.
Before this febrile brow breaks its hold,
However, would I have clipped your wings
If upon your cursed neck I should fall?
Love's sweet suffering has made a blameless
Child mad and unaccountable for his present
State of amorous intoxication.
I pray the gods render righteous judgment on my
Behalf, should my madness . . . should my madness
Lead to Cupid's demise by a strangler's hand. . . .