Arbores motae. Cyparissus.
ATTISThere was a hill
which rose up to a level plateau, high
and beautiful with green grass; and there was
not any shade for comfort on the top
and there on that luxuriant grass the bard,
while heaven-inspired reclined, and struck
such harmonies on his sweet lyre that shade
most grateful to the hill was spread around.
Strong trees came up there—the Chaonian oak
the Heliads' poplar, and the lofty-branched
deep mast-tree, the soft linden and the beech,
the brittle hazel, and the virgin laurel-tree,
the ash for strong spears, the smooth silver-fir,
the flex bent with acorns and the plane,
the various tinted maple and with those,
the lotus and green willows from their streams,
evergreen box and slender tamarisks,
rich myrtles of two colors and the tine,
bending with green-blue berries: and you, too,
the pliant-footed ivy, came along
with tendril-branching grape-vines, and the elm
all covered with twist-vines, the mountain-ash,
pitch-trees and arbute-trees of blushing fruit,
the bending-palm prized after victories,
the bare-trunk pine of tufted foliage,
bristled upon the top, a pleasant sight
delightful to the Mother of the Gods;
since Attis dear to Cybele, exchanged
his human form which hardened in that tree.
CYPARISSUSIn all the throng the cone-shaped cypress came;
a tree now, it was changed from a dear youth
loved by the god who strings the lyre and bow.
For there was at one time, a mighty stag
held sacred by those nymphs who haunt the fields
Carthaean. His great antlers spread so wide,
they gave an ample shade to his own head.
Those antlers shone with gold: from his smooth throat
a necklace, studded with a wealth of gems,
hung down to his strong shoulders—beautiful.
A silver boss, fastened with little thongs,
played on his forehead, worn there from his birth;
and pendants from both ears, of gleaming pearls,
adorned his hollow temples. Free of fear,
and now no longer shy, frequenting homes
of men he knew, he offered his soft neck
even to strangers for their petting hands.
But more than by all others, he was loved
by you, O Cyparissus, fairest youth
of all the lads of Cea. It was you
who led the pet stag to fresh pasturage,
and to the waters of the clearest spring.
Sometimes you wove bright garlands for his horns,
and sometimes, like a horseman on his back,
now here now there, you guided his soft mouth
with purple reins. It was upon a summer day,
at high noon when the Crab, of spreading claws,
loving the sea-shore, almost burnt beneath
the sun's hot burning rays; and the pet stag
was then reclining on the grassy earth
and, wearied of all action, found relief
under the cool shade of the forest trees;
that as he lay there Cyparissus pierced
him with a javelin: and although it was
quite accidental, when the shocked youth saw
his loved stag dying from the cruel wound
he could not bear it, and resolved on death.
What did not Phoebus say to comfort him?
He cautioned him to hold his grief in check,
consistent with the cause. But still the lad
lamented, and with groans implored the Gods
that he might mourn forever. His life force
exhausted by long weeping, now his limbs
began to take a green tint, and his hair,
which overhung his snow-white brow, turned up
into a bristling crest; and he became
a stiff tree with a slender top and pointed
up to the starry heavens. And the God,
groaning with sorrow, said; “You shall be mourned
sincerely by me, surely as you mourn
for others, and forever you shall stand
in grief, where others grieve.”