Daphnis and Corydon
‘I have rescued a manuscript from an orthodox monastery that is about to be abandoned and transformed into a community centre.’ He explained while taking out a black box from behind his wardrobe. ‘I saw your papyri the other day and was immediately reminded of some passages in this manuscript. Then I compared them. It seems, my friend, that you have here a readable manuscript that contains a lost work by our beloved Longus in its entirety.’Words could hardly express my surprise at that time when I examined the manuscript. With my usual professionalism I dated the manuscript at the beginning of the tenth century. It can only be only by magic that such a wonderful piece, another novel by Longus survived through the turmoil and chaos of history to us, bearing a fragrance of the Greek romance. No doubt my commented version of the critical text will prove to be a sensational event in the narrow field known as classics, but, before its official Editio Princeps that will bear the glorious stamp of Oxford University Press and than plunging into an endless series of dreadful academic debates, I would like to put an abridged version on a popular website that suits its content well, in order to prove that, although coming from another age and another world, the passion of a youth for another youth remains essentially unchanged.Book IOn the island of Lesbos, outside of the city of Mytilene, one is able to enjoy the pleasing sight of the pale lawns and verdant fields extending from the rising mountains to the glistening sea. From time to time, young shepherds and their white flocks traverse the vast area accompanied by the melodious sounds of their pipes and the blatting of the sheep that further enhance the idyll of our landscape. Overlooking the whole peaceful tableau is a temple of Eros, built in the Doric style, now resting in eternity in the shades of the tall trees on the mountain. At sunset, the homecoming shepherds often go pass the temple, sometimes they pour their special libation of milk mixed with wine, sometimes they bring their finest sheep to sacrifice to the god and hang the garlands made of the new summer flowers on the statue of the god. The statue of Eros is a fine piece of art. The boy is shown as having the arrow in his one hand and the bow in the other, playfully resting from his labours. Countless legends and anecdotes about the temple and the god circulate in the surroundings, for often the playfulness of Eros can be a source of grief for others.It happens on one summer day, one of the hottest of the whole year when the sun shoots its burning rays directly to the earth, that a shepherd named Daphnis from the nearby village passes by the temple at midday. Daphnis is of the age 15, age of a burgeoning youth that, like the inquisitive spring after the sluggish winter, awakes to the yet unknown flowers. All his life he has been a shepherd and knows only the world of a shepherd. He possesses no knowledge of his parents, for he was adopted by the farmer Philetas who found him outside of the temple of Eros. Philetas took the gold of the infant and raised him as a shepherd, taught him neither reading nor writing. Although unacquainted with the finer arts and plays, Daphnis finds his own pleasure in the bucolic plays. He is noted for his excellent skill of pipe and often defeats other shepherds in competitions. In fact, some even call him second only to the great god Pan. During the languishing summer days one can often see Daphnis sitting on a rock and nonchalantly blowing his pipe. The sweet melody always delights the creatures of the surrounding mountains. And at those warm, starry nights, one can perceive Daphnis lying naked on the pale grass, with his front to the blazing galaxy. One is often struck by his beauty: mother nature has made him strong. The blazing summer sun has lent his skin a beautiful tint that indicates his robustness and matches well with his long dark hair. His deep, profound eyes often gaze from his delicate face to the gently murmuring sea beyond the mountains through the deep blue of summer nights and his trembling lips often send the sweetest sound from his pipe through the odorous breeze. Like hyacinth under the summer sky, so blooms our Daphnis, always a delight to the eye. In fact, during the harvest seasons, when the maidens from other villages also come to help make wine, they often compare Daphnis to Dionysus and some of the bolder ones even approach him and give him gentle kisses. Daphnis is, however, irresponsive to those kisses. His c***dish innocence only increases his loveliness in the eyes of the more experienced maidens. After having poured the libation and drunk some wine mixed with milk, Daphnis falls asleep in the shadow of the temple, lulled by the repetitive songs of the grasshoppers. In his dream he sees the most incredible scene in his life. He finds himself in a summer garden amongst the blooming flowers. As he is chasing after the odours emanating from the flowers, imitating the bees, he sees a little boy with wings growing on his shoulders. The boy makes the gesture for him to follow him. Daphnis obeys and is led to a dark cave in the mountain. The little boy vanishes into the darkness and Daphnis is confronted with a beautiful youth, naked, with skin as pure as white lilies trembling in the water. Suddenly Daphnis is struck by a certain urge whose name he does not know. It is a new desire, a desire that he has never heard nor experienced, a desire that fixes his eyes on the muscular breasts of the youth, the strong arms that echo the Homeric warriors and above all, his pinkish cock beginning to enter that delicate state of becoming harder and harder, but not yet fully erect. Daphnis gazes with intensity at the changing shape of that cock, like a coy flower on the edge of blooming, the petals reluctantly holding the secrets of the stamen, now the soft foreskin still envelops the watery glans which, like a shy, playful boy, sometimes reaches its head tentatively more out from the disguise of foreskin, sometimes crawls back to its protection, shy to reveal itself. While the cock of the youth dances up and down to an unknown rhythm, Daphnis feels the rising of a flame inside him that is consuming his liver. The youth advances towards Daphnis, and Daphnis can perceive that his cock is growing every second, as if he himself possesses a certain power to make it grow, then finally, with a final violent struggle, the glans fully escapes from the narrow confinement of the foreskin and, reflecting the light of the rising moon with its smooth surface, dances to the rhythm of penetration. How like a flower it blooms and transforms! Daphnis murmurs to himself. Meanwhile he feels an unbearable thirst in his throat, the flame has risen from his liver to his throat and is now entering his mouth, burning his lips. The only water he can find in the isolated cave seems to be the shining liquid on the glans of the youth. From the urethra that divides the glans into two halves like a deep valley situated between two high mountains flows constantly little streamlets of glistening liquid that waters the surrounding flesh like the cooling spring water in the ditches watering the verdant fields. In fact, the creamy liquid even droops down from time to time, overflowing the capacity of his glans. I am sure he will not mind me quenching my thirst by sucking at the fountain of his cock, Daphnis whispers to himself, the goatherdess always gives me some of her milk when she sees me thirsty like this. Now the youth draws himself even nearer to Daphnis and Daphnis can smell the faint odour emanating from his skin, the odour that bears the reminiscence of summer. ‘Can you lend your cock for me suck, I am really thirsty.’ Daphnis asks him with his hissing throat, for he is so thirsty that he can barely talk. The youth nodded with a mild smile. Daphnis bends down swiftly, lowers his head and applies his burning lips to the watery glans. His lips envelop the whole circumference of the glans with some difficulty (for it is too big for Daphnis’ tender mouth to hold), gliding up and down on the watery surface and letting the glans moisten them as the rivulet moistens the pebbles with its flowing streams. But his mouth is still burning. Now Daphnis stretches out his tongue and begins to lick into the urethra, as if trying to find more water in its source. Vehemently his tongue digs deeper and deeper, trying squeezing into the urethra through its narrow opening. His efforts seem to have their desired results, for it seems that now more creamy liquid starts to emanate from the urethra and flow into Daphnis’ mouth. Encouraged by this, Daphnis digs even harder while his lips begin to glide up and down more quickly. The youth, it seems, is also stirred by Daphnis’ efforts and begins to move his cock against the movement of Daphnis’ lips, so as to penetrate Daphnis’ mouth like he would penetrate his ass. Now, as one senses that the water will spring from the earth after having digged for a long time, or the ice will crack on the river and finally allow the water to flow, so Daphnis feels that from his source there will be a gigantic shot of water, for he distinctively perceives that the water is gathering from the whole body of this robust youth, now going through the compression of the narrow urethra, waiting to be released with all their force. At this thought of more water, Daphnis’ tongue reaches even deeper, hoping to have a foretaste of his promised shot. Then, finally, the moment comes with a loud cry of the youth. A gigantic amount of white, creamy liquid shoots directly to Daphnis’ burning throat, and part of it on the edge of the glans overflows Daphnis’ tender lips and droops down to his chin. After having collected the remaining part on the glans with his tongue and swallowed it as if licking the edge of a bawl after a succulent meal, Daphnis again reaches his tongue into the urethra, wanting more. It is really tasty, Daphnis thinks, I shall ask him for more and bring to the god! As the cock is still trembling inside Daphnis’ mouth, the winged boy appears again in the darkness. ‘Don’t be too greedy, Daphnis, give Corydon some time to rest. For soon you two shall meet in the shadow of a pine tree, in the season of harvest, when he travels to the vineyard to help.’ The boy says. Suddenly both the youth and the boy disappear, and Daphnis awakes to the gathering darkness of the summer night.