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Page 1 of 13 – Wolff’s Synopsis of Longus’s ‘Daphnis and Chloe’

Longus: Daphnis and Chloe

Preface (Prooemium)

Hunting on Lesbos, I saw in a beautiful grove a painting


representing the incidents of a love-story, "the fortunes of Love":
women in labour, nurses swathing new-born babes; infants
exposed; animals suckling them; shepherds carrying them away;
young people embracing; an attack by pirates; an inroad by a
hostile force. I procured an explanation of the series, and wrote
out these four books an offering to the God of Love, to the
Nymphs, and to Pan.

Book I

i-iii. Lamon, a goatherd upon an estate near Mitylene, found in


a thicket one of his she-goats suckling a boy-baby, who lay
exposed in a very rich mantle, with a little ivory-hilted sword. He
took the boy with the tokens home to his wife Myrtale, who agreed
with him to adopt the child. They named him Daphnis. iv-vi. Two
years later Dryas, a neighbouring shepherd, found in a cave
sacred to the Nymphs one of his ewes suckling a girl-baby, who
besides swaddling clothes had gilt sandals, golden anklets and a
head-dress wrought with gold. He took her with her tokens to his
wife, and they adopted her, calling her Chloe.

vii-x. When Daphnis was fifteen and Chloe thirteen, their


adoptive fathers had on the same night a vision of a winged boy
with bow and arrows, to whom the Nymphs presented Daphnis

Source: Samuel Lee Wolff’s ‘The Greek Romances in Elizabethan Prose Fiction,’
New York, 1912, pp. 29-42. 12 July, 2008 - 5:49:38 a7/p7
Page 2 of 13 – Wolff’s Synopsis of Longus’s ‘Daphnis and Chloe’

and Chloe, and who, touching them with one of his shafts, bade
them follow the pastoral life. So they tended their flocks together
in the springtime, and played in childlike peace, until Love
contrived a serious interruption. xi-xii. Daphnis pursuing a goat
fell into a pit that had been dug to catch a wolf, and was rescued
by Chloe with the help of a cowherd. He was so covered with mud
and dirt that he must needs bathe. xiii-xvii. As Chloe helped to
wash him, she saw the beauty of his sunburned skin and felt the
softness of his flesh, and so first experienced love. She
languished, lay awake, took no food, and soliloquized with many
antitheses and oxymora.

Dorco the cowherd became enamored of Chloe, gave her


many rustic gifts, and at length vied with Daphnis in argument as
to whether Daphnis or he were the more beautiful - the prize to be
a kiss from Chloe. Daphnis was the winner; and the kiss set his
heart on fire. He too languished and grew pale; he too soliloquized
with (xviii) much oxymoron.

xix-xxii. Dorco asked Dryas for the hand of Chloe, but was
refused, as Dryas hoped for a better match. Thus thwarted, Dorco
resolved to carry off Chloe, and, in order to terrify her, clothed
himself in a wolf's skin and hid among the bushes near her
pasture-ground. But her dogs scenting him attacked and bit him
sorely, before Chloe, and Daphnis whom she had called, could
come to his rescue. Both Daphnis and Chloe thought the disguise
merely an innocent jest on the part of Dorco. They collected their
flocks, which had been scattered by the barking of the dogs, and,

Source: Samuel Lee Wolff’s ‘The Greek Romances in Elizabethan Prose Fiction,’
New York, 1912, pp. 29-42. 12 July, 2008 - 5:49:38 a7/p7
Page 3 of 13 – Wolff’s Synopsis of Longus’s ‘Daphnis and Chloe’

tired by the day's exertion, slept soundly that night despite their
lovesickness.

xxiii-xxvii. Now Daphnis and Chloe again tended their flocks


together in the growing summer heat, which still further inflamed
them. Chloe milked her ewes and she-goats, and crowned herself
with a chaplet of pine. Daphnis bathed, and Chloe put on his
dress. They pelted each other with apples. Daphnis taught Chloe
to play upon his pipe, and gained kisses at second hand by
touching quickly with his lips the places her lips had touched.
Once when Chloe fell asleep at noonday, a grasshopper pursued
by a swallow dropped into her bosom, and the swallow fluttering
over her awoke her. She screamed; but Daphnis laughed at her
alarm, and with his hand took out the happy grasshopper, which
she kissed and replaced in her bosom. At the sound of a ring-
dove's cooing, Daphnis told Chloe the legend: how the dove was
once a maiden, a tender of flocks, sweet-voiced; and how a youth
contending with her in song charmed away eight of her cows. She
prayed to be transformed into a bird; the gods granted her prayer;
and still she calls her cows, in vain.

xxviii-xxx. In the early autumn, some Tyrian pirates descended


upon that coast. After a struggle with Dorco they drove off some of
his oxen; and finding Daphnis alone upon the shore, carried him
away too, calling upon Chloe for help. She ran to Dorco, who,
sore wounded and about to breathe his last, gave her his pipe,
with the direction to play upon it the call his oxen knew. Then he
died, taking one kiss from her as his reward. Chloe played the
well-known tune; whereupon the oxen thronged to one side of the

Source: Samuel Lee Wolff’s ‘The Greek Romances in Elizabethan Prose Fiction,’
New York, 1912, pp. 29-42. 12 July, 2008 - 5:49:38 a7/p7
Page 4 of 13 – Wolff’s Synopsis of Longus’s ‘Daphnis and Chloe’

pirate ship and leapt overboard, capsizing it and precipitating the


crew and Daphnis into the water. The pirates, weighed down with
their armour, soon drowned; Daphnis, lightly clad, swam ashore
between two oxen, grasping a horn of each.

xxxi-xxxii. They celebrated in rustic fashion the funeral of


Dorco. Then Chloe bathed Daphnis, and for the first time in his
presence bathed herself; so that he was nigh distracted.

Book II

i-ii. Now came the vintage; and Daphnis and Chloe left their
flocks and helped. The women admired Daphnis, the men Chloe,
who both wished themselves back at the herding. At length, when
the grapes were all trodden and the new wine stored in casks, they
returned, and rejoiced with their flocks. An old man named
Philetas, sitting near, accosted them, and told them this Idyll:

iii-vi. "I have a beautiful garden. Today when I entered it about


noon, I spied a little naked boy under my pomegranates and
myrtles, some of which he had plucked. I sprang to catch him, but
lightly he escaped; and when I paused exhausted, he came near
and smiled so irresistibly that I offered him the freedom of my
garden for a kiss. Laughing he replied: 'One kiss from me would
only make you run after me for more; and in vain, for you could
never catch me. Child though I seem, I am older than Saturn or
old Time; and I have known you, Philetas, of old. I was by when
you wooed Amaryllis: she and your sons were my gifts to you.
Through me it is that your garden blooms. But just now I am

Source: Samuel Lee Wolff’s ‘The Greek Romances in Elizabethan Prose Fiction,’
New York, 1912, pp. 29-42. 12 July, 2008 - 5:49:38 a7/p7
Page 5 of 13 – Wolff’s Synopsis of Longus’s ‘Daphnis and Chloe’

shepherding Daphnis and Chloe.' Like a young nightingale he


sprang up among the myrtles, and vanished, but not before I saw
wings upon his shoulders, and a bow and arrows between.
Depend upon it, you are consecrated to Love."

vii-xi. "What is this Love" they asked, "a child or a bird?"

Philetas answered in praise of Love, telling of his dominion


over all nature and over the gods themselves; of the pains he
inflicts: heat, cold, and desire, loss of appetite and of sleep; and of
the remedies: to kiss, embrace, and lie naked together. Hereon
they mused; and, when Philetas had gone and they had returned
home, they realized, each of them, that the symptoms he had
described were their own. Next morning they tried for the first time
the first two remedies, and on the following day a literal version of
the third, but without avail.

xii-xix. At this time some young men of Methymne came to spend


the vintage in hunting and fishing along this coast. A peasant
having stolen the cable wherewith they had moored their boat,
they substituted a twisted willow-withe. The chase frightened
Daphnis's goats down to the shore, where finding no other food
they gnawed through the osier; so that a rising swell carried away
the boat and its contents. The youths found Daphnis, gave him a
beating, and were preparing to bind him, when Lamon and Dryas
appeared in answer to his cries, and insisted upon a fair hearing
for both sides. Philetas as the oldest man present was chosen as
judge, and, having heard the youths and Daphnis plead their
cause, decided for Daphnis. Enraged, the Methymnaeans seized

Source: Samuel Lee Wolff’s ‘The Greek Romances in Elizabethan Prose Fiction,’
New York, 1912, pp. 29-42. 12 July, 2008 - 5:49:38 a7/p7
Page 6 of 13 – Wolff’s Synopsis of Longus’s ‘Daphnis and Chloe’

Daphnis again, but were beaten off by the countrymen and had to
make their painful way home on foot. There they told as much of
the story as favoured themselves, and incited their fellow citizens
to make war on the Mitylenaeans.

xx-xxiv.The invaders with a fleet ravaged the coast, seized


Daphnis's herds and carried off Chloe though she had fled for
asylum to the grotto of the Nymphs, where she had first been
found. Daphnis, not finding her at their usual
haunts, lamented her to the Nymphs, who reassured him in a
vision, promising the aid of Pan, to whom they recommended him
now to pay due honours. So he did, and returned home.

xxv-xxx. During that night and the next day the


Methymnaean fleet was beset with Panic terrors: the earth
appeared to be in a blaze, hostile vessels seemed to approach
with clashing oars, the goats' horns were wreathed with ivy, the
sheep howled like wolves, Chloe herself was garlanded with pine-
branches; anchors stuck, oars were split, dolphins leapt from the
sea and shattered the vessel's planks; and from the top of a
neighboring headland were heard the terrific notes of Pan's own
pipe. At length Pan himself addressing the commander in a dream
bade him restore Chloe and the goats and sheep, which being
immediately landed, Pan's pipes guided, now playing a sweet
pastoral measure, over this strange country back to Daphnis.

xxxi-xxxiii. Daphnis and Chloe gratefully sacrificed to the


Nymphs and to Pan; Lamon and Dryas, Philetas and his young
son Tityrus assisting at the feast. Each of the participants

Source: Samuel Lee Wolff’s ‘The Greek Romances in Elizabethan Prose Fiction,’
New York, 1912, pp. 29-42. 12 July, 2008 - 5:49:38 a7/p7
Page 7 of 13 – Wolff’s Synopsis of Longus’s ‘Daphnis and Chloe’

contributed to the entertainment. xxxiv. Lamon related the legend


of Pan and Syrinx, and of the invention of the pipes of Pan. xxxv.
Philetas on his own great pipe played all the varieties of pastoral
melody - the tune for oxen, the tune for goats, the tune for sheep -
and finally the vintage-dance. xxxvi. This Dryas danced in
pantomime, imitating every process of the vintage. xxxvii-xxxix.
Then Daphnis and Chloe in pantomimic dance enacted Pan and
Syrinx - Daphnis at length playing so sweetly upon Philetas' pipe
his lamentation for the Nymph transformed, that Philetas bestowed
upon him the pipe. Daphnis dedicated his old boyish pipe as an
offering to Pan; and with Chloe driving homeward their flocks and
herds, so ended the day. Next morning they met earlier than
usual, again tried in vain the remedies of love, and vowed mutual
fidelity.

Book III

i-iii. Mitylene now sent an army against Methymne, which, by


this time, discovering the true cause of the fray to have been the
insolence of her own young men, asked for peace and offered to
restore all the spoils - an offer which was at once accepted. "Thus
did the war between Methymne and Mitylene begin and end in an
equally unexpected manner."

iv-xi. Now winter came, and snow blocked the roads and shut
the cottagers within doors to their fireside occupations. Chloe was
kept at the spinning and the wool-carding, but Daphnis went
abroad to snare birds in the trees near Chloe's cottage, hoping for
a pretext to enter and see her. When he had snared a bagful

Source: Samuel Lee Wolff’s ‘The Greek Romances in Elizabethan Prose Fiction,’
New York, 1912, pp. 29-42. 12 July, 2008 - 5:49:38 a7/p7
Page 8 of 13 – Wolff’s Synopsis of Longus’s ‘Daphnis and Chloe’

without seeing a sign of life from within, he was just about to


depart when Dryas himself - in chase of a sheep-dog that had
stolen his meat - came out and heartily invited Daphnis in.
Daphnis and Chloe met and embraced; she served wine, herself
sipping first, and he drank at the spot her lips had touched. Then
they all sat by the fire, and at length Lamon and Myrtale invited
Daphnis to remain till the morrow. He gladly accepted, and gave
them his bag of birds for supper. So they sat round the fire again,
drinking and singing and telling stories till bed-time. Next day
Daphnis and Chloe snared birds together, and again exchanged
vows, and told of their longing for the spring. Then Daphnis took
his leave, but often thereafter contrived occasion for new visits.

xii-xx. At last came spring once more, all living creatures loved,
and Daphnis and Chloe, themselves shepherded by Love, went
forth before all the other shepherds, that they might be together
alone. Daphnis now grown bolder in love tried to treat Chloe as he
saw the rams treat the ewes, and the he-goats their mates, but still
in vain. And now Lycaenium, the young city wife of their old
neighbor Chromis, gave Daphnis a lesson in love. This, however,
he would not practise with Chloe, fearing to hurt her.

xxi-xxiii. As they sat together, a fishing-boat passed near


them, the boatswain and the sailors singing a rowing song and
chorus, which the echo prolonged and redoubled. "Was there
another sea behind the hill, and other sailors singing?" Chloe
asked when all was still again. Daphnis smiling told her the legend
of Echo - stipulating for a reward of ten kisses: 'Echo, the daughter
of a nymph and of a mortal, learned from the Muses every kind of

Source: Samuel Lee Wolff’s ‘The Greek Romances in Elizabethan Prose Fiction,’
New York, 1912, pp. 29-42. 12 July, 2008 - 5:49:38 a7/p7
Page 9 of 13 – Wolff’s Synopsis of Longus’s ‘Daphnis and Chloe’

music. She refused marriage, and fled the sight of men. Pan in
his indignation inspired the shepherds with such frenzy that they
tore her limb from limb. Her melodious body, though covered with
earth, still preserves its gift of music, and imitates all sounds, even
those of the pipes of Pan, who, when he hears her, rushes over
the hills to find his hidden pupil.' Chloe gave Daphnis kisses not
ten but a thousand.

xxv-xxix. This summer Chloe had many suitors, who offered


rich gifts; but Dryas still postponed a decision, in the hope of a
more brilliant match, aware as he was that Chloe was something
above a shepherd's daughter. Daphnis, in distress at the chance
of losing her, desired to ask her hand, but his foster-parents also
disapproved, wishing to reserve him for a less humble bride.
Moreover, Daphnis himself was poor. Now he prayed to the
Nymphs, who in a vision told him that the boat of the
Methymnaeans youths had been driven ashore and wrecked,
leaving a purse of three thousand drachmas under a bunch of
seaweed near a dead dolphin, the smell of which had kept others
from finding the treasure. This very smell guided Daphnis to it,
who boldly offered it to Dryas as his wooing gift.

xxx-xxxiv. Dryas accepted, and went to gain the consent of


Lamon. This Lamon gave, subject to the consent of his master,
who was expected from Mitylene in the autumn to visit his estate.
Joyfully Dryas returned and told the news to Daphnis, joyfully
Daphnis received it and ran to tell Chloe. Her he found at the
milking and cheese-making, wherein he helped her openly, as her
affianced; and then they went together to look for fruit. One bright

Source: Samuel Lee Wolff’s ‘The Greek Romances in Elizabethan Prose Fiction,’
New York, 1912, pp. 29-42. 12 July, 2008 - 5:49:38 a7/p7
Page 10 of 13 – Wolff’s Synopsis of Longus’s ‘Daphnis and Chloe’

particular apple, golden and fragrant, and solitary on the top of the
tree, Daphnis climbed for, and plucked, and gave to Chloe; and
she gave him a kiss more precious than a golden apple.

Book IV

i-vi. In preparation for his master's visit, now announced definitely


by a neighbour, Lamon set in order his house and his garden.
Soon another messenger, Eudromus, came with orders for them to
get in the vintage: at the end of the vintage the master would
come. Daphnis gave Eudromus many gifts, who returned to
Mitylene well pleased.

vii-x. Lampis, an insolent herdsman and an envious wooer of


Chloe, desiring to destroy Lamon's interest with his master and so
spoil her match with Daphnis, broke into Lamon's garden at night,
and uprooted, broke, or trampled down the flowers. All were in
despair until Eudromus - coming to announce the arrival of the
master in three days, and that of his son the next day - counselled
them to tell the whole to their young master Astylus. Astylus, who
in fact came next day with Gnatho his parasite, heard the story,
and promised to intercede for them with his father - promised
indeed to lay the blame upon his own horses, which he would say
had done the damage.

xi-xii. Gnatho now made paederastic proposals to Daphnis, who


knocked him down. Still Gnatho hoped to obtain him as a gift from
Astylus.

Source: Samuel Lee Wolff’s ‘The Greek Romances in Elizabethan Prose Fiction,’
New York, 1912, pp. 29-42. 12 July, 2008 - 5:49:38 a7/p7
Page 11 of 13 – Wolff’s Synopsis of Longus’s ‘Daphnis and Chloe’

xiii-xv. Meanwhile, Dionysophanes and Clearista arrived, and, well


pleased with what they saw - for they excused the condition of the
garden - promised Lamon his freedom. Then they inspected the
herd of goats, which they found to have prospered under
Daphnis's charge, and they listened while Daphnis put the goats
through a drill, to the sound of his pipe.

xvi-xvii. Gnatho now with arguments in favour of paederasty


asked Daphnis of Astylus, who promised to beg him of
Dionysophanes. xviii. This conversation, overheard by Eudromus
and reported to Lamon, determined the latter to reveal the
circumstances of the finding of Daphnis. xix-xx. Accordingly, upon
Dionysophanes sending for Lamon and telling him that Daphnis
would accompany Astylus, Lamon told his story and produced the
tokens. xxi-xxiii. These tokens Dionysophanes and Clearista
recognized as having been exposed with their own youngest child;
and Astylus at once ran for Daphnis. Fearing that he was to be
treated with violence, Daphnis ran to a cliff, ready to throw himself
into the sea; but his brother reassured him, and brought him to
their father, who told them the story of the exposure. xxiv. Having
married young he had had a daughter and two sons - with which
issue being content, he had exposed his fourth child; but the
daughter and one son soon thereafter had died on the same day,
leaving Astylus the only survivor: so that the parents now rejoiced
at finding Daphnis again.

xxv-xxix. Daphnis still performed his duties as herdsman.


While his friends and parents feasted, and while he said farewell to
each of his pastoral implements and occupations, Chloe wept,

Source: Samuel Lee Wolff’s ‘The Greek Romances in Elizabethan Prose Fiction,’
New York, 1912, pp. 29-42. 12 July, 2008 - 5:49:38 a7/p7
Page 12 of 13 – Wolff’s Synopsis of Longus’s ‘Daphnis and Chloe’

fearing that he would forsake her. Lampis seeing his opportunity


and certain that Daphnis would not marry her, gathered a band of
rustics and was carrying her off, when Gnatho rescued her, in the
hope of thus conciliating Daphnis; who did indeed forgive him
when Chloe was restored.

xxx-xxxiii. Daphnis now proposed to marry Chloe secretly: but


Dryas published the circumstances under which he had found her.
With a view to the happiness of Daphnis, his parents consented to
the marriage, and received Chloe, and arrayed her splendidly. She
too said farewell to her flock, and hung up her pipe, her scrip, her
cloak, and her milking-pails; and with the others went to the city.

xxxiv-xxxvi. There, on the eve of the marriage-feast, the


Nymphs and Love appeared to Dionysophanes, bidding him
exhibit Chloe's tokens to each of the wedding-guests. So he did,
and they were acknowledged by Megacles, a man of high rank in
Mitylene. He told the story of Chloe's exposure. She had been
born at a time when his wealth had been exhausted; and he had
exposed her in the hope that some wealthier person might adopt
her. Then his riches had increased, when he had no heir; but the
gods had continually sent him dreams signifying that a ewe would
make him a father! With great joy he received Chloe for his
daughter.

xxxvii-xl. Next morning they all returned to the country; for


Daphnis and Chloe were tired of the city, and wished a rustic
wedding. And so did they celebrate it, with pastoral splendour; and
at last, too, found the remedy of Love! To Love, to Pan, and to the

Source: Samuel Lee Wolff’s ‘The Greek Romances in Elizabethan Prose Fiction,’
New York, 1912, pp. 29-42. 12 July, 2008 - 5:49:38 a7/p7
Page 13 of 13 – Wolff’s Synopsis of Longus’s ‘Daphnis and Chloe’

Nymphs, indeed, they consecrated their lives; and their first child,
a boy, was suckled by a goat; their second, a girl, by a ewe.

[Source: Samuel Lee Wolff’s ‘The Greek Romances in Elizabethan


Prose Fiction,’ New York, 1912, pp. 29-42 - Online in The Open
Archive (archive.org).]

Source: Samuel Lee Wolff’s ‘The Greek Romances in Elizabethan Prose Fiction,’
New York, 1912, pp. 29-42. 12 July, 2008 - 5:49:38 a7/p7