Sei sulla pagina 1di 9

A Synopsis of Longus' Daphnis and Chloe

Daphnis and Chlo, by Pierre Prud'hon Paris, 1802, Department of Rare and Precious Books, Rs. Vlins 835, Vellum

The Prologue
The author tells us how, when he was hunting in Lesbos, he came across a beautiful grove sacred to the Nymphs, which had in it a painting adorned with a story of love, whose details foreshadow elements of the story of Daphnis and Chloe. He was possessed with admiration and decided to recreate this picture in words. He found an interpreter for the painting and produced the four books that follow, as an offering to Love, the Nymphs and Pan. This work, he writes, also offers healing and especially education, rousing the memories of those who have loved, and teaching those who have not. This is valuable, for none that have eyes have ever avoided Love. The author ends with a prayer that Love allows him to write about another's passion while allowing him to keep his own right mind.

Book I
A goatherd, Lamon, worked on an estate about twenty miles from Mytilene on the island of Lesbos. One day he finds a male baby being suckled by one of his goats. The child has with it tokens of noble birth, and Lamon is at first tempted to take the tokens and leave the child, but finally brings the goat, child and tokens home to his wife Myrtale. They decide to rear the child (with the help of the goat) and name him Daphnis.

Two years later a shepherd called Dryas finds a female baby in a beautiful cave sacred to the Nymphs, being suckled by one of his ewes. This child also has tokens of noble birth. Dryas prays to the Nymphs to help the child, and then takes the child and its tokens home to his wife Nape and they too decide to raise the foundling, giving her the pastoral name Chloe. When Daphnis was fifteen both Lamon and Dryas had the same dream: that the Nymphs of the cave where Chloe had been found were handing over Daphnis and Chloe to a young boy adorned with wings with a small bow and arrows, who touched both of them with a single arrow, and told Daphnis to look after a herd of goats, and Chloe to watch a flock of sheep. The parents were upset, because they thought that their adopted children were destined for greater things. But, after sacrificing to the winged boy (whose name they were ignorant of) they taught Daphnis and Chloe the basics of sheep and goat herding and gave them flocks to attend. It was now verdant spring, and Daphnis and Chloe are eager to learn from and imitate nature, and stay close to each other and help each other in their pastoral tasks. Love soon begins his machinations. The villagers had dug a pit with a thin cover to trap a she-wolf that was threatening the countryside. When two he-goats fought over a she-goat and one broke the other's horn and ran in pursuit, Daphnis ran after him and both goat and Daphnis (note this) fell into the pit. Chloe removes her breast band and uses it as a rope to pull Daphnis and the goat out. Daphnis goes to the spring near the cave of the Nymphs to wash the dirt off his body. As Chloe, helping him wash, looks at his naked body Daphnis suddenly seems beautiful to her and, not knowing that she is falling in love, only knows that she wants to see Daphnis bathe again. During the next days, as she watching Daphnis play the Pan's pipes and bathe again, Chloe begins to feel the emotional restlessness associated in romance with love although she does not know what she is suffering, and confusedly laments her condition. Dorcon, a local cowherd, falls in love with Chloe and gives her presents but Chloe does not know his motives and is pleased only to have something to give to Daphnis. By this time too Daphnis is beginning to instinctively act the part of lover. A contest between Dorcon and Daphnis occurs, with a kiss from Chloe the prize. Both in Theocritean fashion praise themselves and insult the other. Daphnis wins easily and is eagerly kissed by Chloe. With this kiss Daphnis begins to suffer the pangs of love, although, like Chloe, he doesn't realize what is happening. Dorcon the cowherd, still very much in love, tries to bribe Dryas with presents so he could marry Chloe, but Dryas refuses. Dorcon then dresses up in a wolf skin and tries to attack Chloe, but their dogs attack him. He is rescued by Daphnis and Chloe, who think Dorcon simply was trying to play a trick. It was by now full summer, and their passion becomes correspondingly hotter, although they still do not know they are in love, but instinctively play childish lover's games, such as pelting each other with apples. One afternoon while Chloe is napping a cicada files down her clothes and Daphnis retrieves it. Another day Daphnis tells Chloe the story of origin of the wood pigeon, who was once a young shepherdess whose cows were lured away by a young shepherd in a contest of

song, and who, out of shame, prayed to be turned into a bird. Autumn arrives, and pirates from the Lesbian city of Pyrrha attack and carry off the wealth of the countryside, including some cows and Daphnis. Chloe arrives with her goats just as Daphnis is being carried off, and runs off to Dorcon to get help. Dorcon has been fatally wounded by the pirates, but tells Chloe that his cows (who have been carried off by the pirates) will come to the sound of his pipe, which he gives to Chloe and gets from her a kiss, at which he expires. Chloe then plays the pipes and Dorcon's cattle, running to one side of the pirates' ship, capsize it, causing the armored pirates to drown while Daphnis swims to shore with the help of the cattle. There he is joyously reunited with Chloe, and with rustic ceremony they and the cattle give Dorcon burial. Daphnis and Chloe then go to the spring near the cave of the Nymphs and bathe together, and then hang up Dorcon's pipe and garlands as a thank offering. Daphnis becomes even more kindled and troubled in his uncomprehending love for Chloe.

Book II
Now was the height of the season of harvest, especially the grape harvest, and Daphnis and Chloe help. There is an ongoing festival of Dionysos, during which both Daphnis and Chloe become objects of attraction to both men and women, which cause both of them considerable discomfort.
While near the cave of the Nymph whom they often venerated they meet an old man dressed in a goat's hair cloak who calls himself Philetas (the name of a famous Hellenistic scholar-poet), who has frequently played for Pan and guided his animals by music alone. He wishes to impart some important information to the pair. Philetas tells of his lush garden, in which he recently saw a marvelous young boy. who eluded his attempt to seize him. When Philetas had asked the boy for a kiss, the boy told him he was older than Cronos and Time itself and knew and helped Philetas when Philetas was younger and wooing Amaryllis, and that he now is watching over Daphnis and Chloe. As the boy leaves Philetas notices that he has wings. Philetas tells the couple that they are being watched over by Love, and they in turn ask Philetas what this Love was and what power it had. Philetas describes the supreme and irresistible power of Love, for which there is no cure except "a kiss and an embrace and lying together

The Storm by Cot, perhaps inspired by Daphnis and Chloe.

naked." Leaving Philetas, they ponder his words and decide they too must be "in love". During the next few days they try Philetas' remedies for love, but stop short, due to their ignorance, of having sex. At this point a party of young aristocrats from Methymna sail by on an autumn holiday. When they stop to hunt in the area a goat nibbles the willow they used to tie the boat up, which is the swept out to sea and lost.

The young men then capture and beat Daphnis, thinking his goat responsible for the ship's loss, but the other rustics step in and require that the matter be heard before a judge, in this case Philetas. After a debate Daphnis is acquitted, and when the young aristocrats again try to take Daphnis by force, a fight breaks out and the Methymneans are driven off. Chloe, of course, tends Daphnis' wounds. When they return home, the young aristocrats persuade the Methymneans to declare war on Mytilene, and so a general with ten ships sets out to attack. In this raid it is Chloe and her sheep that are captured as they try to take sanctuary in the cave of the Nymphs. When Daphnis returns and finds Chloe and her sheep abducted, with only her pipe left behind, he laments and accuses the Nymphs, but in a dream the Nymphs tell him they are watching over Chloe, and that Pan will also help and that all will turn out well. Daphnis wakes and goes home to reassure his parents and spends a restless night. That night, after the Methymnean general has anchored the ships and allowed his troops to relax and celebrate, they spend a fearful night of Pan inspired panic and terror, and on the next day the powers of Pan manifest themselves as ivy sprouts on the horns of the captured animals and sheep and goats howl like wolves, as well as by many other miracles. During a nap that afternoon Pan appears to the general and threatens him and his fleet with destruction unless Chloe and her animals are returned. The general immediately locates Chloe, puts her on shore, and mysterious piping calls out her animals. Then the Methymnean ships sail off, guided by a dolphin sent by Pan. Daphnis and Chloe are joyously reunited, Chloe recounts what happened, and they offer sacrifices and libations to Pan and the Nymphs. The next day, when Philetas comes with his young son Tityrus, Daphnis and Chloe plead with him to share with them his expertise on the pipes by playing as part of their celebration of Pan. Since Daphnis' pipes, being made for a boy, are too small for him, he sends for his own pipes. While they are being fetched, Lamon tells the story of Syrinx, a young woman with a lovely singing voice. She had rejected Pan's propositions and run away from him, then hid in some reeds near a marsh and vanished. Pan cut down the reeds and then fashioned them together in unequal lengths (since their love had been unequal) into the Pan's pipes, or the syrinx. When his own pipes arrive Philetas plays for them a variety of tunes, and during this performance old Dryas dances a mime of the grape harvest. Daphnis and Chloe in turn enact in mime the story of Syrinx, an event with considerable significance for the plot. Daphnis then plays on Philetas' pipes

himself, at which Philetas gives them to Daphnis as a present, and Daphnis dedicates his own pipes to Pan. The next morning, as they drive the animals out together they swear oaths of loyalty to each other, that they will never live apart. Daphnis first swears by Pan, and Chloe by the Nymphs, but Chloe demands that Daphnis swear a second oath, since Pan is not the most trustworthy god. Instead Daphnis now swears by his goats and the she-goat that suckled him, and Chloe is satisfied. .

Book III
Now Mytilene declares war and sends out an army to attack Methymna directly, but envoys meet the army and peace is arranged and all plunder returned. Winter then descends, and heavy snows shut the farmers inside. It is a general period of rest for farmers, but a time of torment for Daphnis and Chloe who are separated from each other. Daphnis devises a scheme to see Chloe: he goes bird hunting near Dryas' farm. And although he takes much time at his work, nobody comes out, and, since he cannot invent a plausible excuse to knock on the door, decides to give up and go home. But just at the nick of time one of Dryas' dogs grabs meat off the table and runs outside with Dryas in pursuit, who recognizes Daphnis and invites him inside and entertains him well. Daphnis spends the night at Chloe's house, sleeping with her father.
The next day, which is quite cold, Chloe's family and Daphnis prepare a sacrifice to Dionysos. Then Daphnis and Chloe go out together supposedly to hunt for birds, and alone, they encourage each other. Daphnis then goes home, but during the course of the winter finds various reasons to visit Chloe's home. Spring finally arrives, the snows melt and the earth begins to blossom. Daphnis and Chloe now can drive out they animals and go at once to the cave of the Nymphs and to Pan and his pine and offer garlands of the flowers of early spring, libations and music. Soon comes the time when the animals begins to sport with desire to mate, and the couple, especially Daphnis, seemed prepared to move up to the next level of erotic love. Lying down naked together is just not enough. They try to make love in the fashion of their animals, but this does not

Marc Chagall, Daphnis et Chlo

work, and they quit in frustration. Their attempts are observed however, by Lycaenion (whose name means little she-wolf), the relatively more sophisticated, town-born wife of the elderly Chromis. She had been trying for a while to seduce Daphnis and here she saw her opportunity.

She goes to Daphnis and Chloe and persuades Daphnis to rescue her goose which an eagle has supposedly tried to snatch away, while Chloe stays to watch their animals. Once she has Daphnis alone Lycaenion tells Daphnis of her knowledge of their frustrated attempts at lovemaking and offers to give him lessons, as a favor to the Nymphs. Daphnis eagerly agrees and, after the preliminaries, they have sex. Daphnis then wants to immediately go to Chloe and show her his newfound knowledge, but Lycaenion warns him about the pain and blood that accompany the loss of virginity, and tells Daphnis to remember that she was his first. Daphnis, having thought about what Lycaenion told him and not wanting to hurt Chloe, becomes reluctant to go any further with Chloe sexually. Nor does he reveal to Chloe what happened with Lycaenion, but makes up a story about the rescue of the goose. At this point Chloe hears the echo of the voices of sailors from a passing ship. This is apparently the first time Chloe has ever heard an echo, and does not realize what is happening. Daphnis then tells her the story of the nymph Echo, a story with significance for the plot. Echo was mortal girl but raised by the nymphs. She had a beautiful voice, but avoided males, wanting to preserve her virginity. Pan, jealous of her musical talent and angry at her rejection, maddened the local shepherds and goatherds, who tore Echo apart. Earth as a favor to the Nymphs preserved her voice, which now copies other sounds, including those of Pan himself. Chloe, delighted with the story, kisses Daphnis repeatedly, as if confirming that he had not spoken a lie. The beginning of summer was now at hand, and with it much opportunity for recreation and erotic play, which, however, stops short of sex due to Daphnis' fears. He even becomes reluctant to let Chloe undress in front of him, fearing a loss of control. Chloe notices the change, but is too ashamed to ask for its reason. Meanwhile, many suitors are now coming to Chloe's adoptive father Dryas, either bringing presents or promising great ones. Her adoptive mother Nape wants to take advantage of the moment, before Chloe ends up being seduced on the side. But Dryas, thinking that the birth tokens indicated Chloe should have a better class of husband, puts off the suitors, although taking their presents. The whole process upsets Chloe, who for a while avoids Daphnis so as not to trouble him, but finally tells him everything. Daphnis is desolate, since his family is by no means rich. When he speaks to his adoptive parents about the possibility of marrying Chloe Lamon strongly disapproves, since he believes that Chloe is a mere shepherd girl, and knows Daphnis was born noble. His mother Myrtale, fearing Daphnis might kill himself, tells him to try to get Chloe to talk her father into accepting the marriage. Daphnis remains despondent, but one night the Nymphs appear to him in a dream and show him where a dead dolphin has washed up near a purse

containing three thousand drachmas, and inform him that he will be even richer later. The next day Daphnis easily finds the dead dolphin and the three thousands drachmas, and then goes to Dryas and Nape and asks Chloe's hand, and gives him the three thousands drachmas. Dryas is persuaded, and he agrees to try to convince Daphnis' adoptive father, Lamon, to consent to the marriage. But Lamon puts off the marriage by pointing out that he is a slave, and he must have the consent of his master, who is not coming until autumn, and also indirectly hints that Daphnis is of more noble birth. Dryas at home wonders if Daphnis had been exposed like Chloe. Dryas tells Daphnis that he can wed Chloe, but not until autumn, and Daphnis runs and tells Chloe, who is milking the sheep. It is the time of the apple harvest, and one big and beautiful apple has been left at the top of a tall tree ( a scene that recalls Sappho 105 LP), and, despite Chloe's objections, Daphnis climbs to the top of the tree and picks the apple, which he presents to her, and receives in turn a kiss.

Book IV
One of Lamon's fellow slaves announces that their master would come just before the grape harvest to check up on the condition of this estate, so Lamon and Daphnis work hard to make sure everything is in top shape so they will make a good impression on the master who must approve Daphnis' marriage. The most impressive part of the farm is an elaborate, paradisical garden, at whose center is an altar and a temple adorned with paintings of scenes from the life of Dionysos. Another messenger, Eudromus (whose name means 'good runner') comes and tells them that his master would come at the end of the grape harvest, and stays until the harvest is nearly over, and then goes back to town (with presents from Daphnis) to tell his master that all is ready.
Chloe, who has never seen Daphnis' master, is very worried about the future, and this casts a certain pall over their relationship. Further, there is a cowherd called Lampis, a rough fellow, who also is determined to marry Chloe and has given Dryas many presents already, and, still rebuffed, seeks to find some way of making Lamon's and Daphnis' master angry with them. So one night he sneaks into the special garden and destroys it. The next morning all are devastated, not only because of the garden, but because they imagine that their master will torture Lamon and Daphnis. Two days before their master comes, his son, Astylus arrives, and, at the advice of Eudromus, Lamon and

family tell all to him and plead for his help. Astylus in turn agrees to blame the damage on his own horses.

Astylus has brought with him from the city the parasite Gnathon, whose whole life was eating, drinking and sex, and who tries to seduce Daphnis, and when rebuffed, tries to rape him. Daphnis easily pushes him away and leaves and thereafter avoids Gnathon, who decides to try to find a way to make Astylus give Daphnis to him as a gift. At this critical moment the master Dionysophanes ( = 'Dionysos manifest') and his wife Cleariste arrive and make sacrifice to the gods and inspect the estate. Astylus takes responsibility for the ruin of the garden, and Dionysophanes is so impressed with all else that he promises one day to free Lamon. At this point Chloe, scared by such a crowd, runs off to the woods. Daphnis, dressed in a goatskin and looking like Apollo when he worked for Laomedon, is presented to the master, and gives the city folk an exhibition of how he can control his goats with music. The master and especially the mistress are much impressed, and they even send some of their own city food to Daphnis to eat, who in turn shares it with Chloe. Gnathon, now even more obsessed with Daphnis' beauty, goes to Astylus and threatens to commit suicide if he does not give him Daphnis. After some banter Astylus agrees and says he will seek the right time to ask his father's permission. The messenger Eudromus overhears all this and, being Daphnis' friend, tells him. Daphnis contemplates running away with Chloe, but Lamon, Daphnis' adopted father, decides to reveal the secret tokens of Daphnis' birth. Soon afterward Astylus asks for and receives Daphnis as a gift from his father, who in turn calls Lamon and Myrtale to inform them of his decision. Lamon then tells the tale of Daphnis' discovery and the tokens found with him, and the reason he is disclosing the truth now. The tokens are finally brought forth, and Dionysophanes and his wife recognize them as the tokens they had left with a child they had exposed many years earlier. When Astylus runs to embrace Daphnis as a brother, Daphnis, not knowing what has transpired, runs away to cast himself into the sea. But Astylus in the nick of time tells him the truth. A scene of joy, recognition and reunion follows, and for a moment Daphnis even forgets Chloe. Dionysophanes tells how Daphnis had been born after he had fathered as many children as he thought he could raise properly, and thus he was exposed to die. But two of his older children have died since then, and Dionysophanes is glad that he has regained his son and Astylus a brother. He also gives Daphnis exclusive possession of the estate he has worked on. Although Daphnis thinks he must get back to his goats, a great party is immediately set in motion, with many sacrifices as well. Daphnis dedicates various objects of his youth (and thus his first life) to various rural gods. But Daphnis does not at this point tell Dionysophanes about Chloe, who was meanwhile alone, grazing her sheep and sure that Daphnis now had forgotten her and was thus contemplating suicide. At this point the evil suitor Lampis comes up with some farm hands and carries Chloe off, also thinking that Daphnis had forgotten her.

When Daphnis hears about this abduction he becomes mad with grief, but does not know whom to tell, but laments in the hearing of Gnathon, who uses this opportunity to get back in the good graces of his master. He gathers some of Astylus' men and rescues Chloe and presents her to Daphnis, who forgives him. After much deliberation with Daphnis, Dryas goes with Chloe's tokens to Dionysophanes and Cleariste and tells them the story of Chloe's discovery, reveals the tokens and hints to Dionysophanes that she might be a good match for Daphnis, whose reaction reveals his love. Dionysophanes, after being assured that Chloe is a virgin, agrees to the marriage. Chloe is taken away, washed and dressed to urban standards, and brought to the banquet, where her considerable beauty, now enhanced, dazzles all. The feasting continues for some days, and then it is decided that they should go back to Mytilene and there seek Chloe's parents. One night Dionysophanes has a dream in which the Nymphs beg Love to allow this marriage. Love then takes off his quiver, unstrings his bow, and tells Dionysophanes to invite all the aristocracy of Mytilene to a banquet, then show Chloe's tokens and immediately have her married. Dionysophanes does as the dream commanded. When the last bowl of wine has been prepared, Dionysophanes brings out the tokens and passes them around, and they are recognized by a certain Megacles who is sitting in the place of honor. Megacles had exposed Chloe when she was born during a period of financial difficulty. He has no children now, but is very rich. Chloe is reunited with her real father and mother, and the next day all drive back to the countryside and meet the adoptive parents of Daphnis and Chloe. A rustic wedding is arranged and attended on equal terms by city and country folk and even by the animals, and even Lycaenion and the would-be rapist Lampis attend. We learn that in their later life Daphnis and Chloe spent most of their time in the countryside living the pastoral life and honoring Pan, the Nymphs and Love. They dedicated an altar to Love the Shepherd and dedicated a temple to Pan the Soldier. They had two children: a boy called Philopoemen (= friend of shepherds) and a daughter Agele ( = herd), who are nursed, like their parents, by a goat and an ewe. But that all came later. On their wedding night Daphnis and Chloe were conducted to the bridal chamber and serenaded by harsh rustic voices and music. That night they had less sleep than the owls as Daphnis teaches Chloe what he learned from Lycaenion, and Chloe realizes that, compared to this, their former play had been but shepherds' games.