Walter Savage Landor

(30 January 1775 – 17 September 1864 / Warwick)

Alciphron and Leucippe


An ancient chestnut’s blossoms threw
Their heavy odour over two:
Leucippe, it is said, was one;
The other, then, was Alciphron.
‘Come, come! why should we stand beneath?’
This hollow tree’s unwholesome breath?’
Said Alciphron, ‘here’s not a blade
Of grass or moss, and scanty shade.
Come; it is just the hour to rove
In the lone dingle shepherds love;
There, straight and tall, the hazel twig
Divides the crookàed rock-held fig,
O’er the blue pebbles where the rill
In winter runs and may run still.
Come then, while fresh and calm the air,
And while the shepherds are not there.’

Leucippe. But I would rather go when they
Sit round about and sing and play.
Then why so hurry me? for you
Like play and song, and shepherds too.

Alciphron. I like the shepherds very well,
And song and play, as you can tell.
But there is play, I sadly fear,
And song I would not have you hear.

Leucippe. What can it be? What can it be?

Alciphron. To you may none of them repeat
The play that you have play’d with me,
The song that made your bosom beat.

Leucippe. Don’t keep your arm about my waist.

Alciphron. Might you not stumble?

Leucippe. Well then, do.
But why are we in all this haste?

Alciphron. To sing.

Leucippe. Alas! and not play too?

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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