'he sat down and wept, to think that even the rams knew more about the deeds of love than he did'
Daphnis is fifteen years old, Chloe thirteen. They are drawn to each other and long to make love. But no one has told them what love is, nor do they know how to accomplish the physical act. Round their predicament Longus weaves a fantasy which entertains and instructs, but never errs in taste. The hard toil and precariousness of peasant life are here, but so are its compensations - revelry, music, dance, and storytelling. Above the action brood divine presences - Eros, Dionysus, Pan, the
Nymphs - who collaborate to guide the adolescents into the mystery of Love, at once a sensual and a religious initiation.
Daphnis and Chloe is the best known, and the best, of the early Greek romances, precursors to the modern novel. Admired by Goethe, it has been reinterpreted in music and art by Ravel and Chagall. This new translation is immensely readable, and does full justice to the humour and humanity of the story.
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