* A Lesson Plan on how to teach this myth can be found here *
Hoc pro continuo te, Galle, monemus amore,
quod tibi ne vacuo defluat ex animo:
saepe imprudenti fortuna occurrit amanti:
crudelis Minyis sic erat Ascanius.
est tibi non infra specie, non nomine dispar, 5
Theiodamanteo proximus ardor Hylae:
huic tu, sive leges Umbrae rate flumina silvae,
sive Aniena tuos tinxerit unda pedes,
sive Gigantei spatiabere litoris ora,
sive ubicumque vago fluminis hospitio, 10
Nympharum semper cupidas defende rapinas
(non minor Ausoniis est amor Adryasin);
ne tibi sit duros montes et frigida saxa,
Galle, neque expertos semper adire lacus.
quae miser ignotis error perpessus in oris 15
Herculis indomito fleverat Ascanio.
namque ferunt olim Pagasae navalibus Argo
egressam longe Phasidos isse viam,
et iam praeteritis labentem Athamantidos undis
Mysorum scopulis applicuisse ratem. 20
hic manus heroum, placidis ut constitit oris,
mollia composita litora fronde tegit.
at comes invicti iuvenis processerat ultra
raram sepositi quaerere fontis aquam.
hunc duo sectati fratres, Aquilonia proles 25
(nunc superat Zetes, nunc superat Calais),
oscula suspensis instabant carpere plantis,
oscula et alterna ferre supina fuga.
ille sed extrema pendentes ludit in ala
et volucris ramo summovet insidias. 30
iam Pandioniae cessit genus Orithyiae:
ah dolor! ibat Hylas, ibat Hamadryasin.
hic erat Arganthi Pege sub vertice montis,
grata domus Nymphis umida Thyniasin,
quam supra nulli pendebant debita curae 35
roscida desertis poma sub arboribus,
et circum irriguo surgebant lilia prato
candida purpureis mixta papaveribus.
quae modo decerpens tenero pueriliter ungui
proposito florem praetulit officio, 40
et modo formosis incumbens nescius undis
errorem blandis tardat imaginibus.
tandem haurire parat demissis flumina palmis
innixus dextro plena trahens umero.
cuius ut accensae Dryades candore puellae 45
miratae solitos destituere choros
prolapsum et leviter facili traxere liquore,
tum sonitum rapto corpore fecit Hylas.
cui procul Alcides ter 'Hyla!' respondet: at illi
nomen ab extremis montibus aura refert. 50
his, o Galle, tuos monitus servabis amores,
formosum ni vis perdere rursus Hylan.
Gallus, I’m going to warn you about your unfailing love,
so it doesn’t slip through your careless mind:
Unexpected stuff often happens to a lover caught off-guard:
Just look at Ascanius’ cruelty to the Argonauts.
Your passion runs for a lad like Theiodamanteus’ son Hylas;
He’s just as well-born, and just as cute.
Just watch out: whether you choose
to take a skiff down the waters of Umbrian forest,
Or you dip your feet in the Anio river,
Or you take a stroll on the on the Giants’ shore,
Whatever pleasing vacation you take in nature’s embrace,
Always keep your lad safe from love-sick nymphs,
(Italian nymphs are just as lusty, too!)
So Gallus, don’t wander the rough mountains and their cold boulders,
Don’t wander off towards new and unknown lakes.
Don’t make the same mistake as Hercules—this brought him to tears—
When he encountered the ever-victorious waters of Ascanius.
For they say that when the Argo departed from the Pagasan docks
And took a long journey to Phasis,
Slipping through the Hellespont, it moored on the Mysian rocks.
Here a band of heroes landed on peaceful shores
And made a camp of soft leaves.
But invincible Hercules’ companion wandered off from the group
In search of waters from a far-off spring.
Once spotted, the two sons of the North Wind pursued him,
First Zetes overpowered him, then Calais,
Planting kisses upon him as they hovered overhead,
Planting kisses on him as he turned to flee.
But he escaped them as they flapped their wings fiercely to catch him,
And thwarted their unwanted affection (insidias) with a branch.
Finally, the winged ones left him alone—
But alas! Hylas stepped right into the Hamadryads’ trap.
Here he was at the foot of the Arganthian mountain,
A spring called Pege, the moist home to Bithynian nymphs,
Where rosy, uncultivated apples hung down from their branches,
Colorful lilies and scarlet poppies rose from untilled fields
Hylas childishly picked some with his tender fingernails
Picking flowers over his intended task,
Laying down by the beautiful river,
Unaware of the danger, he takes a minute to soak in the beautiful scene.
Finally, he dips his hands into the water to drink
Bringing his palms full of water up to his lips.
It’s love at first sight for the dryads: admiring his beauty,
They stop what they’re doing and easily drag him into the water;
Hylas cries out as he is taken.
Far off, Hercules responds to his cries: again and again,
But the wind carries off his words.
So listen up, Gallus, protect your lover-boy from predators like this,
Lest you lose another beautiful Hylas.
Name: Sextus Propertius
Date: 50 – 15 BCE
Propertius was an Italian-born Roman lyric poet whose love poetry provides insight into the mores of Augustan Rome. Like Catullus and Tibullus, Propertius used a pseudonym for the object of his attention; many of his love poems were addressed to “Cynthia.”
GOLDEN AGE ROME