Posts Tagged ‘Greek poetry’

The Love Song of Daphnis & Chloe by Nigel Humphreys

July 3, 2016


A review by R J Dent

The Love Song of Daphnis and Chloe

by Nigel Humphreys

Edited by Catherine Edmunds

Published by Circaidy Gregory Press

ISBN: 9781906451882



Daphnis and Chloe (Greek: Δάφνις καὶ Χλόη, Daphnis kai Chloē) is the only known work of the 2nd century AD Greek novelist, Longus.


The Love Song of Daphnis & Chloe began when Nigel Humphreys read George Thornley’s 1670 English translation of Longus’ Greek novel, Daphnis and Chloe, written on Lesbos.


Nigel Humphreys became obsessed with the task of re-interpreting Longus’ pastoral romantic novel into an epic modern poem that would appeal to twenty-first century readers and retain the beauty, charm, romance and humour of the original.


First and foremost, The Love Song of Daphnis & Chloe is the story of a boy (Daphnis) and a girl (Chloe), each of whom is exposed at birth along with some identifying tokens. A goatherd named Lamon discovers Daphnis, and a shepherd called Dryas finds Chloe.



Each decides to raise the child he finds as his own. Daphnis and Chloe grow up together, herding the flocks for their foster parents.

And so it was preordained –

decreed by divine intercession –

that they raise them as their own.

And having shared their dreams…

they introduced their children

to their work as herdsmen…


Inevitably, Daphnis and Chloe fall in love, but being naïve, do not understand what is happening to them.

Yet among them Daphnis

was unable to settle since

he had seen Chloe naked,

honeyed, tender, scented

and more lovely than Venus

in all her sensuousness.

Philetas, a wise old cowherd, explains to them what love is and tells them that the only cure is kissing. They do this.

All they saw was that kisses

had endangered Daphnis

and day-dreaming Chloe

in that mazy month of May.

Eventually, Lycaenion, a woman from the city, educates Daphnis in the skills of love-making.


And so Lycenia…

finding him primed and greedy,

slipped slickly beneath him

and shepherded his limbs

to where they longed to be.

What followed came naturally…

Throughout the book, Chloe is courted by suitors, two of whom (Dorcon and Lampis) attempt with varying degrees of success to abduct her. She is also carried off by raiders from a nearby city:


Yet Chloe was with her herd

and fled from the invaders

to the Nymphs’ Cave begging

them to spare her and her kin

in the name of the Goddesses.

And she is only saved by the intervention of the god Pan.

Oh, you most cruel dissolute

of mortals! … restore

Chloe to the Nymphs with all

her flocks. Awake therefore

and send the maiden ashore

with her sheep and goats,

and I will steer her home,

and guide her to her lands.

The story concludes with both Daphnis and Chloe being recognized by their birth parents, after which, the couple get married and happily live out their lives in the country. On their wedding night:

… the stars,

moon and planets hurrahed.

The married pair were squired

to their room in rush light

by pipes and flutes, and Daphnis

lay with Chloe skin against skin.

Cuddling tightly and kissing,

entwining and twisting…



Nigel Humphreys’ The Love Song of Daphnis & Chloe is a beautifully written modern epic version of an Ancient Greek classic. Humphreys has taken Longus’ prose and given us a delightful poem of incredible warmth, wit and wisdom.

 From the back cover:

Bucolic shenanigans on the Island of Lesbos


Poet Nigel Humphreys has done something unique and surprising with the ancient text of Daphnis & Chloe, taking a rambling 2nd century prose narrative and transforming it into an epic poem in the oral tradition of Ancient Greece.

Daphnis & Chloe is complemented in this edition by five new Daffyd ap Gwylim translations, which Humphreys has returned to the original cywydd form in order to recapture the colour and humour of the 14th century Welsh troubadour poet.




by Nigel Humphreys

Edited by Catherine Edmunds

Published by Circaidy Gregory Press.

ISBN: 9781906451882


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R J Dent reads from the Poems & Fragments of Alcaeus

October 2, 2013


To be weighed down…


The North wind…


The whole cargo…


R J Dent on Alcaeus: Poems & Fragments


Book trailer for Alcaeus: Poems & Fragments


Alcaeus: Poems & Fragments

Translated into modern English by R J Dent

Published by Circaidy Gregory Press:

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Alcaeus in Santorini

February 11, 2013

Alcaeus on a shelf, Atlantis Books, Santorini

Copies of the Poems & Fragments of Alcaeus, translated into English by the poet and novelist R J Dent, and published by Circaidy Gregory Press, are now available to buy at Atlantis Books in Santorini.


Atlantis Books is a truly amazing bookshop. It’s on the Main Marble Road in Oia, Santorini. Inside, it’s a bibliophile’s treasure-trove.

Atlantis_books 1

Alcaeus’s Poems & Fragments has made its way across the world and onto a shelf of Greek poetry and literature in Atlantis Books. It’s almost as though Alcaeus has gone home.

alcaeus in santorini 3

Here’s Alcaeus alongside Philip Sherrard, Dionysios Solōmos, Arthur Machen, Homer, and other distinguished Greek and Anglo-Greek authors and scholars.

alcaeus in santorini 1

Atlantis Books in Oia, Santorini, is one of the bibliophile wonders of the world. There is no other bookshop quite like it.

atlantis books 1


It’s fitting that Alcaeus: Poems & Fragments is now available to lovers of Greek poetry and Greek literature – on a Greek island as beautiful as Santorini, and in a bookshop as unique as Atlantis Books.

Alcaeus front cover Atlantis Books, Santorini

Alcaeus back cover Atlantis Books, Santorini

Atlantis Books, Main Marble Road, Oia, Santorini, Cyclades, Greece.



Alcaeus: Poems & Fragments, translated into English by R J Dent.



Circaidy Gregory Press, Hastings, Sussex, UK.


R J Dent


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Alcaeus: Poems & Fragments

February 15, 2011

 Translated by R J Dent

Alcaeus: Poems & Fragments – translated by R J Dent (ISBN 978-1-906451-53-0)

R J Dent’s sensitive modern English translation of the complete Poems & Fragments of Alcaeus is now available to download onto your Kindle at:


and in ePub format (Sony, Kobo, etc) at:


Alcaeus: Poems & Fragments is also available in paperback from Circaidy Gregory Press at:

and from

Alcaeus was a fellow countryman and contemporary of Sappho, and his beautiful and delicate poetry is often overshadowed by Sappho’s reputation. R J Dent has now translated all of Alcaeus’s Poems & Fragments from ancient Greek into lively modern English in an attempt to rescue Alcaeus’s ethereal poetry from obscurity.

There is no other published translation of Alcaeus: Poems & Fragments in existence.

Product Details:

Title: Alcaeus: Poems & Fragments – translated by R J Dent [Paperback Edition]

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-906451-53-0

Title: Alcaeus: Poems & Fragments – translated by R J Dent [Kindle Edition]

e-book ISBN: 978-1-906451-54-7

Translator: R J Dent

© R J Dent (2012)

Language: English 

Pages: 112

Paperback ISBN 978-1-906451-53-0 £7.49.  Orders available to trade and retail customers from or to trade via Nielsen Teleorders. Contact for discount and SoR terms.

Alcaeus: Poems & Fragments (in paperback and kindle formats) is now available from Amazon, and in all other eformats from all i-stores. Orders available to trade from Gardners and Baker and Taylor.

Here’s a recent review of Alcaeus: Poems & Fragments:

R J Dent’s published works include a novel, Myth; translations of Charles Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil & Artificial Paradise; of Le Comte de Lautréamont’s The Songs of Maldoror; of Alcaeus’s Poems & Fragments; a Gothic novella, Deliverance; a poetry collection, Moonstone Silhouettes, and various stories, articles, essays, poems, etc, in a wide range of magazines, periodicals and journals, including Orbis, Philosophy Now, Acumen and Writer’s Muse. 

R J Dent’s Amazon page can be found at:

Details of R J Dent’s other works – novels, novellas, translations, stories, poems, essays and songs – are available on

Follow R J Dent’s work on:








K P Kavafis: One of Their Gods

June 21, 2009

greek market place

just walked through Seleukeia market

just as dusk was starting to fall

a tall youth of perfect beauty

with unquenchable joy in his eyes

with black and perfumed hair

and passers-by stared at him

and each asked each if they knew him

if he were a Syrian Greek, or a stranger

but some who looked more carefully

understood and moved aside

and out of sight beneath the colonnade

among the shadows, out of the evening light

making his way to the quarter that lives

fully at night, offering orgies and pleasures

and all kinds of drunkenness and lust

they would wonder which of Them he was

and for what guilty pleasure

he walked through the streets of Seleukeia

far from those sacred, honoured mansions

One of Their Gods

K P Kavafis

Translation © R J Dent (2009)

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How Soon

June 7, 2009




How soon before my lovely days are gone?

How soon before I see this place no more,

and have no more time beneath the sun;

nor time beside this ever-whispering sea;

nor hear the wind whisper amongst the reeds;

nor see the tall plane trees upon the hills,

where soft-eyed goats call as they freely roam;

nor see the crimson hibiscus flowers you pick

each day and place in a vase on my desk

so I think of you as I write my tales

of shepherds piping their lost sheep to fold.


The flame of life burns quickly in the lamp;

passion and love and longing and hot tears

consume and all too soon a cold wind blows

upon our hearts and takes us far away

and we are found no more in this old world,

although the moon turns – searching every night

and the stars patiently shine on and on.


How Soon

© R J Dent (2009)

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Alexander Mátsas: Landscape

May 29, 2009

rock and sea

Here, in this mineral landscape

of rock, sea, sapphire and diamond

which offers nothing perishable

to the wheel of time

here in the great triumphant light

the only mark on which is your shadow

and where only your body

carries the harbinger of death

here fleetingly perhaps your idols

will vanish; perhaps once more

you may stare at your

true self in the dazzling glare

a self that is hidden by many masks

distorted by necessity and the bonds

you betray, so that everyone steals

from you using seduction or violence

your bones stripped bare, as clean

as an earthen pot, and so for a moment

your clay escapes the constant

weights of life and death


Alexander Mátsas

Translation © R J Dent (2009)

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May 26, 2009

crete house

One of my favourite memories

is of our summer afternoons

at our little white Cretan house;

its balcony, its walled terrace,

its olive trees and spiky palms,

that overlooked the turquoise sea,

and as evening diffused the light

to orange, purple, then to black,

how we would burn citrus candles

and sit and watch the moon careen

across the sky towards the south

and eat our olives, nuts and bread

and drink a glass of retsina

and make love in the warm sea air –

a memory with love in it.


by Ράσελ Τζον Ντεντ

Translation © R J Dent (2009)

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July Morning

May 25, 2009

july morning-sun

On this July morning

the world is again created

from the orange stare of the sun

On this July morning

the night becomes a brightly-lit room

and tiny leaves unfurl on their branches

On this July morning

the lakes take off their black cloaks

and reveal their island breasts, their lilies

On this July morning

I awaken aroused and turn to find you

looking at me and wanting me

On this July morning

I enter your soft warmth as sunlight

shines through the shutters and into our minds

July Morning

by Ράσελ Τζον Ντεντ

Translation © R J Dent (2009)

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Odysseus Elytis: Drinking the Corinthian Sun

May 25, 2009

corinthian sun

Drinking the Corinthian sun

Deciphering the marble ruins

Striding across vineyards and seas

Taking aim with my harpoon

At an elusive votive fish

I find the living land that passion

So joyfully opens

In the leaves that are memorized

By the psalm of the sun

I drink water and cut open fruit

I plunge my hands into the wind’s flora

Citrus trees scent the summer’s day pollen

Green birds flit through my dreams

As I leave, my eyes are filled with a vista

An endless vista where – from the beginning –

The world is made beautiful once more

According to the heart’s capacity

Drinking the Corinthian Sun

by Odysseus Elytis

Translation © R J Dent (2009)

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