As, by his Lemnian forge’s flame,
The husband of the Paphian dame
Moulded the flowing steel, to form
Arrows for Cupid, thrilling warm;
And Venus, as he plied his art,
Shed honey round each new-made dart,
While Love, at hand, to finish all,
Tipp’d every arrow’s point with gall;
It chanced the Lord of Battles came
To visit that deep cave of flame.
’Twas from the ranks of war he rush’d,
His spear with a may a life-drop blush’d;
He saw the fiery darts, and smiled
Contemptious at the archer-child.
„What!” said the urchin, „dost thou smile?
Here, hold this little dart awhile,
And thou wilt find, though swift of flight,
My bolts are not so feathery light.”
Mars took the shaft — and, oh, thy look,
Sweet Venus, when the shaft he took!
Sighing, he felt the urchin’s art,
And cried in agony of the heart,
„It is not light — I sink with pain!
Take — take thy arrow back again.”
„No,” said the child, „it must not be;
That little dart was made for thee!”