For thee might lutes Arcadian sound their lays,
And nymphs in shady groves fair chaplets bind;
Yet would thy loveliness in less be shrined,
And yet unsung thy beauty’s rightful praise.
Sweet dreams enfold thee in their mystic maze;
Of thee soft music sings in every wind;
Thou art more fair than any flowers I find
In hidden glen, wide field, or sun-kissed ways.
The crystal rills in babbling cadence tell
Full many a lovely tale, ah yes! of thee;
The dew-bespangled daisy opes to see
Who comes so early to its sylvan cell.
In truth, all beauty knows thy magic spell,
Dear maid, who art the very life of me!
William Blocksidge, Songs o’ the South, London: Watts, 1908, p. 26-27
Arcadian = of or relating to Arcadia: paradise; utopia; a serene place of simple pleasure (derived from Arcadia, an ancient region of Greece)
art = (archaic) are
chaplet = a circlet, garland, or wreath for wearing on the top of the head (made of beads, flowers, etc.); in the Catholic faith, a string of 55 beads, used for keeping count when repeatedly reciting a prayer, and/or used as a necklace; any string of beads; in the Catholic faith, a set of repeated prayers (aside from the Rosary), which are commonly counted with the aid of a string of beads; in architecture, a carved molding which looks like a string of beads
lay = song, tune; ballad (may also refer to ballads or narrative poems, as sung by medieval minstrels or bards)
lute = a plucked string instrument, similar to a guitar, with a bowl-shaped body (shaped like an egg split vertically in two) and a fretted neck (although sometimes without frets), with a sound hole or opening in the body (although sometimes without an opening)
nymph = in Greek and Roman mythology, nymphs were young beautiful nubile women, with a propensity to dance, sing, and frolic; they were a class of deity who were not immortal but had very long lives; the dwelling places of most nymphs were generally depicted as being forests, groves, and mountains, and in or nearby lakes, springs, and streams, although there were also sea nymphs
ope = an archaic form of “open”
rill = a very small brook, creek, or stream (a rivulet)
sylvan = regarding a wood or forest (although often a reference to something living within a wood, referring to a person, spirit, or tree)
thee = (archaic) you
thou = (archaic) you
thy = (archaic) your