Writings About Daphne
Inspired by Dreams and Greek Mythology

Poems and Quotes
compiled by Tracy Marks

The Tree (author unknown)
I stood still and was a tree amid the wood,
Knowing the truth of things unseen before;
Of Daphne and the laurel bow
And that god-feasting couple old
That grew elm-oak amid the wood.

from The Garden by Andrew Marvell

When we have run our passion's heat,
Love hither makes his best retreat.
The gods, that mortal beauty chase,
Still in a tree did end their race:
Apollo hunted Daphne so,
Only that she might laurel grow....

A Song of Daphne to the Lute
by John Wylie

My Daphne's Haire is twisted Gold,
Bright starres a-piece her Eyes doe hold,
My Daphne's Brow inthrones the Graces,
My Daphne's Beauty staines all Faces,
On Daphne's Cheeke grow Rose and Cherry,
On Daphne's Lip a sweeter Berry,
Daphne's snowy Hand but touch'd does melt,
And then no heauenlier Warmth is felt,
My Daphne's voice tunes all the Spheres,
My Daphne's Musick charmes all Eares.
Fond am I thus to sing her prayse ;
These glories now are turn'd to Bayes.

Story of Phoebus and Daphne Applied
by Edmund Waller


Thyrsis, a youth of the inspired train
Fair Sacharissa lov'd, but lov'd in vain;
Like Phoebus sung the no less amorous boy;
Like Daphne she, as lovely, and as coy;
  With numbers he the flying nymph pursues,
With numbers such as Phœbus' self might use;
Such is the chase when Love and Fancy leads,
O'er craggy mountains, and through flow'ry meads;
Invok'd to testify the lover's care,
Or form some image of his cruel fair:
Urg'd with his fury, like a wounded deer,
O'er these he fled; and now approaching near,
Had reach'd the nymph with his harmonious lay,
Whom all his charms could not incline to stay.
Yet what he sung in his immortal strain,
Though unsuccessful, was not sung in vain;
All but the nymph that should redress his wrong,
Attend his passion, and approve his song.
Like Phoebus thus, acquiring unsought praise,
He catch'd at love, and fill'd his arm with bays.

The Rapture by Carew
Daphne hath broke her bark, and that swift foot
Which th'angry Gods had fast'ned with a root
To the fix'd earth, doth not unfettered ran
To meet th'embraces of the youthful sun.

by Edna St. Vincent Millay


Why do you follow me?­
Any moment I can be
Nothing but a laurel-tree.

Any moment of the chase
I can leave you in my place
A pink bough for your embrace.

Yet if over hill and hollow
Still it is your will to follow,
I am off;­to heel, Apollo!

from Apocalypse or Metamorphoses
by Norman O. Brown

Bark, be my limbs, my hair be leaf.

Daphne, the spiritualization of nature,
an invisible spirit in a tree.

Metamorphoses into a tree
The sublimation is at the same time
a fall, into a lower order of
creation; an incarnation. The
way up is the way down.

The final metamorphosis is the humanization of the nature. It is a question of love:
the transformation of the Bear into the Prince, the moment the Bear is loved. The identification is a change of identity; the magic is love.

The meaning of the myth of Apollo and Daphne suddenly flashed upon me...."happy, thought I, the man who can clasp in one and the same embrace the laurel and the object of his love."

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copyright 2000 by Tracy Marks
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