Ovid's Metamorphoses : Daphne.

                              Daphne, the daughter of a River God
                              was first beloved by Phoebus, the great God
                              of glorious light. 'Twas not a cause of chance
                      580  but out of Cupid's vengeful spite that she
                              was fated to torment the lord of light.
                              For Phoebus, proud of Python's death, beheld
                              that impish god of Love upon a time
                              when he was bending his diminished bow,
                      585  and voicing his contempt in anger said;
                              "What, wanton boy, are mighty arms to thee,
                              great weapons suited to the needs of war?
                              The bow is only for the use of those
                              large deities of heaven whose strength may deal
                      590  wounds, mortal, to the savage beasts of prey;
                              and who courageous overcome their foes.--
                              it is a proper weapon to the use
                              of such as slew with arrows Python, huge,
                              whose pestilential carcase vast extent
                      595  covered. Content thee with the flames thy torch
                              enkindles (fires too subtle for my thought)
                              and leave to me the glory that is mine."
                              to him, undaunted, Venus, son replied;
                              "O Phoebus, thou canst conquer all the world
                      600  with thy strong bow and arrows, but with this
                              small arrow I shall pierce thy vaunting breast!
                              And by the measure that thy might exceeds
                              the broken powers of thy defeated foes,
                              so is thy glory less than mine." No more
                      605  he said, but with his wings expanded thence
                              flew lightly to Parnassus, lofty peak.
                              There, from his quiver he plucked arrows twain,
                              most curiously wrought of different art;
                              one love exciting, one repelling love.
                      610  The dart of love was glittering, gold and sharp,
                              the other had a blunted tip of lead;
                              and with that dull lead dart he shot the Nymph,
                              but with the keen point of the golden dart
                              he pierced the bone and marrow of the God.
                      615  Immediately the one with love was filled,
                              the other, scouting at the thought of love,
                              rejoiced in the deep shadow of the woods,
                              and as the virgin Phoebe (who denies
                              the joys of love and loves the joys of chase)
                      620  a maiden's fillet bound her flowing hair,--
                              and her pure mind denied the love of man.
                              Beloved and wooed she wandered silent paths,
                              for never could her modesty endure
                              the glance of man or listen to his love.
                      625  Her grieving father spoke to her, "Alas,
                              my daughter, I have wished a son in law,
                              and now you owe a grandchild to the joy
                              of my old age." But Daphne only hung
                              her head to hide her shame. The nuptial torch
                      630  seemed criminal to her. She even clung,
                              caressing, with her arms around his neck,
                              and pled, "My dearest father let me live
                              a virgin always, for remember Jove
                              did grant it to Diana at her birth."
                      635  But though her father promised her desire,
                              her loveliness prevailed against their will;
                              for, Phoebus when he saw her waxed distraught,
                              and filled with wonder his sick fancy raised
                              delusive hopes, and his own oracles
                      640  deceived him.--As the stubble in the field
                              flares up, or as the stacked wheat is consumed
                              by flames, enkindled from a spark or torch
                              the chance pedestrian may neglect at dawn;
                              so was the bosom of the god consumed,
                      645  and so desire flamed in his stricken heart.
                              He saw her bright hair waving on her neck;--
                              "How beautiful if properly arranged! "
                              He saw her eyes like stars of sparkling fire,
                              her lips for kissing sweetest, and her hands
                      650  and fingers and her arms; her shoulders white
                              as ivory;--and whatever was not seen
                              more beautiful must be.
                              Swift as the wind
                              from his pursuing feet the virgin fled,
                      655  and neither stopped nor heeded as he called;
                              "O Nymph! O Daphne! I entreat thee stay,
                              it is no enemy that follows thee--
                              why, so the lamb leaps from the raging wolf,
                              and from the lion runs the timid faun,
                      660  and from the eagle flies the trembling dove,
                              all hasten from their natural enemy
                              but I alone pursue for my dear love.
                              Alas, if thou shouldst fall and mar thy face,
                              or tear upon the bramble thy soft thighs,
                      665  or should I prove unwilling cause of pain!
                              "The wilderness is rough and dangerous,
                              and I beseech thee be more careful--I
                              will follow slowly.--Ask of whom thou wilt,
                              and thou shalt learn that I am not a churl--
                      670  I am no mountain dweller of rude caves,
                              nor clown compelled to watch the sheep and goats;
                              and neither canst thou know from whom thy feet
                              fly fearful, or thou wouldst not leave me thus.
                              "The Delphic Land, the Pataraean Realm,
                      675  Claros and Tenedos revere my name,
                              and my immortal sire is Jupiter.
                              The present, past and future are through me
                              in sacred oracles revealed to man,
                              and from my harp the harmonies of sound
                      680  are borrowed by their bards to praise the Gods.
                              My bow is certain, but a flaming shaft
                              surpassing mine has pierced my heart--
                              untouched before. The art of medicine
                              is my invention, and the power of herbs;
                      685  but though the world declare my useful works
                              there is no herb to medicate my wound,
                              and all the arts that save have failed their lord.,"
                              But even as he made his plaint, the Nymph
                              with timid footsteps fled from his approach,
                      690  and left him to his murmurs and his pain.
                              Lovely the virgin seemed as the soft wind
                              exposed her limbs, and as the zephyrs fond
                              fluttered amid her garments, and the breeze
                              fanned lightly in her flowing hair. She seemed
                      695  most lovely to his fancy in her flight;
                              and mad with love he followed in her steps,
                              and silent hastened his increasing speed.
                              As when the greyhound sees the frightened hare
                              flit over the plain:--With eager nose outstretched,
                      700  impetuous, he rushes on his prey,
                              and gains upon her till he treads her feet,
                              and almost fastens in her side his fangs;
                              but she, whilst dreading that her end is near,
                              is suddenly delivered from her fright;
                      705  so was it with the god and virgin: one
                              with hope pursued, the other fled in fear;
                              and he who followed, borne on wings of love,
                              permitted her no rest and gained on her,
                              until his warm breath mingled in her hair.
                      710  Her strength spent, pale and faint, with pleading eyes
                              she gazed upon her father's waves and prayed,
                              "Help me my father, if thy flowing streams
                              have virtue! Cover me, O mother Earth!
                              Destroy the beauty that has injured me,
                      715  or change the body that destroys my life."
                              Before her prayer was ended, torpor seized
                              on all her body, and a thin bark closed
                              around her gentle bosom, and her hair
                              became as moving leaves; her arms were changed
                      720   to waving branches, and her active feet
                              as clinging roots were fastened to the ground--
                              her face was hidden with encircling leaves.--
                              Phoebus admired and loved the graceful tree,
                              (For still, though changed, her slender form remained)
                      725  and with his right hand lingering on the trunk
                              he felt her bosom throbbing in the bark.
                              He clung to trunk and branch as though to twine.
                              His form with hers, and fondly kissed the wood
                              that shrank from every kiss.
                      730  And thus the God;
                              "Although thou canst not be my bride, thou shalt
                              be called my chosen tree, and thy green leaves,
                              O Laurel! shall forever crown my brows,
                              be wreathed around my quiver and my lyre;
                      735  the Roman heroes shall be crowned with thee,
                              as long processions climb the Capitol
                              and chanting throngs proclaim their victories;
                              and as a faithful warden thou shalt guard
                              the civic crown of oak leaves fixed between
                      740  thy branches, and before Augustan gates.
                              And as my youthful head is never shorn,
                              so, also, shalt thou ever bear thy leaves
                              unchanging to thy glory.,"
                              Here the God,
                      745  Phoebus Apollo, ended his lament,
                              and unto him the Laurel bent her boughs,
                              so lately fashioned; and it seemed to him
                              her graceful nod gave answer to his love.