Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

100

THE KINGFISHER.

Now I will call to thee, dearest, from cliffs that o'er

shadow the bay, And tell thee what thou didst forego when a god gave

thee right of the air, Sped thee on wings and sent thee, a herald of seasons

most fair!

Far hence is the land of our sires, that laughs with

green fields all the year : There shepherds are hardy, and foresters light with the

bow and the spear ; Harvestmen reap and bind, slow breasting the golden

ripe flood; Youth chants the burden for Linus, when presses are

shedding his blood. I was the king of all these, and a prince in the battles

of men ; The day-star of empire that set in my fall arose not

again. In the night, and afar from all coasts where a beacon

gives joy to the crew, The break-faith sea and the sharp-fanged rocks that are

hidden from view Close on their prey with hoarse bayings, there reft were mine

eyes

of the light, But thy name, Alcyone, flew from my lips, with the

breath taking flight!

Long didst thou sit in the haven, awaiting the dawn of

my fleet

Imploring the sea and the spirits that track it with

murmurous feet,

THE KINGFISHER.

101

And oft wouldst thou question the traders that came

with the purples of Tyre : A god raised thee up, when thou leap'dst to thy death

through grief and desire ! Thou wast a queen, and thy handmaidens wrought thee

rich veils in their looms, Curtained thy chamber with crimson, and strewed it

with odorous blooms. In the fountain that freshened thy garden warbled a

nereid choir, And music attended thee waking, - soft hauntings of

Aute and of lyre. Thou wast the queen of all these, — of love, of laughter

and song

Be glad in the summer thou makest, and memory do

thee no wrong!

[ocr errors]

MARSYAS.

A STRAYING flock, a mountain fold ;
A cavern arch, a well-spring cold ;

A woodland flute, a lyre of gold ;
A challenged god to contest come, a satyr overbold !

The light leaves sighed, the waters ran;
The pupil of rough mountain Pan,

With shaggy lip and cheek of tan,
With easy breath and jocund heart the tuneful strife

began.

His gloating eye, bent down the while,
Saw not Apollo's fateful smile, –

Saw not, from every forest aisle,
The shy and curious sylvans move in swift but noise-

less file.

For each clear strain was drink and food
To those that dwelt within the wood ;

The dryad full-discovered stood; The fleeting water-spirit stayed, and backward pushed her hood.

[blocks in formation]

And then were all consenting, save
The master-lyrist smiling grave;

Across the strings he sudden drave
A flood of all-melodious sound, — tumultuous wave on

wave !

And as the throbbing strings he smote,
Song rippled from his full white throat :

From cloudland bank and gulf remote
The shining ones in rapt delight were seen to glide or

float.

That sovran sound the hills salute;
That sovran sound brooks no dispute ;

It drowns the flute, poor woodland flute, That soon between the god's strong hands lies broken,

vauntless, mute.

The strife now ended, in amaze
Doth trembling Marsyas start and gaze ;

Him, there amidst the mountain ways,
With his far-flashing golden bow, the wroth Apollo

flays.

Beneath the cavern's jagged eaves
The hapless child of Pan he leaves,

While his warm heart, outplucked, still heaves ; Ah, what avails it him his name to spring and river

cleaves !

[blocks in formation]

Remember Marsyas, and beware!
The Kings of Song, - they long forbear;

They smile on us, reproof they spare,
While we, forgetful-fond, release thin reed-notes on the

air.

But they, at last, uprise in ire :
A single hand-sweep on the lyre,

A single flash of heavenly fire
Remember Marsyas ! - lo, in shame our pride and

vaunt expire!

« AnteriorContinuar »