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FIGHTING THE WIND.

The Psylli border on the Nasamonians; these perished in the following manner: the south wind blowing upon them dried up all their water-tanks, and the whole country within Syrtis was dry; they, therefore, having consulted together, with one consent determined to make war against that wind (I only repeat what the Libyans say), and when they arrived at the sands the south wind, blowing, covered them over, and when they had perished the Nasamonians took possession of their territory. HERODOTUS, iv. 173.

HEAR what befell a dusk race that dwelt in a Libyan

land, Between the desert-like sea and the wandering sea-like

sand !

Steadily blew the south wind, cloudless the days filed

by, Till void were the oasis wells, their chambers crannied

and dry. Fell the lank fruit unripened, so fiercely the siroc

burned ; The blade returned to the earth, and the foodless

cattle returned.

Light was the brain of the people, goaded by hunger and thirst;

FIGHTING THE WIND.

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The beckoning palms and the fountain that mocked in

the looming they cursed. Black were their fever-burnt lips, and starting their

feverish eyes,

Like wailful voices of autumn their hollow, delirious

cries. “Let us,” they said, “ bear arms, go forth, and make

war on our foe, The Wind that is sent from the South by the God who

worketh our woe!”

Then they arose in their madness, and clad them in

battle array,

Stripped from the savage wild beasts that seek in the mountains their

prey ; Skins of the pard and the lion, and mane-waving hel

mets they wore, And many an amulet trusted in fight at their girdles

they bore.

Then seize they the bow and the arrows more poison

than fang of the asp ; Lift they the spear and the leathern shield in their

tremulous grasp ; Beat they on drums, and through shells of the ocean

faintly they blow, Faintly the war-cry sound, advancing to close with

their foe..

Him and his legions they saw not, appareled in dark

ness and heat ;

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FIGHTING THE WIND.

They heard but his chariot wheels, the thunder of on

coming feet. But once their keen arrows they winged, but once

their javelins drove : Then stricken they lay in the dust ; under dust no

longer they strove ! For, as seas are heaped up by the storm in its fury and

might, So rose the great surge of the desert and hid them for

ever from sight.

Thou hearest the tale as it runs in the chronicle faded

and old : Canst thou read it anew and aright? Of thee, Human

Heart, it is told ! Look! thou art parched and hungered ; look how thou

armest in vain To fight the invincible Wind, to be laid in the dust

of the plain!

A NOCTURN.

I HAVE been an acolyte
In the service of the Night;
Subtile incense I have burned,
Songs of silence I have learned,
Spirit-uttered antiphon
That from isle to isle doth run
Through the deep cathedral wood.
There she blessed me as I stood,
There, or in her courts that lie
Open to the gemmèd sky.
Me with starlight she hath crowned,
And with purple wrapped me round, -
Darkling purple, strangely wrought
By the servants of her thought.

Mortal, whosoe'er thou art,
That dost bear a fevered heart,
Hither come and healed be:
Night such

will show to thee,
Thou shalt tread the dewy stubble
Stranger to all fret and trouble,
While bright Hesper leans from heaven
Through the soft, dove-colored even,

grace

A NOCTURN.

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While the grass-bird calleth peace
On the fields that have release
From the sickle and the rake.
Happy sigher! thou shalt take
The rich breath of blossomed maize,
As the moist wind smoothly plays
With its misty silks and plumes.
Thou shalt peer through tangled glooms,
Where the fruited brier-rose
Fragrance on thy pathway throws,
And the firefly bears a link ;
Where swart bramble-berries drink
Spicy dew, and shall be sweet,
Ripened by to-morrow's heat;
Still, wherever thou dost pass,
Chimes the cricket in the grass ;
And the plover's note is heard,
Moonlight's wild enchanted bird,
Flitting, wakeful and forlorn,
Round the meadows lately shorn.

Wilt thou come, and healèd be
Of the wounds Day gave to thee?
Come and dwell, an acolyte
Of the deep-browed holy Night.

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