Imágenes de páginas

I am sad-voiced as the turtle
Which Anacreon used to feed :
Yet as that same bird demurely
Wet her beak in cup of his,
So, without a garland, surely
I may touch the brim of this.

Go, let others praise the Chian !
This is soft as Muses' string,
This is tawny as Rhea's lion,

This is rapid as his spring,
Bright as Paphia's eyes e'er met us,
Light as ever trod her feet;
And the brown bees of Hymettus
Make their honey not so sweet.

Very copious are my praises,
Though I sip it like a fly !
Ah-but, sipping,-times and places.
Change before me suddenly:
As Ulysses' old libation

Drew the ghosts from every part,
So your Cyprus wine, dear Grecian,
Stirs the Hades of my heart.

And I think of those long mornings
Which my thought goes far to seek,
When, betwixt the folio's turnings,

Solemn flowed the rhythmic Greek: Past the pane the mountain spreading, Swept the sheep's-bells tinkling noise, While a girlish voice was reading, Somewhat low for aus and ois.

Then, what golden hours were for us
While we sat together there,
How the white vests of the chorus

Seemed to wave up a live air!

How the cothurns trod majestic
Down the deep iambic lines,
And the rolling anapæstic

Curled like vapour over shrines :

Oh, our Eschylus, the thunderous,
How he drove the bolted breath
Through the cloud, to wedge it ponderous
In the gnarled oak beneath!

Oh, our Sophocles, the royal,

Who was born to monarch's place, And who made the whole world loyal, Less by kingly power than grace! Our Euripides, the human,

With his droppings of warm tears, And his touches of things common Till they rose to touch the spheres ! Our Theocritus, our Bion,

And our Pindar's shining goals !—— These were cup-bearers undying,

Of the wine that 's meant for souls.

And my Plato, the divine one,

If men knew the gods aright
By their motions as they shine on
With a glorious trail of light!
And your noble Christian bishops,

Who mouthed grandly the last Greek! Though the sponges on their hyssops Were distent with wine-too weak.

Yet your Chrysostom, you praised him
As a liberal mouth of gold;

And your Basil, you upraised him
To the height of speakers old:
And we both praised Heliodorus
For his secret of pure lies,—

Who forged first his linked stories
In the heat of lady's eyes.

And we both praised your Synesius
For the fire shot up his odes,

Though the Church was scarce propitious
As he whistled dogs and gods.
And we both praised Nazianzen

For the fervid heart and speech :
Only I eschewed his glancing
At the lyre hung out of reach.

Do you mind that deed of Atè

Which you bound me to so fast,—
Reading" De Virginitate"

From the first line to the last?
How I said at ending, solemn
As I turned and looked at you,
That St. Simeon on the column
Had had somewhat less to do?

For we sometimes gently wrangled,
Very gently, be it said,

Since our thoughts were disentangled
By no breaking of the thread :
And I charged you with extortions
On the nobler fames of old—
Ay, and sometimes thought your Porsons
Stained the purple they would fold.

[ocr errors]

For the rest—a mystic moaning,

Kept Cassandra at the gate,
With wild eyes the vision shone in,
And wide nostrils scenting fate.
And Prometheus, bound in passion
By brute Force to the blind stone,
Showed us looks of invocation

Turned to ocean and the sun


And Medea we saw burning

At her nature's planted stake: And proud Edipus fate-scorning

While the cloud came breakWhile the cloud came on slow, slower, Till he stood discrowned, resigned,But the reader's voice dropped lower When the poet called him BLIND.

Ah, my gossip! you were older,
And more learned, and a man ;
Yet that shadow, the enfolder
Of your quiet eyelids, ran
Both our spirits to one level:
And I turned from hill and lea
And the summer-sun's green revel,
To your eyes that could not see.

Now Christ bless you with the one light
Which goes shining night and day!
May the flowers which grow in sunlight
Shed their fragrance in your way!
Is it not right to remember

All your kindness, friend of mine,
When we two sat in the chamber,
And the poets poured us wine?

So, to come back to the drinking
Of this Cyprus,—it is well,
But those memories, to my thinking,
Make a better œnomel;

And whoever be the speaker,

None can murmur with a sigh That, in drinking from that beaker, I am sipping like a fly.



AND so an easier life our Cyclops drew,
The ancient Polyphemus, who in youth
Loved Galatea while the manhood grew

Adown his cheeks and darkened round his mouth.
No jot he cared for apples, olives, roses;

Love made him mad: the whole world was neglected, The very sheep went backward to their closes

From out the fair green pastures, self-directed.

And singing Galatea, thus, he wore

The sunrise down along the weedy shore,

And pined alone, and felt the cruel wound

Beneath his heart, which Cypris' arrow bore, With a deep pang; but, so, the cure was found; And sitting on a lofty rock he cast


His eyes upon the sea, and sang at last :

"O whitest Galatea, can it be

That thou shouldst spurn me off who love thee so?
More white than curds, my girl, thou art to see,
More meek than lambs, more full of leaping glee
Than kids, and brighter than the early glow
On grapes that swell to ripen,—sour like thee !
Thou comest to me with the fragrant sleep,

And with the fragrant sleep thou goest from me ;
Thou fliest. . fliest as a frightened sheep

Flies the grey wolf!-yet Love did overcome me, So long ;-I loved thee, maiden, first of all

When down the hills (my mother fast beside thee) I saw thee stray to pluck the summer-fall

Of hyacinth bells, and went myself to guide thee: And since my eyes have seen thee, they can leave thee

No more, from that day's light! But thou. . by Zeus,

« AnteriorContinuar »