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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 brink of this. Go, let others praise the Chian!
This is soft as Muses' string,
This is rapid as his spring,
Light as ever trod her feet ;
Make their honey not so sweet.
Though I sip it like a fly!
before me suddenly: As Ulysses' old libation
Drew the ghosts from every part,
Stirs the Hades of my heart.
Which my thought goes far to seek,
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 ais and ous.
While we sat together there,
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 Æschylus, the thunderous,
How he drove the bolted breath Through the cloud, to wedge it ponderous
In the gnarlëd 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.
If men knew the gods aright
With a glorious trail of light !
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 linkëd stories
In the heat of lady's eyes.
For the fire shot up his odes,
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?
Very gently, be it said,
By no breaking of the thread :
On the nobler fames of old-
Stained the purple they would fold.
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 on.to 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 ?
Of this Cyprus,—it is well,
Make a better ænomel ;
None can murmur with a sigh That, in drinking from that beaker,
I am sipping like a fly.
(THEOCRITUS, Idyll XI.)
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.
The sunrise down along the weedy shore,
Beneath his heart, which Cypris' arrow bore,
And sitting on a lofty rock he cast
sang at last :
"O whitest Galatea, can it be
That thou shouldst spurn me off who love thee so?
Than kids, and brighter than the early glow
And with the fragrant sleep thou goest from me ; Thou Aiest . . 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
from that day's light ! But thou . . by Zeus,