Page images
PDF
EPUB

Give it to Pallas !' but he heard me not,
Or hearing would not hear me, woe is me!

"O mother Ida, many-fountain'd Ida, Dear mother Ida, hearken ere I die. Idaliano Aphrodite beautiful,

170 Fresh as the foam, new-bathed in Paphiano wells, With rosy slender fingers backward drew From her warm brows and bosom her deep hair Ambrosial, golden round her lucid throat And shoulder: from the violets her light foot Shone rosy-white, and o'er her rounded form Between the shadows of the vine-bunches Floated the glowing sunlights as she moved.

175

180

“ Dear mother Ida, hearken ere I die.
She with a subtle smile in her mild eyes,
The herald of her triumph, drawing nigh
Half-whisper'd in his ear, “I promise thee
The fairest and most loving wife in Greece.'
She spoke and laugh’d: I shut my sight for fear:
But when I look’d, Paris had raised his arm,
And I beheld great Here's angry eyes,
As she withdrew into the golden cloud,
And I was left alone within the bower;
And from that time to this I am alone,
And I shall be alone until I die.

190

185

“Yet, mother Ida, hearken ere I die.
Fairest why fairest wife? am I not fair ?
My love hath told me so a thousand times.
Methinks I must be fair, for yesterday,

195

When I past by, a wild and wanton pard,
Eyed like the evening star, with playful tail
Crouch'd fawning in the weed. Most loving is she?
Ah me, my mountain shepherd, that my arms
Were wound about thee, and my hot lips prest
Close, close to thine in that quick-falling dew
Of fruitful kisses, thick as Autumn rains
Flash in the pools of whirling Simois.

200

205

210

O mother, hear me yet before I die.
They came, they cut away my tallest pines,
My tall dark pines, that plumed the craggy ledge
High over the blue gorge, and all between
The snowy peak and snow-white cataract
Foster'd the callow eaglet — from beneath
Whose thick mysterious boughs in the dark morn
The panther's roar came muffled, while I sat
Low in the valley. Never, never more
Shall lone Enone see the morning mist
Sweep thro' them; never see them overlaid
With narrow moon-lit slips of silver cloud,
Between the loud stream and the trembling stars.
“O mother, hear me yet before I die.
I wish that somewhere in the ruin’d folds,
Among the fragments tumbled from the glens,
Or the dry thickets, I could meet with her
The Abominable,o that uninvited came
Into the fair Peleïan banquet-hall,
And cast the golden fruit upon the board,
And bred this change; that I might speak my mind,
And tell her to her face how much I hate
Her presence, hated both of Gods and men.

215

220

225

[ocr errors]

230

“O mother, hear me yet before I die.
Hath he not sworn his love a thousand times,
In this green valley, under this green hill,
Ev'n on this hand, and sitting on this stone?
Seal'd it with kisses? water'd it with tears?
O happy tears, and how unlike to these !
O happy Heaven, how canst thou see my face?
O happy earth, how canst thou bear my weight?
O death, death, death, thou ever-floating cloud,
There are enough unhappy on this earth;
Pass by the happy souls, that love to live;
I pray thee, pass before my light of life,
And shadow all my soul, that I may die.
Thou weighest heavy on the heart within,
Weigh heavy on my eyelids: let me die.

235

240

“O mother, hear me yet before I die.
I will not die alone, for fiery thoughts
Do shape themselves within me, more and more,
Whereof I catch the issue, as I hear
Dead sounds at night come from the inmost hills, 245
Like footsteps upon wool. I dimly see
My far-off doubtful purpose, as a mother
Conjectures of the features of her child
Ere it is born: her child ! - a shudder comes
Across me: never child be born of me,

250 Unblest, to vex me with his father's eyes !

“O mother, hear me yet before I die.
Hear me, O earth. I will not die alone,
Lest their shrill happy laughter come to me
Walking the cold and starless road of death
Uncomforted, leaving my ancient love

255

260

With the Greek woman.° I will rise and go
Down into Troy, and ere the stars come forth
Talk with the wild Cassandra," for she says
A fire dances before her, and a sound
Rings ever in her ears of armed men.
What this may be I know not, but I know
That, wheresoe’er I am by night and day,
All earth and air seem only burning fire.”

ENOCH ARDEN

Long lines of cliff breaking have left a chasm; And in the chasm are foam and yellow sands; Beyond, red roofs about a narrow wharf In cluster; then a moulder'd church; and higher A long street climbs to one tall-tower'd mill; And high in heaven behind it a gray down With Danish barrows"; and a hazelwood, By autumn nutters haunted, flourishes Green in a cuplike hollow of the down.

5

10

Here on this beach a hundred years ago,
Three children of three houses, Annie Lee,
The prettiest little damsel in the port,
And Philip Ray, the miller's only son,
And Enoch Arden, a rough sailor's lad
Made orphan by a winter shipwreck, play'd
Among the waste and lumber of the shore,
Hard coils of cordage, swarthy fishing-nets,
Anchors of rusty fluke, and boats updrawn;
And built their castles of dissolving sand
To watch them overflow'd, or following up

15

20 25

And flying the white breaker, daily left
The little footprint daily wash'd away.

A narrow cave ran in beneath the cliff;
In this the children play'd at keeping house.
Enoch was host one day, Philip the next,
While Annie still was mistress; but at times
Enoch would hold possession for a week:
“ This is my house and this my little wife.”
“ Mine too,” said Philip,“ turn and turn about:”
When, if they quarrell'd, Enoch stronger made 30
Was master: then would Philip, his blue eyes
All flooded with the helpless wrath of tears,
Shriek out,

I hate you, Enoch,” and at this
The little wife would weep for company,
And pray them not to quarrel for her sake,
And say she would be little wife to both.°

[ocr errors]

35

40

But when the dawn of rosy childhood past,
And the new warmth of life's ascending sun
Was felt by either, either fixt his heart
On that one girl; and Enoch spoke his love,
But Philip loved in silence; and the girl
Seem’d kinder unto Philip than to him;
But she loved Enoch: tho’ she knew it not,
And would if ask'd deny it. Enoch set
A purpose evermore before his eyes,
To hoard all savings to the uttermost,
To purchase his own boat, and make a home
For Annie: and so prosper'd that at last
A luckier or a bolder fisherman,
A carefuller in peril, did not breathe
For leagues along that breaker-beaten coast

45

50

« PreviousContinue »