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I said : Go up, dear heart, through the waves;
Say thy prayer, and come back to the kind sea-caves ! "
She smiled, she went up through the surf in the bay.
Children dear, was it yesterday?



Children dear, were we long alone? " The sea grows stormy, the little ones moan; Long prayers,” I said, “ in the world they say; Come!” I said; and we rose through the surf in the bay. We went up the beach, by the sandy down Where the sea-stocks bloom, to the white-wall’d town; Through the narrow paved streets, where all was still, To the little grey church on the windy hill. From the church came a murmur of folk at their prayers, But we stood without in the cold blowing airs. We climb’d on the graves, on the stones worn with rains, And we gazed up the aisle through the small leaded panes. 75 She sate by the pillar; we saw her clear : “ Margaret, hist! come quick, we are here ! Dear heart," I said, “ we are long alone ; The sea grows stormy, the little ones moan.” But, ah, she gave me never a look,

80 For her eyes were seald to the holy book ! Loud prays the priest; shut stands the door. Come vay, children, call no more ! Come away, come down, call no more !


Down, down, down !
Down to the depths of the sea !
She sits at her wheel in the humming town,
Singing most joyfully.
Hark what she sings: “O joy, O joy,
For the humming street, and the child with its toy!
For the priest, and the bell, and the holy well;
For the wheel where I spun,
And the blessed light of the sun!”
And so she sings her fill,
Singing most joyfully,
Till the spindle drops from her hand,



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And the whizzing wheel stands still.
She steals to the window, and looks at the sand,
And over the sand at the sea;
And her eyes are set in a stare ;
And anon there breaks a sigh,
And anon there drops a tear,
From a sorrow-clouded eye,
And a heart sorrow-laden,
A long, long sigh;

105 For the cold strange eyes of a little Mermaiden And the gleam of her golden hair.



Come away, awáy children;
Come children, come down !
The hoarse wind blows coldly;
Lights shine in the town.
She will start from her slumber
When gusts shake the door;
She will hear the winds howling,
Will hear the waves roar.
We shall see, while above us
The waves roar and whirl,
A ceiling of amber,
A pavement of pearl.
Singing : • Here came a mortal,
But faithless was she !
And alone dwell for ever
The kings of the sea.”



But, children, at midnight,
When soft the winds blow,
When clear falls the moonlight,
When spring-tides are low;
When sweet airs come seaward
From heaths starr'd with broom,
And high rocks throw mildly
On the blanch'd sands a gloom;
Up the still, glistening beaches,
Up the creeks we will hie,

130 135

Over banks of bright seaweed
The ebb-tide leaves dry.
We will gaze, from the sand-hills,
At the white, sleeping town;
At the church on the hill-side
And then come back down.
Singing : There dwells a loved one,
But cruel is she !
She left lonely for ever
The kings of the sea.”





THERE slept a silent palace in the sun,
With plains adjacent and Thessalian peace
Pherai, where King Admetos ruled the land.




“What now may mean the silence at the door?
Why is Admetos' mansion stricken dumb?
Not one friend near, to say if we should mourn
Our mistress dead, or if Alkestis lives
And sees the light still, Pelias' child - to me
To all, conspicuously the best of wives
That ever was toward husband in this world !
Hears anyone or wail beneath the roof,
Or hands that strike each other, or the groan
Announcing all is done and naught to dread?
Still not a servant stationed at the gates !
O Paian, that thou would'st dispart the wave
O’ the woe, be present! Yet, had woe o’erwhelmed
The housemates, they were hardly silent thus :
It cannot be, the dead is forth and gone.
Whence comes thy gleam of hope? I dare not hope :
What is the circumstance that heartens thee?
How could Admetos have dismissed a wife
So worthy, unescorted to the grave?
Before the gates I see no hallowed vase
Of fountain water, such as suits death's door;
Nor any clipt locks strew the vestibule,
Though surely these drop when we grieve the dead,
Nor hand sounds smitten against youthful hand,



And yet

The women's way.

- the appointed time
How speak the word? — this day is even the day
Ordained her for departing from its light.
O touch calamitous to heart and soul !
Needs must one, when the good are tortured so,
Sorrow, one reckoned faithful from the first."



So wailed they, while a sad procession , wound
Slow from the innermost o' the palace, stopped
At the extreme verge of the platform-front:
There opened, and disclosed Alkestis' self,
The consecrated lady, borne to look
Her last — and let the living look their last
She at the sun, we at Alkestis.


Sun, and thou light of day, and heavenly dance
O'the fleet cloud-figure !” (so her passion paused,
While the awe-stricken husband made his moan,
Muttered now this, now that ineptitude:
" Sun that sees thee and me, a suffering pair,

Who did the Gods no wrong whence thou should'st die!")
Then, as if caught up, carried in their course,
Fleeting and free as cloud and sunbeam are,
She missed no happiness that lay beneath :
"O thou wide earth, from these my palace roofs, 50
To distant nuptial chambers once my own
In that Iolkos of my ancestry!”
There the flight failed her. • Raise thee, wretched one!
Give us not up! Pray pity from the Gods!”




Vainly Admetos: for “I see it -
The two-oared boat! The ferryer of the dead,
Charon, hand hard upon the boatman's-pole,
Calls me

even now calls — • Why delayest thou?
Quick! Thou obstructest all made ready here
For prompt departure: quick, then!""

6. Woe is me!
A bitter voyage this to undergo,
Even i’ the telling! Adverse Powers above,
How do ye plague us !”


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