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Idalian Aphrodité beautiful,
Fresh as the foam, new-bathed in Paphian 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.
“ Dear mother Ida, harken 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.
Yet, mother Ida, harken 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,
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.
“O mother, hear me yet before I die. They came, they cut away my tallest pines, My dark tall 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 slits 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, 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.
“O mother, hear me yet before I die.
Hath he not sworn his love a thousand times,
ey, 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.
“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,
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,
Unblest, to vex me with his father's eyes !
“O mother, hear me yet before I die.
Hear me, 0 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
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 arméd 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."
I see the wealthy miller yet,
His double chin, his portly size,
And who that knew him could forget
The busy wrinkles round his eyes?
The slow wise smile that, round about
His dusty forehead dryly curl’d,
Seem'd half-within and half-without,
And full of dealings with the world?
In yonder chair I see him sit,
Three fingers round the old silver cup –
I see his gray eyes twinkle yet
At his own jest
gray eyes lit up With summer lightnings of a soul
So full of summer warmth, so glad,
So healthy, sound, and clear and whole,
His memory scarce can make me sad.
Yet fill my glass : give me one kiss :
My own sweet Alice, we must die. There's somewhat in this world amiss
Shall be unriddled by and by. There's somewhat flows to us in life,
But more is taken quite away, Pray, Alice, pray, my darling wife,
That we may die the self-same day.
Have I not found a happy earth?
I least should breathe a thought of pain.
Would God renew me from my birth
I'd almost live my life again.
So sweet it seems with thee to walk,
And once again to woo thee mine —
It seems in after-dinner talk
Across the walnuts and the wine –
To be the long and listless boy
Late-left an orphan of the squire, Where this old mansion mounted high
Looks down upon the village spire: For even here, where I and you
Have lived and loved alone so long, Each morn my sleep was broken thro'
By some wild skylark's matin song.
And oft I heard the tender dove
In firry woodlands making moan; But ere I saw your eyes, my love,
I had no motion of my own.
For scarce my life with fancy play'd
Before I dream'd that pleasant dream Still hither thither idly sway'd
Like those long mosses in the stream.
Or from the bridge I lean’d to hear
The milldam rushing down with noise, And see the minnows everywhere
In crystal eddies glance and poise,
The tall flag-flowers when they sprung
Below the range of stepping-stones,
Or those three chestnuts near, that hung
In masses thick with milky cones.
But, Alice, what an hour was that,
When after roving in the woods ('Twas April then), I came and sat
Below the chestnuts, when their buds
Were glistening to the breezy blue ;
And on the slope, an absent fool,
I cast me down, nor thought of you,
But angled in the higher pool.
A love-song I had somewhere read,
An echo from a measured strain, Beat time to nothing in my head
From some odd corner of the brain. It haunted me, the morning long,
With weary sameness in the rimes, The phantom of a silent song,
That went and came a thousand times.
Then leapt a trout. In lazy mood
I watch'd the little circles die; They past into the level flood,
And there a vision caught my eye; The reflex of a beauteous form,
A glowing arm, a gleaming neck, As when a sunbeam wavers warm
Within the dark and dimpled beck.