« AnteriorContinuar »
Moves over bills of lading—'mid such But battered, rent, and rusted sore, and times
15 they, Shall dwell the hollow puppets of my The men themselves, are shrivelled, bent, rhymes.
and gray; A nameless city in a distant sea, And as they lean with pain upon their White as the changing walls of faërie,
spears Thronged with much people clad in an | Their brows seem furrowed deep with cient guise
more than years; I now am fain to set before your eyes; 20 | For sorrow dulls their heavy sunken eyes; There, leave the clear green water and Bent are they less with time than miseries.
the quays, And pass betwixt its marble palaces,
ATALANTA'S RACE Until ye come unto the chiefest square; A bubbling conduit is set midmost there, Atalanta, daughter of King Schøneus, not And round about it now the maidens willing to lose her virgin's estate, made it a throng,
law to all suitors that they should run a race With jest and laughter, and sweet broken
with her in the public place, and if they
failed to overcome her should die unresong,
venged; and thus many brave men perished. Making but light of labor new begun
At last came Milanion, the son of AmphiWhile in their vessels gleams the morning
damus, who, outrunning her with the help sun.
of Venus, gained the virgin and wedded On one side of the square a temple her.
stands, Wherein the gods worshipped in ancient Through thick Arcadian woods a hunter lands
I went, Still have their altars; a great market-place Following the beasts up, on a fresh spring Upon two other sides fills all the space,
day; And thence the busy hum of men comes But since his horn-tipped bow, but seldom forth;
bent, But on the cold side looking toward the Now at the noontide naught had happed north
to slay, A pillared council-house may you behold, Within a vale he called his hounds away, 5 Within whose porch are images of gold, 36 Hearkening the echoes of his lone voice Gods of the nations who dwelt anciently cling About the borders of the Grecian sea. About the cliffs and through the beechPass now between them, push the brazen trees ring.
door, And standing on the polished marble floor But when they ended, still awhile he stood, Leave all the noises of the square behind; And but the sweet familiar thrush could Most calm that reverent chamber shall I hear, ye find,
And all the day-long noises of the wood, 10 Silent at first, but for the noise you made And o'er the dry leaves of the vanished When on the brazen door your hand you
His hounds' feet pattering as they drew To shut it after you,—but now behold 45 anear, The city rulers on their thrones of gold, And heavy breathing from their heads low Clad in most fair attire, and in their hands hung, Long carven silver-banded ebony wands; To see the mighty cornel bow unstrung. Then from the dais drop your eyes and see
Then smiling did he turn to leave the Soldiers and peasants standing reverently place,
15 Before those elders, round a little band 51 But with his first step some new fleeting Who bear such arms as guard the English thought land,
| A shadow cast across his sunburnt face:
I think the golden net that April brought Which at the first of folk were wellnigh From some warm world his wavering soul bare; had caught;
But pressing on, and going more hastily, For, sunk in vague sweet longing, did he Men hurrying too he 'gan at last to see. go
20 Betwixt the trees with doubtful steps and Following the last of these, he still pressed slow.
Until an open space he came unto, Yet howsoever slow he went, at last Where wreaths of fame had oft been lost The trees grew sparser, and the wood was and won, done;
For feats of strength folk there were wont Whereon one farewell, backward look he to do. cast,
And now our hunter looked for something Then, turning round to see what place was new, won,
25 Because the whole wide space was bare, With shaded eyes looked underneath the and stilled sun,
The high seats were, with eager people And o'er green meads and new-turned fur filled.
rows brown Beheld the gleaming of King Schøneus' There with the others to a seat he gat, town.
Whence he beheld a broidered canopy,
’Neath which in fair array King Scheneus So thitherward he turned, and on each
Upon his throne with councillors thereby; The folk were busy on the teeming land, 30 And underneath his well-wrought seat and And man and maid from the brown fur high,
ÓI rows cried,
He saw a golden image of the Sun, Or midst the newly blossomed vines did | A silver image of the Fleet-foot One.
stand, And as the rustic weapon pressed the hand | A brazen altar stood beneath their feet Thought of the nodding of the well-filled Whereon a thin flame flickered in the wind; ear,
Nigh this a herald clad in raiment meet 66 Or how the knife the heavy bunch should Made ready even now his horn to wind, shear.
By whom a huge man held a sword, in
twined Merry it was: about him sung the birds, I With yellow flowers; these stood a little The spring flowers bloomed along the firm space dry road,
From off the altar, nigh the startingThe sleek-skinned mothers of the sharp place.
horned herds Now for the barefoot milking-maidens And there two runners did the sign abide, lowed;
Foot set to foot,-a young man slim and While from the freshness of his blue abode, fair, Glad his death-bearing arrows to forget, 41 Crisp-haired, well-knit, with firm limbs The broad sun blazed, nor scattered often tried plagues as yet.
In places where no man his strength may
spare; Through such fair things unto the gates | Dainty his thin coat was, and on his hair 75 he came,
A golden circlet of renown he wore, And found them open, as though peace And in his hand an olive garland bore.
were there; Wherethrough, unquestioned of his race or But on this day with whom shall he conname,
45 tend? He entered, and along the streets 'gan fare, | A maid stood by him like Diana clad
When in the woods she lists her bow to Fleet as the wind, but scarcely saw her bend,
. there Too fair for one to look on and be glad, Till on the goal she laid her fingers fair. Who scarcely yet has thirty summers had, If he must still behold her from afar; There stood she breathing like a little Too fair to let the world live free from child
Amid some warlike clamor laid asleep,
For no victorious joy her red lips She seemed all earthly matters to for I smiled,
85 Her cheek its wonted freshness did but Of all tormenting lines her face was clear, keep; Her wide gray eyes upon the goal were No glance lit up her clear gray eyes and set
deep, Calm and unmoved as though no soul Though some divine thought softened all were near.
her face But her foe trembled as a man in fear, As once more rang the trumpet through Nor from her loveliness one moment the place.
turned His anxious face with fierce desire that But her late foe stopped short amidst his burned.
One moment gazed upon her piteously, Now through the hush there broke the Then with a groan his lingering feet did trumpet's clang
force Just as the setting sun made eventide. To leave the spot whence he her eyes could Then from light feet a spurt of dust there see; sprang,
And, changed like one who knows his And swiftly were they running side by time must be side;
95 But short and bitter, without any word 125 But silent did the thronging folk abide He knelt before the bearer of the sword; Until the turning-post was reached at last, And round about it still abreast they Then high rose up the gleaming deadly passed.
Bared of its flowers, and through the But when the people saw how close they crowded place
Was silence now, and midst of it the When half-way to the starting-point they maid were,
100 Went by the poor wretch at a gentle A cry of joy broke forth, whereat the man pace,
130 Headed the white-foot runner, and drew And he to hers upturned his sad white near
face; Unto the very end of all his fear; Nor did his eyes behold another sight And scarce his straining feet the ground | Ere on his soul there fell eternal night.
could feel, And bliss unhoped-for o'er his heart 'gan steal.
So was the pageant ended, and all folk
Talking of this and that familiar thing But midst the loud victorious shouts he In little groups from that sad concourse heard
broke; Her footsteps drawing nearer, and the For now the shrill bats were upon the sound
wing, Of fluttering raiment, and thereat afeard And soon dark night would slay the evenHis Aushed and eager face he turned ing, around,
And in dark gardens sang the nightingale And even then he felt her past him bound | Her little-heeded, oft-repeated tale. 140
And with the last of all the hunter went, Nor otherwhere since that day doth she Who, wondering at the strange sight he dwell, had seen,
Sending too many a noble soul to hell. — Prayed an old man to tell him what it | What! thine eyes glisten? what then, meant,
thinkest thou Both why the vanquished man so slain Her shining head unto the yoke to bow? 175
had been, And if the maiden were an earthly queen, “Listen, my son, and love some other Or rather what much more she seemed to maid,
146 For she the saffron gown will never wear, No sharer in the world's mortality. And on no flower-strewn couch shall she
be laid, “Stranger,” said he, “I pray she soon Nor shall her voice make glad a lover's ear; may die
Yet if of Death thou hast not any fear, 180 Whose lovely youth has slain so many an Yea, rather, if thou lovest him utterly, one!
Thou still may'st woo her ere thou com'st King Schøneus' daughter is she verily, 150 to die, Who when her eyes first looked upon the sun
“Like him that on this day thou sawest Was fain to end her life but new begun, lie dead; For he had vowed to leave but men alone For, fearing as I deem the sea-born one, Sprung from his loins when he from earth | The maid has vowed e'en such a man to was gone.
| As in the course her swift feet can out“Therefore he bade one leave her in the run, wood,
155 | But whoso fails herein, his days are done: And let wild things deal with her as they He came the nighest that was slain to-day, might;
Although with him I deem she did but But this being done, some cruel god play.
thought good To save her beauty in the world's despite: “Behold, such mercy Atalanta gives 190 Folk say that her, so delicate and white | To those that long to win her loveliness; As now she is, a rough root-grubbing Be wise! be sure that many a maid there bear
lives Amidst her shapeless cubs at first did rear. Gentler than she, of beauty little less,
Whose swimming eyes thy loving words “In course of time the woodfolk slew her I shall bless, nurse,
When in some garden, knee set close to And to their rude abode the youngling knee, brought,
Thou sing'st the song that love may teach And reared her up to be a kingdom's curse, I to thee.” Who, grown a woman, of no kingdom thought,
165 So to the hunter spake that ancient man, But armed and swift, ʼmid beasts destruc And left him for his own home presently; tion wrought,
But he turned round, and through the Nor spared two shaggy centaur kings to moonlight wan slay,
Reached the thick wood, and there 'twixt To whom her body seemed an easy prey. tree and tree
Distraught he passed the long night fever“So to this city, led by fate, she came,
ishly, Whom, known by signs, whereof I cannot | 'Twixt sleep and waking, and at dawn tell,
170 arose King Schøneus for his child at last did To wage hot war against his speechless claim;
There to the hart's flank seemed his shaft | Among all mothers for its cruelty? 235 to grow,
Then know indeed that fate is good to As panting down the broad green glades he thee, flew,
205 Because to-morrow a new luckless one There by his horn the Dryads well might Against the white-foot maid is pledged to know
run.” His thrust against the bear's heart had been true,
So on the morrow with no curious eyes, And there Adonis' bane his javelin slew; As once he did, that piteous sight he saw, But still in vain through rough and smooth Nor did that wonder in his heart arise 241 he went,
As toward the goal the conquering maid For none the more his restlessness was 'gan draw, spent.
Nor did he gaze upon her eyes with awe,
Too full the pain of longing filled his heart So wandering, he to Argive cities came, For fear or wonder there to have a And in the lists with valiant men he stood, part.
245 And by great deeds he won him praise and fame,
But O, how long the night was ere it went! And heaps of wealth for little-valued blood; How long it was before the dawn begun But none of all these things, or life, seemed | Showed to the wakening birds the sun's good
intent Unto his heart, where still unsatisfied That not in darkness should the world be A ravenous longing warred with fear and done! pride.
And then, and then, how long before the sun
- 250 Therefore it happed when but a month had | Bade silently the toilers of the earth gone
Get forth to fruitless cares or empty mirth! Since he had left King Schøneus' city old, In hunting-gear again, again alone 220 And long it seemed that in the marketThe forest-bordered meads did he behold, place Where still mid thoughts of August's quiv He stood and saw the chaffering folk go ering gold
by, Folk hoed the wheat, and clipped the vine | Ere from the ivory throne King Schøneus' in trust
255 Of faint October's purple-foaming must. Looked down upon the murmur royally;
But then came trembling that the time And once again he passed the peaceful was nigh
225 When he midst pitying looks his love must While to his beating heart his lips did lie, claim, That, owning not victorious love and fate, And jeering voices must salute his name. Said, half aloud, “And here too must Í try
But as the throng he pierced to gain the To win of alien men the mastery,
260 And gather for my head fresh meed of His alien face distraught and anxious fame,
230 told And cast new glory on my father's name.” What hopeless errand he was bound upon,
And, each to each, folk whispered to beIn spite of that, how beat his heart when hold first
His godlike limbs; nay, and one woman Folk said to him, “And art thou come to old, see
As he went by, must pluck him by the That which still makes our city's name ac sleeve
And pray him yet that wretched love to i new, unfermented wine.