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He thought of that high feast at which he swore
Whereon, loud thunder-peals were heard without
And how he sent the queen his lover's-prayer,
How days passed by, till on an eve were seen
White wings of ships upon the crested foam ; His heart foreboded that it was his queen
Coming to marriage, Samos, and her home.
That time had gone: fresh longing seized the king,
The skilful work of Samian Theodore's hand.
And lo! one morn came Theodore to the king,
And ere the morrow's sun had yet gone down,
To learn if sooth were said in distant lands,
And fortune grants his scarcely-framed desires.
And king Amasis long at Samos bode,
And saw the strange-bred herds, the pillared court In Juno's temple, and the fleet that rode
At anchor safely in the spacious port.
One happy night it came in triumph home,
At next eve's feast in honour of the fight,
Bards sang the Samian king in lofty strain, "What islands had he conquered by his might, What cities had he won beyond the main!”
And while they sang his glory and his fame
And how his works through boundless time should stand,
And while the royal company were glad,
And red wine foamed and jewelled beakers shone Amasis by his side sat pale and sad,
Then whispered leaning from his ivory throne:
"O King for fortune, in her wanton might
Sports a hard sport and whither she will go, Or on whose shoulders next her honours light, Or thine, or elsewhere, no man may foreknow.
With joy I see thee glorious and great
But safer is the chequered lot, my friend: Chequer thou thine, cr, if not, fear thy fate,
And what the envy of the gods may send.
AMict thyself, since fate amicts not thee,
Go, cast far out into the midmost deep, Where neither hand can reach nor eye can see
That thing thou prizest most and fain wouldst keep."
The king laughed loud at this faint-hearted mood,
And answered briefly with a scornful boast, But still, as night wore on began to brood
On envious Gods and what he valued most.
Then in the night arose the sleepless king,
And thought the thing most prized was, what he wore, The priceless emerald in the priceless ring;
So, with it strode down to the still sea shore.
The parent sea mews roused, with plaintive call
Shrilled out their long drawn notes, as if in pain, Faint lights and shadows drifted over all
The silent and immeasurable main.
He rowed out to the middle sea, which rolled
In heaving billows to the distant land, While, mid storm-clouds, the moon shone crowned with gold
Like some calm chief among his rebel band.
Far o'er the billowing deep he flung the ring
And felt great sorrow when he cast it forth; For when a man has lost a goodly thing,
His sorrow is the measure of its worth.
But home he went and all the sullen gloom
Was rolled from off his life, for he had stayed, He thought within himself, the o'ershadowing doom,
Since to the Gods he had an offering made.
Fond man !-A fisher on a fateful day
Netted a fish so beautiful and great, That none had seen its like in Samian bay,
And hastened with it to the palace gate.
He crossed the new made moat around the wall,
And passed the statues wrought by skilful hand, To where the king sat in his stately hall,
Then spake :“Sir king, dread ruler of the land,
I live by fishing, thou upon thy throne;
This fish I did not sell, but thought it right To give it to Polycrates alone,
As worthy of thy majesty and might.
· Well,"spake the Samian monarch“ hast thou said :
Sup thou with me to-night; thy gift and words Have pleased me well.” The fisher bowed his head,
And glad at heart went out among the lords.
But scarcely had he passed from out the gate,
When lo! the cook rushed in before the king Haling the fish, half-staggered by the weight,
And cried “my lord-see-see in this the ring."
Both kings stand mute, their hearts within them fail,
They see that none Fate's iron chain can break, That her decree no man can countervail :
But first, Amasis roused himself and spake.
Thou that canst change the irrevocable past,
Whom stern Fate helps, for whom the deep seas roll, Nay! let me hence! for long as time may last,
I cannot save thee or thy lot controul;
So king Amasis sailed without delay,
And with the morrow's sun was on the seas Ploughing the main, and many a league away From fate-bound Samos and Polycrates. *
In ending here I have followed Schiller.