Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

212

WINE OF CYPRUS.

I am sad-voiced as the turtle

Which Anacreon used to feed;
Yet as that same bird demurely

Wet her beak in cup of his,-
So, without a garland surely
I

may touch the brim of this.

Go !-let others praise the Chian!

This is soft as Muses' string-
This is tawny as Rhea's lion,

This is rapid as its spring -
Bright as Paphia's eyes e'er met us,

Light as ever trod her feet!
And the brown bees of Hymettus

Made their honey not so sweet.

Very copious are my praises,

Though I sip it like a fly!-
Ah-but, sipping-times and places

Change before me suddenly;
As Ulysses' old libation

Drew the ghosts from every part,
So your Cyprus wine, dear Grecian,

Stirs the Hades of my heart.

And I think of those long mornings

Which my thought goes far to seek, When, betwixt the folio's turnings,

Solemn flowed the rhythmic Greek. Past the pane, the mountain spreading,

Swept the sheep-bell's tinkling noise, While a girlish voice was reading

Somewhat low for ai's and oi's.

Then what golden hours were for us !

While we sate together there,
How the white vests of the chorus

Seemed to wave up a live air !

WINE OF CYPRUS.

213

How the cothurns trod majestic

Down the deep iambic lines; And the rolling anapæstic

Curled like vapour over shrines !

Oh, our Æschylus, the thunderous !

How he drove the bolted breath Through the cloud, to wedge it ponderous

In the gnarled oak beneath. Oh, our Sophocles, the royal,

Who was born to monarch's place And who made the whole world loyal,

Less by kingly power than grace.

Our Euripides, the human

With his droppings of warm tears; And his touches of things common,

Till they rose to touch the spheres ! Our Theocritus, our Bion,

And our Pindar's shining goals !These were cup-bearers undying

Of the wine that's meant for souls.

And my Plato, the divine one,

If men know the gods aright
By their motions, as they shine on

With a glorious trail of light !-
And your noble Christian bishops,

Who mouthed grandly the last Greek; Though the sponges on their hyssops

Were distent with wine-too weak.

Yet, your Chrysostom, you praised him,

With his liberal mouth of gold; And your Basil, you upraised him

To the height of speakers old : And we both praised Heliodorus

For his secret of pure lies ;

214

WINE OF CYPRUS.

Who forged first his linked stories

In the heat of ladies' eyes.
Do you mind that deed of Até

Which you bound me to so fast,
Reading “De Virginitate,”

From the first line to the last ?
How I said at ending, solemn,

As I turned and looked at you,
That St. Simeon on the column

Had had somewhat less to do?

For we sometimes gently wrangled;

Very gently, be it said,
Since our thoughts were disentangled

By no breaking of the thread!
And I charged you with extortions

On the nobler fames of old-
Ay, and sometimes thought your Porsons

Stained the purple they would fold.

For the rest-a mystic moaning

Kept Cassandra at the gate,
With wild eyes the vision shone in-

And wild nostrils scenting fate.
And Prometheus, bound in passion

By brute force to the blind stone,
Showed us looks of invocation

Turned to ocean and the sun.

And Medea we saw burning

At her nature's planted stake;
And proud (Edipus fate-scorning

While the cloud came on to break-
While the cloud came on slow-slower,

Till he stood discrowned, resigned !
But the reader's voice dropped lower

When the poet called him BLIND !

DEATH OF MARMION.

215

Ah, my gossip! you were older,

And more learned, and a man !Yet that shadow-the enfolder

Of your quiet eyelidsran Both our spirits to one level,

And I turned from hill and lea,
And the summer-sun's green revel,

To your eyes that could not see.
Now Christ bless you with the one light

Which goes shining night and day!
May the flowers which grow in sunlight

Shed their fragrance in your way! Is it not right to remember

All your kindness, friend of mine, When we two sate in the chamber

And the poets poured us wine ?
So, to come back to the drinking

Of this Cyprus,-it is well-
But those memories, to my thinking,

Make a better ænomel;
And whoever be the speaker,

None can murmur with a sigh, That, in drinking from that beaker, I am sipping like a fly.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

DEATH OF MARMION.
CLARE drew her from the sight away,
Till pain wrung forth a lowly moan,
And half he murmured—“Is there none,

Of all my halls have nurst,
Page, squire, or groom, one cup to bring
Of blessed water from the spring,

To slake my dying thirst ?

216

DEATH OF MARMIQN.

Oh, woman! in our hours of ease,
Uncertain, coy, and hard to please,
And variable as the shade
By the light quivering aspen made;
When pain and anguish wring the brow,
A ministering angel thou !-
Scarce were the piteous accents said,
When, with the baron's casque, the maid

To the nigh streamlet ran :
Forgot were hatred, wrongs, and fears;
The plaintive voice alone she hears,

Sees but the dying man.
She stooped her by the runnel's side,

But in abhorrence backward drew;
For, oozing from the mountain wide,
Where raged the war, a dark red tide

Was curdling in the streamlet blue.
Where shall she turn ?-behold her mark

A little fountain-cell,
Where water, clear as diamond spark,

In a stone basin fell.
Above, some half-worn letters say,
“Drink. weary. pilgrim. drink, and pray.
For. the. kind. soul. of. Sybil. Grey.

WWho. built. this. cross. and well.”
She filled the helm, and back she hied,
And with surprise and joy espied

A Monk supporting Marmion's head;
A pious man, whom duty brought
To dubious verge of battle fought,

To shrieve the dying, bless the dead.

THE SAME CONTINUED.

With fruitless labour, Clara bound,
And strove to stanch, the gushing wound:

« AnteriorContinuar »