BOON!" Hesperia cried, her hands Stretched to the Powers apportioning The heritage of all the lands.
"A fragrance for my crown of spring! Far fairer is the jeweling
My sisters wreathe in scorn of snows
Where hyacinth and violet bring
The royal promise of the rose.
"Slighter the blossoms are that seek
My colder sky at your behest.
Grant me one perfume rare, to speak
The dead years and the time unguessed!"
"Seek for your boon on April's breast,
Nor be faint-hearted," said the Powers.
"The dweller in the twilight West
Shall wear the morning star of flowers.'
Star-flower, indeed, her lowly bed
Deep in the last year's leafage dun;
Five finger-tips of dawn outspread
To herald the returning sun!
Such tints of pearl and rose in one
Of yore across Ægean seas
From isle to waking isle did run
O'er the empurpled Cyclades.
White clusters, shyly flushed with pride
And wonder of their April, start.
In their strong foliage they abide
Like pity in a fearless heart,
Breathing to all the airs that part
The half-fledged woodland swaying free
Sweetness to shame enchanter's art
In Broceliande or Arcady;
Sweetness that seems unplaced and wrong
In forests rude, that like to these
Root in no Druid past of song,
Nor Eleusinian mysteries,
Wherein no nymph a satyr flees,
No fay or goblin wing is furled-
Dear fables, quaint diableries,
The glamour of the elder world;
Sweetness that therefore speaks of naught
But of the lore each heart doth learn,
A breath of spring, a quickening thought,
Fires that from ashes wake and burn.
So Aprils unto Aprils yearn
Till, drooping down from less to less,
Life doth to dreams and fables turn, And fables to forgetfulness.
Copyright, 19, by THE CENTURY CO. All rights reserved.