Puslapio vaizdai

Which took her, and a sweep of wings unseen,

And terrible sounds, which swooped on her and hushed
Her voice, and seemed to occupy her soul
With horror and despair; and as she passed
I marked her agonized eyes.




A youth who pensive leaned against the trunk

Of a dark cypress, and an idle flute

Hung at his side. A sorrowful sad soul,

Such as sometimes he knows, who meets the gaze,
Mute, uncomplaining yet most pitiful,

Of one whom nature, by some secret spite,
Has maimed and left imperfect; or the pain
Which fills a poet's eyes. Beneath his robe
I seemed to see the scar of cruel stripes,
Too hastily concealed. Yet was he not
Wholly unhappy, but from out the core
Of suffering flowed a secret spring of joy,

Which mocked the droughts of Fate, and left him glad
And glorying in his sorrow. As I gazed

He raised his silent flute, and, half ashamed,

Blew a soft note; and as I stayed awhile

I heard him thus discourse

'The flute is sweet

To gods and men, but sweeter far the lyre
And voice of a true singer. Shall I fear
To tell of that great trial, when I strove

And Phoebus conquered? Nay, no shame it is
To bow to an immortal melody;

But glory.

Once among the Phrygian hills;

I lay a-musing, — while the silly sheep

Wandered among the thyme

upon the bank
Of a clear mountain stream, beneath the pines,
Safe hidden from the noon. A dreamy haze
Played on the uplands, but the hills were clear
In sunlight, and no cloud was on the sky.
It was the time when a deep silence comes
Upon the summer earth, and all the birds
Have ceased from singing, and the world is still
As midnight, and if any live thing move —
Some fur-clad creature, or cool gliding snake –
Within the pipy overgrowth of weeds,

The ear can catch the rustle, and the trees
And earth and air are listening. As I lay,
Faintly, as in a dream, I seemed to hear
A tender music, like the Æolian chords,
Sound low within the woodland, whence the stream,
Flowed full, yet silent. Long, with ear to ground,
I hearkened; and the sweet strain, fuller grown,
Rounder and clearer came, and danced along
In mirthful measure now, and now grown grave
In dying falls, and sweeter and more clear,
Tripping at nuptials and high revelry,
Wailing at burials, rapt in soaring thoughts,
Chanting strange sea-tales full of mystery,
Touching all chords of being, and life and death,
Now rose, now sank, and always was divine,
So strange the music came.

Till, as I lay

Enraptured, swift a sudden discord rang,

And all the sound grew still. A sudden flash,

As from a sunlit jewel, fired the wood.

A noise of water smitten, and on the hills

A fair white fleece of cloud, which swiftly climbed
Into the farthest heaven. Then, as I mused,
Knowing a parting goddess, straight I saw
A sudden splendor float upon the stream,

And knew it for this jewelled flute, which paused
Before me on an eddy. It I snatched

Eager, and to my ardent lips I bore

The wonder, and behold, with the first breath
The first warm human breath, the silent strains,
The half-drowned notes which late the goddess blew,
Revived, and sounded clearer, sweeter far
Than mortal skill could make. So with delight
I left my flocks to wander o'er the wastes
Untended, and the wolves and eagles seized
The tender lambs, but I was for my art

Nought else; and though the high-pitched notes divine
Grew faint, yet something lingered, and at last

So sweet a note I sounded of my skill,

That all the Phrygian highlands, all the white
Hill villages, were fain to hear the strain,

Which the mad shepherd made.

So, overbold,

And rapt in my new art, at last I dared
To challenge Phoebus' self.

'T was a fair day
When sudden, on the mountain side, I saw
A train of fleecy clouds in a white band
Descending. Down the gleaming pinnacles
And difficult crags they floated, and the arch,
Drawn with its thousand rays against the sun,
Hung like a glory o'er them. Midst the pines
They clothed themselves with form, and straight I knew
The immortals. Young Apollo, with his lyre,
Kissed by the sun, and all the Muses clad
In robes of gleaming white; then a great fear,
Yet mixed with joy, assailed me, for I knew
Myself a mortal equalled with the gods.

Ah me! how fair they were! how fair and dread In face and form, they showed, when now they came

Upon the thymy slope, and the young god

Lay with his choir around him, beautiful

And bold as Youth and Dawn! There was no cloud Upon the sky, nor any sound at all

When I began my strain. No coward fear

Of what might come restrained me; but an awe
Of those immortal eyes and ears divine

Looking and listening. All the earth seemed full
Of ears for me alone

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the woods, the fields,

The hills, the skies were listening.

Scarce a sound

My flute might make; such subtle harmonies
The silence seemed to weave round me and flout
The half unuttered thought. Till last I blew,
As now, a hesitating note, and lo!

The breath divine, lingering on mortal lips,
Hurried my soul along to such fair rhymes,
Sweeter than wont, that swift I knew my life
Rise up within me, and expand, and all
The human, which so nearly is divine,

Was glorified, and on the Muses' lips,
And in their lovely eyes, I saw a fair
Approval, and my soul in me was glad.

For all the strains I blew were strains of love —

Love striving, love triumphant, love that lies
Within beloved arms, and wreathes his locks

With flowers, and lets the world go by and sings
Unheeding; and I saw a kindly gleam

Within the Muses' eyes, who were indeed,
Women, though god-like.

But upon the face

Of the young Sun-god only haughty scorn
Sate, and he swiftly struck his golden lyre,
And played the Song of Life; and lo, I knew
My strain, how earthy! Oh, to hear the young
Apollo playing! and the hidden cells

And chambers of the universe displayed
Before the charmèd sound! I seemed to float
In some enchanted cave, where the wave dips
In from the sunlit sea, and floods its depths
With reflex hues of heaven. My soul was rapt
By that I heard, and dared to wish no more
For victory; and yet because the sound

Of music that is born of human breath
Comes straighter from the soul than any strain
The hand alone can make; therefore I knew,
With a mixed thrill of pity and delight,
The nine immortal Sisters hardly touched
By this fine strain of music, as by mine,
And when the high lay trembled to its close,
Still doubting.

Then upon the Sun-god's face
There passed a cold proud smile. He swept his lyre
Once more, then laid it down, and with clear voice,
The voice of godhead, sang. Oh, ecstasy,
Oh happiness of him who once has heard
Apollo singing! For his ears the sound
Of grosser music dies, and all the earth
Is full of subtle undertones, which change
The listener and transform him. As he sang-
Of what I know not, but the music touched
Each chord of being — I felt my secret life
Stand open to it, as the parched earth yawns
To drink the summer rain; and at the call
Of those refreshing waters, all my thought
Stir from its dark and secret depths, and burst
Into sweet, odorous flowers, and from their wells
Deep call to deep, and all the mystery

Of all that is, laid open.

As he sang,

I saw the Nine, with lovely pitying eyes,

Sign "He has conquered." Yet I felt no pang
Of fear, only deep joy that I had heard

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