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But "the men's minds remained," and these for ever
Made hungry suppliance through the fire-red eyes;
Still searching aye, with impotent endeavour,
To find, if yet, in any look, there lies
A saving hope, or if they might surprise
In that cold face soft pity's spark concealed,
Which she, still scorning, evermore denies ;
Nor was there in her any ruth revealed
To whom with such mute speech and dumb words they appealed.
What hope is ours-what hope! To find no mercy
After much war, and many travails done?—-
Ah, kinder far than thy fell philtres, Circe,
The ravening Cyclops and the Læstrigon!
And O, thrice cursèd be Laertes' son,
By whom, at last, we watch the days decline
With no fair ending of the quest begun,
Condemned in styes to weary and to pine
And with men's hearts to beat through this foul front of
For us not now,-for us, alas! no more
The old green glamour of the glancing sea;
For us not now the laughter of the oar,—
The strong-ribbed keel wherein our comrades be;
Not now, at even, any more shall we,
By low-browed banks and reedy river places,
Watch the beast hurry and the wild fowl flee;
Or steering shoreward, in the upland spaces
Have sight of curling smoke and fair-skinned foreign faces.
Alas for us!-for whom the columned houses
We left afore-time, cheerless must abide ;
Cheerless the hearth where now no guest carouses,—
No minstrel raises song at eventide ;
And O, more cheerless than aught else beside,
The wistful hearts with heavy longing full ;—
The wife that watched us on the waning tide,—
The sire whose eyes with weariness are dull,—
The mother whose slow tears fall on the carded wool.
If swine we be,-if we indeed be swine,
Daughter of Persé, make us swine indeed,
Well-pleased on litter-straw to lie supine,—
Well-pleased on mast and acorn-shales to feed,
Stirred by all instincts of the bestial breed;
But O Unmerciful! O Pitiless!
Leave us not thus with sick men's hearts to bleed!-
To waste long days in yearning, dumb distress
And memory of things gone, and utter hopelessness!
Leave us at least, if not the things we were,
At least consentient to the thing we be;
Not hapless doomed to loathe the forms we bear,
And senseful roll in senseless savagery;
For surely cursed above all cursed are we,
And surely this the bitterest of ill;-
To feel the old aspirings fair and free,
Become blind motions of a powerless will
Through swine-like frames dispersed to swine-like issues still.
But make us men again, for that thou may'st!
Yea, make us men, Enchantress, and restore
These grovelling shapes, degraded and debased,
To fair embodiments of men once more;
Yea, by all men that ever woman bore ;—
Yea, e'en by him hereafter born in pain,
Shall draw sustainment from thy bosom's core,
O'er whom thy face yet kindly shall remain,
And find its like therein,make thou us men again!
Make thou us men again,—if men but groping
That dark Hereafter which th' Olympians keep;
Make thou us men again,-if men but hoping
Behind death's doors security of sleep ;—
For yet to laugh is somewhat, and to weep ;-
To feel delight of living, and to plough
The salt-blown acres of the shoreless deep ;-
Better,-yea better far all these than bow
Foul faces to foul earth and yearn—as we do now!
So they in speech unsyllabled. But She, 'The fair-tressed Goddess, born to be their bane, Uplifting straight her wand of ivory, Compelled them groaning to the styes again; Where they in hopeless bitterness were fain To rend the oaken woodwork as before, And tear the troughs in impotence of pain,Not knowing, they, that even at the door Divine Odysseus stood,— -as Hermes told of yore.
(The Power of Love.)
FIRST, in an Agate-stone, a Centaur strong,
With square man-breasts and hide of dapple dun, His brown arms bound behind him with a thong, On strained croup strove to free himself from one,— A bolder rider than Bellerophon.
For, on his back, by some strange power of art,
There sat a laughing Boy with bow and dart,
Who drove him where he would, and driving him,
With that barbed toy would make him rear and start.
To this was writ "World-victor" on the rim.
(The Thefts of Mercury.)
THE next in legend bade “Beware of show !”
'Twas graven this on pale Chalcedony.
Here great Apollo, with unbended bow,
His quiver hard by on a laurel tree,
For some new theft were rating Mercury.
Who stood with downcast eyes, and feigned distress,