Puslapio vaizdai

Yet long before the sun had showed his head, Long ere the varied hangings on the wall Had gained once more their blue and green and red, He rose as one some well-known sign doth call When war upon the city's gates doth fall, And scarce like one fresh risen out of sleep, He 'gan again his broken watch to keep.

Then he turned round; not for the sea-gull's cry That wheeled above the temple in his flight, Not for the fresh south wind that lovingly Breathed on the new-born day and dying night, By some strange hope 'twixt fear and great delight Drew round his face, now flushed, now pale and wan, And still constrained his eyes the sea to scan.

Now a faint light lit up the southern sky,
Not sun or moon, for all the world was grey,
But this a bright cloud seemed, that drew anigh,
Lighting the dull waves that beneath it lay
As toward the temple still it took its way,
And still grew greater, till Milanion

Saw nought for dazzling light that round him shone.

But as he staggered with his arms outspread,
Delicious unnamed odours breathed around,
For languid happiness he bowed his head,
And with wet eyes sank down upon the ground,
Nor wished for aught, or any dream he found
To give him reason for that happiness,
Or make him ask more knowledge of his bliss.

At last his eyes were cleared, and he could see
Through happy tears the goddess face to face
With that faint image of Divinity,

Whose well-wrought smile and dainty changeless grace
Until that morn so gladdened all the place;
Then he, unwitting cried aloud her name
And covered up his eyes for fear and shame.

But through the stillness he her voice could hear
Piercing his heart with joy scarce bearable,
That said, "Milanion, wherefore dost thou fear,
I am not hard to those who love me well;
List to what I a second time will tell,

And thou mayest hear perchance, and live to save
The cruel maiden from a loveless grave.

"See, by my feet three golden apples lie-
Such fruit among the heavy roses falls,
Such fruit my watchful damsels carefully
Store up within the best loved of my walls,
Ancient Damascus, where the lover calls
Above my unseen head, and faint and light
The rose-leaves flutter round me in the night.

"And note, that these are not alone most fair With heavenly gold, but longing strange they bring Unto the hearts of men, who will not care Beholding these, for any once-loved thing Till round the shining sides their fingers cling. And thou shalt see thy well-girt swift-foot maid By sight of these amidst her glory stayed.

"For bearing these within a scrip with thee, When first she heads thee from the starting-place Cast down the first one for her eyes to see, And when she turns aside make on apace, And if again she heads thee in the race Spare not the other two to cast aside If she not long enough behind will bide.

"Farewell, and when has come the happy time That she Diana's raiment must unbind

And all the world seems blessed with Saturn's clime
And thou with eager arms about her twined
Beholdest first her grey eyes growing kind,
Surely, O trembler, thou shalt scarcely then
Forget the Helper of unhappy men."

Milanion raised his head at this last word
For now so soft and kind she seemed to be
No longer of her Godhead was he feared;
Too late he looked, for nothing could he see
But the white image glimmering doubtfully
In the departing twilight cold and grey,
And those three apples on the steps that lay.

These then he caught up quivering with delight, Yet fearful lest it all might be a dream; And though aweary with the watchful night, And sleepless nignts of longing, still did deem He could not sleep; but yet the first sun-beam That smote the fane across the heaving deep Shone on him laid in calm untroubled sleep.

But little ere the noontide did he rise,
And why he felt so happy scarce could tell
Until the gleaming apples met his eyes.
Then leaving the fair place where this befell
Oft he looked back as one who loved it well,
Then homeward to the haunts of men 'gan wend
To bring all things unto a happy end.

Now has the lingering month at last gone by,
Again are all folk round the running place,
Nor other seems the dismal pageantry
Than heretofore, but that another face
Looks o'er the smooth course ready for the race,
For now,
beheld of all, Milanion

Stands on the spot he twice has looked upon.

But yet-what change is this that holds the maid? Does she indeed see in his glittering eye

More than disdain of the sharp shearing blade,
Some happy hope of help and victory?
The others seemed to say, "We come to die,
Look down upon us for a little while,
That dead, we may bethink us of thy smile."

But he-what look of mastery was this
He cast on her? Why were his lips so red?
Why was his face so flushed with happiness?
So looks not one who deems himself but dead,
E'en if to death he bows a willing head;
So rather looks a god well pleased to find
Some earthly damsel fashioned to his mind.

Why must she drop her lids before his gaze, And even as she casts adown her eyes Redden to note his eager glance of praise, And wish that she were clad in other guise? Why must the memory to her heart arise Of things unnoticed when they first were heard, Some lover's song, some answering maiden's word?

What makes these longings, vague, without a name, And this vain pity never felt before,

This sudden languor, this contempt of fame,
This tender sorrow for the time past o'er,
These doubts that grow each minute more and more?
Why does she tremble as the time grows near,
And weak defeat and woeful victory fear?

Now while she seemed to hear her beating heart, Above their heads the trumpet blast rang out And forth they sprang; and she must play her part. Then flew her white feet, knowing not a doubt, Though slackening once, she turned her head about, But then she cried aloud and faster fled Than e'er before, and all men deemed him dead.

But with no sound he raised aloft his hand,
And thence what seemed a ray of light there flew
And past the maid rolled on along the sand;
Then trembling she her feet together drew,
And in her heart a strong desire there grew
To have the toy; some god she thought had given
That gift to her, to make of earth a heaven.

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