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EARLY YEARS OF THE REIGN

(TRANSITION PERIOD)

CLOSE OF SOUTHEY'S LAUREATESHIP: 1837-43
LAUREATESHIP OF WORDSWORTH: 1843-50

Accession of Victoria R., June 20, 1837

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EARLY YEARS OF THE REIGN

(TRANSITION PERIOD)

DISTINCTIVE POETS AND DRAMATISTS

Walter Savage Landor

OVERTURE

FROM "THRASYMEDES AND EUNOË"

WHO will away to Athens with me? who Loves choral songs and maidens crown'd with flowers,

Unenvious? mount the pinnace; hoist the sail.

I promise ye, as many as are here,
Ye shall not, while ye tarry with me, taste
From unrins'd barrel the diluted wine
Of a low vineyard or a plant ill prun'd,
But such as anciently the Egean isles
Pour'd in libation at their solemn feasts:
And the same goblets shall ye grasp,
emboss'd

With no vile figures of loose languid boors, But such as gods have liv'd with and have led.

THE HAMADRYAD

RHAICOS was born amid the hills wherefrom

Guidos the light of Caria is discern'd, And small are the white-crested that play near,

And smaller onward are the purple waves. Thence festal choirs were visible, all crown'd With rose and myrtle if they were inborn; If from Pandion sprang they, on the coast Where stern Athenè rais'd her citadel,

Then olive was entwin'd with violets
Cluster'd in bosses, regular and large;
For various men wore various coronals,
But one was their devotion; 't was to her
Whose laws all follow, her whose smile
withdraws

The sword from Ares, thunderbolt from Zeus,

And whom in his chill caves the mutable
Of mind, Poseidon, the sea-king, reveres,
And whom his brother, stubborn Dis, hath
pray'd

To turn in pity the averted cheek
Of her he bore away, with promises,
Nay, with loud oath before dread Styx it-
self,

To give her daily more and sweeter flowers
Than he made drop from her on Enna's dell.
Rhaicos was looking from his father's
door

At the long trains that hasten'd to the town From all the valleys, like bright rivulets Gurgling with gladness, wave outrunning

wave,

And thought it hard he might not also go And offer up one prayer, and press one hand,

He knew not whose. The father call'd him in

And said, "Son Rhaicos! those are idle games;

Long enough I have liv'd to find them so." And ere he ended, sigh'd; as old men do Always, to think how idle such games are.

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That sad old man!" said she. The old man went

Without a warning from his master's son, Glad to escape, for sorely he now fear'd, And the axe shone behind him in their eyes. Hamad. And wouldst thou too shed the most innocent

Of blood? No vow demands it; no god wills

The oak to bleed.

Rhaicos. Who art thou? whence? why here?

And whither wouldst thou go? Among the rob'd

In white or saffron, or the hue that most
Resembles dawn or the clear sky, is none
Array'd as thou art. What so beautiful
As that gray robe which clings about thee
close,

Like moss to stones adhering, leaves to trees,

Yet lets thy bosom rise and fall in turn,
As, touch'd by zephyrs, fall and rise the
boughs

Of graceful platan by the river-side ?
Hamad. Lovest thou well thy father's
house?
Rhaicos.

Indeed

I love it, well I love it, yet would leave
For thine, where'er it be, my father's house,
With all the marks upon the door, that show
My growth at every birthday since the third,
And all the charms, o'erpowering evil eyes,
My mother nail'd for me against my bed,
And the Cydonian bow (which thou shalt
see)

Won in my race last spring from Eutychos. Hamad. Bethink thee what it is to leave a home

Thou never yet hast left, one night, one day. Rhaicos. No, 't is not hard to leave it: 't is not hard

To leave, O maiden, that paternal home
If there be one on earth whom we may love
First, last, for ever; one who says that she
Will love for ever too. To say which word,
Only to say it, surely is enough.
It shows such kindness—if 't were possible
We at the moment think she would indeed.
Hamad. Who taught thee all this folly at
thy age?

Rhaicos. I have seen lovers and have
learn'd to love.

Hamad. But wilt thou spare the tree?
Rhaicos.
My father wants

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Are very soft; I will not come too nigh;
Do but sit there, nor tremble so, nor doubt.
Stay, stay an instant : let me first explore
If any acorn of last year be left
Within it; thy thin robe too ill protects
Thy dainty limbs against the harm one small
Acern may do. Here 's none. Another day
Trust me; till then let me sit opposite.

Hamad. I seat me; be thou seated, and content.

Rhaicos. O sight for gods! ye men below! adore

The Aphroditè! Is she there below?
Or sits she here before me? as she sate
Before the shepherd on those heights that
shade

The Hellespont, and brought his kindred

woe.

Hamad. Reverence the higher Powers; nor deem amiss

Of her who pleads to thee, and would re

pay

Ask not how much - but very much. Rise

not:

No, Rhaicos, no! Without the nuptial vow
Love is unholy. Swear to me that none
Of mortal maids shall ever taste thy kiss,
Then take thou mine; then take it, not
before.

Rhaicos. Hearken, all gods above! O Aphrodité ! 0 Here! Let my vow be ratified! But wilt thou come into my father's house?

Hamad. Nay: and of mine I cannot give thee part.

Rhaicos. Where is it?

Hamad.

In this oak.

Rhaicos. Ay; now begins The tale of Hamadryad: tell it through. Hamad. Pray of thy father never to cut down

My tree; and promise him, as well thou mayst,

That every year he shall receive from me More honey than will buy him nine fat sheep, More wax than he will burn to all the gods. Why fallest thou upon thy face? Some thorn

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