« ПретходнаНастави »
Not less than her own works, pure gleams of light
A youth named Rhæcus, wandering in the wood
on. But, as he turned, he heard a voice behind That murmured ‘Rhæcus!' 'Twas as if the leares Stirred by a passing breath, had murmured it, And, while he paused bewildered, yet again It murmured •Řhæcus !' softer than a breeze. He started, and beheld with dizzy eyes What seemed the substance of a happy dream Stand there before him, spreading a warm glow Within the green glooms of the shadowy oak. It seemed a woman's shape, yet all too fair To be a woman, and with eyes too meek For any that were wont to mate with gods. All naked like a goddess stood she there, And like a goddess all too beautiful To feel the guilt-born earthliness of shame. ‘Rhecus, I am the Dryad of this tree,' Thus she began, dropping her low-toned words Serene, and full, and clear, as drops of dew, And with it I am doomed to live and die; The rain and sunshine are my caterers, Nor have I other bliss than simple life; Now ask me what thou wilt, that I can give, And with a thankful joy it shall be thine.'
Then Rhæcus, with a flutter at the heart, Yet, by the prompting of such beauty, bold, Answered: "What is there that can satisfy The endless craving of the soul but love? Give me thy love, or but the hope of that Which must be evermore my spirit's goal.' After a little pause she said again, But with a glimpse of sadness in her tone, * I give it, Rhæcus, though a perilous gift ; An hour before the sunset meet me here.' And straightway there was nothing he could see But the green glooms beneath the shadowy oak,
And not a sound came to his straining ears
Now, in those days of simpleness and faith,
Young Rhæcus had a faithful heart enough,
The dice were rattling at the merriest, And Rhæcus, who had met but sorry luck, Just laughed in triumph at a happy throw, When through the room there hummed a yellow bee That buzzed about his ear with down-dropped legs As if to light. And Rhæcus laughed and said, Feeling how red and flushed he was with loss, • By Venus ! does he take me for a rose ?' And brushed him off with rough, impatient hand. But still the bee came back, and thrice again Rhæcus did beat him off with growing wrath. Then through the window flew the wounded bee, And Rhæcus tracking him with angry, eyes, Saw a sharp mountain-peak of Thessaly Against the red disc of the setting sun,And instantly the blood sank from his heart, As if its very walls had caved away. Without a word he turned, and, rushing forth,
Ran madly through the city and the gate,
Quite spent and out of breath he reached the tree,
Then Rhæcus beat his breast, and groaned aloud, And cried, · Be pitiful! forgive me yet This opce, and I shall never need it more!' *Alas!' the voice returned, “'tis thou art blind, Not I unmerciful; I can forgive, But have no skill to heal thy spirit's eyes ; Only the soul hath power o'er itself.' With that again there murmured 'Nevermore!' And Rhæcus after heard no other sound, Except the rattling of the oak's crisp leaves, Like the long surf upon a distant shore, Raking the sea-worn pebbles up and down. The night had gathered round him: o'er the plain, The city sparkled with its thousand lights, And sounds of rerel fell upon his ear Harshly and like a curse; above, the sky, With all its bright sublimity of stars, Deepened, and on his forehead smote the breeze: Beauty was all around him and delight, But from that eve he was alone on earth.
I KNOW a falcon swift and peerless
As e'er was cradled in the pine ;
Or wing so strong as this of mine.
A cloud with molten gold o'errun,
A star above the coming sun.
By a glorious, upward instinct drawn;
Than he in the bursting rose of dawn.
Shudders to see him overhead;
To innocent hearts no thrill of dread.
For still between them and the sky
And marks them with his vengeful eye.
WHETHER the idle prisoner through his grate
Yet are there other gifts more fair than thine,
Cold as thou liest there,
That ever drew the air,
And yet so gently kind,
A breath of summer wind.
That girds our life around,
Wherewith Death's shore is bound,
And I were mean to weep,
And dost possess the Deep.
Thy heart is cold and still,
And Death hath had his will;
I loved and would have kept,
And I have never wept.
Thy soul is still with me,
Than it was wont to be: