Poem: The Mares Of The Camargue
[From the Mireio of Mistral]
A hundred mares, all white! their manes
Like mace-reed of the marshy plains
Thick-tufted, wavy, free o’ the shears:
And when the fiery squadron rears
Bursting at speed, each mane appears
Even as the white scarf of a fay
Floating upon their necks along the heavens away.
O race of humankind, take shame!
For never yet a hand could tame,
Nor bitter spur that rips the flanks subdue
The mares of the Camargue. I have known,
By treason snared, some captives shown;
Expatriate from their native Rhone,
Led off, their saline pastures far from view:
And on a day, with prompt rebound,
They have flung their riders to the ground,
And at a single gallop, scouring free,
Wide-nostril’d to the wind, twice ten
Of long marsh-leagues devour’d, and then,
Back to the Vacares again,
After ten years of slavery just to breathe salt sea
For of this savage race unbent,
The ocean is the element.
Of old escaped from Neptune’s car, full sure,
Still with the white foam fleck’d are they,
And when the sea puffs black from grey,
And ships part cables, loudly neigh
The stallions of Camargue, all joyful in the roar;
And keen as a whip they lash and crack
Their tails that drag the dust, and back
Scratch up the earth, and feel, entering their flesh, where he,
The God, drives deep his trident teeth,
Who in one horror, above, beneath,
Bids storm and watery deluge seethe,
And shatters to their depths the abysses of the sea.
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