Pontus De Tyard, 1570
The Sirens once were maidens innocent
That through the water-meads with Proserpine
Plucked no fire-hearted flowers, but were content
Cool fritillaries and flag-flowers to twine,
With lilies woven and with wet woodbine;
Till once they sought the bright AEtnaean flowers,
And their glad mistress fled from summer hours
With Hades, far from olive, corn, and vine.
And they have sought her all the wide world through
Till many years, and wisdom, and much wrong
Have filled and changed their song, and o’er the blue
Rings deadly sweet the magic of the song,
And whoso hears must listen till he die
Far on the flowery shores of Sicily.
So is it with this singing art of ours,
That once with maids went maidenlike, and played
With woven dances in the poplar-shade,
And all her song was but of lady’s bowers
And the returning swallows, and spring flowers,
Till forth to seek a shadow-queen she strayed,
A shadowy land; and now hath overweighed
Her singing chaplet with the snow and showers.
Yes, fair well-water for the bitter brine
She left, and by the margin of life’s sea
Sings, and her song is full of the sea’s moan,
And wild with dread, and love of Proserpine;
And whoso once has listened to her, he
His whole life long is slave to her alone.
HYMN TO THE WINDS.
Du Bellay, 1550.
To you, troop so fleet,
That with winged wandering feet,
Through the wide world pass,
And with soft murmuring
Toss the green shades of spring
In woods and grass,
Lily and violet
I give, and blossoms wet,
Roses and dew;
This branch of blushing roses,
Whose fresh bud uncloses,
Ah, winnow with sweet breath,
Winnow the holt and heath,
Round this retreat;
Where all the golden mom
We fan the gold o’ the corn,
In the sun’s heat.
The high Midnight was garlanding her head
With many a shining star in shining skies,
And, of her grace, a slumber on mine eyes,
And, after sorrow, quietness was shed.
Far in dim fields cicalas jargoned
A thin shrill clamour of complaints and cries;
And all the woods were pallid, in strange wise,
With pallor of the sad moon overspread.
Then came my lady to that lonely place,
And, from her palfrey stooping, did embrace
And hang upon my neck, and kissed me over;
Wherefore the day is far less dear than night,
And sweeter is the shadow than the light,
Since night has made me such a happy lover.