And who could wake with masterhand
Such music from the harp,
To broadlimbed Pallas tuning
And Artemis her lay—
As Helen, Helen in whose eyes
The Loves for ever play?
“O bright, O beautiful,
Are matron-cares begun.
We to green paths and blossomed meads
With dawn of morn must run,
And cull a breathing chaplet;
And still our dream shall be,
Helen, of thee, as weanling lambs
Yearn in the pasture for the dams
That nursed their infancy.
“For thee the lowly
We’ll spoil, and plait a crown
To hang upon the shadowy plane;
For thee will we drop down
(’Neath that same shadowy platan)
Oil from our silver urn;
And carven on the bark shall be
This sentence, ‘HALLOW HELEN’S TREE’;
In Dorian letters, legibly
For all men to discern.
“Now farewell, bride,
Blest in thy new-found sire!
May Leto, mother of the brave,
Bring babes at your desire,
And holy Cypris either’s breast
With mutual transport fire:
And Zeus the son of Cronos
Grant blessings without end,
From princely sire to princely son
For ever to descend.
“Sleep on, and love
Breathe in each other’s breast;
But fail not when the morn returns
To rouse you from your rest:
With dawn shall we be stirring,
When, lifting high his fair
And feathered neck, the earliest bird
To clarion to the dawn is heard.
O god of brides and bridals,
Sing ‘Happy, happy pair!’”
Love Stealing Honey.
Once thievish Love the honeyed
hives would rob,
When a bee stung him: soon he felt a throb
Through all his finger-tips, and, wild with pain,
Blew on his hands and stamped and jumped in vain.
To Aphrodite then he told his woe:
‘How can a thing so tiny hurt one so?’
She smiled and said; ’Why thou’rt a tiny thing,
As is the bee; yet sorely thou canst sting.’
Town and Country
Once I would kiss Eunice.
“Back,” quoth she,
And screamed and stormed; “a sorry clown kiss me?
Your country compliments, I like not such;
No lips but gentles’ would I deign to touch.
Ne’er dream of kissing me: alike I shun
Your face, your language, and your tigerish fun.
How winning are your tones, how fine your air!
Your beard how silken and how sweet your hair!
Pah! you’ve a sick man’s lips, a blackamoor’s hand:
Your breath’s defilement. Leave me, I command.”