Through flank and navel, sundering with swift stroke
His vitals: Lynceus tottered and he fell,
And o’er his eyelids rushed the dreamless sleep.
Nor did their mother see her elder son
Come a fair bridegroom to his Cretan home.
For Idas wrenched from off the dead man’s tomb
A jutting slab, to hurl it at the man
Who had slain his brother. Then did Zeus bring aid,
And struck the marble fabric from his grasp,
And with red lightning burned his frame to dust.
So doth he fight with odds who dares provoke
The Tyndarids, mighty sons of mighty sire.
Now farewell, Leda’s children: prosper aye
The songs I sing. What minstrel loves not well
The Tyndarids, and Helen, and the chiefs
That trod Troy down for Menelaeus’ sake?
The bard of Chios wrought your royal deeds
Into his lays, who sang of Priam’s state,
And fights ’neath Ilion’s walls; of sailor Greeks,
And of Achilles towering in the strife.
Yet take from me whate’er of clear sweet song
The Muse accords me, even all my store!
The gods’ most precious gift is minstrelsy.
A lad deep-dipt in passion
pined for one
Whose mood was froward as her face was fair.
Lovers she loathed, for tenderness she had none:
Ne’er knew what Love was like, nor how he bare
A bow, and arrows to make young maids smart:
Proof to all speech, all access, seemed her heart.
So he found naught his furnace
No quiver of lips, no lighting of kind eyes,
Nor rose-flushed cheek; no talk, no lover’s play
Was deigned him: but as forest-beasts are shy
Of hound and hunter, with this wight dealt she;
Fierce was her lip, her eyes gleamed ominously.
Her tyrant’s-heart was
imaged in her face,
That flushed, then altering put on blank disdain.
Yet, even then, her anger had its grace,
And made her lover fall in love again.
At last, unable to endure his flame,
To the fell threshold all in tears he came:
Kissed it, and lifted up his
voice and said:
“O heart of stone, O curst and cruel maid
Unworthy of all love, by lions bred,
See, my last offering at thy feet is laid,
The halter that shall hang me! So no more
For my sake, lady, need thy heart be sore.
Whither thou doom’st
me, thither must I fare.
There is a path, that whoso treads hath ease
(Men say) from love; Forgetfulness is there.
But if I drain that chalice to the lees,
I may not quench the love I have for you;
Now at your gates I cast my long adieu.