On the youth gazed the monarch, and marvel’d;
“Bold Diver, the goblet I promised is thine,
And this ring will I give, a fresh guerdon to thee,
Never jewels more precious shone up from the mine,
If thou’lt bring me fresh tidings, and venture again
To tell what lies hid in the innermost main?”
Then outspake the daughter in tender emotion
“Ah! father, my father, what more can there rest?
Enough of this sport with the pitiless ocean—
He has served thee as none would, thyself has confest.
If nothing can slake thy wild thirst of desire,
Let thy knights put to shame the exploit of the squire!”
The king seized the goblet—he
swung it on high,
And whirling, it fell in the roar of the tide:
“But bring back that goblet again to my eye,
And I’ll hold thee the dearest that rides by my side;
And thine arms shall embrace, as thy bride, I decree,
The maiden whose pity now pleadeth for thee.”
In his heart, as he listen’d, there
leapt the wild joy—
And the hope and the love through his eyes spoke in fire,
On that bloom, on that blush, gazed delighted the boy;
The maiden-she faints at the feet of her sire!
Here the guerdon divine, there the danger beneath;
He resolves! To the strife with the life and the death!
They hear the loud surges sweep back in
Their coming the thunder-sound heralds along!
Fond eyes yet are tracking the spot where he fell:
They come, the wild waters, in tumult and throng,
Roaring up to the cliff—roaring back, as before,
But no wave ever brings the lost youth to the shore.
* * * *
THE CRANES OF IBYCUS (1797)
From Rhegium to the Isthmus, long
Hallow’d to steeds and glorious song,
Where, link’d awhile in holy peace,
Meet all the sons of martial Greece—
Wends Ibycus-whose lips the sweet
And ever-young Apollo fires;
The staff supports the wanderer’s feet—
The God the Poet’s soul inspires!
Soon from the mountain-ridges high,
The tower-crown’d Corinth greets his eye;
In Neptune’s groves of darksome pine,
He treads with shuddering awe divine;
Nought lives around him, save a swarm
Of CRANES, that still pursued his way.
Lured by the South, they wheel and form
In ominous groups their wild array.
And “Hail! beloved Birds!”
“My comrades on the ocean tide,
Sure signs of good ye bode to me;
Our lots alike would seem to be;
From far, together borne, we greet
A shelter now from toil and danger;
And may the friendly hearts we meet
Preserve from every ill—the Stranger!”