And thou shalt hear, all startled,
A flute blown in the twilight, 10
With the soft pleading magic
The green wood heard of old.
Then, lamp in hand, thy beauty
In the rose-marble entry!
And unreluctant Hermes 15
Shall give me words to say.
When I behold the pharos shine
And lay a path along the sea,
How gladly I shall feel the spray,
Standing upon the swinging prow;
And question of my pilot old,
How many watery leagues to sail
Ere we shall round the harbour reef
And anchor off the wharves of home!
Is the day long,
O Lesbian maiden,
And the night endless
In thy lone chamber
In Mitylene? 5
All the bright day,
Until welcome evening
When the stars kindle
Over the harbour,
What tasks employ thee? 10
Passing the fountain
At golden sundown,
One of the home-going
Traffickers, hast thou
Thought of thy lover? 15
Nay, but how far
Too brief will the night be,
When I returning
To the dear portal
Hear my own heart beat! 20
Lo, on the distance a dark blue ravine,
A fold in the mountainous forests of fir,
Cleft from the sky-line sheer down to the shore!
Above are the clouds and the white, pealing gulls,
At its foot is the rough broken foam of the sea, 5
With ever anon the long deep muffled roar,—
A sigh from the fitful great heart of the world.
Then inland just where the small meadow begins,
Well bulwarked with boulders that jut in the tide,
Lies safe beyond storm-beat the harbour in sun. 10
See where the black fishing-boats, each at its buoy,
Ride up on the swell with their dare-danger prows,
To sight o’er the sea-rim what venture may come!
And look, where the narrow white streets of the town
Leap up from the blue water’s edge to the wood, 15
Scant room for man’s range between mountain and sea,
And the market where woodsmen from over the hill
May traffic, and sailors from far foreign ports
With treasure brought in from the ends of the earth.
And see the third house on the left, with that gleam
Of red burnished copper—the hinge of the door
Whereat I shall enter, expected so oft
(Let love be your sea-star!), to voyage no more.