What news spreads among the island people
In the market-place of Mitylene,
Lending that unwonted stir of gladness
To the busy streets and thronging doorways?
Is it word from Ninus or Arbela,
Babylon the great, or Northern Imbros? 10
Have the laden galleons been sighted
Stoutly labouring up the sea from Tyre?
Nay, ’tis older news that foreign sailor
With the cheek of sea-tan stops to prattle
To the young fig-seller with her basket 15
And the breasts that bud beneath her tunic,
And I hear it in the rustling tree-tops.
All this passionate bright tender body
Quivers like a leaf the wind has shaken,
Now love wanders through the aisles of springtime. 20
I am more tremulous than shaken reeds,
And love has made me like the river water.
Thy voice is as the hill-wind over me,
And all my changing heart gives heed, my lover.
Before thy least lost murmur I must sigh,
Or gladden with thee as the sun-path glitters.
Over the wheat-field,
Over the hill-crest,
Swoops and is gone
The beat of a wild wing,
Brushing the pine-tops, 5
Bending the poppies,
With golden summer.
O purple swallow, 10
Told thee the happy
Hour of migration?
Hark! On the threshold
(Hush, flurried heart in me!),
Was there a footfall? 15
Did no one enter?
Soon will a shepherd
In rugged Dacia,
Folding his gentle
Ewes in the twilight, 20
Lifting a level
Gaze from the sheepfold,
Say to his fellows,
“Lo, it is springtime.”
This very hour
Will not a young girl
Say to her lover,
Lifting her moon-white
Arms to enlace him, 30
Ere the glad sigh comes,
“Lo, it is lovetime!”
Once more the rain on the mountain,
Once more the wind in the valley,
With the soft odours of springtime
And the long breath of remembrance,
O Lityerses! 5
Warm is the sun in the city.
On the street corners with laughter
Traffic the flower-girls. Beauty
Blossoms once more for thy pleasure
In many places. 10