Hesperus, bringing together
All that the morning star scattered,—
Sheep to be folded in twilight,
Children for mothers to fondle,—
Me too will bring to the dearest,
Tenderest breast in all Lesbos.
In the grey olive-grove a small brown bird
Had built her nest and waited for the spring.
But who could tell the happy thought that came
To lodge beneath my scarlet tunic’s fold?
All day long now is the green earth renewed
With the bright sea-wind and the yellow blossoms.
From the cool shade I hear the silver plash
Of the blown fountain at the garden’s end.
In the apple boughs the coolness
Murmurs, and the grey leaves flicker
Where sleep wanders.
In this garden all the hot noon
I await thy fluttering footfall 5
Through the twilight.
Pale rose leaves have fallen
In the fountain water;
And soft reedy flute-notes
Pierce the sultry quiet.
But I wait and listen,
Till the trodden gravel
Tells me, all impatience,
It is Phaon’s footstep.
The courtyard of her house is wide
And cool and still when day departs.
Only the rustle of leaves is there
And running water.
And then her mouth, more delicate
Than the frail wood-anemone,
Brushes my cheek, and deeper grow
The purple shadows.
There is a medlar-tree
Growing in front of my lover’s house,
And there all day
The wind makes a pleasant sound.
And when the evening comes,
We sit there together in the dusk,
And watch the stars
Appear in the quiet blue.
I behold Arcturus going westward
Down the crowded slope of night-dark azure,
While the Scorpion with red Antares
Trails along the sea-line to the southward.
From the ilex grove there comes soft laughter,—
My companions at their glad love-making,—
While that curly-headed boy from Naxos
With his jade flute marks the purple quiet.
Softly the first step of twilight
Falls on the darkening dial,
One by one kindle the lights
Noises are hushed in the courtyard,
The busy day is departing,
Children are called from their games,—
Herds from their grazing.