Up to far Osteroe and Suderoe
The deep sea-floor lies strewn with Spanish wrecks,
O’er minted gold the fair-haired fishers go,
O’er sunken bravery of high carved decks.
In earlier days great Carthage suffered bale
(All her waste works choke under sandy shoals);
And reckless hands tore down the temple veil;
And Omar burned the Alexandrian rolls.
The Old World arts men suffered not to last,
Flung down they trampled lie and sunk from view,
He lets wild forest for these ages past
Grow over the lost cities of the New.
O for a life that shall not be refused
To see the lost things found, and waste things used.
As a forlorn soul waiting by the Styx
Dimly expectant of lands yet more dim,
Might peer afraid where shadows change and mix
Till the dark ferryman shall come for him.
And past all hope a long ray in his sight,
Fall’n trickling down the steep crag Hades-black
Reveals an upward path to life and light,
Nor any let but he should mount that track.
As with the sudden shock of joy amazed,
He might a motionless sweet moment stand,
So doth that mortal lover, silent, dazed,
For hope had died and loss was near at hand.
‘Wilt thou?’ his quest. Unready but
He stands at fault for joy, she whispering ‘Ay.’
The doom’d king pacing all night through the
‘Let me alone, mine enemy, let me alone,’
Never a Christian bell that dire thick gloom to hallow,
Or guide him, shelterless, succourless, thrust from his own.
Foul spirits riding the wind do flout at him friendless,
The rain and the storm on his head beat ever at will;
His weird is on him to grope in the dark with endless
Weariful feet for a goal that shifteth still.
A sleuth-hound baying! The sleuth-hound bayeth
His head, he flying and stumbling turns back to the sound,
Whom doth the sleuth-hound follow? What if it find him;
Up! for the scent lieth thick, up from the level ground.
Up, on, he must on, to follow his weird essaying,
Lo you, a flood from the crag cometh raging past,
He falls, he fights in the water, no stop, no staying,
Soon the king’s head goes under, the weird is dreed at last.
’Wake, O king, the best star worn
In the crown of night, forlorn
Blinks a fine white point—’t is morn.’
Soft! The queen’s voice, fair is she,
‘Wake!’ He waketh, living, free,
In the chamber of arras lieth he.
Delicate dim shadows yield
Silken curtains over head
All abloom with work of neeld,