But now the fretful wind awakes;
I hear him girding at the trees;
He strikes the bending boughs, and shakes
The quiet clusters of the bees
To powdery drift;
He tosses them away,
He drives them like spray;
He makes them veer and shift
Around his blustering path.
In clouds blindly whirling,
In rings madly swirling,
Full of crazy wrath,
So furious and fast they fly
They blur the earth and blot the sky
In wild, white mirk.
They fill the air with frozen wings
And tiny, angry, icy stings;
They blind the eyes, and choke the breath,
They dance a maddening dance of death
Around their work,
Sweeping the cover from the hill,
Heaping the hollows deeper still,
Effacing every line and mark,
And swarming, storming in the dark
Through the long night;
Until, at dawn, the wind lies down
Weary of fight;
The last torn cloud, with trailing gown,
Passes the open gates of light;
And the white bees are lost in flight.
Look how the landscape glitters wide and
Bright with a pure surprise!
The day begins with joy, and all past ill,
Buried in white oblivion, lies
Beneath the snow-drifts under crystal skies.
New hope, new love, new life, new cheer,
Flow in the sunrise beam,—
The gladness of Apollo when he sees,
Upon the bosom of the wintry year,
The honey-harvest of his wild white bees,
Forgetfulness and a dream!
Listen, my beloved, while the silver morning,
like a tranquil vision,
Fills the world around us and our hearts with peace;
Quiet is the close of Aristaeus’ legend, happy is the ending—
Listen while I tell you how he found release.
Many months he wandered far away
in sadness, desolately thinking
Only of the vanished joys he could not find;
Till the great Apollo, pitying his shepherd, loosed him from the burden
Of a dark, reluctant, backward-looking mind.
Then he saw around him all the changeful
beauty of the changing seasons,
In the world-wide regions where his journey lay;
Birds that sang to cheer him, flowers that bloomed beside him, stars that
shone to guide him,—
Traveller’s joy was plenty all along the way!
Everywhere he journeyed strangers
made him welcome, listened while he
Secret lore of field and forest he had learned:
How to train the vines and make the olives fruitful; how to guard the
How to stay the fever when the dog-star burned.
Friendliness and blessing followed
in his footsteps; richer were the
Happier the dwellings, wheresoe’er he came;
Little children loved him, and he left behind him, in the hour of
Memories of kindness and a god-like name.