Her flowers, and quenches all her altar-flames,
And strikes dumb in their throats
Her doves’ complaining notes:
Sits crowned upon her seat: nor any morrow
Hears the Loves laughing round her golden chair.
(Alas, thy golden seat, thine empty seat!)
Nor any evening sees beneath her feet
The daisy rosier flush, the maidenhair
And scentless crocus borrow
From rose and hyacinth their savour sweet.
Without thee is no sweetness in the morn,
The morn that was fulfilled of mystery,
It lies like a void shell, desiring thee,
O daughter of the water and the dawn,
There is no gold upon the bearded corn,
No blossom on the thorn;
And in wet brakes the Oreads hide, forlorn
Of every grace once theirs: no Faun will follow
By herne or hollow
Their feet in the windy morn.
Let us all cry together “Cytherea!”
Lock hands and cry together: it may be
That she will heed and hear
And come from the waste places of the sea,
Leaving old Proteus all discomforted,
To cast down from his head
Its crown of nameless jewels, to be hurled
In ruins, with the ruined royalty
Of an old world.
The Nereids seek thee in the salt sea-reaches,
Seek thee; and seek, and seek, and never find:
Canst thou not hear their calling on the wind?
We nymphs go wandering under pines and beeches,
And far—and far behind
We hear Paris’ piping blown
After us, calling thee and making moan
(For all the leaves that have no strength to cry,
The young leaves and the dry),
Desiring thee to bless these woods again,
Making most heavy moan
For withered myrtle-flowers,
For all thy Paphian bowers
Empty and sad beneath a setting sun;
For dear days done!
The Naiads splash in the blue forest-pools—
“Idalia—Idalia!” they cry.
“On Ida’s hill,
With flutings faint and shrill,—
On Ida’s hill the shepherds vainly try
Their songs, and coldly stand their damsels by,
Whatever tunes they try;
For beauty is not, and Love may not be,
On land or sea—
Oh, not in earth or heaven, on land or sea,
While darkness holdeth thee.”
The Naiads weep beside their forest-pools,
And from the oaks a hundred voices call,
“Come back to us, O thou desired of all!
Elsewhere the air is sultry: here it cools
And full it is of pine scents: here is still
The world-pain that has driven from Ida’s hill
Thine unreturning feet.
Alas! the days so fleet that were, and sweet,
When kind thou wert, and dear,
And all the loves dwelt here!
Alas! thy giftless hands, thy wandering feet!
Oh, here for Pithys’ sake the air is sweet
And here snow falls not, neither burns the sun
Nor any winds make moan for dear days done.
Come, then: the woods are emptied all of glee,
And all the world is sad, desiring thee!”