OENE, of all the chilly Arctics,
Ascended to her everlasting throne
Built on the steadfast centre of the world,
And waited for the middle hour of night,
Now swiftly coming, to convene her court.
Set in an ocean of perpetual calm
Was the fair island honoured by her reign;
Slowly around her rolled the Frigid Zone,
Dim in the mystic moonlight far away,—
A silvery ring, circling her nearer realm
With the pale lustre of its snowy walls,
Defending from all storm and sudden change
The sea which bathed the island’s level shores.
She sat upon her throne, and none might tell
Whether her limbs the lambent lustre cast
Upon the pearls of which it was composed,
Or they cast beauty on her glowing form.
Around her feet a pavement spread, inlaid
Of squares of roseate sea-shells, set about
With purple gems, unknown in other lands;—
Thence, winding paths, sprinkled with golden sand,
Ran out, through bowers of flowers and fields of green
To meet the sea.
in the South the Moon
Shone full against the island. The North-star,
Sparkling and blazing like a silver sun,
Stood at the Zenith, as a lamp hung out
From heaven to charm the endless Arctic night;—
And thus a soft profusion of pure light,
More exquisite than sunshine, fell abroad.
Unnipped by daintiest frosts, in every field
Flowers crowded thick; and trees, not tall nor rude,
With slender stems upholding feathery shade,
Nodded their heads and hung their pliant limbs
In natural bowers, sweet with delicious gloom.
Queen OENE sent her luminous
Fine rays of tintless light played round her head,
Crowning her beauty with mysterious glory.
She gazed away, beyond the tranquil sea,
To distant mountains of unchanging snow,
And still beyond, to where full many a tower
And fortress reared their walls of gleaming ice
On the dim verges of her vast domains.
Scarcely had she in silence
Ere from the trees, or flower-coves of the shore,
Or gliding in from idling on the sea,
Her maids of honor came, a virgin train,
Like a bright constellation clustering round
The central star, most glorious of them all.
One, in a crimson blossom, torn away
From its far moorings, nestled at her ease,
Was seen slowly to skim the silver lake;
While the huge flower seemed of itself propelled,
Save that, by chance, a flushed and saucy face,
Peeped from the waves, showing a little imp
Who tugged at its stout stem