The unrelenting gods
Refuse me. “No,” say they,
“Thy chance is thrown away.”
Fierce unrelenting gods!
The sky is blue no more,
The spring-tide airs are bleak,
I find not her I seek,
The earth is fair no more!
I loathe all earth, all life!
These Thracian women gaze
And whispering, go their ways,
Seeing I loathe my life.
Only my song remains.
I may not cease to sing,
Though hot tears start and sting,
The song that still remains,
The sea rolls on in pain,
Echoing the note again:
“Lost, lost Eurydice!”
And still the sea moves on,
The woods give back the thrill
“Eurydice!” and still
The quiet sea moves on.
The years, Eurydice,
The long unquiet years
Heed not or sighs or tears,
Oh Heart, Eurydice!
My boat is still in the reedy cove
Where the rushes hinder its onward course,
For I care not now if we rest or move
O’er the slumberous tide to the river’s source.
My boat is fast in the tall dank weeds
And I lay my oars in silence by,
And lean, and draw the slippery reeds
Through my listless fingers carelessly.
The babbling froth of the surface foam
Clings close to the side of my moveless boat,
Like endless meshes of honeycomb,—
And I break it off, and send it afloat.
A faint wind stirs, and I drift along
Far down the stream to its utmost bound,
And the thick white foam-flakes gathering strong
Still cling, and follow, and fold around.
Oh! the weary green of the weedy waste,
The thickening scum of the frothy foam,
And the torpid heart by the reeds embraced
And shrouded and held in its cheerless home.
The fearful stillness of wearied calm,
The tired quiet of ended strife,
The echoed note of a heart’s sad psalm,
The sighing end of a wasted life.—
The reeds cling close, and my cradle sways,
And the white gull dips in the waters’ barm,
And the heart asleep in the twilight haze
Feels not its earth-bonds, knows not alarm.
Evening has thrown her hushing garment round
This little world; no harsh or jarring sound
Disturbs my reverie. The room is dark,
And kneeling at the window I can mark
Each light and shadow of the scene below.
The placid glistening pools, the streams that flow
Through the red earth, left by the hurrying tide;
The ridge of mountain on the farther side
Shewing more black for many twinkling lights
That come and go about the gathering heights.
Below me lie great wharves, dreary and dim,
And lumber houses crowding close and grim
Like giant shadowed guardians of the port,