by: Lewis Parke Chamberlayne

      HE old book's magic seized me as I read;
      I heard the waves sigh on the Syrian shore,
      And on dark Heliodora's perfumed head
      The myrtles bloomed once more,
      As when, in Gadara, young life was sweet
      To her the while she watched the shadows play
      Along the marble floor, and at her feet
      Young Meleager lay.
      I heard his voice in soft hexameters,
      Alternate fire and honey, fall and rise;
      In limpid Doric spoke his love, and hers
      Shone in her swimming eyes.
      I saw the laughing lilies that he wreathed
      With hyacinth to crown her kneeling there.
      Oh, what intoxicating incense breathed
      Her dusky, flower-wound hair!
      "The flowers will fade," he whispered, "sere and brown,
      Their petals drooping ere the day be done,
      Yet wilt thou still, thy garland's lovelier crown,
      Shine like the morning sun."
      Again I hear the same soft voice outpour
      Its anguish for the light of life now fled,
      And see him heap the bier of Heliodore
      With roses white and red.
      Thyrsis I see at ease beneath the pine,
      His dark head pillowed on his arms, asleep,
      And yet the lad's herds stray not, and his kine
      Another lad doth keep.
      Sleep, Thyrsis, sleep, within thy shady nook,
      Leaving thy goats to nibble 'mongst the rocks;
      A skilfuller than thou wields now thy crook,
      For Eros guards thy flocks.
      I see the young girls, as in garments white
      Along the mountain-side in spring they ran
      To greet the wood-nymphs at their morning rite
      Within the cave of Pan.
      It lies 'neath Corycus' sun-haunted hill;
      Old Goat-foot loves it; there the wild vine grows
      So thick it hides the entrance and the rill
      That from the grotto flows.
      There the midsummer honey-makers hum
      Above the heather and the thyme, knee-deep,
      Even through the noon, when all things else are dumb
      Lest they disturb his sleep--
      His, the luck-bringing Hermes' goat-shanked child,
      Great Pan, who daily, when his pipes' shrill tune
      No more delights him, seeks a summit wild,
      And there sleeps all the noon.
      Then fiercest burns the sun, the patient flocks
      Crouch 'neath the tamarisk; scarce the lizard creeps
      Along the wall. Above, on the sun-baked rocks,
      Outstretched, the Arcadian sleeps.
      And while his pipes lie silent by his side,
      Brown summer for a moment holds her breath,
      The breezes droop, the dry-flies hush, the tide
      Scarce laps the cliff beneath.
      Often, men say, some shepherd on the hills,
      Hearing a sudden, wild, unearthly cry
      Ring from the mountains, that his heart's blood chills,
      Knows he has come too nigh.
      The weird, far spot no mortal foot has trod,
      And flees, nor dares once backward turn his eyes:
      Behind him roars the goat-laugh of the god,
      And mocks him as he flies.

"Leaves from the Anthology" is reprinted from Anthology of Magazine Verse for 1916. Ed. William Stanley Braithwaite. New York: Laurence J. Gomme, 1916.




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