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EARLY YEARS OF THE REIGN

(TRANSITION PERIOD)

DISTINCTIVE POETS AND DRAMATISTS

Walter Savage Landor

OVERTURE

Then olive was entwin'd with violets

Cluster'd in bosses, regular and large ; FROM "THRASYMEDES AND EUNOË For various men wore various coronals,

But one was their devotion ; 't was to her Who will away to Athens with me? who Whose laws all follow, her whose smile Loves choral songs and maidens crown'd

withdraws with flowers,

The sword from Ares, thunderbolt from Unenvious ? mount the pinnace ; hoist the Zeus, sail.

And whom in his chill caves the mutable I promise ye, as many as are here,

Of mind, Poseidon, the sea-king, reveres, Ye shall not, while ye tarry with me, taste And whom his brother, stubborn Dis, bath From unrins'd barrel the diluted wine

pray'd Of a low vineyard or a plant ill prun’d, To turn in pity the averted cheek But such as anciently the Ægean isles Of her he bore away, with promises, Pour'd in libation at their solemn feasts : Nay, with loud oath before dread Styx itAnd the same goblets shall ye grasp,

self, emboss'd

To give her daily more and sweeter flowers With no vile figures of loose languid boors, Than he made drop from her on Enna's dell. Bat such as gods have liv'd with and have Rhaicos was looking from his father's led.

door At the long trains that hasten'd to the town

From all the valleys, like bright rivulets THE HAMADRYAD

Gurgling with gladness, wave outrunning

wave, RrAicos was born amid the hills where And thought it hard he might not also go from

And offer up one prayer, and press one Gnidos the light of Caria is discern'd,

hand, And small are the wbite-crested that play He knew not whose. The father call’d him near,

in And smaller onward are the purple waves. And said, “Son Rhaicos! those are idle Thence festal choirs were visible, all crown'd

games ; With rose and myrtle if they were inborn; Long enough I have liv'd to find them so.” If from Pandion sprang they, on the coast And ere he ended, sigh’d; as old men do Where stern Athenè rais'd her citadel, Always, to think how idle such games are.

more

fall :

“I have not yet,” thought Rhaicos in his That sad old man !” said she. The old man heart,

went And wanted proof.

Without a warning from his master's son, “Suppose thou go and help Glad to escape, for sorely he now feard, Echion at the hill, to bark yon oak

And the axe shone behind him in their eyes. And lop its branches off, before we delve Hamad. And wouldst thou too shed the About the trunk and ply the root with axe :

most innocent This we may do in winter.”

Of blood ? No vow demands it ; no god Rhaicos went ;

wills For thence he could see farther, and see The oak to bleed.

Rhaicos. Who art thou ? whence ? why Of those who hurried to the city-gate.

here ? Echion he found there, with naked arm And whither wouldst thou go? Among the Swart-hair'd, strong-sinew'd, and his

eyes

rob'd intent

In white or saffron, or the hue that most Upon the place where first the axe should Resembles dawn or the clear sky, is none

Array'd as thou art. What so beautiful He held it upright. “ There are bees about, As that gray robe which clings about thee Or wasps, or hornets," said the cautions eld,

close, “Look sharp, 0 son of Thallinos !” The Like moss to stones adhering, leaves to youth

trees, Inclin'd his ear, afar, and warily,

Yet lets thy bosom rise and fall in turn, And cavern'd in his hand. He heard a buzz As, touch'd by zephyrs, fall and rise the At first, and then the sound grew soft and boughs clear,

Of graceful platan by the river-side ? And then divided into what seem'd tune, Hamad. Lovest thou well thy father's And there were words upon it, plaintive

house? words.

Rhaicos. Indeed He turn’d, and said, “ Echion ! do not strike I love it, well I love it, yet would leave That tree : it must be hollow ; for some For thine, where'er it be, father's house, god

With all the marks upon the door, that show Speaks from within. Come thyself near.” My growth at every birthday since the third, Again

And all the charms, o'erpowering evil eyes, Both turu'd toward it: and behold! there My mother nail'd for me against my bed, sat

And the Cydonian bow (which thou shalt Upon the moss below, with her two palms

see) Pressing it, on each side, a maid in forin. Won in my race last spring from Eutychos. Downcast were her long eyelashes, and pale Hamad. Bethink thee what it is to leave Her cheek, but never mountain-ash display'd Berries of color like her lip so pure,

Thou never yet hast left, one night, one day. Nor were the anemones about her hair

Rhaicos. No, 't is not hard to leave it : Soft, smooth, and wavering like the face

't is not hard beneath.

To leave, O maiden, that paternal home “ What dost thou here?” Echion, half If there be one on earth whom we may love afraid,

First, last, for ever ; one who says that she Half-angry, cried. She lifted up her eyes, Will love for ever too. To say which word, But nothing spake she. Rhaicos drew one Only to say it, surely is enough. step

It shows such kindness — if 't were possible Backward, for fear came likewise over him, We at the moment think she would indeed. But not such fear: he panted, gasp'd, drew Hamad. Who taught thee all this folly at in

thy age ? His breath, and would have turn'd it into Rhaicos. I have seen lovers and have words,

learn'd to love. But could not into one.

Hamad. But wilt thou spare the tree ?
Rhaicos.

My father wants

my

a home

“O send away

thee part.

Hamad. Nay: and of mine I cannot give
Rhaicos. Where is it?
Hamad.

In this oak.
Rhaicos.

Ay; now begins The tale of Hamadryad : tell it through. Hamad. Pray of thy father never to cut

down My tree ; and promise him, as well thou

mayst, That every year he shall receive from me More honey than will buy him nine fat sheep, More wax than he will burn to all the gods. Why fallest thou upon thy face? Some

thorn May scratch it, rash young man ! Rise up ;

for shame! Rhaicos. For shame I cannot rise. O pity I dare not sue for love - but do not hate ! Let me once more behold thee

not once more, But many days : let me love on — unlovd ! I aim'd too high : on my own head the bolt Falls back, and pierces to the very brain.

Hamad. Go — rather go, than make me

me !

say I love.

The bark; the tree may hold its place awhile. Hamad. Awhile ? thy father numbers

then my days ? Rhaicos. Are there no others where the

moss beneath Is quite as tufty? Who would send thee

forth Or ask thee why thou tarriest? Is thy flock Anywhere near ?

Hamad. I have no flock : I kill Nothing that breathes, that stirs, that feels

the air, The sun, the dew. Why should the beauti

ful (And thou art beautiful) disturb the source Whence springs all beauty ? Hast thou

never heard Of Hamadryads ? Rhuicos.

Heard of them I have : Tell me some tale about them. May I sit Beside thy feet? Art thou not tired? The

herbs Are very soft ; I will not come too nigh ; Do but sit there, nor tremble so, nor doubt. Stay, stay an instant : let me first explore If any acorn of last year be left Within it; thy thin robe too ill protects Thy dainty limbs against the harm one small Accrn may do. Here 's none. Another day Trust me; till then let me sit opposite. Hamad. I seat me ; be thou seated, and

content. Rhaicos. O sight for gods ! ye men be

low! adore The Aphrodite ! Is she there below ? Or sits she here before me? as she sate Before the shepherd on those heights that

shade The Hellespont, and brought his kindred

woe. Hamad. Reverence the higher Powers ;

nor deem amiss Of her who pleads to thee, and would re

рау — Ask not how much — but very much. Rise

not : No, Rhaicos, no! Without the nuptial vow Love is unholy. Swear to me that none Of mortal maids shall ever taste thy kiss, Then take thou mine; then take it, not

before. Rhaicos. Hearken, all gods above! 0

Aphrodite ! O Here ! Let my vow be ratified ! But wilt thou come into my father's house?

Rhaicos. If happiness is immortality, (And whence enjoy it else the gods above ?) I am immortal too : my vow is heard – Hark ! on the left — Nay, turn not from me

now, I claim my kiss.

Hamad. Do men take first, then claim ? Do thus the seasons run their course with

them?

Her lips were seal’d; her head sank on

his breast. 'Tis said that laughs were heard within the

wood : But who should hear them ? and whose

laughs ? and why? Savory was the smell and long past noon, Thallinos ! in thy house ; for marjoram, Basil and mint, and thyme and rosemary, Were sprinkled on the kid's well roasted

length, Awaiting Rhaicos. Home he came at last, Not hungry, but pretending hunger keen, With head and eyes just o'er the maple

plate. « Thou see'st but badly, coming from the

sun,

wax

What one)

Boy Rhaicos !” said the father.

“ That “Come back !” and twin'd her fingers in oak's bark

the hem Must have been tough, with little sap be Above his shoulder. Then she led his steps tween ;

To a cool rill that ran o'er level sand It ought to run ; but it and I are old.” Through lentisk and through oleander; there Rhaicos, although each morsel of the bread Bath' she his feet, lifting them on her lap Increas'd by chewing, and the meat grew When bath'd, and drying them in both her cold

hands. And tasteless to his palate, took a draught He dar'd complain ; for those who most are Of gold-bright wine, which, thirsty as he

lov'd was,

Most dare it ; but not harsh was his comHe thought not of, until his father fillid

plaint. The cup, averring water was amiss,

“O thou inconstant !” said he, “if stern law But wine had been at all times pour'd on kid. Bind thee, or will, stronger than sternest It was religion.

law, He thus fortified

O, let me know henceforward when to hope Said, not quite boldly, and not quite abash’d, The fruit of love that grows for me but “Father, that oak is Zeus's own; that oak

here." Year after year will bring thee wealth from He spake ; and pluck'd it from its pliant

stem. And honey. There is one who fears the • Impatient Rhaicos! Why thus intercept gods

The answer I would give ? There is a bee And the gods love — that one"

Whom I have fed, a bee who knows my (He blush'd, nor said thoughts

And executes my wishes : I will send “ Has promis'd this, and may do more. That messenger. If ever thou art false, Thou hast not many moons to wait until Drawn by another, own it not, but drive The bees have done their best ; if then | My bee away : then shall I know my fate, there come

And for thou must be wretched weep Nor wax nor honey, let the tree be hewn."

at thine. “ Zeus hath bestow'd on thee a prudent But often as my heart persuades to lay mind,”

Its cares on thine and throb itself to rest, Said the glad sire : “but look thou often Expect her with thee, whether it be morn there,

Or eve, at any time when woods are safe." And gather all the honey thou canst find

Day after day the Hours beheld them In every crevice, over and above

blest, What has been promis'd ; would they reckon

And season after season : years had past, that?”

Blest were they still. He who asserts that

Love Rhaicos went daily; but the nymph as oft,

Ever is sated of sweet things, the same Inv ble. To play at love, knew,

Sweet things he fretted for in earlier days, Stopping its breathings when it breathes most soft,

Never, by Zeus ! lov'd be a Hamadryad. Is sweeter than to play on any pipe.

The nights had now grown longer, and She play'd on his : she fed upon his sighs ; perhaps They pleas'd her when they gently wav'd The Hamadryads find them lone and dull her hair,

Among their woods ; one did, alas! She Cooling the pulses of her purple veins,

call'd And when her absence brought them out, Her faithful bee : 't was when all bees they pleas’d.

should sleep, Even among the fondest of them all, And all did sleep but hers. She was sent What mortal or immortal maid is more

forth Content with giving happiness than pain ? To bring that light which never wintry blast One day he was returning from the wood Blows out, nor rain nor snow extinguishes, Despondently. She pitied him, and said The light that shines from loving eyes upon

seen

Eyes that love back, till they can see no Artemidora sigh’d, and would have pressid more.

The hand now pressing hers, but was too Rhaicos was sitting at his father's hearth :

weak. Between them stood the table, not o'er Fate's shears were over her dark hair un

spread With fruits which autumn now profusely While thus Elpenor spake : he look'd into bore,

Eyes that had given light and life erewhile Nor anise cakes, nor odorous wine ; but To those above them, those now dim with there

tears The draft-board was expanded ; at which And watchfulness. Again he spake of joy, game

Eternal. At that word, that sad word, joy, Triumphant sat old Thallinos ; the son Faithful and fond her bosom heav'd once Was puzzled, vex’d, discomfited, distraught.

more, A buzz was at his ear: up went his hand Her head fell back : one sob, one loud deep And it was heard no longer. The poor bee

sob Return'd (but not until the morn shone Swell'd through the darken'd chamber ; bright)

't was not hers : And found the Hamadryad with her head With her that old boat incorruptible, Cpon her aching wrist, and show'd one wing Unwearied, undiverted in its course, Half-broken off, the other's meshes marr'd, Had plash'd the water up the farther strand. And there were bruises which no eye could

see Saving a Hamadryad's.

FROM “MYRTIS” At this sight Down fell the languid brow, both hands fell | FRIENDS, whom she look'd at blandly from down,

her couch A shriek was carried to the ancient hall And her white wrist above it, gem-bedew'd, Of Thallinos : he heard it not : his son Were arguing with Pentheusa : she had Heard it, and ran forth with into the wood.

heard No bark was on the tree, no leaf was green, Report of Creon's death, whom years before The trunk was riven through. From that She listen'd to, well-pleas'd ; and sighs day forth

arose ; Nor word nor whisper sooth'd his ear, nor For sighs full often fondle with reproofs sound

And will be fondled by them. When I Even of insect wing ; but loud laments The woodmen and the shepherds one long After the rest to visit her, she said, year

“Myrtis ! how kind! Who better knows Heard day and night ; for Rhaicos would

than thou not quit

The pangs of love ? and my first love was The solitary place, but moan'd and died.

he!”

Tell me (if ever, Eros ! are reveal'd Hence milk and honey wonder not, 0 guest, | Thy secrets to the earth) have they been To find set duly on the hollow stone.

true To any love who speak about the first ?

What! shall these holier lights, like twinTHE DEATH OF ARTEMIDORA kling stars

In the few hours assign'd them, change * ARTEMIDORA! Gods invisible,

their place, While thou art lying faint along the couch, And, when comes ampler splendor, disapHave tied the sandal to thy veined feet, And stand beside thee, ready to convey Idler l'am, and pardon, not reply, Thy weary steps where other rivers flow. Implore from thee, thus question'd; well Refreshing shades will waft thy weariness

I know Away, and voices like thine own come nigh, Thou strikest, like Olympian Jove, but Soliciting, nor vainly, thy embrace.”

came

pear?

once.

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