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- In Divers Tones - 2/14 -
Ere our proud eyes behold thee bear A nation's franchise, nation's name?
The Saxon force, the Celtic fire, These are thy manhood's heritage! Why rest with babes and slaves? Seek higher The place of race and age.
I see to every wind unfurled The flag that bears the Maple-Wreath; Thy swift keels furrow round the world Its blood-red folds beneath;
Thy swift keels cleave the furthest seas; Thy white sails swell with alien gales; To stream on each remotest breeze The black smoke of thy pipes exhales.
O Falterer, let thy past convince Thy future,--all the growth, the gain, The fame since Cartier knew thee, since Thy shores beheld Champlain!
Montcalm and Wolfe! Wolfe and Montcalm! Quebec, thy storied citadel Attest in burning song and psalm How here thy heroes fell!
O Thou that bor'st the battle's brunt At Queenston, and at Lundy's Lane,-- On whose scant ranks but iron front The battle broke in vain!--
Whose was the danger, whose the day, From whose triumphant throats the cheers, At Chrysler's Farm, at Chateauguay, Storming like clarion-bursts our ears?
On soft Pacific slopes,--beside Strange floods that northward rave and fall,-- Where chafes Acadia's chainless tide-- Thy sons await thy call.
They wait; but some in exile, some With strangers housed, in stranger lands;-- And some Canadian lips are dumb Beneath Egyptian sands.
O mystic Nile! Thy secret yields Before us; thy most ancient dreams Are mixed with far Canadian fields And murmur of Canadian streams.
But thou, my Country, dream not thou! Wake, and behold how night is done,-- How on thy breast, and o'er thy brow, Bursts the uprising sun!
A WOMAN OF PLATAEA SPEAKS.
I have lived long, and watched out many days, And seen the showers fall and the light shine down Equally on the vile and righteous head. I have lived long, and served the gods, and drawn Small joy and liberal sorrow,--scorned the gods, And drawn no less my little meed of good, Suffered my ill in no more grievous measure. I have been glad--alas, my foolish people, I have been glad with you! And ye are glad, Seeing the gods in all things, praising them In yon their lucid heaven, this green world, The moving inexorable sea, and wide Delight of noonday,--till in ignorance Ye err, your feet transgress, and the bolt falls! Ay, have I sung, and dreamed that they would hear; And worshipped, and made offerings;--it may be They heard, and did perceive, and were well pleased,-- A little music in their ears; perchance, A grain more savor to their nostrils, sweet Tho' scarce accounted of. But when for me The mists of Acheron have striven up, And horror was shed round me; when my knees Relaxed, my tongue clave speechless, they forgot. And when my sharp cry cut the moveless night, And days and nights my wailings clamored up And beat about their golden homes, perchance They shut their ears. No happy music this, Eddying through their nectar cups and calm! Then I cried out against them, and died not; And rose, and set me to my daily tasks. So all day long, with bare, uplift right arm, Drew out the strong thread from the carded wool, Or wrought strange figures, lotus-buds and serpents, In Purple on the himation's saffron fold; Nor uttered praise with the slim-wristed girls To any god, nor uttered any prayer, Nor poured out bowls of wine and smooth bright oil, Nor brake and gave small cakes of beaten meal And honey, as this time, or such a god Required; nor offered apples summer-flushed, Scarlet pomegranates, poppy-bells, or doves. All this with scorn, and waiting all day long, And night long with dim fear, afraid of sleep,-- Seeing I took no hurt of all these things, And seeing mine eyes were drièd of their tears So that once more the light grew sweet for me, Once more grew fair the fields and valley streams, I thought with how small profit men take heed To worship with bowed heads, and suppliant hands, And sacrifice, the everlasting gods, Who take small thought of them to curse or bless, Girt with their purples of perpetual peace! Thus blindly deemed I of them;--yet--and yet-- Have late well learned their hate is swift as fire, Be one so wretched to encounter it; Ay, have I seen a multitude of good deeds Fly up in the pan like husks, like husks blown dry. Hereafter let none question the high gods! I questioned; but these watching eyes have seen Actaeon, thewed and sinewed like a god, Godlike for sweet speech and great deeds, hurled down To hideous death,--scarce suffered space to breathe Ere the wild heart in his changed quivering side Burst with mad terror, and the stag's wide eyes Stared one sick moment 'mid the dogs' hot jaws.
* * * * *
Cithaeron, mother mount, set steadfastly Deep in Boeotia, past the utmost roar Of seas, beyond Corinthian waves withdrawn, Girt with green vales awake with brooks or still, Towers up mid lesser-browed Boeotian hills-- These couched like herds secure beneath its ken-- And watches earth's green corners. At mid-noon We of Plataea mark the sun make pause Right over it, and top its crest with pride. Men of Eleusis look toward north at dawn To see the long white fleeces upward roll, Smitten aslant with saffron, fade like smoke, And leave the gray-green dripping glens all bare, The drenched slopes open sunward; slopes wherein What gods, what godlike men to match with gods, Have roamed, and grown up mighty, and waxed wise Under the law of him whom gods and men Reverence, and call Cheiron! He, made wise With knowledge of all wisdom, had made wise Actaeon, till there moved none cunninger To drive with might the javelin forth, or bend The corded ebony, save Leto's son.
But him the Centaur shall behold no more With long stride making down the beechy glade, Clear-eyed, with firm lips laughing,--at his heels The clamor of his fifty deep-tongued hounds; Him the wise Centaur shall behold no more.
I have lived long, and watched out many days, And am well sick of watching. Three days since, I had gone out upon the slopes for herbs, Snake-root, and subtle gums; and when the light Fell slantwise through the upper glens, and missed The sunk ravines, I came where all the hills Circle the valley of Gargaphian streams. Reach beyond reach all down the valley gleamed,-- Thick branches ringed them. Scarce a bowshot past My platan, thro' the woven leaves low-hung, Trembling in meshes of the woven sun, A yellow-sanded pool, shallow and clear, Lay sparkling, brown about the further bank From scarlet-berried ash-trees hanging over. But suddenly the shallows brake awake With laughter and light voices, and I saw Where Artemis, white goddess incorrupt, Bane of swift beasts, and deadly for straight shaft Unswerving, from a coppice not far off Came to the pool from the hither bank to bathe. Amid her maiden company she moved, Their cross-thonged yellow buskins scattered off, Unloosed their knotted hair; and thus the pool Received them stepping, shrinking, down to it.
Here they flocked white, and splashed the water-drops On rounded breast and shoulder snowier Than the washed clouds athwart the morning's blue,-- Fresher than river grasses which the herds Pluck from the river in the burning noons. Their tresses on the summer wind they flung; And some a shining yellow fleece let fall For the sun's envy; others with white hands Lifted a glooming wealth of locks more dark Than deepest wells, but purple in the sun. And She, their mistress, of the heart unstormed, Stood taller than they all, supreme, and still, Perfectly fair like day, and crowned with hair
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