صور الصفحة
PDF

O son of Erebus And Night, behold ! we thus Elude your watchful warders on the towers!

From gloomy Tartarus

The Fates have summoned us
To whisper in her ear, who lies asleep,

A tale to fan the fire

Of her insane desire To know a secret that the Gods would keep.

This passion, in their ire,
The Gods themselves inspire,

To vex mankind with evils manifold,
So that disease and pain
O'er the whole earth may reign,

And nevermore return the Age of U old.

Pandora, waking.

A voice said in my sleep: "Do not delay:

Do not delay; the golden moments fly! The oracle hath forbidden ; yet not thee Doth it forbid, but Epinietheus only!" I am alone. These faces in the mirrors Are but the shadows and phantoms of myself;

They cannot help nor hinder. No one sees me,

Save the all-seeing Gods, who, knowing good

And knowing evil, have created me
Such as l am, and filled me with desire
Of knowing good and evil like them-
selves.
She approaches the chest.
I hesitate no longer. Weal or woe,
Or life or death, the moment shall de-
cide.

She lifts the lid. A dense mist rises from the chest. and fills the room. Pandora falls senseless on the floor. Storm without.

CHORUS OF DREAMS FROM THE GATE
OF HORN.

Yes, the moment shall decide!
It already hath decided;
And the secret once confided
To the keeping of the Titan
Now is flying far and wide,
Whispered, fold on every side,
To disquiet and to frighten.

Fever of the heart and brain,
Sorrow, pestilence, and pain,
Moans of anguish, maniac laughter,
All the evils that hereafter
Shall afflict and vex mankind,
All into the air have risen
From the chambers of their prison;
Only Hope remains behind.

VIII.

IN THE GARDEN.

EPIMETHEUS.

The storm is past, but it hath left behind it

Ruin and desolation. All the walks Are strewn with shattered boughs; the

birds arc silent; The flowers, downtrodden by the wind,

lie dead;

Theswollen rivulet sobswith secret pain; The melancholy reeds whisper together As if some dreadful deed had been committed

They dare not name, and all the air is heavy

With an unspoken sorrow! Premonitions,

Foreshadowings of some terrible disaster Oppress my heart. Ye Gods, avert the omen!

Pandora, coming from the house. O Epimetheus, I no longer dare To lift mine eyes to thine, nor hear thy voice,

Being no longer worthy of thy love.

EPIMETHEUS.

What hast thou done?

Pandora. Forgive me not, but kill ine.

EPIMETHEUS.

What hast thou done?

Pandora. I pray for death, not pardon.

EPIMETHEUS.

What hast thou done?

Pandora.

I dare not speak of it.

EPIMETHEUS.

Thy pallor and thy silence terrify me!

PANDORA.

I have brought wrath and ruin on thy house!

My heart hath braved the oracle that guarded

The fatal secret from us, and my hand Lifted the lid of the mysterious chest!

EPIMETHEUS.

Then all is lost! I am indeed undone.

PANDORA.

I pray for punishment, and not for pardon.

EPIMETHEUS. Mine is the fault, not thine. On me shall fall

The vengeance of the Gods, for I betrayed
Their secret when, in evil hour, I said
It was a secret; when, in evil hour,
I left thee here alone to this temptation.
Why did I leave thee?

PANDORA.

Why didst thou return? Eternal absence would have been to me The greatest punishment. To be left alone

And face to face with my own crime, had been

Just retribution. Upon me, ye Gods, Let all your vengeance fall!

EPIMETHEUS.

On thee and me. I do not love thee less for what is done, And cannot be undone. Thy very weakness

Hath brought thee nearer to me, and

henceforth My love will have a sense of pity in it, Making it less a worship than before.

PANDORA.

Pity me not; pity is degradation.
Love me and kill me.

EPIMETHEUS.

Beautiful Pandora! Thou art a Goddess still!

PANDORA.

I am a woman; Ar.d the insurgent demon in my nature,

That made me brave the oracle, revolts At pity and compassion. Let me die; What else remains for me?

EPIMETHEUS.

Youth, hope, and love: To build a new life on a ruined life, To make the future fairer than the past, And make the past appear a troubled dream.

Even now in passing through the garden walks

Upon the ground I saw a fallen nest Ruined and full of rain; and over me Beheld the uncomplaining birds already Busy in building a new habitation.

PANDORA. Auspicious omen!

EPIMETHEUS.

May the Eumenides Put out their torches and behold us not, And fling away their whips of scorpions And touch us not.

PANDORA.

Me let them punish. Only through punishment of our evil deeds,

Only through suffering, are we reconciled To the immortal Gods and to ourselves.

CHORUS OF THE EUMENIDES.

Never shall sonls like these Escape the Eumenides, The daughters dark of Acheron and Night!

Unquenched our torches glare, Our scourges in the air Send forth prophetic sounds before they smite.

Never by lapse of time

The soul defaced by crime Into its former self returns again;

For every guilty deed

Holds in itself the seed
Of retribution and undying pain.

Never shall be the loss
Restored, till Helios
Hath purified them with his heavenly
fires;

Then what was lost is won, And the new life begun, Kindled with nobler passions and desires. i.

THE HANGING OF THE CRANE.

The lights are out, and gone are all the guests

That thronging came with merriment and jests

To celebrate the Hanging of the Crane In the new house, — into the night are gone;

But still the fire upon the hearth burns on,
And I alone remain.

O fortunate, O happy day,
When a new household finds its place
Among the myriad homes of earth,
Like a new star just sprung to birth,
And rolled on its harmonious way
Into the boundless realms of space!

So said the guests in speech and song,
As in the chimney, burning bright,
We hung the iron crane to-night,
And merry was the feast and long.

II.

And now I sit and muse on what may be, And in my vision see, or seem to see, Through floating vapors interfused with light. Shapes indeterminate, that gleam and fade,

As shadows passing into deeper shade
Sink and elude the sight.

For two alone, there in the hall,
Is spread the table round and small;
Upon the polished silver shine
The evening lamps, but, more divine,
The light of love shines over all;
Of love, that says not mine and thine,
But ours, for ours is thine and mine.

They want no guests, to come between
Their tender glances like a screen,
And tell them tales of land and sea,
And whatsoever may betide
The great, forgotten world outside;
They want no guests; they needs must
be

Each other's own best company.

lll.

The picture fades ; as at a village fair
A showman's views, dissolving into air,
Again appear transfigured on the
screen,

So in my fancy this ; and now once more, In part transfigured, through the open door

Appears the selfsame scene.

Seated, I see the two again,
But not alone ; they entertain
A little angel unaware, •
With face as round as is the moon;
A royal guest with flaxen hair,
Who, throned upon his lofty chair,
Drums on the table with his spoon,
Then drops it careless on the floor,'
To grasp at things unseen before.

Are these celestial manners? these
Theways that win, the arts that please?
Ah yes; consider well the guest,
And whatsoe'er he does seems best;
He ruleth by the right divine
Of helplessness, so lately born
In purple chambers of the morn,
As sovereign over thee and thine.
He speaketh not ; and yet there lies
A conversation in his eyes;
The golden silence of the Greek,
The gravest wisdom of the wise,
Not spoken in language, but in looks
More legible than printed books,
As if he could but would not speak.
And now, O monarch absolute,
Thy power is put to proof; for, lo!
Resistless, fathomless, and slow,
The nurse comes rustling like the sea,
And pushes back thy chair and thee,
And so good night to King Canute.

IV.

As one who walking in a forest sees A lovely landscape through the parted trees,

[graphic]
[graphic]
« السابقةمتابعة »