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* Copyright, 1892, by Macmillan & Co.
To-day, before you turn again
To thoughts that lift the soul of men, Hear my cataract's
Downward thunder in hollow and glen,
Till, led by dream and vague desire,
The woman, gliding toward the pyre, Find her warrior
Stark and dark in his funeral fire.
THE DEATH OF OENONE."
CENONE sat within the cave from out
Whose ivy-matted mouth she used to gaze Down at the Troad; but the goodly view Was now one blank, and all the serpent
vines | Which on the touch of heavenly feet had
risen, * And gliding thro' the branches over
bower'd | The naked Three, were wither'd long ago, And thro' the sunless winter morning- s
In silence wept upon the flowerless earth. And while she stared at those dead cords that ran Dark thro' the mist, and linking tree to tree, But once were gayer than a dawning sky With many a pendent bell and fragrant Star, Her Past became her Present, and she saw Him, climbing toward her with the golden fruit, Him, happy to be chosen Judge of Gods, Her husband in the flush of youth and dawn, Paris, himself as beauteous as a God.
Anon from out the long ravine below, She heard a wailing cry, that seem'd at first Thin as the batlike shrillings of the Dead When driven to Hades, but, in coming near, Across the downward thunder of the brook Sounded “OEnone '; and on a sudden he, Paris, no longer beauteous as a God, Struck by a poison'd arrow in the fight, Lame, crooked, reeling, livid, thro' the mist Rose, like the wraith of his dead self, and moan'd “OEnone, my OEnone, while we dwelt Together in this valley—happy then— Too happy had I died within thine arms, Before the feud of Gods had marr'd our
And sunder'd each from each. I am dying now
Pierced by a poison'd dart. Save me.
Thou knowest, Taught by some God, whatever herb or
balm May clear the blood from poison, and thy
fame Is blown thro' all the Troad, and to thee The shepherd brings his adder-bitten
lamb, The wounded warrior climbs from Troy to thee. My life and death are in thy hand. The Gods
Avenge on stony hearts a fruitless prayer For pity. Let me owe my life to thee. I wrought thee bitter wrong, but thou forgive, Forget it. Man is but the slave of Fate. OEnone, by thy love which once was mine, Help, heal me. I am poison'd to the heart.” “And I to mine' she said “Adulterer, Go back to thine adulteress and die!’ He groan'd, he turn'd, and in the mist at once Became a shadow, sank and disappear'd, But, ere the mountain rolls into the plain, Fell headlong dead; and of the shepherds one
Their oldest, and the same who first had found Paris, a naked babe, among the woods Of Ida, following lighted on him there, And shouted, and the shepherds heard and came. One raised the Prince, one sleek'd the squalid hair, One kiss'd his hand, another closed his eyes, And then, remembering the gay playmate rear'd Among them, and forgetful of the man, Whose crime had half unpeopled Ilion,
these All that day long labour'd, hewing the pines, And built their shepherd-prince a funeral pile; And, while the star of eve was drawing light From the dead sun, kindled the pyre, and all Stood round it, hush'd, or calling on his name. But when the white fog vanish'd like a ghost
Before the day, and every topmost pine Spired into bluest heaven, still in her cave, Amazed, and ever seeming stared upon By ghastlier than the Gorgon head, a face,— His face deform'd by lurid blotch and blain— ” There, like a creature frozen to the heart Beyond all hope of warmth, CEnone sat Not moving, till in front of that ravine Which drowsed in gloom, self-darken'd from the west, The sunset blazed along the wall of Troy. Then her head sank, she slept, and thro’ her dream A ghostly murmur floated, ‘Come to me, (Enone ! I can wrong thee now no more, OEnone, my CEnone,' and the dream Wail'd in her, when she woke beneath the stars. What star could burn so low? not Ilion
yet. What light was there? She rose and
slowly down, By the long torrent's ever-deepen'd roar, Paced, following, as in trance, the silent
cry. She waked a bird of prey that scream'd and past; She roused a snake that hissing writhed away; A panther sprang across her path, she heard The shriek of some lost life among the pines, But when she gain'd the broader vale, and saw The ring of faces redden'd by the flames Enfolding that dark body which had lain Of old in her embrace, paused—and then ask'd Falteringly, ‘Who lies on yonder pyre?' But every man was mute for reverence. Then moving quickly forward till the heat Smote on her brow, she lifted up a voice Of shrill command, “Who burns upon the
pyre?’ Whereon their oldest and their boldest said, “He, whom thou wouldst not heal ' ' and all at once The morning light of happy marriage broke
Thro' all the clouded years of widowhood, And muffling up her comely head, and
‘Husband ' ' she leapt upon the funeral ile
And mist herself with him and past in fire.
HAD the fierce ashes of some fiery peak Been hurl’d so high they ranged about
the globe 2 For day by day, thro' many a blood-red eve, In that four-hundredth summer after Christ,
The wrathful sunset glared against a cross
Rear'd on the tumbled ruins of an old fane
No longer sacred to the Sun, and flamed
On one huge slope beyond, where in his Cave
The man, whose pious hand had built the cross,
A man who never changed a word with
crost The disk, and once, he thought, a shape with wings Came sweeping by him, and pointed to the West, And at his ear he heard a whisper * Rome’ And in his heart he cried “The call of God ... ' And call'd arose, and, slowly plunging down
Thro' that disastrous glory, set his face By waste and field and town of alien tongue, Following a hundred sunsets, and the sphere Of westward-wheeling stars; and eve dawn Struck from him his own shadow on to Rome. Foot-sore, way-worn, at length he touch'd his goal, The Christian city. All her splendour
fail'd To lure those eyes that only yearn'd to See, Fleeting betwixt her column'd palacewalls, The shape with wings. Anon there past a crowd With shameless laughter, Pagan oath, and jest, Hard Romans brawling of their monstrous
games; He, all but deaf thro' age and weariness,
* Copyright, 1892, by Macmillan & Co.