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I see tall mountains would touch the sky
Did it near as ours to their summits lie,
But it floats, how far! in the radiant air,
As its clouds were hung round a realm more fair.
Oh! mighty hills ! but not stern they stand
As they owned the guard of a foe-watch'd land,
Smiling, as robed to their outmost line
With flowers that through depth of the rich woods shine,
They greet the bright glance of Apollo's eye,
Given to the vales in their heart that lie.
I see one valley, the great hills round
Raise their bright heads with the rich woods crown'd;
For that vale they've parted, and 'neath the sky
Fair in their depths does the sweet vale lie.
It windeth on 'mid the barriers there
As they check'd their steps round that valley fair.
There might have rung from its sparkling rill
The chant could the ear of Narcissus thrill,
Winning his love from the green-robed earth
To the pearly caves where the floods have birth;
Thence flowed the song, come the greeting smile
Ulysses met in the lonely isle;
Thence-nay, a chorus more sweet than they
Wrappeth my soul in its gentle lay,
And the forms of the sea-nymphs no more are fair
By the train whence it bounds on the sunny air.
They are wandering on where the stream sings low,
Cymbal and lute swell the rich deep flow,
And the song they breathe as they pace 'mid flowers
Lays chain on all save the swift-winged hours.
We wait, we wait for thee,
All beauteous things are here,
Thy tryst will as shrine of the lovely be
Adonis, if thou appear.
We wait by the chosen stream,
We wait where the old hills be,
We wait by the path that, of mortal men,
Keeps portal for only thee.
That path is dread, but our presence wards
Its chillness from hill and burn,
Floats there not down it our sunny air,
With its murmur—“Return, return?”
Return to the heights of the gladsome earth,
Return to its waters free,
Return once more to our song of mirth,
Its chorus hath haunted thee.
Thou might'st forget at Olympus's board
The lore 'twas so sweet to learn,
But the stream of the pale realms hath chang'd for thee
Its burden, and sung “ Return."
By those silent shores couldst thou fail to long
For glades 'neath the blue skies' cheer ?
The term of thine exile hath journeyed on,-
Adonis! appear, appear !
Again to urge the dart,
To know the chase's glad strife,
Again to send to the wild boar's heart
The spear, whose demand is life.
When the hunt's glad toil is done,
Where once thou faint didst lie,
Strong to give hail to the glorious sun
From beds of anemone.
The sunbeam's golden flush
Recals thy tresses bright;
The wind's wild wooing touch,
Thy step as swift and light;
Thy blue eyes seem to gaze,
From depths of summer air,
But the heart-smile of thy look
We find, oh! never, there.
We have been sad for thee
Where radiant skies appear,
Within the realms so dim that be
Hath not thine heart been here?
Did not its gloom recall
Eyes in their darkness bright ?
Streamed not through sunless hall
Smiles that for thee kept light?
The summer heaven doth see
One face than thine more fair ;
Return-'tis but for thee
Gladness to summon there.-
She to whom thousand shrines
The wreathed incense burn,
The Queen of Joy, 'neath sunny vines,
The bright song pauses-from winding dells
No answering strain on the warm air swells;
There is one dingle all dark and wild,
Vainly around it hath summer smiled.
That darksome pass through the hills leads on
To the shores'where ne'er hath earth's day-light shone.
Pierceth the green hills its line of gloom,
Seems it not road to the dreary tomb ?
Yet the glad stream through that pass finds way,
Yet by its dim gorge the bright nymphs stay;
Mid the hills' fair circle that dark cleft shows
Sole answering sign at that strain's soft close;
For the cold white mist that doth o'er it lie,
Wreathing its rocks to their summits high,
Is faintly stirred, and a rosy glow
To its outline shoots from the depths below.
That train disparteth. Oh! brighter far,
Than the twilight pale, is the evening star,
The wondrous form they attend is seen,
Our hearts claim vassals for Beauty's Queen.
Gone were the car and the leashed doves-
The state that waits on the Queen of Loves,
We know the soft glance of those conquering eyes,
We know the strange smile round the bright lip lies,
We know the wild tresses more lustrous there
Than star-beams falling through chrystal air,
And the soft glory, out-dazzling dreams
From the wondrous Cestus, o'er all that gleams.
She hath watch'd the silence, now bursts on air
Appeal, where struggles command with prayer.
That voice! think of sunshine that breaks through haze
Scornful, yet wroth it assails its blaze;
And a shade that quivers o'er cheek and eye,
Shows as a whirlwind the soul swept by.
“ Thou’rt nigh me—their reclaim
Hath it not reached thine ear ?
Rings it not through the shadowy way
Thy fleet steps journey here?
Thou’rt bound but by one sway-
One rule lays claim on thee-
Well that thou didst not own their lay,
But art thou dumb to me?
I wait thee-count it small
With me comes sunlight sweet,
I for whom earth's uncounted vows
Desire, for thee intreat.
Give answer— didst thou wend
Where she holds dreadful reign ?
For that is here to cheer the end
Thy travail were not vain.
Give answer-at my voice
Man's heart leaps upward still,
I speak to him—my lightest choice
Can move his strongest will.
Earth's mighty flames are swayed
By soft breath mine alone
From me the sunlight or the shade
Has o'er man's pathway flown.
I call thee-give reply
To tones that thrill the world-
More mighty than the summons high
In Jove's deep thunder hurl'd.
And 'tis for thee I call
Who hast known my power in joy-
Hast drunk most deeply of his thrall
With least of its alloy.
To thee I bowed my might
Lowly as, 'neath thy feet,
I gave to thee the draught of love
For which the skies compete.
Give answer-now, o'er founts,
Through depth of woods and hills,
Of power from my soul's whisper mounts
Not joy, but sadness thrills.
From thee, from thee, the change
That works in me as woe ?
Is it from thee, the favoured, loved,
Requital should be so ?
I, who have charmed the spheres
I, whose the wide realms three-
I, at whose smile delight appears,
Call-is no word from thee?
Nay; well I read thou'rt nigh;
"Tis long since mountain-brow,
Since rainbow o'er the rapid stream,
Have smiled as smile they now.
I know thou hast owned not shadowy charms
In the dim world that reign;
Thou hast not joined the pomp that swells
Pale Proserpina's train.
And I have left the thousand vows
Around my smile appear;
Have sadly mourned the only one
For whom 'tis ever near.
Nay-far beyond that sadness strange
I've proved my truth to thee;
What the o'er-shadowing of my bloom
To price thy life left free?
Well, I reclaim it not,
Though half thine hours be spent
Afar, in cold Proserpina's grot,
They're spared--I am content.
But now the months are spent
Vowed to Elysium's chain ;
The bonds stern time hath rent
My loved one would detain.
Come, then, again to our joyous hills ---
To the chace-horn's music free ;
Come to the life of our dancing rills-
Adonis, come to me.
Come, by the power that my ardent love
Wakes in thy soul to burn,
Rend the pale mist o'er-veils thy path;
Adonis, prince, return.
I see its cold shade change;
* 'Tis shook by thy swift course.
Again gleam's out the range
Of hills beside its source ;
Thy bright crest shineth there.
I wait not words to learn;
Bound through that cleft to the summer air ;
Adonis, loved, return.”
“I come, my queen ;” and the thrilling sound
From the dark dell swept to the hill-tops round;
A bright youth sprung through the narrow way,
Unlike, but fair as the lord of day.
No regal smile his no look of power
Apollo weareth in softest hour ;
The rich fair curls were with roses crown'd;
The robes, unwarrior-like, jewels bound,
The small hands soft as a maiden's were,
The light step trod as on heath-bell there;
The eyes' blue glance ne'er in war grew stern ;-
Such was the youth whom the shades return.
That instant on the shrines of Greece
The flames flashed fair and free ;
The glad processions move
Where Egypt's altars be.
Hark! Memnon's harp to air
One wild rich strain hath sent;
For the joy-flames strike the horizon there
As sun-steeds clomb the heaven.
A thousand lovers wake to hope
At that rejoicing sign;
A thousand wooers round the earth
Win courage from its shrine;
And sweet strains in this sunny vale
Float onwards up the rills
From lutes whose music does not fail
When Venus walks our hills.
Ah, heed them not! the exiled there
Is kneeling at her feet,
And low soft words of welcome fair
Breatbe harmony more sweet.
“Joy waketh on the hill,
Joy warbleth in the burn;
The past may grief and shadow fill,
When thou and bliss return."
Yet, thou bright queen of the thousand loves,
Fair boon to earth from sea,
Affection deep the full heart approves,
Venus, was not for thee.
Better to watch where Dian mourns
Beside Endymion's sleep,
Than clasp a fickle joy we know
So transient life will keep.
Love never spent is worth lament;
It strikes but once, and deep.
Deep love's a plant cannot be sown
Alike in every field;
The soil the virtues make alone
That glorious growth will yield.*
• It is said that Adonis, after being slain by the boar, was restored to life by Proserpine on condition that he should spend six months of each yenr with her. Festivals celebrated his return to Venus.