The Earthly Paradise

Manuscripts of The Earthly Paradise

Early Drafts:

Transcription "The Story of Rhodope," British Library Add. MS 45,304.

 

The Story of Rhodope

A Grecian-speaking folk there dwelt of yore,
Whose name my tale remembers not, who between
The snow-topped mountains and the sea-beat shore,
Upon a strip of land and green,
Where seldom had the worst of summer been,
And seldom the last strength of winter’s cold;
Easy was life in garden, field, and fold.

My tale says they dealt little with the sea,
But for the mullet’s bright vermilion,
And ponderous tunny, nor what things might be
Beyond the mountains but the rising sun
They knew not, nor as yet had any one
Sunk shaft on hill-side there, or twined the stream
To see if ‘neath its waves gold sand might gleam.

Yet rich enow they were; deep-uddered kine
Went lowing towards the byre at eventide;
The sheep cropped close unto the well-fenced vine,
Whose clusters hung upon the southering side
Of the fair hill; and the plain far and wide
Could change from brown through green to hoary gold,
And the unherded, moaning bees untold,

 Blind-eyed to aught but blossoms, ranged the land,
Working for others; and the clacking loom
Within the homestead seldom did stand;
The spindles twirled within the spinning room,
And often in the midst of winter’s gloom,
From off the poplar-bulk would chips fly
Beneath some skillful hand, watched the idlers nigh

Sometimes too would the foreign chapmen come,
And in a sandy bay their dromond beach
And then the women-folk from many a home,
With heavy-laden paniers took their way,
And round the back-keeled ship expend the day,
And by the moon would come back, light enow,
With things soon looked oer for that wealth to show.

Therefore of delicate array, full oft
Small lack there was in coffers of that land,
And gold would shine on dainty shoulders soft,
And jewels gleam on many a tender hand,
And by the altar would the goodman stand
Upon the solemn days of sacrifice,
Clad in attire of no such wretched price.

But the next morn the yellow-headed girls
Would be afield, twixt the vine-rows green,
And on the goodman’s forehead would no pearls,
But rather sun-drawn beaded drops be seen,
And the bright share cleft canst up the furrow clean,
Or the thick swath fell ‘neath the sturdy stroke:
For all must labour mid that simple folk.

Now, in a land where none were poor, if none
Were lordly rich, a certain man abode,
Who nigher was perchance than any one
To being poor although no heavy load
Of fears for bread he bore adown life’s road,
But coming now unto his sixtieth year,
Waning his wealth seemed his goods scant and bare

Why this should be none knew, for he was deft
In all the simple craft of that fair land,
Plough-stilt, and sickle, and axe-heft,
As much as need be pressed his strong right hand,
And creeping sloth he ever did withstand;
Wedded he was, and his grey helpmate too
Was skilled in all, and ever wrought her due.

Yet did his goods decrease: at end of dry
He cut his hay, to lie long in the rain;
And timorous must he see the time go by
For vintaging; and August came in vain
To his thin wheat; his sheep by wolves were slain;
His horses fell lame and barren were his kine,
His slaughtering-stock would dwindle and would pine.

All this befell him more than most I say,
And yet he lived on; gifts were plenty there,
The rich man’s wealth there never hoarded lay;
And at a close-fist would the people stare,
And point the finger as at something rare—
Yet ever giving is a burden still,
And fast our goodman trundled down the hill.

Not always though had fortune served him thus,
In earlier days rich had he been and great,
But had no chick or child to bless his house,
And much did it mislike him of his fate,
And early to the Gods he prayed and late,
To give him that if all they took besides,
For to fate’s hands will blind men still be guides.

So on a day when more than twenty years
Of childless wedlock had oppressed his wife,
She spake to him with smiles and happy tears;
And said, “Be glad, for ended is the strife
Betwixt us and the Gods, and our past life
Shall be renewed to us; the blossom clings
Unto the bough long barren, the waste sings.”

Joyful he was at those glad words, and went
A changed man through his household on that morn,
And on his store up good he grew intent
And hugged himself on things he once did scorn,
When life seemed quickly ended and forlorn.
So past the time till nigh the day was come
When a new voice should wail on its new home.

March was it, but a foretaste of the June
The earth had, and the budding linden-grove
About the homestead, with the brown bird’s tune
Was happy, and the faint blue sky above
The black-thorn blossoms seemed meet roof for love,
For though the west wind breathed with thought of rain,
No cloud its hazy golden breadth did stain.

That afternoon within his well-hung hall,
Amidst of happy thoughts the goodman lay
Until a gentle sleep on him did fall,
And he began to dream, but the sweet day
The dream forgat not, nor could wipe away
The pictures of his home that seemed so good,
For in his garden midst his dream he stood;

Hand with his wife he seemed to be,
And both their eyes were lovingly intent
Upon a little flower fair to see
Before their feet, that through the fresh air sent
Sweet odours; but as oer now it they bent,
The day seemed changed to cloudiness and rain,
And the sweet flower, whereof they were so fain,

Was grown a goodly sapling, and they gazed
Wondering thereat, but loved it nonetheless.
But as they looked a bright flame round it blazed,
And hid it for a space, and weariness
The souls of both the good did oppress,
And on the earth they lay down side by side,
And then it seemed to them as they had died.

 Yet did they know that o’er them hung the tree
Grown mighty, thick-leaved, on each bough hang
A crown, a sword, ship, or temple fair to see;
And therewithal a great wind through it sang,
And trumpet blast there was; and armour rang
Amid that leavy world, and now and then
Strange songs were sung in tongues of outland men.

Amidst these sounds at last the goodman heard
A song in his own tongue sung and waking sat upright
And blinking at the broad bright sun that past
In through the window, making bright
The dusky hangings; till his gathering sight
Showed him outside two damsels, pail on head,
Who went singing, to the milking-shed.

And meeting them with jingling bit and trace
Came the grey team from field; a merry lad
Sat sideways on the foremost, broad of face,
Freckled and flaxen-haired, whose red lips and
A primrose ‘twixt them, yet still blithe and glad,
With muffled whistle, therewithal did he mock
The maidens’ song and the black ousel cock.

Then rose he merry hearted for his dream
Seemed nowise ill to think on; rather he
Some echo of his own hopes did deem
Rather than any certain prophecy
Of happy things in time to come to be;
As into the March sun he wandered forth,
And all his goods now seemed of double worth.

From barn to well-stocked he past that eve,
Smiling on all, and wondering how it was
That any one in such a world could grieve,
At least for long, at what might come to pass;
The soft west wind, the flowers amid the grass,
The fragrant earth, the sweet sounds everywhere,
Seemed gifts too great almost for man to bear.

Long wandered he, the happiest of all men
Till the day was gone, and the white moon high
Cast a long shadow on the white stones, when
He came once more his homestead door anigh;
There stood a damsel watching, and a cry
Burst from her lips when she beheld him come;
She said, “O welcome to thy twice-blessed home!

 “Thy wife hath borne a child a maiden fair,
Come and behold it, and give thanks withal
Unto the Gods, that thus have heard thy prayer.”
Sweetly that voice upon his ears did fall,
‘Twixt him and utter bliss no bounding wall
Seemed raised now, nor did end of life seem nigh;
He had forgotten he must never die.

So on the morrow great feast did he hold,
And all the guests with gifts were satisfied,
And gladdened were the Gods of field and fold,
With many a beast that at their altars died.
How could the spring of all that wealth be dried?
Nought did he deal with untried things and strange,
‘Twixt year and year nought would the seasons

Well, the next year, grown had the child and thriven
Unto his heart’s desire and in his hall
Again was high feast held, and good gifts given
To the departing guests; yet did it fall
That somewhat his goods minished therewithal,
Yet his face lengthened not, “But let it be;
This year will raise the scale once more,” said he.

So the time passed, and with the child’s increase
Did ill luck grow till field by field
Fell his lands from him; nought he knew of ease,
Yet little good-hap did his labour yield;
The Gods belike a new bag had unsealed
Of hopeless longing for him, and his day
Mid restless yearning stjll must pass away.

So still things went until in that same year
Whereof I tell, when 17 firsts of May
The maid had seen; she was so wonderous fair
That never yet the like of her had been
Within that land; and her divine soft mien,
Her eyes and her soft speech, now blessed alone—
A house wherefrom all fair things else were gone.

Yet whoso gloomed thereat, not she it was
Who with her grave sweet soul and heart unmoved,
Watched, wearied not, nor pleased, each new day pass;
Nor thought of change at all as well behoved,
By many men the damsel was beloved;
Wild words she oft had heard, and harder grown
At bitter tears about her fair feet strown.

For far apart from these she seemed to be,
Their joys and sorrows moved her not, and they
Looked upon her as some divinity,
And cursed her not, though whiles she seemed to lay
A curse on them unwitting, and the day
Seemed grown unhappy, to them as she came
With eyes that thought of life as ill and shame

Across their simple merriment. Meanwhile
She laboured as need was, nor heeded aught
What thing she did, nor yet did aught seem vile
More than another than the long day brought
Unto her hands; and as her father fought
Against his bitter she watched it all
As though in some strange play the thing did fall.

And they who loved her yet amidst of fear,
Would look upon her, wondering, even as though
They daring not her soul to draw anear,
Yet what her longing was were fain to know,
Were fain to hope that she sometime would show
In what wise they within her heart were borne;
Yea, if she meeted out to them but scorn.

Befell it in the June-tide, midst things,
That on an eve within the bare great hall,
When nigh the window the bat’s flittering wings
Were passing and the soft dew fast did fall,
And o’er the ferry far away did call
The homeward-hastening goodman that the three
Sat silent in that soft obscurity.

Some tale belike unto the other twain
The goodman had been telling, for he said,
“Well, in the end their struggles were but vain
And went enough of them were hurt and dead
Needs must they cry for hard on by Jove’s head,
That parley as sweet music did I hear,
Who for an hour had seen grim death so near.

“Well then their tall ship did we take in tow,
And beached her in the bay with no small pain.
The painted dragon-head, that ye note now
Grin at Jove’s temple-door with gapings vain,
And her steel beaks the merchant-shopmans bane,
We smote away; with every second oar
We built that house of refuge nigh the shore.

“Then fell we unto ransacking her hold,
And left them store of meal, but took away
Armour, fair cloths, and silver things and gold,
Rich raiment, wine and honey, and that day
Upon the shingle there we fellows law
And shared the spoil by drawing short and long—
That was before my fate ‘gan do me wrong,

“And fair things gat I; two such casks of wine,
And such a jar of honey, as would make
The very Gods smile, had they come to dine
Within this bare hall; ah! my heart doth
O daughter Rhodope for thy sweet sake,
When of the gold-sewn purple robe I tell
That certes now had matched thy beauty well.

“What else? a crested helmet golden wrought,
A bow and sheaf of arrows they hang—
And they with one thing else came not to nought
Of the things o’er which the goodwife sang,
When in the pavement first my great spear rang,
And through the bay the terror of the sea
With clipped wings laboured slow and painfully.

“Take down the bow, goodwife; a thing of price
Though unadorned, therefor it hangeth there
For trusty is it in the wood, and wise;
The arrows are to find the dappled deer
And mend our four days’ fast with better cheer.
But for the other thing—the twilight fails
Amid these half-remembered woeful tales;

“So light the taper for a little while
To see a marvel.” Therewith speedily
The goodwife turned, and lighted up her smile,
And yearning eyes homed fell on Rhodope
As hoping there some eagerness to see;
But on the stars with fired eyes still she stared
Nor turned with through the dusk the taper glared.

But to the great chest did the goodman go,
And turning o’er the coarser household gear
That lay therein, aside did much stuff throw
Ere from the lowest depths his hand did bear
A silken cloth of red, embroidered fair,
Wrapped about something; this upon the board
He laid, and ‘gan unfold the precious hoard.

With languid eyes that hope for little joy,
Did Rhodope, now turning gaze thereon,
And wait the showing of the strange toy,
In days long past by fear and good hap won on that thing
But yet a strange light from her bright eyes shone
When now the goodman did the cloth unfold,
And showed the gleam of precious gems and gold.

Twin shoes for women’s feet therein there lay
Of gold with gold and gems so wonderfully wrought
That scarce the first sun of the first spring day
Had lighted

Because upon the silken cloth there lay
Twin shoes first made for some fair woman’s feet,
Wrought like the meadows of an April day,
Pearls in the sunlight, dainty and most meet
To show in kings’ halls, when the music sweet
Is at its softest, and the dance grown slow,
The springing feet of dainty maids show.

But unto them new passed forth Rhodope
And, blushing faintly, ‘gan the latchets touch,
Her slim brown fingers daintily
Drew over the pearls then smile overmuch
She deemed the Gods had given unto such
She thought of them, and turned away to such
Rude work as then the season asked of her,
With set face oh that weary life to bear.

Then said the bonder with a rueful smile
Upon her, “Chick or child I had not then,
But riches, wherewith fortune did beguile
My heart to ask for more; and now again
That thou grow’st fairer than the seed of men,
All goes from me—let these must go withal
Now she has thrust me rudely to the wall!

“Long have I kept them; first, for this indeed,
That few men hereabout have will therefore
To pay me duly; and the coming need
Still did I fear would make the past less sore;
And next because a man well skilled in lore
Grew dreamy oer them once, and said that they
Bore with them promise of a changing day.

“Yet bread is life, and while we live we yet
May turn a corner of this barren lane,
And Jove’s high-priest hath ever prayed to get
These fair things, and still prayed in vain:
Belike a yoke of oxen might I gain
To turn the home-field deeper, when the corn,
Wuch as it to barn and stack is borne.

“The meal-ark groweth empty too, and thou,
O daughter, worthy to be clad
In weed like this, shall feel November blow
No blessings to thee; cask-staves must be had
Against the vintage, seeing that men wax clad
Already o’er the bunches, and the year
Men deem great wealth to all men’s sons will bear.

“So, daughter, unto thee this charge I give
To take these things to-morrow morn with thee
Unto the priest, and say, that we must live;
Therefore these fair things do I let him see,
That he may say what he will give to me,
That they may shine upon his daughter’s feet,
When she goes forth the sacrifice to meet.”

Now as he spake again the bright flush came
Into her cheek, and died away again;
Then said the goodwife; “Ah, thou bearest shame,
That we are fallen ‘neath the feet of men,
That thou goest like a slave! what didst thou then
So coldly e’en on this man’s son to look,
That he thy scornful eyes no more might brook?”

But still Rhodope, as though of stone
Her face was, but the bonder spake and said;
“Nay, mother, nay, she is not such an one
As lightly to our highest to be wed
Before the crown of love has touched her head:
Be patient; hast thou not heard old stories tell
What things to such as her of old befell?”

Kindly he smiled at her, as half he meant
The words he said; but now her eyes
Cast on him one hard glance, and then she bent
Over her work, and with a sigh
The goodman rose, and from a corner nigh
Took up some willow-witches, and so began
To shape the handle of a winnowing fan.

But with the new day’s sunrise might you behold
The fair maiden’s feet firm planted on the way
That led unto the vale, where field and fold
About the temple of the Thunderer lay,
And the priest wrought, a sturdy carle to-day,
Within the hay-field or behind the plough,
To-morrow dealing with high things enow.

First betwixt sunny fields the highway ran
With homesteads set betwixt and vineyards green,
Now merry with the voice of maid and man,
Who shouted greetings the green rows between,
Whereto she answered softly, as a queen
Who feels herself of other shape to be
Than those who worship her divinity.

The black eyed shepherd slowly by her passed,
And from his face faded the merry smile,
And down upon the road his eyes he cast,
And strove with other names his heart to wile
From thought of her; for coarse he seemed and vile
Before her smileless face, o’er which there shone
Some secret glory, as a bright sun

That was for her alone. The mother stood
Within her door, and as the gown of grey
Fluttered about and the coarse white hood
Flashed from the oak-shade in the sunny day,
She muttered after her; “Ah, go thy way
If thou wert set high up as thou art low,
Thy poisonous heart then should we feel enow.”

But heeding little of the heart of these
She went upon her way, and going fast
She left the tilled fields and the cottages,
For toward the mountain-slopes the highway passed,
And turned unto the south, and ‘gan at last
To mount aloft ‘twixt grassy slopes set o’er
With red-trunked pines, and mossy rocks and hoar.

Still fast she went, although the sun was high grown,
For on strange thoughts and wild her heart was set;
The things that lay in the bosom of her gown
Seemed teaching hopes she would not soon forget;
She clenched her hands her heart beat quicker yet,
On she went—So small, so quickly done,
She cried, “O idle life beneath the sun!

“And here amid these fields and mountains grey,
Drop after drop it ebbs from me
And leaves no new thing gained where day like to day,
Face like to face, as waves in some calm sea!
With memory of our sad mortality
Pipes the dull tune of earth, nought comes anigh
To give us some bright dream before we die.

“What say’st thou—‘Beautiful thou art and livest,
And men there are, fair young and strong enow,
To take with thankful hearts e’en what thou givest;
Love and be loved then!’—Nay, heart, dost thou know
How through thin flame of love thou still wilt show
The long grey road with mocking images,
Ready to trap me if I think of these?

“Ah, love they say, and love! Shall not fade
And turn a prison, too barred with vain regret
And vain remorse that we so lightly weighed
The woes midst which our stumbling feet were set,
Stifling with thoughts we never can forget;
Because life waneth, while we strive to turn
And seek another thing for which to yearn?

“So deem I of the life that holds me here,
As though I were the shade of one long dead,
Come back a while from Pluto’s region drear
Unto the land where unremembered
My fathers are—Lo, now, these words just said,
This mossy grass my feet are passing o’er,
That grey-winged dove—has it not been before?

“Would then that I were gone, and lived again
Another life; —if it must still be so,
That life on life passes, forgotten, vain
To still our longings, that no soul can know
By what has been how this and this shall go—
Because methinks I yet have heard men tell
How lives there were wherein great things befell.

“And mid such life might I forget the past,
Nor think about the future! but be glad
While round my head a dreamy veil I cast,
I seemed to strive midst seeming good or bad;
Till at the last some dream I might have had
That I was nigh a God I o’er the earth to be
Who dying, yet should keep all memory;

“Of what I was, nor change my hope and fear
All utterly, to know why I was born,
Nor come to loathe what once to me was dear,
Now dwell amidst a world of ghosts forlorn,
Nor see kind eyes, and hear kind words, with scorn
—But now, O hills, and fields abodes of men,
Why are ye fair to mock my longings then?”

With these words panting she turned, and stood
High up upon the hillside; and a fitful wind
Sung mournful ditties through a pine-tree wood
That edged the borders of the pass behind,
And made most fitting music to her mind,
But bright and hot the day of June did grow,
And a fair picture spread out down below.

The green hill-slopes, besprinkled o’er with kine,
And a grey neat-herd wandering here and there,
And then the greener squares of well-propped vine,
The changing cornfields, and the homesteads fair,
The white road winding on, that still did bear
Specks as of men and horses; the grey sea
Meeting the dim horizon dreamily.

A little while she gazed, then, with a sigh,
She turned, and went on toward the pass,
But slowly now, and somewhat wearily,
And murmuring as she met the coarser grass
Within the shade: “What, something moved I was,
By hope, and pity of myself! Well then,
I shall not have that joy oft again.”

So with bent head betwixt rocky wall and wall,
Slowly she went, and scarce knew what she thought,
So many a picture on her heart did fall,
Nor would she let one wish to her be brought
Of good or better. Going so, distraught,
The long rough road was nothing to her feet,
Nor took she heed of aught her eyes might meet.

Amid these thoughts intent at last she came,
To where the road ‘gan drop to the other vale,
And started for she heard one call her name
And to her mind came thought of many a tale
Of gods who brought to mortals joy or bale,
For so, despite herself, her thoughts would run,
That all her joy of life was not yet done.

But from the hillside came a dappled hound
That fawned upon her e’en as one he knew,
And when she raised her eyes, and looked around,
She saw the man indeed he ‘longed unto,
A huntsman armed, and clad in gown of blue,
Come clattering down the stones of the rock-side;
So, therewithal his coming did she bide.

With something like a smile not all of bliss,
For this was he of whom her mother spake,
The high-priest’s son, who fain had made her his;
For at the sight of him her heart did ache
With hapless thoughts, and shame and scorn ‘gan wake
Within her that she still would strive to lull,
As how she called her cursed and beautiful.

So, while she gathered heart of grace to meet
The few words they might speak together there,
He was beside her; slim he was and fleet,
Well knit with dark-brown eyes and crisp black hair,
Eager of aspect, round-chinned, fresh, and fair,
And well attired as for that simple folk
Who in those days might bear no great man’s yoke.

Now his lip trembled, and he blushed blood-red,
Then turned all pale again. “O Rhodope,
Right fair afoot thou goest this morn,” he said;
“Hast thou some errand with my sire or me?”
But therewithal, as if unconsciously
He stretched out his right hand
But unto the maid’s like an image steady did she stand,

But that her gown was fluttering in the wind
That came up from the pass. She spake as one
That hath no care at heart: “I thought to find
Thy father, and to give to him alone
My father’s message; what then, is he gone?”
He seemed to swallow something in his throat:
“These two nights, maiden, has he been afloat,

“Watching the tunnies; if thou turnest again
Thou well mayst meet him coming from the sea.”
“Nay,” said she, “neither wholly shall be vain
My coming here because I have with me
Small offerings to meet to the divinity
From such as us, my mother bid me bear
To bless this midmost month of the glad year.”

“In a good hour,” he said, “for have I done
Little against the beasts whereof to tell,
So I will go with thee; and till the sun
Is getting low, in hour house shalt thou dwell,
And in the evening, if it likes thee well,
With helmet on the head, and well-strung bow,
Beside thee to thine own home will I go.”

Nought spake she for a while, and his heart beat
Quicker for thought of some short happiness;
But at the last her eyes his eyes did meet.
She said, “Few hearts this heart of mine will bless,
And yet for thee will I do nothing less
Than save thee from the anguish of the strife
Wherewith thou fain wouldst make my life thy life.

“Thou art unhappy now, but we may part,
And to us both is left long lapse of time
To gain new bliss—What wouldst thou? To my heart
Cold now and alien are this folk and clime,
And while I dwell with them no woe or crime,
If so I may, shall stain my garments’ hem;
Thou art an image like the rest of them;

“Yea, but an image unto me alone,
For unto thee this world is wide enow,
Full of warm hearts enow—so get thee gone
Upon thy way. I am not fallen so low
As unto thee dreams of false love to show,
Or for my very heart’s own weariness
To give thee clinging life-long sharp distress.

“Now fain I would unto the temple-stead;
And, if thou mayst, do thou go otherwhere,
For good it were that all thy hopes were dead,
Since nought but bitter fruit they now can bear.”
He looked a while at her as one who doth not hear,
Or hears an outland tongue not understood;
And such a passion stung his troubled blood

That she belike was nigher unto death
Than she might know; yet did he turn at last
And, clutching tight his short-sword’s gold-wrought sheath,
Slowly along the seaward way he passed,
Now backward at her any look he cast,
For fate would not that his blind eyes should see
And it he had he had not seen may be
How on the hard way tears fell plenteously.

But not long did she stand but set her face
Unto the downward road, and had not fared
A many yards from that their meeting-place,
Before upon the wind a sound she heard,
As though some poor wretch a great sorrow bared
Before the eyes of heaven, and then her feet
With quicker steps the stony way did meet.

And then she said: “O fate, all left behind,
I follow thee upon the bitter road
With weary feet, and heavy eyes and blind,
That leadeth to thy far unknown abode;
No need, then with these things my flesh to goad,
Keep them for those that strive with thee in vain,
And leave me to my constant weary pain.”

Now the pass, widening, to her eyes did show
The little vale hemmed in by hills around,
Wherein was Jove’s house rising great enow,
Some two miles thence, upon a rising ground,
And with fair fields as a green girdle bound,
And guarded well by long low houses white,
All orchards for fruit, and gardens for delight.

Far off, like little spots of white, she saw
The long-winged wheeling pigeons glittering
Above the roofs, the noise of rook and daw
Came sweet upon the wind from the dark ring
Of elms that hedged the cornfields; with wide wing
The fork-tailed restless kite sailed over her,
Hushing the twittering woods larks crouched anear.

She stayed now, gazing downward; at her feet
A dark wood clas the hollow of the hill,
And its green edge a little lake did meet,
Whose waters smooth a babbling stream did still,
And toward the temple-stead stretched on, until
Green meads with oak trees set ‘gan hem it in,
And from its nether end the stream did win

She gazed and saw not, heard and did not hear,
She said: “Once more have I been vehement,
Have spoken out, as if I knew from where
Come good and ill, and whether they are sent,
As though I knew whereon I was intent;
So, knowing what I know not, e’en as these
Who think themselves as Gods and Goddesses

“To know both good and evil must I do.
Yet again in this wise shall it be
While here I dwell, nor shall false hope shine through
My prison bars, false passion jeer at me
With what might hap with I were changed and free;
The end shall come at last, and find me here,
Desiring nought, and free from any fear.”

So saying, but with face cleared not yet at all,
Rather with trembling lips, upon her way
Once more she went; shorter did shadows fall,
It grew unto the hottest of the day,
And round the mountains did the sky wax grey,
For cloudlessness June’s sceptre o’er the earth,
If rest it gave, kept back some little mirth.

At last upon the bridge the stream that crossed
Just ere it met the lake she set her feet,
And walked on swiftly, e’en as one clean lost
In thought, till at the end her knee did meet
A bough briar-rose, whose blossoms sweet
Were dragging in the rose; she stooped thereto
And patiently the hooked green thorns she drew.

From out her garments hem and cast aside
The dusty bough then from the dusty road
She turned, and o’er the parapet she eyed
The broad blue lake, the basking pike’s abode,
And the dark oakwood where the pigeons cooed;
Amid the deepest shade some stroke of bliss
Came over her amidst her weariness.

Drowsy she felt, and weary with the way,
And so wearied that it brought no pain,
She drew her arms from off the coping grey,
And o’er the bridge went slowly back again,
As though no whit of purpose did remain
Within her mind; but when the other end
She came unto she turned and ‘gan to wend.

Along the streams side till it widened out
Into the breezy lake, and even there
The wood began so then she turned about,
And shading her grave eyes with fingers fair,
Beneath the sun beheld the temple glare
O’er the far tree-tops; then she cast her down
Within the shade on last year’s oak-leaves brown.

There as she lay, at last her fingers stole
Unto the things that in her bosom lay,
And drew it forth and slowly ‘gan unroll
The silken cloth, until a wandering ray
Upon the shoe’s bright ‘broideries ‘gan play
Through the thick and with a flickering smile
She ‘gan her mind with stories to beguile.

Pondering for whom those dainty things were wrought,
And in what land; and in what wondrous wise
She missed the gift of them; and what things brought
The pirates to their land—until her eyes
Fell on her own gear wrought in homely guise,
And with a half smile she let fall the gold
And clustered gems her slim brown hand did hold.

And there she lay and looked at the sky
Between the leaves awhile growing drowsier,
So still that the grey rabbit hobbled by,
And the slim squirrel twisted over her
As one to heed not; as if none were near
The woodpecker slipped up the smooth-barked tree,
The water-hen clucked nigh her fearlessly.

But in a while she woke, and still
Felt as if dreaming, all seemed far away
But present rest, both hope and fear and ill;
The sun was past the middle of the day,
But bathed in flood of light the still world lay,
And all was quiet, but for faint sounds made
By the wood-creatures wild and unafraid.

From out her grip some poor coarse food she drew,
And ate with dainty mouth, then o’er the strip
Of dazzling sunlight where the daisies grew
Upon the bubbling streamlet’s grassy lip
She went, with shaded eyes and there did dip
Her hollow hand into the water grey
And drank, and to the shade back took her way.

There ‘neath the tree-bole lay the dainty shoes,
And over them she stood awhile and gazed,
Then stooped adown as one who might not choose;
And from the grass one by the latchet raised,
And with the eyes of one by slumber dazed
Did off her own foot-great, and one by one
Did the bright things her shapely feet upon.

Then to the thick wood slowly did she turn,
And through its cool shade wandered till once more
Thinner it grew and spots of sunlight did burn
Upon her jewelled feet, till they lay before
Her upraised eyes a bay with sandy shore;
And ‘twixt the waves and the birds abiding
There lay a treeless, sunlit, grassy space.

Friendly the sun, the bright flowers, and the grass
Seemed now once more smiling with upraised gown
Slowly unto the water did she pass,
And on the grassy edge she sat her down;
Once more and quickly latter hours had flown
And less the sun burned there awhile she lay
Watching a little breeze sweep up the bay.

Shallow it was, a shore of hard white sand
Met the green herbage, and as clear as glass
The water rippled over it that dainty strand
Until it well-nigh touched the flowery grass;
A dainty bath for weary limbs it was,
And so our maiden thought belike, for she
‘Gan put away her raiment languidly.

Until at last form our her poor array,
Lovely and white she rose e’en as that other One
Rose up from out the ragged billows grey,
For earth’s dull days and heavy to atone;
And like another sun her gold hair shone;
So stood she still awhile thin stooped and raised
The glittering shoes, and on them long she gazed,

As on strange stars that thus had brought her there,
Then cast them by, so that apart they fell,
And in the sunlight glittering lay and fair,
Like the elves’ flowers hard and lacking smell;
Then to the grass she stooped, and bud and bell
Of the June’s children gat into her hand,
And therewith went adown the little strand

And let the little waves wash o’er her feet
Before she tried the deep, then toward the wide,
Sun-litten space she turned, and ‘gan to meet
The freshness of the water cool, and sighed
For pleasure as the little rippling tide
Lapped her about, and slow she wandered on
Till many a yard from shore she now had won.

Then, as she played, she heard a bird’s harsh cry,
And turning to the hill-side could she see
A broad-winged eagle hovering anigh,
And long she watched him sweeping wings and free
Dark ‘gainst the sky, then turned round leisurely
Unto the bank, and saw a bright red ray
Shoot from a great gem on the pirates prey.

Then slowly through the water did she move,
Down on the changing ripple gazing still,
With face unto the changing ripple cast
As loth to leave it, then once more above
Her golden head there rang the erne’s voice shrill,
Grown nigher now; she turned unto the hill,
And saw him not, and once again her eyes
Fell on the strange shoes’ wondrous ‘broideries.

And even therewithal a noise of wings
Flapping, and close at hand—again the cry,
And then the glitter of those dainty things
Faded as the huge bird fell suddenly,
And rose again, ere Rhodope could try
To cry of him for now might she behold
Within his claws the gleam of gems and gold.

Awhile she looked at him as, circling wide,
He soared aloft, and still for awhile could see
The gold shoe glitter, till the wooded side
Of the green mountain hid him presently,
And she ‘gan laugh that such a thing could be
So wrought by fate, for little did she fear
The lack of wealth, and hard and pinching cheer

But when she was aland again and clad,
And turned back through the wood, a sudden thought
Shot through her heart, and made her somewhat glad;
“Small things,” she said, her feet there to had brought:
“Perchance this strange thing would not be for nought.”
And therewithal stories she ‘gan to tell
Unto her heart of how such things befell,

In olden days and yet might be again.
She stopped and her balmy bosom took the shoe
Yet left, and turned it o’er and o’er in vain,
To see if she therein saw aught of new
To tell her what all meant; and thus she drew
Unto the wood’s edge, and once more sat down
Upon the fresh grass and the oak-leaves brown.

And so beneath the quickly sinking sun
She took to her foot-gear cast aside,
And, scarce beholding them, she did them on;
And while the pie from out the ash tree cried
Over her head, arose and slowly hied
Unto the road again, and backward turned
Up to the pass and red behind her burned

The sunless sky, and scarce awake she seemed,
As ‘gainst the hill she toiled, and when at last
Beneath the moon far off the grey sea gleamed,
When now the rugged mountain road was passed,
Back from her eyes the wandering locks she cast,
And o’er her cheeks the warm tears ran as she
Told herself tales of what she yet might be.

But cold awakening had she when she came
Unto the half-deserted homestead gate,
And needs must turn herself to take the blame
That from her mother did her deed await,
Without a slaves half frightened frown at fate;
Must harden yet her heart once more to face
Her father’s wondering sigh at his hard case.

So when within the dimly-lighted hall
Her mother’s wrath brake out when she did hear
Her story and her father’s knife did fall
Clattering thereat, then seemed all life so drear,
Hapless and loveless, and so hard to bear,
So little worth the bearing, that a pang
Of very hate from out her heart up-sprang.

 With cold eyes, but a smile on her red lips,
She watched them; how her father stooped again
And took his knife up and once more the chips
Flew from the bowl half finished, but in vain,
Because he saw it not; she watched the pattering rain
Fall from her mother’s eyes as she bewailed
How all the joy in her one child had failed.

But when her mother’s words to sobs were turned
Her father rose and took her hands in his,
And then, with sunken eyes for love that yearned,
He said, “The years change sure somewhat of bliss
Awaits thee and enough for me it is;
Trouble and hunger shall not chase me long,
The walls of one abiding-place are strong;

“And thither now I go apace, my child.”
Askance she looked at him with steady eyes,
But when saw that midst his words he smiled
With trembling lips, then in her heart ‘gan rise
Strange thoughts that troubled her like memories
And changed her face; she drew her hands from him,
And yet before her eyes his face waxed dim.

Then down the old man sat, and now began
To talk of how their life was and their needs,
In cheerful strain; and, even as a man,
Unbeaten yet by fortune’s spiteful deeds,
Spoke of the troublous twisted way that leads
To peace and happiness, till to a smile
The goodwife’s tearful face he did beguile.

So slipped the night away, and the June sun
Rose the next morn as though no woe there were
Upon the earth, and never any one
Was blind with woe or bent with useless care;
But small content was in that homestead there,
Despite the bright-eyed June, for unto two
Life seemed to hold too much for men to do

And to the third, empty of deeds it seemed,
A dragging dullness changed by here a pain
And there a hope, waking or sleeping dreamed,
And still dreamed in vain;
For how could anything be loss or gain
When still the order of the world went round,
Unchanging while the wall of death did bound?

The foolish struggles of the sons of men
So said she oft nevertheless her heart
With changing thoughts that rose and fell
Full oft would beat when as she sat apart,
And to her white brow would the red blood start,
And she would rise, nor know whereon she trod,
And forth she walked as one who walks with God.

Oftener belike that dull and heavy mood
Oppressed her, and when any folk were anigh,
Little she spake, either of bad or good,
Nor would she heed the folk that were thereby
And not so much as to look scornfully;
Unless perchance her father came anear,
Then would she strive her set hard face to clear.

And he answered not with any smile
Unto her softening eyes, yet when he went
About his labour, now would so beguile
His heart with thought of her, that right content
He ‘gan to fell with what the Gods had sent;
The little flame of love his heart that warmed
Hard things and till to part of pleasure charmed

Withal his worldly things went not so ill
As for a luckless man; the bounteous year
More than before his barn and vats did fill
With the earth’s fruit, and bettered was his cheer,
So that he watched the winter draw anear
Calmly this tide, and deemed he yet might live,
Some joy unto his daughter’s heart to give.

But for the one shoe that the erne had left,
The goodwife’s word was, “Take the cursed thing,
And when the gems form out of it all are reft,
Into the fire the weaver’s rag go fling;
Would in like wise the fond desires, that cling
To Rhodope’s proud heart we so might burn,
That unto nought to do us good will turn!

“I think some poison with a double curse
Has smitten her, and double wilfulness,
For surely now she groweth worse and worse,
Since the bright rag her wayworn foot did press—
Well then—and surely thou wilt do no less
Than as I bid—a many things we need,
More than this waif of that most useless weed.”

With querulous voice she spake, because she saw
Her husband look at Rhodope as she
With slender fingers did the grey thread draw
From out the rock, and sitting quietly
Seemed heeding not what talking there might be;
And for the goodman’s self he answered not,
Until at last the goodwife’s waxing hot,

Laid word to word and at the last began
To say, “Alas, and wherefore was I wed
To such an one as is a foredoomed man?
Lo, all this grief hast thou brought on my head,
Wander about and dream as do the dead
When to the shadowy land they first are brought!
Surely thou knowest that we lack for nought!”

Then blind with rage form out the place she went,
But still the goodman stood awhile, and gazed
At Rhodope, who sat as if intent
Upon her work, nor once her fair head raised.
At last he spake: “Well, never was I praised
For wisdom overmuch before this day,
And can I now be certain of the way?

“True is it that our needs are many and sore,
And that those gems would help us plenteously,
Yet do I grudge now more than heretofore
The very last of that strange gift to see.
What sayst thou, how dost thou counsel me,
O daughter? didst thou ever hear folk tell
How strange a dream before thy birth fell?”

Blood-red her face was as she looked on him,
And with her foot the twirling spindle stayed.
“Yea,” said she, “something have I heard, but dim
Its memory is, and little have I weighed
The worth of it.” The old man smiled and said,
“Nay, child, as little wise as I may be,
Yet know I that thou liest certainly.

“So little need there is to tell the tale,
Or ask thee more what thou wouldst have me do;
Have thou thy will, for fate will still prevail,
Though we may deem we lead her thereunto
Where lies our good—Daughter, keep thou the shoe,
And let the wise men with their wisdom play,
While we go dream about a happier day.”

While he spoken had she laid adown
The rock, and risen to her feet, and now
Upon her bosom lay his visage brown,
As round his neck her fair arms did she throw;
Softly she said, “Somewhat thy need I know,
Remember this whatever happeneth,
Let it make sweet the space ‘twixt this and death!

“Hard is the world; I, loved ere I was born,
This once alone perchance thy heart shall feel,
And thou shalt go about, of love forlorn,
And little move my heart of stone and steel:
Ah, if another life our life might heal,
And love become no more the sport of time,
Chained upon either hand to pain and crime!”

A little time she hung about him thus,
And then her arms from round his neck unwound,
And went her ways; his mouth grew piteous
When he had lost her fluttering gown’s light sound,
And fast his tears ‘gan fall upon the ground.
At last he turned: “So is now,” he said,
“With me as with a man soon to be dead.

“Wise is all at once, and knows not why,
And brave who erst was timorous; fair of speech,
Whose tongue once stammered with uncertainty,
Because his soul to the dark land doth reach.
And is it so that love to me doth teach
New things, because he needs must get him gone,
And leave me with his memories all alone?”

But the year passed, as has been writ afore,
With better hopes; the pinching winter-tide
Went past and spring his tender longings bore
Into all hearts, and scattered troubles wide,
Nor yet to see the fruit of them would bide,
But left the burning summer next to deal
With hearts of men, and hope from them to steal.

But now before the June was getting old
When how the year had just come round again
Unto the time when those things happed whereof the tale first told
Was Rhodope upon a spot of ground
That the brown seasand on one side did bound
Shepherding sheep and sat within the shade
That a small clump of wind worn beeches made

Morn was it when she sat her down therein
And turning round beheld across the sea
Betwixt the lower beech boughs stout and thin
A speck that seemed some distant argosy
But little did she note what it might be
But ere the sun was high walked here and there
About the down the long-foot larks to hear

But when the sun right high began to flame
And drank up all the coolness
Within the little hollows back she came
Unto the beech ring and thought there to bide
Till noon was past, so lying on her side
Turned landward now she played in aimless wise
With the blue speedwell underneath her eyes

Amid strange thoughts she was, but as she lay
Thinking of this and that all suddenly
Did she bethink her of that last years lay
When that strange nap befel and therewith
Sprang up and turned about unto the sea.
And in the bosom of her gown of grey
Felt for the shoe she yet knew was away

But far away across the sea she saw
The bright sun shine upon a swelling sail
That certes nigher to the land ‘gan draw
She stared thereon till ‘gan her eyes to fail
Thinking the while I know not of what tale
And then at last she turned away her face
And toward the homestead went at a slow pace

Nor looked to right or left but ever gazed
Upon the ground and quicker ‘gan to go
And ran as one who hath a thing to do
In needs must be done and little space thereto
And so in short space reached the homestead door
Nor made delay but o’er the cool dark floor

Went swiftly till her sleeping place she gained
And there she knelt before a little chest
And raised its lid with bright vermillion stained
And drew from out its hidden place of rest
The pirates gift, and set it in her breast
And then went back as swiftly as she came
Nor answered though a maid called out her name.

None else she saw and through her wooly sheep
Panting she past and cast her eyes adown
As slowly now her feet toiled up the steep
The ring of beech trees with its shade did crown
But when at last her quivering limbs were thrown
Down in the grey shade panting she turned at last
And o’er the grey sea a quick glance she cast

There she beheld the ship now drawn so nigh
She saw upon the sail a sun of gold
And glittering points about the masthead high
And flashing oars and soon she might behold
A long red banner its light length unfold
And rim adown the wind, and that thereon
A silver moon was wrought a golden sun

And now at last when it was fully noon
And she at last the shipman’s shouts might hear
She saw the great sails flap and therewith soon
Could note the cable through the house hole tear
As down the anchor raw and with some gear
The shipman busy; then with sail and oar
A barge the big ship left and made for shore

Straight toward the downstop did shipmate she stood
And watched then, till the headland hid them quite
And many a thought was stirring in her blood
And now she flushed and now she turned all white
And at the last with something like a fright
She started when she saw their company
At the downs foot come upward from the sea.

Never she deemed had she yet seen so much
Of gold or bright things as the sun showed then
First went she thought a band of armed men such
As she had not seen yet then gold clad men
White bearded as she deemed and then again
Talk clad in steel, and one of them did bear
A banner with the same device wrought clear

That still form the great ships mast floated out
Then came a band of men that burdens bore
She knew not what; and as if in doubt
They stayed and looked and up and down the shore
They gazed, and as they searched the grey down o’er
Set eyes on her belike and thereon one
Toward where she stood came glittering in the sun

Small fear she had of who these folk might be
For little war that simple people knew
And these were few and she withal could see
How now her own folk form the village drew
And so the messenger she went unto
With steady face yet in her heart she thought
That some strange thing those men had thither brought

So when they met in the Greek tongue he said,
“Damsel, come thou unto our company
And see our lords and be thou not afraid
For kindly are they e’en as they are high
And they would know what town they came anigh
And on a certain message are they sent
Here as elsewhere to tell the King’s intent.”

She smiled and said to him, “Not overmuch
We know these name ye tell of King or lord,
Nor my heart have fear of any such.
Yea, I will go,” and with that last word
Lightly she stepped on by his rattling sword
And as she turned upon that folk to gaze
She saw them speedily a rich tent raise

Upon the sun burnt down but when she came
Before the lords, who waited there till all
Was done thereat and told about the house
Their country had so grand she was and tall
With such a grace the words from her did fall
That man eyed man and knew—as though to say
Below his breath: and is this an earthly maid?

And as they stood there talking one by one
Came up the landsmen this man driving there
E’en as who bore ripe fruits all warm with sun
While that a wineskin on his back did bear
And this a jar of milk. Well knit they were
And some were gay attired yet did she seem
To be amidst them as from some strange dream

Now was the fair but pitched and there beside
Staff stuck in the earth thereby
Nor longer e’en in sun would these abide
But sat inside and round them curiously
Clustered the folk and she thrust up anigh
The elders twain by the rough ancient press
Shone all the more amidst her loveliness

There stood troubled not nor shrinking aught
One hand upon her bosom and the shoe
The other in her kirtles grey folds caught
She waited what they yet might chance to do.
Then spoke and elder, “Be it known to you
Good people that in no haphazard wise
We come here, neither have me merchandise

 That we should chafter with you; the great King
Has sent us forth to many lands and great
To see if any of a certain thing
Can give true tidings, and some turn of fate
In this your simple land may us await
So here we come at last—how say ye then
Here will bide among you country men

While is shown to all the dwellers here
Either set forth within your market-place
Or in some temple that ye hold so dear
That all folk go thereto—to greet their grace
Of the great gods”—a smile was on his face
Of mockery as he laid his hand upon
A casket wrought o’er with a golden sun

He raised the lid and now must Rhodope
Turn pale at last for in his wrinkled hand
The fellow of the fair thing did she see
That lay upon the wonder of the land
Her fragrant breast, but half unwittingly
She drew her hand forth, and e’en like a dream
To those seafarers all things grew to seem

Silence there was a while then did out break
A great cry from them and all eyes grew bright
And faces joyous for her beauty’s sake
But as a man who needs must do aright
The elder said, “Fair maid, a wondrous sight
Thou showest us how comest thou by this
Thine hand had its how the other didst thou miss”—

Somewhat askance she looked to see if there
Her father was and saw him not and then
Told the whole tale as it happed to her
Then spake the second of those gold clad men—
“Good hap and to the great gods many a ten
Of perfect beasts here let us sacrifice
That they have dealt with us in such an wise

“For do not ye folk serve her as a queen
And worthy art thou all good things to gain
Now nigh a year it is since our great King
Did sacrifice upon the sacred plain
But as the priests stood round the holy thing
There came a great erne circling with wide wing
Above our heads, who at the last made stay
Above the altar where the victim lay

“Strange all men deemed that omen and kept peace
And yet awhile the eagle hovered there
And in a while our wonder did increase
For with a cry he dropped this sandal fair
Then turned and flew off northward through the air
E’en as a messenger his message done
Truly and well, then wondered everyone

“Then spake the King who young is and unwed
Unto the priest so part and that day he
Gave out that none but her should share his bed
Those feet had pressed that sandal daintily
And forth we went thereon through many a sea
And heard no news thereof till this same day
Nor seen in all the lands so fair a May

“All hail to thou when we saw the first
In this rough raiment sure to all seen here
Thou seemedest more to be a Goddess cursed
By some hard fate, than one who death may fear
Yea such thou mayst be yet, unmoved and clear
Thy face is midst the tidings that we tell
As though thou heldst the keys of Heaven and hell—

What till thou command us that we stay
And with thy country-people hold high fest
For certain days or go on this this same day
For all are thine thou sees there most or least.
Before the burning of the sun hath ceased
And certes thou art worthier of this
Than any maid that on the earth there is.”

A proud light lit her face as now she said,
“Strange things to me O great lords do ye say
Who in this land am but a labouring maid
Yet if ye mock me not I will not stay
Long in this land but rather go today
For king this people is and true of heart
Rather with you is meeted out my part

“Yet are there two things here I may not leave
My father and my mother, bide ye here
And they from me these tidings shall receive
For sight of you perchance might give them fear
Moreover if your ship holds aught of dear
Or things far fetched, give gifts with your might
Unto the folk that something of delight

“May hang round my departing,” then she turned
And her own folk now hasted to give place
For her in her eyes so great a glory burned
And in her limbs was set now such a grace
That fear fell on them—then she set her face
Unto the homestead and there found her sire
Driving the red mitch kine unto the byre.

He turned and stared upon her glittering eyes
And queen like mien, and ‘gan to speak, but she
Cried out, “The Gods at last may call us wise,
For great days have they given to thee and me,
Things stranger than these green meadows shall we see,
And thou shalt wonder that thou e’er didst keep
These kine, as Phoebus erst Apollo’s sheep!”

Then did she pour the whole tale our on him;
Eager at first, but faltered to behold
How he fell trembling in his every limb;
And midst her triumph did her heart ware cold,
And her brow knitted ‘neath her hair of gold.
“Alas,” she said, when all the tale was done,
“Why go we thus alone beneath the sun?”

He noted her changed face and said at last,
Faintly, “Alas, my dream then cometh true
And if thou wilt not that the past be past
Then even now thy bidding will I do
And yet bethink thee where thou comest to
And that thy life beginneth now but I
Am old and unchanged still shall sit anigh

“Amidst thy glory as a thing just saved
From the old life that thou hast cast away.”
Her brow grew smooth, and her fair hand she waved
As one who biddeth silence—“On this day,”
She said, “do we begin this new made play
And fortune makes amends give farewell then
To these abodes of poor unchanging men.”

He lingered yet and with a yearning glance
At her flushed face he said—“Daughter, we twain
Have talked of this thing oft and now perchance
Thou jestest with me” —then she said again,
Laughing, “O father, thou hast prayed in vain
For change of fate, it comes thou knowest not.”

“Well then be merry, and nought ill it is
The merry would that lies before us now
Time was indeed when scarce and thought of bliss
And cried against all things that life could show
Grown old but now methinks I grow
Wise in the midst of fools and happier
That I shall see great joy great woe anear.”

Her eyes flashed as she spoke, languor was gone
From her lithe limbs a little while he stood
And gazed on her as one some glorious gone
New fallen from Heaven then muttered, “Ah, how good
To take all present joy in no vain mood
Of longing for the days that will not be
Or come to pass and bring but misery.”

 Then to the house he turned and she left there
Wandered in restless wise form place to place
And midst her joy the shadow of a care
Was on her heart, and made her bright flushed face
Hard yet amid its beauty and its grace
She had not thought a little while ago
That such a change would work within her so.

And well nigh did her heart her joy despise
That yet was joy indeed and a hard smile
She smiled to think that she the cold and wise
No more could think the worlds life cursed and vile
Now fortune did her heart with toys beguile
That she no more might think of death or woe
But as vain words whose meaning none might know.

And now mid this from out the house there came
Her father and her mother, and she gazed
Upon the twain with something like to shame,
As she beheld how timid eyes and mazed
The goodwife to her haughty brow now raised,
And how with patient mien her father went,
On all her motions lovingly intent.

Then to the strangers hut passed on three,
And though her grey gown only covered her,
Her mother bore some shreds of bravery
And clad her father was in scarlet gear,
Worn now and wretched, that he once did bear
When long ago at his rich board he sat,
And all that land’s best cheer the glad guests gat.

So through the wondering groups of folk they passed
And on them still she turned with smiling face
Noting then not till a loud trumpet blast
As they drew near the lords abiding place
Where a gold chamberlain with golden mace
Marshalled the folk, and then in entering voice

“Good seems to me that we should go straightway;
For if a dream this then would I feel
E’en in my dream the dashing of the spray,
Before I wake and hear the rolling oars
And ere the nightfall see the lessening shore
From the dreamed dromond’s deck—so pass we on,
If even so far as this my dream hath won.”

Then said they: “All is ready in due wise,
E’en as thou biddest warped the ship has been
Unto the rude piershead and sacrifice
Hath there been done, and good gifts given have been
To this land’s folk: but as wife as queen
Wilt thou not be attired; that we
May show thy beauty meetly to the sea?”

“Nay,” said she, “rather in this lowly guise of mine
Let your king first behold me standing there
That his heart may more incline
Towards me if he note me strange and fair,
Grown up a queen, with no peoples care
For what I should be. So make no delay,
The sun looks low upon the watery way.”

So did they as she bode and left their tent
A gift unto the Gods by her command
Then from the short grass of the down they went
And soon let foot upon the shingly sand
A smooth wind blew from the fertile land
And with its scents so many a memory brought
That her face softened ‘neath the touch of thought

            In her slim hand her father’s hand she took,
Her red lips trembled, and her great eyes were wet
With tears that fell not; but the old man shook
As one who sees death anear withal she set
Hand upon him and said, “Long years yet,
Thy loving eyes these eyes shalt thou behold
Among the glimmer of fair things and gold.”

But nought he answered, and came full soon
To where the gangway lay from out the ship
On the rough pier; white yet was the moon,
And the sun’s rim nigh in the sea did dip,
And thrice from the sky touched the seas lip,
Ran a great road of gold across the sea,
Where played the unquiet waves impatiently.

Now was her foot upon the gangway plank;
Now over the green depths and the oars blood-red
Fluttered her gown, and form the low green bank
Above the sea a cry came, as her head
Shone golden in the rays round it shed
And on the deck her feet were then past o’er
Her mother[land but?] she look[ed?] not back more

But with one hand held back as if to take
Her father’s hand, she went unto the prow;
And there she stood, and watched the billows break,
And noted not when men the ropes did throw,
And scarce knew when the beak began to flow
The unfruitful plain nor turned, till, cold and grey,
And darkling fast, the waste before her lay.

And then she turned aside and thought to see
The old folk by her, and beheld indeed
Her mother silent mid the bravery
Of gold clad folk, sad as though in need
Of one that she durst speak to—“Good folk lead
My father here,” she said, “for I would gaze
With him upon the home of other days.”

Then one looked on the other till a lord
Stood forth and spake, “Lady and queen
It was the wise old man they fathers word
That he in many a word with thee had been
And that he fain was of his meadows green
And trim white homestead nor would try the sea
And this we deemed had well seemed good to still

“For in fair words he spake but give command
And swiftly will we get us back again
And in some hour or twain will reach the land
Although the landward freshens.” A great pain
Shot through her heart the bright moon seemed to wain
Before her eyes somewhat she raised
And her mouth opened while her mother mazed

“Forgot to weep”—thus spake she—“So be it
E’en as it is why should I strive with change,
That heedeth not the Gods’ will a very white
And in no otherwise might all be strange.”
Therewith she turned, and with hard eyes unseeing eyes did range
Wide o’er the tumbling waste of waters grey,
As swift the black ship went upon her way.