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And I was left alone within the bower;
And from that time to this I am alone,
And I shall be alone until I die.

"Yet, mother Ida, harken ere I die. Fairest—why fairest wife? am I not fair? My love hath told me so a thousand times. Methinks I must be fair, for yesterday, When I past by, a wild and wanton pard, Eyed like the evening star, with playful tail Crouched fawning in the weed. Most loving is she? Ah me, my mountain shepherd, that my arms Were wound about thee, and my hot lips pressed Close, close to thine in that quick-falling dew Of fruitful kisses, thick as autumn rains Flash in the pools of whirling Simois!

“O mother, hear me yet before I die. They came, they cut away my tallest pines, My tall dark pines, that plumed the craggy ledge High over the blue gorge, and all between The snowy peak and snow-white cataract Fostered the callow eaglet from beneath Whose thick mysterious boughs in the dark morn The panther's roar came muffled, while I sat Low in the valley. Never, never more Shall lone Enone see the morning mist Sweep thro' them; never see them overlaid With narrow moonlit slips of silver cloud, Between the loud stream and the trembling stars.

“O mother, hear me yet before I die. I wish that somewhere in the ruined folds, Among the fragments tumbled from the glens,

Or the dry thickets, I could meet with her
The Abominable, that uninvited came
Into the fair Peleïan banquet-hall,
And cast the golden fruit upon the board,
And bred this change; that I might speak my mind,
And tell her to her face how much I hate
Her presence, hated both of gods and men.

“O mother, hear me yet before I die.
Hath he not sworn his love a thousand times,
In this green valley, under this green hill,
Even on this hand, and sitting on this stone?
Sealed it with kisses? watered it with tears?
O happy tears, and how unlike to these!
O happy heaven, how canst thou see my face?
O happy earth, how canst thou bear my weight?
O death, death, death, thou ever-floating cloud,
There are enough unhappy on this earth,
Pass by the happy souls, that love to live;
I pray thee, pass before my light of life,
And shadow all my soul, that I may

die. Thou weighest heavy on the heart within, Weigh heavy on my eyelids; let me die.

“O mother, hear me yet before I die.
I will not die alone, for fiery thoughts
Do shape themselves within me, more and more,
Whereof I catch the issue, as I hear
Dead sounds at night come from the inmost hills,
Like footsteps upon wool. I dimly see
My far-off doubtful purpose, as a mother
Conjectures of the features of her child
Ere it is born. Her child!—a shudder comes

Across me: never child be born of me,
Unblest, to vex me with his father's eyes!

“O mother, hear me yet before I die.
Hear me, O earth. I will not die alone,
Lest their shrill happy laughter come to me
Walking the cold and starless road of death
Uncomforted, leaving my ancient love
With the Greek woman. I will rise and go
Down into Troy, and ere the stars come forth
Talk with the wild Cassandra, for she says
A fire dances before her, and a sound
Rings ever in her ears of armed men.
What this may be I know not, but I know
That wheresoe’er I am by night and day,
All earth and air seem only burning fire.”

Alfred Tennyson

34

IPHIGENEIA AND AGAMEMNON1

IPHIGE

PHIGENEIA, when she heard her doom

At Aulis, and when all beside the king
Had gone away, took his right hand, and said,
“O father! I am young and very happy.
I do not think the pious Calchas heard
Distinctly what the goddess spake. Old age
Obscures the senses.

If my nurse, who knew
My voice so well, sometimes misunderstood

1 The fleet that was to sail against Troy (see the introductory footnote above, p. 239) assembled at Aulis on the Bæotian coast. Here it was becalmed by the goddess Artemis, who, being wroth with Agamemnon, thus visited her anger on the Grecian chiefs. At length, divining her will, the soothsayer Calchas counseled Agamemnon to sacrifice his daughter Iphigeneia upon her altar.

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While I was resting on her knee both arms And hitting it to make her mind my words, And looking in her face, and she in mine, Might he not also hear one word amiss, Spoken from so far off, even from Olympus?” The father placed his cheek upon her head, And tears dropped down it, but the king of men Replied not. Then the maiden spake once more. "O father! sayst thou nothing? Hear’st thou not Me, whom thou ever hast, until this hour, Listened to fondly, and awakened me To hear my voice amid the voice of birds, When it was inarticulate as theirs, And the down deadened it within the nest? ” He moved her gently from him, silent still, . And this, and this alone, brought tears from her, Although she saw fate nearer: then with sighs, “I thought to have laid down my hair before Benignant Artemis, and not have dimmed Her polished altar with my virgin blood; I thought to have selected the white flowers To please the Nymphs, and to have asked of each By name, and with no sorrowful regret, Whether, since both my parents willed the change I might at Hymen's feet bend my clipped brow; And (after those who mind us girls the most) Adore our own Athena, that she would Regard me mildly with her azure eyes, But father! to see you no more, and see Your love, O father! go ere I am gone. Gently he moved her off, and drew her back, Bending his lofty head far over hers, And the dark depths of nature heaved and burst.

He turned away; not far, but silent still.
She now first shuddered; for in him, so nigh,
So long a silence seemed the approach of death,
And like it. Once again she raised her voice.
“O father! if the ships are now detained,
And all your vows move not the gods above,
When the knife strikes me there will be one prayer
The less to them: and purer can there be
Any, or more fervent than the daughter's prayer
For her dear father's safety and success?
A groan that shook him shook not his resolve. -
An aged man now entered, and without
One word, stepped slowly on, and took the wrist
Of the pale maiden. She looked

up
The fillet of the priest and calm cold eyes.
Then turned she where her parent stood, and cried,
“O father! grieve no more: the ships can sail.”

and saw

Walter Savage Landor

35

THE PARTING OF HECTOR AND

ANDROMACHE 1

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HE Trojan War is in its tenth year. A fierce

battle, with fortune favoring the Greeks, is being waged on the plains before Troy.

Hector, the son of King Priam and Hecuba, has come into the city to bid the women sacrifice to Pallas Minerva, and now, before returning to the fight, he seeks his wife and child - Andromache and Astyanax. He has come to his house, and has just learned from a woman servant that Andromacher

1 From the sixth book of the Iliad. The translation is that of Willian Cullen Bryant, and is reprinted by permission of, and by special arrange ment with, Houghton Mifflin Company, the authorized publishers.

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