By the same Author, Fcap. Suo., price 5s.
" There are elements of real poetry in this volume, which
cannot fail to insure it a favourable reception. The imagery
and diction are of a lofty order, combining much depth of
feeling with great, power of expression and refinement of
thought. Most of the passages indicate great facility of ex-
pression, and many of them much beauty and tenderness.
Mr. Ashe has certainly not mistaken his vocation, and we
unhesitatingly subscribe our testimony to the merits of his
production." St. James's Chronicle.
" He is a writer of undoubted power Read his
' Acis,' and you become instantly aware of the presence of
grandeur and classic breadth : you see that the author is a
master of imagery." Critic.
" The best of our list is a volume of poetry written by
Thomas Ashe. There is no preface to tell us who or what
the author is ; but sweet music falls from his lips sad
enough sometimes, as in ' Night.' " John Bull.
" Not to be confounded with the herd." Athenaeum.
LONDON : BELL AND DALDY, 186, FLEET STREET.
D R Y O P E ;
AND OTHER POEMS.
D R Y O P E ;
AND O T II E K POEMS.
BELL AND DALDY, 180, FLEET STREET
DRYOPE ...... Pag i
Saint Guthlac oo
vr ' * "<J
JNanna ....... c.
An Idyll of Haddon 7f >
rn V * * "
Judge Elston . lnQ
T xlL ~m " " **
JLn tne Jrlague . , , ,
rpi TT- -i - ill
The Vigil 121
The Lady Mary ..... 13,
The Myth of Prometheus i O R
A Til " 1OO
Avice Ethel . 7 - 7
The Chaffinch . .
Pall-bearing . 1KC
rp, . , fo 155
I he bisters ....... ]59
Strange, but True . 165
A T? TT ' ^"9
An livening Hymn ,,
TheUnreached . \^
With Ellen . ,1^
Elegiacs. ..'.['. }S
Heart and Life
The Ballad of Alice Bairn
A A i * - . 1 OV>
An Apology j
-Dreams ..... lf) "
Too Late . . .
The Pleiads ...'.' gOl
Speedwells .... <"r
Going Home .
A Visit .
Late Summer .
Vocation, i. .
Vocation, n. .
The Old Friend
An Adventure .
The Helpmeet, i.
The Helpmeet, n.
The Better Music.
The Better Music.
The Weddinir Morn
~\7"E who would leave your cares and worldly toil,
And seek for solace in a poet's song ;
Ye who would make the leisure minutes sweet
With sweet refrain and music like the bird's ;
Come not to me for measures high and deep,
Or world-wise saws, or sage philosophy ;
Come not to me for moral threaded fine
About the conscious words and labour'd thoughts ;
But come with simple hearts and wishes tuned
To easy pleasure of a simple lay.
Come, happy to be soothed with anything,
If only it be sweet ; no matter if
Sorrow or love, of olden days or new.
Come to me so, and keep your souls unsoiPd
With toucli of care ; take beauty as it is ;
And listen while I sing of Dryope.
Rivers and woods, rocks, trees, and sheep were
When tuneful Orpheus sang Eurydice :
But I would not disturb the peace that is,
And settled ways, and quiet of the hills ;
Nor birds nor brooks I ever would enchant
In such a mad disport to go with me ;
But human hearts, that laugh and weep as mine,
These with my singing I would charm to peace.
It fell upon a summer morn in June.
The fresh clouds sail'd in easy troop across
From Pindus' heights towards Arcadie the rich,
Upon the soft wings of a southern wind;
And in the upper region of the air,
Along the throbbing fields of amorous blue,
The fleecy mists lay like a Hock of sheep :
And all the world and summer life, that lay.
After the setting of the western star,
Asleep amid the grasses and the dew,
Awoke to day and sport and wealth and joy.
White Dian's troop already wearied out
The golden hind, hid in a hollow dell
Of (Eta, from the baying of the hounds.
And Pan was piping to a sylvan rout
Of dancing satyrs, on a dewy slope
Deep in his shadowy woods. And many a nymph,
At fountain-heads of rills, in grottoes set
With chrysolite, or on the rocky ledge
Of sea-lull'd shores, sat happy, combing slow
The wavy, long, rich tresses of her locks.
All things awoke to catch the joys, and make
A sunny summer garland of their days.
The grasshoppers on lichen-cover'd stones
Sang hour by hour; the nightingales kept quire ;
The cuckoo's echo from the hollow hill
Came mix'd with cooing of the cushat-doves ;
The whirring pheasant ever now and then
Flutter' d the green-wing' d woodpecker ; and all
Was summer bliss ; and amber-crown' d delight
Sat brooding ; with a spread of wings above
The gay, gold land ; o'er hill and dell and field,
And nymph, and lizard in the lazy morn.
And gay at heart the Hamadryads sweet,
Stealing at creeping dawn from sheltering trees,
Where they all night in leavy slumber slept,
Went revelling with happy laugh and shout
About the wooded slopes and dew-fresh dells
Of old Spercheius : on by turns and isles,
And grassy flats, and even poplar ranks ;
By goldcn-gravcll'd creeks, and prickly beds
Of wild sweet saffron-col our' d lotus fruit ;
On by the banks fringed with low lentisk thick,
Lily and arbute, aloe and saxifrage ;
Till on a sudden they were in the woods
That skirt the palace of the (Echalian king:
Where old Spercheius wanders, cool with pines,
Or elms, or olives, or shadowy plane-trees broad
With branching boughs, close interwoven with green
Of ivy and wild wine ; while all beneath
Blooms with amaracus and hyacinth,
And agnus castus, and the sacred bay.
And prying all about the gloomy groves
Of olive, in his pleasant secrecies,
Far down a labyrinth matted thick with boughs,
And trailing creepers, and the entangled arms
Of roses pale and blossom'd clematis,
They came upon a little grassy plot
Hid in the olives ; summer-fresh and green
With cherishing dews ; and rippling in the wind
That stole sometimes ; though seldom, being so fond
To dally amid the tender-wooing leaves :
A grassy, shelter'd spot, untrodden as yet
By alien feet ; with flickering shades and light
Curtaining it to a cool summer couch ;
Hid in the leaves from all eyes but the sun's ;
6 Dry ope.
Meet nursing cradle for the old king's child.
Sweet Dryope ! bright little Dry ope !
So like a rose-leaf fallen on the grass !
New, rounded, touch'd with summer tints of youth ;
Flush'd with the ruddy blood of opening life;
Suffused with soften'd colour, like a cloud
At sunset toward the zenith ! How could they
Flit on, nor stop with wonder-brightening eyes?
They, in among the shadows lingering,
With whispers quick and sudden joy, to catch
Unlock' d-for glimpse of thing so beautiful,
How should a longing strange not seize on them ?
And long they look'd, and look'd, and could not go.
And much they doubted, and could not decide.
And such a charm the little cherub thing
Had over them ; and such a merry laugh
Arid innocent glee rang up to heaven's blue dome ;
As it lay laughing at the sky, and tried
With tiny moving fingers to reach up,
And catch the skimming clouds in its young hands ;
And such keen arrows of fond love shot out
From its bright eyes and rosy-tinted lips,
And rounded freshness in the pillowing grass ;
That while the old nurse gather'd yellow figs
Just out of sight behind the trees, they stole
Like soft sunbeams, and took the child away.
They took it to a shepherdess to keep,
In old Spercheius' woods ; a little hut
Hid from the heat, hemm'd with green thickets rich ;
Built low beneath a bank of hyacinth ;
Upon a swelling knoll of bare brown earth,
Where no sun pierced, thick-knotted with the roots
And crawling fibres of high sheltering elms.
And one leaf-scatter' d footway wander' d far
Deep into those still woods ; one climb'd the hill,
Up through the thickets and the hyacinth slope ;
And one went devious in and out to find
The pebbled shallows of the river-ford.
And so long years in quiet pastoralness
The child grew up : nor ever greater care
Of any little helpless pretty one
Was taken, than the Hamadryads took
Of Dryope. Not Zeus in Dicte once,
When him with milk goat Amalthaea fed,
Was kindlier watch'd and nursed. They came at
When sunny globules of the dew hung sweet
Like pearls, and flash'd, and melted into mist ;
Or when the hot sun made the shade delight ;
And when the slanting arrows of the day
Fell very few about the trees, they came ;
To sport with it, and teach it better things,
And holier, than we are mostly taught.
They taught it secrets of the murmuring woods;
They fill'd it with the music of the brooks ;
Training it to an ever-subtle sense,
While it was little: and as it grew up
To musing, taught it to love everything ;
And fill'd it with the grace of growing buds,
And sweetness rare, and beauty like the trees :
And set it like a forest queen, to rule
Its widening world, with lily sceptre fair,
And fruit for orb, and olive-wreath for crown.
And so the child went singing like a bird
Through easeful youth, and all its golden days,
To womanhood : and loved them most of all,
Of many things it learn' d to love, and watch 'd
With eager looks their coming morn by morn :
And saw no men or women all those years,
Save only them, and that old shepherdess.
But by-and-bye the subtle humanness,
Half buried in it, gain'd in strength, and made
The lone child sad : and better love, that is
The bond of men and women in this world,
Moved in its breast as in a chrysalis :
And grew to be a want and loneliness,
And longing, as of buds that swell to burst,
10 Dry ope.
Or as a river overflows its banks.
And so she learn* d to wander in the woods,
As if in search, not knowing where she went.
And oftentimes the Hamadryads sought
In vain to find her, hunting half the morn.
And oftentimes they found her in the vales,
By old Spercheius ; going moody-eyed,
Unconscious ; wandering down the olive groves ;
Or under long-lined poplars by the stream ;
Or by the living, limpid, lisping springs
Of CEta ; in the hollows, up the dells
And slopes of Othrys. But she better loved
The silver-curved Spercheius than them all.
For not a fairer river in all those lands,
Or brighter paved with amber gravel-beds,
Or sunnier in its shallows, graeefuller
In winning curves and devious sweeps, flows on ;
Meandering in its valleys deep between
Othrys and (Eta ; past its populous towns;
Past hilly Trachys and Thermopylae,
Dry ope. 1 1
And rocky headlands, to the Malian Bay.
And she put on a statelier beauty, grew
More beautiful through sadness, while the years
Led her to womanhood with persuasive hands.
And she grew up a perfect woman pure,
With passion in her, well subdued to truth :
Sadden'd at most things as she went by them :
And made the Dryads weep at her sad looks.
And all her heart and being yearn' d for love.
Like as a little haze breathes up about
A valley brook, and lightly sinks again,
And grows, and sinks, but by-and-bye takes form :
And fills the sunny valley presently
With living, throbbing clouds of golden mist ;
So all her soul was full of yearning doubt.
She peep'd into the leafy nests of birds,
And wonder'd what could make them twit and sing :
She watch'd all morn the river-fishes skim,
And chase each other in the gleaming reeds :
1 2 Dry ope.
She saw the shepherdesses in the shades,
And piping shepherds smiling at their feet :
And almost wept ; and wonder' d what love was.
And she would lie and finger at the grass ;
Or sicken at the cooing of the doves ;
And touch the clinging leaves with questioning
And strangely loved to play with the sunbeams ;
And loved them much, and knew not in her heart
Phoebus Apollo watch 'd her.
So at last
She gain'd full grace. Then often in the lull
Of noonday sleep prophetic visions came;
And strange, half-utter' d murmurs haunted her.
Mysterious whispers wild, oracular,
Moved in her much, ;is in the priestesses ;
And image of Apollo ciirne in dreams.
And as she went birds seem'd to sing " Apollo."
Dry ope. 1 3
And echoes took his name continually.
And often down the woody avenues
A voice would call " Apollo/' thrilling sweet.
And at the last, when she could bear no more
The fear and hope, Apollo came himself.
'Twas on a waning summer afternoon ;
Deep in the sombre stillness of the wood ;
And only now and then a stealing beam
Could pierce the thickness of the matted boughs ;
Yet in the gloom the summer air was warm.
And long, luxurious, beauteous leaves of fern,
Like a still canopy of green, spread o'er
From red-ribb'd ledges of a dripping rock.
And from a little cleft, clear as a pearl
And cool, with merry bubble musical,
Ran out a gushing spring ; and made its way
Through grasses round a grassy slope, and join'd
The waters of a runnel half dried up.
And on the mound, with lazy laugh and sport,
14 Dry ope.
The Hamadryads sweet and Dryope
Play'd with a spotted tortoise in the grass :
Till Dryope grew weary, and they saw
That she was weary ; so they rose and went.
And she sat on the mound, and wearily
Dream'd of Apollo ; till a thrilling sense
Of something not far distant, yet not seen,
Came over her, and she sat very still,
Her heart a-flutter, humming to itself,
As if it would disown the fear it had.
And then the still, unheeded tortoise crept
Steadily on : nor stopp'd, but came right on ;
And touch'd her foot. She knew not how it could
But that deep yearning grew unutterable :
And witli the sudden flutter of her thought
Her bended face was crimson'd even to pain.
She watch'd the little creature, ;;11 on fire.
And while she watch M it it became a mist ;
And then the mist spread upward, rolling slow ;
Dry ope. 15
Then melted from her like a hot noon cloud ;
And at her feet a serpent coil'd in pride.
And while she shudder'd, being riveted
To keep her brighten'd, wild eyes fix'd on it,
She could but see how beautiful it was,
With glistening, glazed, mild eyes ; and all its scales
Were gilded richer than the chestnut leaves
In autumn, flashing like the sun, or veins
Of diamond ores uncover'd in the mines.
And while she watch'd it it became a mist :
And dimly, beautifully in the mist
Uncoil'd from it white, fleshy, human limbs
Of manhood ; subtle-curved with cloudy joy
Of life and beauty; forming in the cloud.
And when it roll'd away, and show'd the bright
Full-written glory of his manliness,
And symmetry of perfect parts, and pride
Of graceful strength, and long strong arms, and
Wide with much thought, and musical sad eyes,
16 Dry ope.
Passionate sad, with too much knowledge sad,
Then she knew well, for something told her so,
The god Apollo lying at her feet.
And when she saw the deep-set, wondering eyes,
Eager with hope, and passionate with desire,
Yet sorrowful with melancholy things
Remember'd well, look at her with fix'd look,
She shudder' d, swooning in a sort of trance.
And when new sense came slowly back to her,
She knew Apollo's arms were round her then :
She knew her head lay on Apollo's breast,
And so felt happy ; feigning yet to swoon :
And open'd not the soft long-lidded eyes,
O'er which she felt the breathing of his lips
Come stealing ; knowing his eyes were near to hers ;
And would look into hers if hers unclosed :
Then open'd them at last, and so revived ;
And raised herself, and sat up on the mound.
And then she seem'd as beautiful a thing
Dry ope. 17
As ever yet took life of men or gods.
Not Aphrodite, coming in her shell,
When those four seasons met her on the shore,
Was lovelier ; being in beauty more divine ;
But missing her sweet grace of humanness.
The noonday heat was waning:, and the liffht
O ' O
Came softer, soothing languid things to peace ;
With freshening calm of coolness after heat.
And she regain'd her wonted ease, and heard
Apollo trust his love to amorous words,
Not trivial ; but as if he yearn'd to find
Some better rest than he had found as yet,
Among his goddesses and nymphs ; as if
He found it now in woman Dryope.
She was more beautiful than Here then,
Not being so proud ; more beautiful than nymph,
Naiad, or Nereid, in her womanhood.
She listen'd, blushing, seated on the mound.
She had a soft, still face ; not sharp ; but smooth,
1 8 Dry ope,
And round, and gentle ; quiet as the moon
On warm June nights ; with kindly warmth ; and
As full-blown sweetness of a pale, faint rose.
And gradual undulations rose and fell
About her neck and shoulders beautifully :
Hollow'd a little in the throat, not much ;
But as a dimple hollows in ripe fruit
Of apricot, more lovely for it : and then
Swell'd full to meet the swelling breasts, and sloped
Between their wealthy richness ; where it were
Most lulling to be lull'd awhile, when sick.
And one round milky arm lay curved in rest
On yielding cushion of her open side ;
Embracing half the left-side breast, which glcam'd
Uncover'd of the kirtle missing it.
For summer being hot in those hot lands,
She only wore a flowing kirtle white,
That lay about her in pure light and shade* ;
Loose-fitting to the softly-hinted limbs;
Dry ope. 1 9
And falling fold on fold, and loop'd across
One shoulder ; leaving half the left breast bare,
And both the arms ; and flowing to her knees ;
Showing the dimpling ankles and the feet.
And ever and anon a little beam,
Fell on her rounded shoulder and her neck,
Like gold but paler ; stealing o'er the white
Full-heaving bosom ; rippled down the robes ;
And in the snowy hollow of her breasts
Lay lurking, softer than the down of doves.
So he found not so beautiful a thing
On all this earth, or in the happy fields
Elysian, whence he came ; and if he spake
This truth to her, he meant no flattery :
But telling all his love, said this besides,
Because he thought it ; and spake holier words
Than many lovers speak ; and pleaded for
Communion, even as true spirits may have,
If they keep pure, unspotted from the world.
And so he told his love ; and so she put
Her arms about him, and the bond was seal'd.
O what swift flight the winged minutes have,
When love finds love, and takes no note of time !
And yet a little hour will seem as years,
And in an hour sweet love live out a life.
And better so, joy being so perishable.
And by-and-bye the sombre gradual shades
Of dusky night came thick, and hid the trees ;
And then Apollo lingeringly unclasp'd
His arms ; and kiss'd her, till the tingling blood
Of that long, breathless, eager, passionate kiss
Left their lips white : with that he went his way.
And he was very glad at heart, and seem d
To find at last the gain of his long search.
His was a noble soul, and love was best
To give him that which he could not find else.
And secrn'd his rightful meed : for nobleness,
Though feeding much on sorrow, still should have
Some little joy to keep it in good hope.
Dry ope. 2 1
He was not all so happy in his loves,
Though he loved nobly ; never causing pain
To any living thing ; and least of all
To things that love, and lightly give their love.
For Daphne cross'd him ; fleeing like the wind,
Or timid startled fawn, with foolish fear :
And pray'd unwitting to the yielding gods ;
And so became a silly laurel tree.
And hurt Apollo wore a wreath of it
In sadness. So Coronis fail'd him too.
For she was fickle as the fluttering seed,
With feather' d wing, unrestful. Artemis,
The huntress, anger'd at a brother's wrongs,
Slew her with winged arrow, like a stag
At dawning ; yet Apollo will'd it not.
And Chione loved herald Hermes, swift
As flying winds, wing-footed son of Zeus :
And being loved of two such gods grew vain.
And Here slew her out of jealousy.
And better still was maid Leucothoe,
White-limb'd as lilies ; loving him till death ;
Till bitter death, that came too soon to her.
For she, by wrathful sire, who should have been
More pitiful, was buried ere she died;
And wasted in the noisome tomb, and came
No more to him and better-blessing light.
And there was nothing left him but to go
And scatter nectar and ambrosia.
And many others fail'd him : Issa sweet,
And Acacallis ; and Gyrene base ;
Arid Clymene, blue-eyed Oceanid ;
And chief of all the Muse Calliope,
That bore him Orpheus. And it seem'd to him
That Dryope would prove the best of all.
Unhappy he ! and unsuspecting fate !
But now, full happy, singing to himself,
He went to Thebes to see his festival.
He took delight at all times seeing it,
With noble pride in worship nobly meant.
Dry ope. 23
But greater now, when he was glad at heart.
Young, rich-dress' d boys, with loose, fair hair, and
And carrying laurel, round the city went ;
And white-robed maidens follow'd two and two.
In front they bore an emblem olive-tree;
With bright fresh boughs, and intertwined with
Of flowers and laurel ; hung with golden globes
Of varied size, to signify the stars
And starry planets of Apollo's realm.
Apollo watch'd them, following with his eyes,
Until they reach'd the temple. Then, well pleased,
He heard the flickering, colour'd altar-flame
Crack with the leaves ; and watch'd the incense rich
Curl upward, rolling into clouds ; and smiled ;
And revell'd in the music and the hymns.
Beautiful things grow dim, and glory wanes.
There never yet a sunset splendour was,
With crimson flush, and streak' d with golden bars,
That in a brief hour did not change to grey.
And full-fed tides, that flood up in their strength,
Flow back betimes, and only leave bare sands.
And swelling waves roll on, and swell to might
Resistless, overwhelming, strong to bear
Great ships upon their summits up to heaven ;
Then make a little foam, and sink to nought.
And life knows death ; and summer blossoms droop ;
And autumn turns to winter. So it was
With this rich autumn.
Many a pleasant month
Drew out its days, and bless'd itself with love.
And they were happy lovers, with no pain
Or sorrow at all. And love made in itself
A rich Elysium : crown'd with sunny heights
Of fancy ; sloping into vales of bliss ;
With little brooks of longing, running down
To bays of calm, with changing gleams of hope.
But being noble, they had better fruit
From their great love than lesser lovers have.
They did not miss the sweet delights that fill
The scented eves, and grassy woodpaths soft ;
Or kisses in the shadows ; or clasp'd arms
Of link'd delight j when two seem link'd in one,
As they should never unclasp any more ;
But ever cling, and cling as naturally
As ivy, or rose, or fruitful vine. And oft
The Hamadryads, stealing near, would weep
To see them both so happy; being glad,
Because they loved her kindly : following them
At distance, down thick plane-tree avenues,
By woodland walks, and lushful lotus beds.
But there was yet a holier communing,
They in their careless spirits could not read.
And often, in the mornings, he would teach
The white fine fingers subtle touches soft,
To move the lyre : and high harmonious hymns,
Sung of him in the eves, ennobled her,
26 Dry ope.
And made her godlike. Many strains he sang,
The Muses taught him, legends and rich lore ;
Which make the gods godlike. He told her tales
Of Zeus and Saturn and the earlier world,
Before the Titans fell away from power.
He told her silver secrets of the sea :
Of Tethys and the Oceanides
And Nereids j and coral-paven floors
Of glimmering caves, lit with the green of spars.
And told her of his mother, how she bore
Twin babes in Delos ; what time Here made
Life bitter to her with such jealous hate.
And of his sister, when the crescent light
Of evening glimmer'd : and his loves, and woes,
And all his history. So they happy pass'd
The waning summer months till autumn came.
But at the last, ah, me ! there came the end !
So sad an end ! how can we sing of it ?
She sat still on a hillock near the hut