Piled on the deck, the hard-hand mariners
Thrust rudely 'gainst the wondering infant heirs,
And delicate white slaves, and proud-eyed wives.
And grumbled as they wrought to save their lives.
And here and thpre a ship was moving out
With white sails spreading amid oath and shout,
While her sweeps smote the water heavily,
And on the prow stood, yearning for the sea
And other lands beyond, some trembling lord.
But presently thereof the King had word \
And when he knew that thus the matter went,
A trusty captain to the quays he sent.
And stout men armed, who lined the water-side.
So there perforce must every man abide.
For shut and guarded now was every gate.
But if, amid the fear of coming fate.
You ask how fared the sweet Philonoe,
With mind a shrinking tortured thing to see,
How shall you wonder ! Tales of dread she heard
With scornful eyes, and chid uith eager word
Her timorous women ; and with bright flushed face
And glittering eyes, she went from place to place.
As though foreknowledge of the joy to come
Pierced through all grief. Of those that saw her, some
Would say, " Alas ! this ill day makes her mad."'
SELLER OP HON LN L YCLA . 283
And some, " A message certes hath she had
From the other world, and is foredoomed to die."
But some would gaze upon her wrathfuUy,
While sitting with bent head on woe intent,
They watched her fluttering raiment as she went
Her daily ways as in fair time of peace.
So did the longest of all days decrease
Through hours of straining fear ; full were the ways
With homeless country folk, with 'wildered gaze
Fixed on the eager townsmen questioning ;
And carts with this or that poor homely thing.
And cumbered women worn and desolate.
Blocked up the road anigh the eastern gate.
Thronged with pale faces were the walls that day
Of folk so scared they could not go away.
But still must watch until the horror came.
Or watch at least that smoke above the flame
Till sundown lit the sky with dreadful light ;
And still the tales of horror and affright
Grew greater, and the cumbered city still
Weighed down with wealth could summon up no will
To fight or flee, or with closed lips to wait
Amidst her gold the evil day of fate.
Night came at last, a night of all unrest :
Upon the armed men now the peoijlc pressed
At gate and quay, until they needs must yield.
And many a bark o'erladen slowly reeled
Beneath the moonlight o'er the harbour green ;
284 THE EARTHLY PARADISE.
While as the breathing of the night wind keen
Sang down the creek, great sounds of fear it bore,
And redder was the sky than heretofore.
A fearful night, when some at last must think
That they of no more horror now might drink
Than they had drank ; wherefore, with stress of fear .
Made brave, some men must catch up shield and spear,
And leaderless go forth unto the flame
All eyes were turned to ; but when daylight came,
With its grey light came naked death again,
And honourless did all things seem and vain
That man might do ; the gates were left ajar,
And through the streets helpless in weed of war
The warders went : nought worth the King was made,
^Vhen by each man the truth of all was weighed.
And all seemed wanting : help there was in none.
Yet when 'mid these things nigh the day was done,
And the foe came not, once more hope Avas born
Within men's hearts too wearied and outworn
To gather fresh fear ; then the walls seemed good.
The great gates more than iron and oaken wood.
And Avith returning hope there came back shame.
And they, bethinking them of their old name,
'Gan deem that spear to spear was no ill play,
What A\Tath of goddesses soever lay
Upon the city ; and withal indeed,
There came fresh rumours to their honour's needj
BELLEROPHON IN L YCIA. 2S5
And they bethought them of the godHke one
Who in their midst so great a deed had done,
And who erewhile rode forth so carelessly
Their very terror with his eyes to see.
So at the sunset into ordered bands
Once more the men were gathered ; women's hands
Bore stones up to the ramparts that no more
That crowd of pale and anxious faces bore,
But helms and spear-heads ; and the King came forth
Amidst his lords, and now of greater worth
Than common folk he seemed once more to be.
And in some order, if still timorously
The Lycians waited through the night ; the sky
Showed lesser tokens of the foe anigh.
So still hope grew.
At dawn of day the King
Bade folk unto Diana's image bring
Things precious and burnt-ofiferings \ and the smoke
Curled o'er the bowed heads of the praying folk
There in the streets, and though nought came to pass
To tell that well appeased the goddess was.
And though they durst not strive to move her thence.
Yet did there fall on men a growing sense
That now the worst was over : and at noon,
Just as the King amid the trumpets' tune
Went to his house, a messenger pierced through
The wondering crowd, and toward Jobates drew,
Nor did him reverence, nor spake aught before
He gave unto the King the scroll he bore.
286 THE EARTHL V PARADISE.
Then from his saddle heavily down-leapt,
Stiffened, as one who not for long has slept,
While the King read the scroll \ then those anigh
Amid the expectant silence heard him crj-,
" Praise to the Gods, who are not angry long !
Hearken, all ye, how they have quenched our wTong.
Good health a?id good-hap to the Lycian King
And all his folk, and every wished-for thing
Wisheth hereby Bellerophon, and saith :
From out the valley of the shade of death
Late am I cojne again to make y on glad.
Because no evil Jourjiey have we had.
Afid now the land is cleansed of such a, pest
As has not been before; be glad and rest,
And look to sec us back in seven days' space,
For yet awhile fnust we abide to chase
The remnant of the luomen that ye feared.
Silence a moment followed that last word,
Then such a joyous shout, as good it is
That those can know not who still dwell in bliss ;
Then turning here and there, with varied noise
The people through all places did rejoice.
Till pleasure failed for weariness \ but still
Did old and young, and men and women fill
The temples with their praises ; till, when earth
Had fallen into twilight mid their mirth,
BELLER OPHON /J\[ L YCIA . 2 S 7
With prayers and hymns they brought the great-eyed,
Slow-going oxen through the gathering night,
And yoked them to Diana's car again ;
Nor this time were they yoked thereto in vain,
Down went the horned heads, beam and axle-tree
Creaked as they drew, and folk cried out to see
The wheels go round ; heart opened unto heart
With unhoped joy, and hate was set apart,
Envy and malice waited for some day
More common, as the goddess took her way
Amid the torch-lit, flower-strewn, joyous street,
Unto the house made ready for her feet.
But mid the noise of great festivity
That filled the night, slept on Philonoe,
Amid that sea of love past hope and fear.
And woke at sunrise no more sound to hear
Than singing of the birds in thick-leaved trees
Ere yet the sun might silence them ; like these
Did she rejoice, nor strange to her it was
That all these things her love should bring to pass.
Rising, she said, " To-day thou workest this,
And unto many givest life and bliss ;
To-morrow comes : therewith perchance for me
A time when thou my faithful heart mayst sec."
Then she alone her fair attire did on.
And mid the sleepers went her way alone
Into the Lrarden, and from flower to flower
288 THE EARTHLY PARADISE.
Passed, making sweeter even that sweet hour ;
And as by soft folds of her fluttering gown
Her body's fairness was both hid and shown,
E'en so in simpleness her soul indeed
Lay, not drawn back, but veiled beneath the weed
Of earthly beauty that the Gods had lent
Till they through years should work out their intent.
O'er the freed city passed the time away.
Until it drew unto the promised day
Of their return who all that peace had won.
And now the loved name of Bellerophon
Rang ever in the maiden's ears ; and she.
As in the middle of a dream, did see
The city made all ready for that hour,
"When in a fair-hung toAvnward-looking bower.
Pale now, amid her maidens she was set,
New pain of longing for her heart to get.
Some dream there was of hurrying messengers
Bright with a glory that was nowise theirs,
And strains of music bearing back again
The heart to vague years long since lived in vain ;
Then still a moving dream ā of robes of gold,
Armour unsullied by the bloody mold
That bought this peace ; a dream of noble maid
And longing youth in sno\%'y robes arrayed ;
Of tinkling harps and twinkling jewelled hands.
And gold-shod feet to meet the war-worn bands.
BELLEROPHON IN L YCIA. 289
That few and weary, flower-crowned, made the dream
Less real amid the dainty people seem ā
A wild dream of strange weapons heaped on wains,
And rude wrought raiment vile with rents and stains,
And dream-like figures by the axle-trees ā
ā Women or beasts ? and in the hands of these
Trumpets of wood, and conch-shells, and withal
Clamour of blast and horrid rallying call.
And such a storm of strange discordant cries,
As stilled the townsfolk mid their braveries,
For therewith came the prisoners of the fight.
A dreadful dream ! ā with blood-stained hair and
Clad in most strange habiliment of war,
Sat an old woman on a brazen car ;
White stared her eyes from a brown puckered face
Upon the longed-for dainties of that place,
But wrath and fear no more in them were left,
For death seemed creeping on her ; an axe-heft
Her chained hands held yet ; and a monstrous crown.
Of heavy gold, 'twixt her thin feet and brown
Was laid as she had cast it off in fight,
When she was fain amidst her hurried flight
To hide all signs of her fell royalty.
An unreal dream ā about her seemed to be.
Figures of women, clad in warlike guise.
In scales of brass, beasts' skins, and cloths of dyes.
Uncouth and coarse, made vile with earth and blood.
29Ā© THE EARTHLY PARADISE.
A dream of horror ! nought that men deem good
Was seen in them, were they or young or old :
Great-limbed were some and mighty to behold,
With long black hair and beast-like brows, and low ;
Bald-headed, old, and wizened did some go.
Yet all adorned with gold ; this, in rich gown
Of some slain woman, went with eyes cast down ;
That yelling walked, udth armour scantly clad.
And at her belt a Lycian's head yet had
Hung by the flaxen hair ; this old and bent
From bushy eyebrows grey, strange glances sent,
Grinning as from their limbs the people shrank ;
But most the cup of pain and terror drank,
That they had given to drink so oft ere now
If any sign thereof their eyes might show.
And whatso mercy they of men might have,
No hope for them their gross hearts now did save.
A dreadful dream ! Philonoe's slim hands
Shut from her eyes the sight of those strange bands ;
Yet dreamlike must her heart behold them still.
Amid new thoughts of God, and good and ill.
And her eyes filled with tears. But what was this
That smote her yearning heart with sudden bliss.
Yet left it yearning ? her fair head she raised.
And with wide eyes down on the street she gazed,
Yet cried not out ; though all cry had been dro\vned
Amid those joyous shouts, as, laurel-crowned,
And sword in hand, and in his battered gear
BELLEROPHON IN L YCIA. 2 9 1
On his black horse he came, and raised to her
Eyes that her heart knew. Nay, she moved not aught,
Nor reached her arms abroad, as he was brought
Beneath her place, too soon to go away ;
And open still her hands before her lay
As down the street passed on the joyous cries,
Nor were there any tears in her soft eyes ;
Only her lips moved softly, as she cast
One look upon the people going past.
Struggling and slow behind the last bright spears.
Whose steady points had so thrust back their fears.
But amid silence 'neath the eyes of men,
Another time that day they met again ;
And that was at the feast in the great hall.
For thither must the King's folk, one and all.
Women as men, give welcome unto him
Through whom they throve. Belike all things grew
Before the hero's eyes but her alone.
Belike a strange light in the maid's eyes shone.
Made bright with pain ; but yet hand met not hand.
Though each to each so close the twain must stand.
And though the hall was hushed to hear her say
Words that she heeded not of that fair day.
But when her clear and tender speech had end.
And mouths of men a mighty shout did send
Betwixt the pillars, still her lips did move.
As though they two were lone, with words of love
292 THE EARTHLY PARADISE.
Unheard, but felt by him.
So passed the day,
And other days and nights fell fast away ;
But now when this great trouble had gone by,
And things again seemed no more now to lie
Within his mighty hands, she 'gan to fear
Her father's wiles again ; the days grew drear,
The nights too long, nor might she see his face.
Nor might they speak in any lonely place ;
And hope at whiles waxed dim, and whiles she saw
The fate her heart so dreaded on them draw,
While she must sit aside with folded hands,
While for her sake he shunned the peaceful lands.
And all the while there must at last be borne
That darkest hour that brings about the mom.
NOW as the days passed, to his treasury
Would the King go. King Proetus' gift to see,
And stand with knitted brows to gaze on it,
While many thoughts about his heart would flit.
And on a day he said, " Time yet there is
To slay the man who saved our life and bliss.
Once did I cast him unto death, and he
Must win nought thence but utter victory ;
And when the Gods helped me with ruin and fear
SELLER OPHON IN L YCIA . 293
Another time, yet that brought nowise near
The end this binds me to ; yet once again
Shall it be tried before I call it vain,
And strive no more, but bear the punishment
That on oath-breakers and weak fools is sent."
Then gat he to the doom-hall of the town,
And midst his lords and wise men sat him down
And judged the people; if at whiles to him
The clamour of the jarring folk waxed dim
Amid the thoughts of his own life that rose
Within him and about his heart did close,
Yet none the less a great King there he seemed ;
As of a god's his heart the people deemed.
Now in good peace and joy the summer wore,
Nor did folk mind how it was told of yore
That in the days to come great dangers three.
Within the bounds of Lycia should there be ;
For fear of ill was grown an empty name.
Into fair autumn slipped the summer's flame
More fruitful than its wont, and barn and garth
Ran over with the good things of the earth.
Crowded the quays were, but no merchandise.
No bale of fair-wrought cloth or odorous spice,
Bore pestilence within it at that tide ; .
In peace and health the folk dwelt far and wide.
But when the way's dust easier now was seen
294 THE EARTHLY PARADISE.
Upon the bordering grape-bunches, whose green
Was passing slow through red to heavy black,
And the ploughed land all standing crop did lack,
Though yet the share the fallow troubled not ;
Now, when the nights were cool, and noons still hot,
And in the windless woods the acorn fell.
More tidings were there of that land to tell.
For on a day as in the doom-hall sat
Jobates, and gave word on this and that,
A clamour by the outer door he heard
Of new-come folk, mixed with the answering word
Of those his guards, who at the door did stand ;
So when his say was said, he gave command
To bring in one of those about the door ;
Then was a country carle brought forth before
The ivory seat, and scared he seemed to be ;
And sodden was his face for misery,
As on the King he stared with open eyes.
" What wilt thou?" said Jobates. " What thing lies
Upon thee that my power can take away ?
For in mine house the Gods are good to-day."
Twice did the man's lips open as to speak,
But no sound came ; the third time did outbreak
A husky, trembling sound from them, but nought
To tell the wondering folk what thing he sought.
BELLEROPHON IN L YCIA. 295
Then said the King, " The man is mazed with fear ;
Go ye and bring him wine ; we needs must hear
What new thing now has happed beneath the sun.
Take heart ! for thou art safe ! "
So was it done:
The man raised up the bowl with trembUng hand,
And drank, and then a while he yet did stand
Silent amid the silence ; then began
In a weak voice :
" A poor and toiling man
I am indeed ; therefore a little thing,
My woe may seem to thee ; yet note, O King,
That the world changes ; unimagined ill
Is born therein, and shall grow greater still.
" In early summer I was well enow
Among such men as still have need to sow
Before they reap, to reap before they eat,
Nor did I think too much of any threat
Time had for me ; but therewith came the tide
When those fell women harried far and wide ;
I saved myself, my wife, and little ones.
And with nought else lay on this city's stones
Until peace came ; then went I to the west
Where dwelt my brother in good peace and rest,
And there the four of us must eat our bread
From hands that grudged not mayhap, with small dread
And plenteous toil. A vineyard hath he there.
Whose blossoming in March Avas full and fair,
And May's frost touched it not, and July's hail
296 THE EARTHLY PARADISE.
Against its bunches green might not prevail ;
Up a fair hill it stretched ; exceeding good
Its sunny south-turned slopes are ; a thin wood
Of oak-trees crowns the hill indeed, wherein
Do harbour beasts most fain a feast to win
At hands of us and Bacchus ; but a wall
Well built of stones guardeth the garth from all
On three sides, and at bottom of the hill
A full stream runs, that dealeth with a mill,
My brother's too, whose floury duskiness
Our hungry souls with many a hope did bless ;
Within the mill-head there the perch feed fat,
And on the other side are meadows flat,
And fruitful ; shorn now, and the rooting s\\'ine
Beneath the hedge-row oak-trees grunt and whine,
And close within the long grass lies the quail,
While circling overhead the kite doth sail,
And long the partridge hath forgot the mowers.
A close of pot-herbs and of garland flowers
Goes up the hill-side from the green-banked stream,
And a house built of clay and oaken beam
Stands at its upper end, whose hillward side
Is midst the vines, that half its beams do hide. ā
ā Nay, King, I wander not, I mind me well
The tale from end to end I have to tell,
Have patience !
" Fair that house was yesterday,
WTien lusty youth and slim light-handed may
Were gathered from the hamlets thereabout ;
BELLEROPHON IN L YCIA. 297
From the stream-side came laughing scream and shout,
As up the bank the nets our maidens drew,
And o'er their bare feet washed with morning dew
Floundered the cold fish ; for grape-gathering tide
It was that mom, and folk from far and wide
Came to our help, and we must feast them there.
And give them all we had of good and fair.
" King, do I babble ? thou for all thy crown
And robes of gold hadst gladly sat thee down
At the long table 'neath the apple-trees ā
And now ā go find the bones of one of these.
And be called wise henceforth !
"The last guest came,
The last shout died away that hailed his name,
The ring of men about the homestead door
Began to move ; the damsels hung no more
Over the fish-tubs, but their arms shook dry
And shod their feet, and came up daintily
To mingle with the girls new-come thereto,
And take their baskets and the edge-tools due ;
The good wife from the white well-scalded press
Brushed off the last wasp ; while her mate did bless
The Gods, and Bacchus chiefly, as he poured
Upon the threshold ancient wine long stored
Under the earth ; and then broke forth the song
As to the vineyard gate we moved along.
" Hearken, O King ! call me not mad, or say
Some evil god-sent dream upon me lay ;
Else could I tell thee thus how all things fell ? ā
298 THE EARTHLY PARADISE.
Nay, speak not, or the end I may not tell.
"Yea, am I safe here? will he hear of it
And come to fetch me, even if I sit
Deep underground, deep underneath the sea,
In places thou hast built for misery
Of those that hate thee ; yet for safeguard now
Of me perchance ? O King, abide not thou
Until my tale is done, but bid them go
Strengthen thy strong gates ā deem thy high walls low
While yet the sun they hide not ! "
At that word
He turned and listened as a man who heard
A doubtful noise afar, but still the King
Sat quiet midst his fear of some great thing.
And spake not, lest he yet should lose the tale.
Then said the man : " How much may now avail
Thy power and walls I know not, for I thought
Upon the -wind a certain noise was brought ā
But now I hear it not, and I will speak ā
'WQiat said I ? ā From all mouths there did outl)reak
A plaintive song made in the olden time,
Long sung by men of the wine-bearing clime ;
Not long it was, and ere the end was o'er
In midst the laden vine-rows did we pour,
And fell to work as glad as if we played :
And merrier grew the laugh of man and maid
As the thin baskets filled upon that mom ;
BELLEROPHON IN LYCIA. 299
And how should fear or thought of death be bom
In such a concourse ! Now mid all this, I
Unto the upper end had drawn anigh,
And somewhat lonely was I, when I heard
A noise that seemed the cry of such a bird
As is a corncrake ; well, I listened not,
But worked away whereas was set my lot,
Midst many thoughts ; yet louder 'gan to grow
That noise, and not so like a bird seemed now
As a great spring of steel loosed suddenly.
I put my basket down, and turned to see
The other folk, nor did they heed the noise.
And still amid their labour did rejoice ;
But louder still it seemed, as there I stood
Trembling a while, then turned, and saw the wood
Like and unlike what I had known it erst ;
And as I gazed the whole sky grew accurst
As with a greenish vapour, and I turned
Wild eyes adown the hill to see what burned ;
There did my fellows 'twixt the vine-rows pass
Still singing ; smitten then I thought I was
By sudden sickness or strange coming death ;
But even therewith in drawing of a breath
A dreadful shriek rose from them, and mine eyes
Saw such a shape above the wall arise
As drave all manhood from me, and I fell
Grovelling adown ; nor have I words to tell
What thing it was I saw ; only I know
300 THE EARTHLY PARADISE.
That from my feet the firm earth seemed to go,
And hke a dream showed that fair country-side,
And, grown a mockery, needs must still abide.
An unchanged picture 'gainst the life of fear
So fallen upon me. The sweet autumn air
With a faint sickening vapour now was filled,
And all sounds else but that sound were clean stilled,
Yea, even the voice of folk by death afeard.
That in the void that horror might be heard,
And nought be heeded else.
" Hearken, O King,
The while I try to tell thee of the thing
What like it was ā well, lionlike, say I?
Yea, as to one who sees the teeth draw nigh
His own neck ā like a horror of the wood.
Goatlike, as unto him who in drear mood
Sees monsters of the night bemock his love,
And cannot hide his eyes or turn to move ā
Or serpent-like, e'en as to such an one
A serpent is, who floating all alone
In some untroubled sea all void and dim
Beholds the hoarj^-headed sea-worm swim,
Circling about him, ere he rise to strike ā
Nay, rather, say the world hath not its like ā
A changer of man's life, a swallowing dread,
A curse made manifest in devil-head.
" Long lay I there, meseems ; no thought I had
Either of death, or yet of being made glad
SELLER OPHON IN L YCIA. 3 o i
In time to come, for all had turned to pain,
Nor might I think of aught to call a gain ā
Right wondrous is the life of man, O King !
So strong to bear so many a fearful thing.
So weak of will ā See now, I live, who lay
How long I know not, on that Avretched day,
As helpless as a dead man, but for this.
That pain still grew with memory of what bliss
Passed life had been to me ; until, God wot.
So was I helped, that memory now was not,
And all was blank.
" Well, once more did I wake,
Empty at first, till stirred the sickening ache
Of that great fear \ then softly did I rise,
And gazed about the garth with half-dead eyes,
A heart whence everything but fear was gone."
He stopped a while and hung his head adown,
As if remembering somewhat ; then he drew
Nigher the King, and said : " This thing is true,
Though thou believe it not ā that I was glad
Within the hour that yet my life I had,
Though this I saw ā the garth made waste and bare,
Burnt as with fire, and for the homestead fair