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THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES






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THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES






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I



















POETICAL WORKS

of

ROBERT BRIDGES

Volume I










London

Smith, Elder & Co

i? Waterloo Place

1898










OXFORD: HORACE HART
PRINTF.R TO THH UNIVERSITY



T36,
If?/

1^3XZ^SZW^^



POETICAL WOJ^K^S OF
BRIDGES



THE FIJ(ST
CONTAINING



PROMETHEUS THE FIREGIfER , . p. i
EROS AND PSTCHE ..... 71
THE GROWTH OF LOPE . . . .117
NOTES . ...... a8



LIST OF PREVIOUS EDITIONS



PROMETHEUS.

I. Private Press of H. Daniel. Oxford, 1885.
a. Chiswick Press. Geo. Be// & Sons, 1884.

EROS AND PSYCHE.

I. Chis-wick Press. Geo. Bell & Sons, 1887.
i. Do. do. Revised, 1894..

This last volume is still on sale.

GROWTH OF LOVE.

I. XX IV Sonnets. Ed. Bumf us, 1876.
i. LXXIX Sonnets. Daniel Press, 18857.

This edition was copied in America.
3. Do. do. Black letter. 1890.



*



PROMETHEUS

THE

FIREGIVER



A MASK IN THE
GREEK MANNER




ARGUMENT

PROMETHEUS COMING ON EARTH TO GIVE FIRE TO
MEN APPEARS BEFORE THE PALACE OF INACHUS IN
ARGOS ON A FESTIVAL OF ZEUS HE INTERRUPTS THE
CEREMONY BY ANNOUNCING FIRE AND PERSUADES
INACHUS TO DARE THE ANGER OF ZEUS AND ACCEPT
THE GIFT INACHUS FETCHING ARGEIA HIS WIFE FROM
THE PALACE HAS IN TURN TO QUIET HER FEARS HE
ASKS A PROPHECY OF PROMETHEUS WHO FORETELLS THE
FATE OF 10 THEIR DAUGHTER PROMETHEUS THEN
SETTING FLAME TO THE ALTAR AND WRITING HIS OWN
NAME THEREON IN THE PLACE OF ZEUS DISAPPEARS

THE CHORUS SING (l) A HYMN TO ZEUS WITH THE
STORIES OF THE BIRTH OF ZEUS AND THE MARRIAGE OF
HERA WITH THE DANCES OF THE CURETES AND THE
HESPERIDES (a) THEIR ANTICIPATION OF FIRE WITH
AN ODE ON WONDER (3) A TRAGIC HYMN ON THE LOT
OF MAN (4) A FIRE-CHORUS (?) A FINAL CHORUS IN
PRAISE OF PROMETHEUS

ALL THE CHARACTERS ARE GOOD PROMETHEUS PRO-
LOGIZES HE CARRIES A LONG REED



B a



DRAMATIS PERSONS

PROMETHEUS.
INACHUS.
ARGEIA.
SERVANT.
IO (persona muta).

CHORUS: Touths and maidens of the house of
Inachus.

The SCENE is in ARGOS before the palace of Inachus.

An altar inscribed to Zeus is at the

centre of the stage.



PROMETHEUS
THE FIREGIVER



PROMETHEUS.

UROM high Olympus and the aetherial courts,

Where mighty Zeus our angry king confirms
The Fates' decrees and bends the wills of the gods,
I come : and on the earth step with glad foot.

This variegated ocean-floor of the air,
The changeful circle of fair land, that lies
Heaven's dial, sisterly mirror of night and day :
The wide o'er-wandered plain, this nether world
My truant haunt is, when from jealous eyes
I steal, for hither 'tis I steal, and here 10

Unseen repair my joy : yet not unseen
Methinks, nor seen unguessed of him I seek.
Rather by swath or furrow, or where the path
Is walled with corn I am found, by trellised vine



6 PROMETHEUS

Or olive set in banks or orchard trim :

I watch all toil and tilth, farm, field and fold,

And taste the mortal joy ; since not in heaven

Among our easeful gods hath facile time

A touch so keen, to wake such love of life

As stirs the frail and careful being, who here, ao

The king of sorrows, melancholy man,

Bows at his labour, but in heart erect

A god stands, nor for any gift of god

Would barter his immortal-hearted prime.

Could I but win this world from Zeus for mine,
With not a god to vex my happy rule,
I would inhabit here and leave high heaven :
So much I love it and its race of men,
Even as he hates them, hates both them, and me
For loving what he hates, and would destroy me,
Outcast in the scorn of all his cringing crew,
For daring but to save what he would slay :
And me must first destroy. Thus he denieth
My heart 5 s wish, thus my counsel sets at naught,
Which him saved once, when all at stake he stood
Uprisen in rebellion to overthrow
The elderseated Titans, for I that day
Gave him the counsels which his foes despised.
Unhappy they, who had still their blissful seats
Preserved and their Olympian majesty, 4.0



THE FIREGIVER 7

Had they been one with me. Alas, my kin !

But he, when he had taken the throne and chained
His foes in wasteful Tartarus, said no more
Where is Prometheus our wise counsellor ?
What saith Prometheus ? tell us, O Prometheus,
What Fate requires ! but waxing confident
And wanton, as a youth first tasting power,
He wrecked the timeless monuments of heaven,
The witness of the wisdom of the gods,
And making all about him new, beyond fo

Determined to destroy the race of men,
And that create afresh or else have none.

Then his vain mind imagined a device,
And at his bidding all the opposed winds
Blew, and the scattered clouds and furled snows,
From every part of heaven together flying,
He with brute hands in huge disorder heaped :
They with the winds' weight and his angry breath
Were thawed : in cataracts they fell, and earth
In darkness deep and whelmed tempest lay, 60

Drowned 'neath the waters. Yet on the mountain-tops
Some few escaped, and some, thus warned by me,
Made shift to live in vessels which outrode
The season and the fury of the flood.

And when his rain was spent and from clear skies
Zeus looking down upon the watery world,



8 PROMETHEUS

Beheld these few, the remnant of mankind,

Who yet stood up and breathed ; he next withdrew

The seeds of fire, that else had still lain hid

In withered branch and the blue flakes of flint 70

For man to exact and use, but these withdrawn,

Man with the brutes degraded would be man

No more ; and so the tyrant was content.

But I, despised again, again upheld
The weak, and pitying them sent sweet Hope,
Bearer of dreams, enchantress fond and kind,
From heaven descending on the unhindered rays
Of every star, to cheer with visions fair
Their unamending pains. And now this day
Behold I come bearing the seal of all 80

Which Hope had promised : for within this reed
A prisoner I bring them stolen from heaven,
The flash of mastering fire, and it have borne
So swift to earth, that when yon noontide sun
Rose from the sea at morning I was by,
And unperceived of Helios plunged the point
F the burning axle, and withdrew a tongue
Of breathing flame, which lives to leap on earth
For man the father of all fire to come.

And hither have I brought it even to Argos 90
Unto king Inachus, him having chosen
Above all mortals to receive my gift :



THE FIREGIVER 9

For he is hopeful, careful, wise, and brave.

He first, when first the floods left bare the land,
Grew warm with enterprise, and gathered men
Together, and disposed their various tasks
For common weal combined ; for soon were seen
The long straight channels dwindling on the plain,
Which slow from stagnant pool and wide morass
The pestilent waters to the rivers bore : 100

Then in the ruined dwellings and old tombs
He dug, unbedding from the wormed ooze
Vessels and tools of trade and husbandry ;
Wherewith, all seasonable works restored,
Oil made he and wine anew, and taught mankind
To live not brutally though without fire,
Tending their flocks and herds and weaving wool,
Living on fruit and milk and shepherds' fare,
Till time should bring back flame to smithy and

hearth,

Or Zeus relent. Now at these gates I stand, no
At this mid hour, when Inachus comes forth
To offer sacrifice unto his foe.
For never hath his faithful zeal forborne
To pay the power, though hard, that rules the world
The smokeless sacrifice which first today
Shall smoke, and rise at heaven in flame to brave
The baffled god. See here a servant bears



io PROMETHEUS

For the cold altar ceremonial wood :

My shepherd's cloak will serve me for disguise.

SERVANT.

With much toil have I hewn these sapless logs, i ^o

Pr. But toil brings health, and health is happiness.

Serv. Here's one I know not nay, how came he

here

Unseen by me ? I pray thee, stranger, tell me
What would'st thou at the house of Inachus ?

Pr. Intruders, friend, and travellers have glib

tongues,
Silence will question such.

Serv. If 'tis a message,

To-day is not thy day who sent thee hither ?

Pr. ' The business of my leisure was well guessed :
But he that sent me hither is I that come.

Serv. I smell the matter thou would'st serve the
house? 130

Pr. 'Twas for that very cause I fled my own.

Serv. From cruelty or fear of punishment ?

Pr. Cruel was my master, for he slew his father.
His punishments thou speakest of are crimes.

Serv. Thou dost well flying one that slew his father.

Pr. Thy lord, they say, is kind.

Serv. Well, thou wilt see.



THE FIREGIVER n

Thou may'st at once begin come, give a hand.

Pr. A day of freedom is a day of pleasure ;
And what thou doest have I never done,
And understanding not might mar thy work. 14.0

Serv. Ay true there is a right way and a wrong
In laying wood.

Pr. Then let me see thee lay it :

The sight of a skilFd hand will teach an art.

Serv. Thou seest this faggot which I now un-
bind,
How it is packed within.

Pr. I see the cones

And needks of the fir, which by the wind
In melancholy places ceaselessly
Sighing are strewn upon the tufted floor.

Serv. These took I from a sheltered bank, whereon
The sun looks down at noon for there is need
The things be dry. These first I spread and then
Small sticks that snap i' the hand.

Pr. Such are enough

To burden the slow flight of labouring rooks,
When on the leafless tree-tops in young March
Their glossy herds assembling soothe the air iff
With cries of solemn joy and cawings loud.
And such the long-necked herons will bear to mend
Their airy platform, when the loving spring



I-L PROMETHEUS

Bids them take thought for their expected young.

Serv. See even so I cross them and cross them so :
Larger and by degrees a steady stack 161

Have built, whereon the heaviest logs may lie :
And all of sun-dried wood : and now 'tis done.

Pr. And now 'tis done, what means it now 'tis
done ?

Serv. Well, thus 'tis rightly done : but why 'tis so
I cannot tell, nor any man here knows ;
Save that our master when he sacrificeth,
As thou wilt hear anon, speaketh of fire ;
And fire he saith is good for gods and men ;
And the gods have it and men have it not : 170

And then he prays the gods to send us fire ;
And we, against they send it, must have wood
Laid ready thus as I have shewn thee here.

Pr. To-day he sacrificeth ?

Serv. Ay, this noon.

Hark.! hear'st thou not ? they come. The solemn flutes
Warn us away ; we must not here be seen
In these our soiled habits, yet may stand
Where we may hear and see and not be seen.

[Exeunt R.



THE FIREGIVER 13

Enter CHORUS, and from the palace INACHUS tearing
cakes : he comes to stand behind the altar.

CHORUS.

God of Heaven !

We praise thee, Zeus most high, 180

To whom by eternal Fate was given

The range and rule of the sky

When thy lot, first of three

Leapt out, as sages tell,

And won Olympus for thee,

Therein for ever to dwell :

But the next with the barren sea

To grave Poseidon fell,

And left fierce Hades his doom, to be

The lord and terror of hell. 190

(a) Thou sittest for aye
Encircled in azure bright,
Regarding the path of the sun by day,
And the changeful moon by night :
Attending with tireless ears
To the song of adoring love,
With which the separate spheres
Are voiced that turn above :
And all that is hidden under
The clouds thy footing has furl'd zoo



14 PROMETHEUS

Fears the hand that holdeth the thunder,
The eye that looks on the world.

Semlchorus of youths.
Of all the isles of the sea
Is Crete most famed in story :
Above all mountains famous to me
Is Ida and crowned with glory.
There guarded of Heaven and Earth
Came Rhea at fall of night
To hide a wondrous birth
From the Sire's unfathering sight. aio

The halls of Cronos rang
With omens of coming ill,
And the mad Curetes danced and sang
Adown the slopes of the hill.

Then all the peaks of Gnossus kindled red
Beckoning afar unto the sinking sun,
He thro' the vaporous west plunged to his bed,
Sunk, and the day was done.
But they, though he was fled,
Such light still held, as oft
Hanging in air aloft,
At eve from shadowed ship
The Egyptian sailor sees :
Or like the twofold tip



THE FIREGIVER 15

4

That o'er the topmost trees

Flares on Parnassus, and the Theban dames

Quake at the ghostly flames.

Then friendly night arose
To succour Earth, and spread
Her mantle o'er the snows a^o

And quenched their rosy red
But in the east upsprings
Another light on them,
Selene with white wings
And hueless diadem.
Little could she befriend
Her father's house and state,
Nor her weak beams defend
Hyperion from his fate.

Only where'er she shines, 340

In terror looking forth,
She sees the wailing pines
Stoop to the bitter North :
Or searching twice or thrice
Along the rocky walls,
She marks the columned ice
Of frozen waterfalls :
But still the darkened cave
Grew darker as she shone,



16 PROMETHEUS

*
Wherein was Rhea gone 15-0

Her child to bear and save.

\They dance.

Then danced the Dactyls and Curetes wild.
And drowned with yells the cries of mother and

child-

Big-armed Damnameneus gan prance and shout :
And burly Acmon struck the echoes out :
And Kermis leaped and howled : and Titias pranced :
And broad Cyllenus tore the air and danced :
While deep within the shadowed cave at rest
Lay Rhea, with her babe upon her breast.

INACHUS.

If any here there be whose impure hands z6o

Among pure hands, or guilty heart among
Our guiltless hearts be stained with blood or wrong,
Let him depart !

If there be any here in whom high Zeus
Seeing impiety might turn away,
Now from our sacrifice and from his sin
Let him depart !

Semichorus of maidens.
I have chosen to praise
H6ra the wife, and bring
A hymn for the feast on marriage days



THE FIREGIVER 17

To the wife of the gods' king. 171

How on her festival

The gods had loving strife,

Which should give of them all

The fairest gift to the wife.

But Earth said, Fair to see

Is mine and yields to none,

I have grown for her joy a sacred tree,

With apples of gold thereon.

Then Hera, when she heard what Earth had given,
Smiled for her joy, and longed and came to see :
On dovewings flying from the height of heaven,
Down to the golden tree :
As tired birds at even
Come flying straight to house
On their accustomed boughs.
'Twas where, on tortured hands
Bearing the mighty pole,
Devoted Atlas stands :
And round his bowed head roll
Day-light and night, and stars unmingled dance,
Nor can he raise his glance.

She saw the rocky coast
Whereon the azured waves






i8 PROMETHEUS

Are laced in foam, or lost

In water-lighted caves

The olive island where,

Amid the purple seas

Night unto Darkness bare

The four Hesperides : 300

And came into the shade

Of Atlas, where she found

The garden Earth had made

And fenced with groves around.

And in the midst it grew

Alone, the priceless stem,

As careful, clear and true

As graving on a gem.

Nature had kissed Art

And borne a child to stir 510

With jealousy the heart

Of heaven's Artificer.

From crown to swelling root

It mocked the goddess' praise,

The green enamelled sprays

The emblazoned golden fruit.

\They dance.

And 'neath the tree, with hair and zone unbound,
The fair Hesperides aye danced around,
And vEgle danced and sang c O welcome, Queen ! '



THE FIREGIVER 19

And Erytheia sang The tree is green ! ' 3 ao

And Hestia danced and sang 'The fruit is gold!'
And Arethusa sang Fair Queen, behold ! '
And all joined hands and danced about the tree,
And sang c O Queen, we dance and sing for thee ! '

In. If there be any here who has complaint
Against our rule or claim or supplication,
Now in the name of Zeus let it appear,
Now let him speak !

Prometheus reenters.

Pr. All hail, most worthy king, such claim have I.

Li. May grace be with thee, stranger ; speak thy
mind. 330

Pr. To Argos, king of Argos, at thy house
I bring long journeying to an end this hour,
Bearing no idle message for thine ears.
For know that far thy fame has reached, and men
That ne'er have seen thee tell that thou art set
Upon the throne of virtue, that good-will
And love thy servants are, that in thy land
Joy, honour, trust and modesty abide
And drink the air of peace, that kings must see
Thy city, would they know their peoples' good 340
And stablish them therein by wholesome laws.
But one thing mars the tale, for o'er thy lands
c a



zo PROMETHEUS

Travelling I have not seen from morn till eve,

Either from house or farm or labourer's cot,

In any village, nor this town of Argos

A blue-wreathed smoke arise : the hearths are cold,

This altar cold : I see the wood and cakes

Unbaken O king, where is the fire ?

In. If hither, stranger, thou wert come to find
That which thou findest wanting, join with us
Now in our sacrifice, take food within, 351

And having learnt our simple way of life
Return unto thy country whence thou earnest.
But hast thou skill or knowledge of this thing,
How best it may be sought, or by what means
Hope to be reached, O speak ! I wait to hear.

Pr. There is, O king, fire on the earth this day.

In. On earth there is fire thou sayest !

Pr. There is fire.

In. On earth this day !

Pr. There is fire on earth this day.

In. This is a sacred place, a solemn hour,
Thy speech is earnest : yet even if thou speak truth,
O welcome messenger of happy tidings,
And though I hear aright, yet to believe
Is hard : thou canst not know what words thou

speakest
Into what ears : they never heard before



THE FIREGIVER ^l

This sound but in old tales of happier times,
In sighs of prayer and faint unhearted hope :
Maybe they heard not rightly, speak again !

Pr. There is, O king, fire on the earth this day.

In. Yes, yes, again. Now let sweet Music blab
Her secret and give o'er here is a trumpet 371
That mocks her method. Yet 'tis but the word.
Maybe thy fire is not the fire I seek
Maybe though thou didst see it, now 'tis quenched,
Or guarded out of reach : speak yet again
And swear by heaven's truth is there fire or no j
And if there be, what means may make it mine.

Pr. There is, O king, fire on the earth this day :
But not as thou dost seek it to be found.

In. How seeking wrongly shall I seek aright ?

Pr. Thou prayest here to Zeus, and him thou
callest 381

Almighty, knowing he could grant thy prayer :
That if 'twere but his will, the journeying sun
Might drop a spark into thine outstretched hand :
That at his breath the splashing mountain brooks
That fall from Ornese, and cold Lerne's pool
Would change their element, and their chill streams
Bend in their burning banks a molten flood :
That at his word so many messengers
Would bring thee fire from heaven, that not a hearth



^^ PROMETHEUS

In all thy land but straight would have a god 391
To kneel and fan the flame : and yet to him,
It is to him thou prayest.

In. Therefore to him.

Pr. Is this thy wisdom, king, to sow thy seed
Year after year in this unsprouting soil ?
Hast thou not proved and found the will of Zeus
A barren rock for man with prayer to plough ?

In. His anger be averted ! we judge not god
Evil, because our wishes please him not.
Oft our shortsighted prayers to heaven ascending
Ask there our ruin, and are then denied 4.01

In kindness above granting : were't not so,
Scarce could we pray for fear to pluck our doom
Out of the merciful withholding hands.

Pr. Why then provokest thou such great goodwill
In long denial and kind silence shown ?

In. Fie, fie ! Thou lackest piety : the god's denial
Being nought but kindness, there is hope that he
Will make that good which is not : or if indeed
Good be withheld in punishment, 'tis well
Still to seek on and pray that god relent. 4.11

Pr. O Sire of Argos, Zeus will not relent.

In. Yet fire thou sayst is on the earth this day.

Pr. Not of his knowledge nor his gift, O king.

In. By kindness of what god then has man fire ?



THE FIREGIVER a?

Pr. I say but on the earth unknown to Zeus.

In. How boastest thou to know, not of his know-
ledge ?

Pr. I boast not : he that knoweth not may boast.

In. Thy daring words bewilder sense with sound.

Pr. I thought to find thee ripe for daring deeds.

In. And what the deed for which I prove unripe ?

Pr. To take of heaven's fire.

In. And were I ripe,

What should I dare, beseech you ?

Pr. The wrath of Zeus.

In. Madman, pretending in one hand to hold
The wrath of god and in the other fire. 41?

Pr. Thou meanest rather holding both in one.

In. Both impious art thou and incredible.

Pr. Yet impious only till thou dost believe.

In. And what believe ? Ah, if I could believe !
It was but now thou saidst that there was fire,
And I was near believing j I believed :
Now to believe were to be mad as thou.

Chorus. He may be mad and yet say true maybe
The heat of prophecy like a strong wine
Shameth his reason with exultant speech. 4.3 5-

Pr. Thou say'st I am mad, and of my sober words
Hast called those impious which thou fearest true,
Those which thou knowest good, incredible.



04 PROMETHEUS

Consider ere thou judge : be first assured

All is not good for man that seems god's will.

See, on thy farming skill, thy country toil 441

Which bends to aid the willing fruits of earth,

And would promote the seasonable year,

The face of nature is not always kind :

And if thou search the sum of visible being

To find thy blessing featured, 'tis not there :

Her best gifts cannot brim the golden cup

Of expectation which thine eager arms

Lift to her mouthed horn what then is this

Whose wide capacity outbids the scale 45-0

Of prodigal beauty, so that the seeing eye

And hearing ear, retiring unamazed

Within their quiet chambers, sit to feast

With dear imagination, nor look forth

As once they did upon the varying air ?

Whence is the fathering of this desire

Which mocks at fated circumstance ? nay though

Obstruction lie as cumbrous as the mountains,

Nor thy particular hap hath armed desire

Against the brunt of evil, yet not for this 460

Faints man's desire : it is the unquenchable

Original cause, the immortal breath of being :

Nor is there any spirit on Earth astir,

Nor 'neath the airy vault, nor yet beyond



THE FIREGIVER 15-

In any dweller in far-reaching space,

Nobler or dearer than the spirit of man :

That spirit which lives in each and will not die,

That wooeth beauty, and for all good things

Urgeth a voice, or in still passion sigheth,

And where he loveth draweth the heart with him.

Hast thou not heard him speaking oft and oft,

Prompting thy secret musing and now shooting

His feathered fancies, or in cloudy sleep 473

Piling his painted dreams ? O hark to him !

For else if folly shut his joyous strength

To mope in her dark prison without praise,

The hidden tears with which he wails his wrong

Will sour the fount of life. O hark to him !

Him mayst thou trust beyond the things thou seest.

For many things there be upon this earth

Unblest and fallen from beauty, to mislead

Man's mind, and in a shadow justify

The evil thoughts and deeds that work his ill j

Fear, hatred, lust and strife, which, if man question

The heavenborn spirit within him, are not there.

Yet are they bold efface, and Zeus himself, 486

Seeing that Mischief held her head on high,

Lest she should go beyond his power to quell

And draw the inevitable Fate that waits

On utmost ill, himself preventing Fate



^6 PROMETHEUS

Hasted to drown the world, and now would crush
Thy little remnant : but among the gods
Is one whose love and courage stir for thee ;
Who being of manlike spirit, by many shifts
Has stayed the hand of the enemy, who crieth
Thy world is not destroyed, thy good shall live :
Thou hast more power for good than Zeus for ill,
More courage, justice, more abundant art,
More love, more joy, more reason : though around thee
Rank-rooting evil bloom with poisonous crown,
Though wan and dolorous and crooked things 501
Have made their home with thee, thy good shall

live.

I Know thy desire : and know that if thou seek it,
[And seek, and seek, and fear not, thou shalt find.

Sem. (youths). Is this a god that speaketh thus ?

Sent, (maidens}* He speaketh as a man
In love or great affliction yields his soul.

In. Thou, whencesoe'er thou comest, whoe'er thou

art,

Who breakest on our solemn sacrifice
With solemn words, I pray thee not depart
Till thou hast told me more. This fire I seek f 10
Not for myself, whose thin and silvery hair
Tells that my toilsome age nears to its end,


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