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STUDIES FROM THE ANTIQUE, ETC.


STUDIES FROM THE ANTIQUE.

KASSANDRA.

I.

Virgin of Troy, the days were well with thee
When, wandering singing by the singing streams
Of Ilion, thou beheld'st the golden gleams
Of the bold sun that might not facèd be

Come murmuring to thy feet caressingly;
But best that day when, steeped in noontide dreams,
The young Apollo wrapped thee in his beams,
And quenched his love in thine as in a sea!

And later, in thy tower 'twas sweet to teach
The loveless night the joys high day had known;
To dream, to wake, — and find thy love impeach
Late sleep with kisses, and thy spirit flown
To his, and at the ivoried gates of speech
Breaking in words as burning as his own.

II.

How far from llion, and how far from joy,
Captive Kassandra, wert thou, when in sight
Of conquering Greece thou satest on thy height
Of shame, — a waif from out the wreck of Troy!

Thine still the burning word, but slave's employ
Had from thy trembling lip effaced quite
The kisses of the god, and heaven's light
Now shone upon thee only to destroy.

For thee, sun-stricken one, th' abysmal sties
Of sin lay open as the secret grave, —
Things of which speech seemed madness, — while thy cries
On wronged Apollo lost the way to save;
Till at the last, the faith of upturned eyes
Brought him to right, as death to free the slave.




KLYTEMNESTRA.

I.

Daughter of gods and men, great ruling will,
Seething in oily rage within the sphere
Which gods and men assign the woman here,
Till, stricken where the wound approved thee still

Mother and mortal, all the tide of ill
Rushed through the gap, and nothing more seemed dear
But power to wreck high ruin, nothing clear
But the long dream you waited to fulfil.

Mother and spouse, — queen of the king of men, —
What fury brought Ægysthus to thy side? —
That bearded semblant, man to outward ken,
But else mere mawworm, made to fret man's pride;
Woman, thy foot was on thy tyrant then!
Mother, thou wert avenged for love defied!

II.

Woman and Greek, — so doubly trained in art! —
Spreading the purple for the conqueror's tread,
Bowing with feline grace thy royal head, —
How perfect, whelp-robbed lioness, thy part!

One wrong the more to wring the ancient smart,
Then three swift strokes, and the slow hope blooms red;
Who shamed the hero lays him with the dead,
Where nevermore his word may vex her heart.

Bold queen, what were to thee the gods of Greece?
What had been any god of any name,
More than the lion-heart you made to cease —
Or the live dog to all your humors tame?
The very furies left your soul in peace
Until Orestes' sword drove home their claim.

Contemporary Review. Emily Pfeiffer.




THE FORGET-ME-NOT.

Mark the forget-me-not by yon brookside.
Its roots the mud, its stem the waters hide;
Its blossoms seek the sky.
So, though thy feet be rooted in earth's slime,
Raise thou thy head above the waves of time —
Look up on high!

See how the blossoms, earthward-bent awhile,
Turn as they ope to meet the sun's bright smile,
And, as they upward gaze,
First flush with pink, then mirror heaven's own blue,
And every flow'ret bears, of sunny hue,
A crown of rays.

O thou whose thoughts are fixed on this world's toys,
Look up to Him from whom are all thy joys.
The beatific sight
Will change thee till the human grow divine,
And at the last upon thy brow shall shine
A crown of light.

Sunday Magazine.Margaret Cox.