Page:The American Review Volume 02.djvu/585

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1845.]
567
The Flight of Helle.


On where the sun's red chariot dashes
 Up through Aurora's amber bars.


The skies seem whirled on buzzing spindles—
 So swims and spins her dizzy brain;
Afar the dear earth dims and dwindles—
 She swoons, her clasped hands fall atwain.
As shoots the hawk on folded pinion.
Or white star from its blue pavilion,
Her form athwart the morn's vermilion
 Drops down into the blushing main;
Feather and curl the parting waters—
 Soft arms her panting zone enwreathe—
With Nereus' silver-footed daughters
 She treads the yellow sands beneath.


The singing choir of nymphs advances.
 Waking the echoes in their glassy cells,
With measured footfalls, leading choral dances
 O'er paths bestrownwith lustrous ocean-shells;
Above, in shifting tints auroral.
Glimmering with starry wreaths and floral.
Embowering avenues of coral
 O'erarched their spiral pinnacles;
The swell of mingling tones ascended
 From Tritons and the Naiades,
And chimes of wandering murmurs blended
 With music of the hummin°r seas.


They led her, like a novice Nereid vestal,
 Hymning and waving token-wreaths of glee,
Through all their crystal caverns, decked in festal
 And gorgeous hangings from the jeweled sea,
Where sat the gray- beard ocean-seer.
Wrecked by age's woe and cheer.
 From out whose ruined body year by year
His kingly soul seemed wearing free;
In eyes cavernous, black and hooded.
 Flickered wild and ghastly gleams—
On whom their burning glances brooded,
 They saw his thoughts, his hopes and dreams.


Soon knew he Helie's heart of sadness,
 And spake these words his prophet-lips:
"When the lyre's sweet notes of gladness
 Mark the oar's quick-cadenced dips.
Then, 'neath the ocean's crystal cover.
Thy heart shall throb upon its lover—
No woes of earth around you hover,
 No doubts your marriage joys eclipse;
For you the brimming youth ne'er perish.
 Your radiant beauty waneth never;
As mortals rapturous love ye cherish,
 A Sea-Nymph and a God forever."