Page:Mistral - Mirèio. A Provençal poem.djvu/133

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Canto V.]
107
THE BATTLE.

Ay, bale, brave Ourrias! But there danced that night,
On Trincataio11 bridge, the water-sprite.12
Madly the white mare strove to break her halter.
"What ails you, Blanco?" Ourrias 'gan falter.
"Fear you the dead yonder upon the verge?"
Over the gunnel plashed the rising surge.

"Captain, the craft sinks, and I cannot swim!"
"I know no help," the pilot answered him.
"We must go down. But, presently," he said,
"A cable will be heaved us by the dead,—
The dead you fear so,—on the river-bank."
And even as he spake the vessel sank.

The tapers gleaming far and fitfully
In the poor ghostly hands flared forth so high,
They sent a shaft of vivid brilliance
Across the murky river's broad expanse;
Then, as a spider in the morn you see
Glide o'er his late-spun thread, the boatmen three,

Being all spirits, leaped out of the stream,
And caught and swooped along the dazzling beam.
And Ourrias, too, the cable sought to seize
Amid the gurgling waters, even as these;
But sought it vainly, And the water-sprite
Danced upon Trincataio bridge that night.