Page:Sappho and the Vigil of Venus (1920).djvu/30

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Around fair altars the daughters of Crete
Float in the mystic measure, with feet
Scarce seeming to touch the velvet grass
Whereover the white robes rippling pass.
So danced the Muses, so danced the Graces
Till the low sun flushed the bridal feast
All rosy, and golden uprose in the east
The moon. Then silent, with reverent faces
Those wedded divine ones did they enring
Like unto worshippers compassing
The altar whereunto their gifts they bring.
And Niobe listened as one spell-bound;
And her ears were thrilled with the tale as with sound
Of harpings unearthly; and sigh upon sigh
Brake from her lips, she knew not why.
But when in the darkness she lay on her bed,
Sleep dusky-eyed, the child of Night,
Who on all eyes presses with fingers light,
Upon Niobe's eyes no sleep-dews shed;
But through hush of the darkness ever she heard
Ravishing-sweet the voice of a bird,
Of the nightingale, messenger-herald of Spring;
And to her through the notes did a message ring
Sweet, sweet—yet she could not interpret the thing.
But she waited in trance of expectancy,
Till lo, the star-sown canopy
Of the heavens was cloven, and Eros came
From the brightness beyond; a crimson flame
Was the mantle that vestured him. Came at his side