The American Review: A Whig Journal of Politics, Literature, Art, and Science/Volume 02/December 1845/The Flight of Helle
THE FLIGHT OF HELLE.
While the awakened cock crowed loudly
The dreamy watches of the morn,
Phrixus' ram, with neck arched proudly.
Stamped and pawed the graveled lawn;
The pebbles on his steel hooves tinkled.
The lustrous jasper gleamed and twinkled
Of his crooked horns, all wreathed and wrinkled.
Like an icy pine-branch in the dawn;
Gold tufts upon his forehead glimmered.
And burned with gold his woolly shroud.
As dying hues of sunset shimmered
On the light wreaths of sleeping cloud.
Tearfully drooped her dusky lashes.
O'er Helle's cheek the pale grief spread:
"The fires of my Father's hearth are ashes,
The joys ot my father's halls are dead;
Woe came with her he made my mother,
Her jealous heart his love did smother
For me and for my guardian brother—
A curse of him who twice hath wed!
But fast the Fates her life-web further,
While they her doom of blood recite,—
Chased to her son's and her own mother.
By the grim Daughters of the Night."
Soon melts the wreath, that lighted wildly
The raven depths of Helle's eyes;
Soon through her soul welled sadly, mildly,
The gush of sweeter memories:
"Sheathed in the hues of morn, the river
Glides on and murmurs Love forever;
Its fringing flowers still throb and quiver
With his and my pure ecstacies.
Yet thrills his heart with deep devotion;
But my fond smile and rosy wreath?—
In the Dawn-land, or where the Ocean
Breaks on the silent shores of death!
"Stars were gleaming, the moon was beaming.
When last his arms my waist did twine—
We were like twain of Heaven, dreaming
Dreams that made our loves divine;
Beneath the stars our troth was plighted.
Beneath the moon our souls united—
The stars and moon shall be benighted
Ere thrills his heart no more through mine.
fires! that his long kiss imparted.
Ye burn unquenched by bitter tears;
O Love! so true and tender-hearted,
Thou'lt droop not mid the blight of fears."
Crushed in heart and sobbing, sighing.
Heaved her white bosom with its woe.
Like rain-gusts sadly plaining, dying,
O'er the curved fountain's fall and flow.
"The hoary mountain's emerald wonders
Blaze forth alone, where cleave the thunders;
Only in hearts mad anguish sunders
"The live fires at the core can glow;
Their tears and blood must write the story
Of woman's truth and hero's worth;
The Heavens give a godlike glory,
Where wither all the joys of earth."
Spake these words her brave defender.
While, like the sun's fire in the moon.
His spirit's glow, with softer splendor.
In her pure soul enkindled soon.
Now soars their ram, self-poised, uplifting.
And bears them star-like on, unshifting.
Like a radiant cloudlet, drifting
Sky-ward some May afternoon;
Swift past the shores the gray sea washes.
High, where old Athos greets the star.
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."