Wednesday, March 29, 2017

EURYDICE, a poem

Orpheus and Eurydice (1806)
by Christian Gottlieb Kratzenstein-Stub
Wikimedia Commons
I HEAR thy voice!—
     Ah, love, I hear thy voice!
Faint as the sound of distant waters falling,
I hear thy voice above me calling, calling,—
And my imprisoned heart,
Long held from thee apart,
     Responsive thrills, half-tempted to rejoice.

     In Hades though I be,
Where the unnumbered dead abide
In uneventful, sunless eventide,
     I yet live on,—for thou rememberest me!
And like to far-off waters falling,
I hear thee, from the distance, calling,—
     Eurydice! Beloved Eurydice!

     In thy bright world I know,
     The firstlings of the Spring begin to blow:
Moss-violet and saffron daffodil
Their perfumes new distil,
And through the veiled elysian hours,—
Sweeter for wafted scent of citron-flowers,—
     Voices of nightingales soft come and go.

     The halcyon again
     Contented broods beside the quiet main;
The ringdove tells her wound
With throbbing breast, and undulating sound
Which still, thy passion wronging,
Awakes in thee the wilder, lonelier longing.
     And still my buried heart reflects thy pain!

     Of yore I had a dream:
I thought—the awful sentinel asleep—
     Thou, with that lyre divine, supreme,
Which first drew Argo downward to the deep,
     Entering here, where chains are never riven,
     Had with thy golden strain, Apollo given,
Taught Dis, the pitiless, himself, to weep:

     I had a dream of yore:
I thought Love, mightier than Death,
     Wide opened the inexorable door,
And offered me pure draughts of sun-warmed breath.
I saw thy form; trembling, I seemed to follow,—
When, sudden, to these rayless caverns hollow
     Fate caught me back—thee to behold no more!
     .       .       .       .       .       .       .       .       .       .

     Yet still I wait for thee!
     And thou wilt come!—wilt come—wilt come to me!
The hours delay; I make no moan,—
Apart from thee,—yet not alone,—
Sweeter than far-off music sighing,
I hear thy voice forever crying:—
     "Eurydice!—lost, lost Eurydice!"
"Eurydice" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Lyrics of Life (1909), Lippincott's Monthly Magazine (March 1910, as "Che Faro Senza Eurydice!") and Poems (1916) Volume II.

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