First Evening. Part 4 -

How changingly for ever veers
The heart of youth 'twixt smiles and tears!
Even as in April the light vane
Now points to sunshine, now to rain.
Instant this lively lay dispelled
The shadow from each blooming brow,
And Dancing, joyous Dancing, held
Full empire o'er each fancy now.
But say — what shall the measure be?
" Shall we the old Romaika tread, "
(Some eager asked) " as anciently
" 'T was by the maids of Delos led,
" When slow at first, then circling fast,
" As the gay spirits rose — at last,
" With hand in hand like links enlocked,
" Thro' the light air they seemed to flit
" In labyrinthine maze, that mocked
" The dazzled eye that followed it? "
Some called aloud " the Fountain Dance! " —
While one young, dark-eyed Amazon,
Whose step was air-like and whose glance
Flashed, like a sabre in the sun,
Sportively said, " Shame on these soft
" And languid strains we hear so oft.
" Daughters of Freedom! have not we
" Learned from our lovers and our sires
" The Dance of Greece, while Greece was free —
" That Dance, where neither flutes nor lyres,
" But sword and shield clash on the ear
" A music tyrants quake to hear?
" Heroines of Zea, arm with me
" And dance the dance of Victory! "

Thus saying, she, with playful grace,
Loosed the wide hat, that o'er her face
(From Anatolia came the maid)
Hung shadowing each sunny charm;
And with a fair young armorer's aid,
Fixing it on her rounded arm,
A mimic shield with pride displayed;
Then, springing towards a grove that spread
Its canopy of foliage near,
Plucked off a lance-like twig, and said,
" To arms, to arms! " while o'er her head
She waved the light branch, as a spear.

Promptly the laughing maidens all
Obeyed their Chief's heroic call; —
Round the shield-arm of each was tied
Hat, turban, shawl, as chance might be;
The grove, their verdant armory,
Falchion and lance alike supplied;
And as their glossy locks, let free,
Fell down their shoulders carelessly,
You might have dreamed you saw a throng
Of youthful Thyads, by the beam
Of a May moon, bounding along
Peneus silver-eddied stream!

And now they stept, with measured tread,
Martially o'er the shining field;
Now to the mimic combat led
(A heroine at each squadron's head),
Struck lance to lance and sword to shield:
While still, thro' every varying feat,
Their voices heard in contrast sweet
With some of deep but softened sound
From lips of aged sires around,
Who smiling watched their children's play —
Thus sung the ancient Pyrrhic lay: — English
No votes yet


No reviews yet.