BETA

Ariadne at Naxos.


I.

High upon the Hill of Drios,*1
As the day began to waken,2
All alone sat Ariadne,3
Watching, weary, and forsaken :4
With her dark dishevelled tresses5
Dank with dewdrops of the night,6
And her face all wan and haggard,7
Still she waited on the height :8
Watching, praying that the morning9
Might reveal her love returning,10
Swiftly o’er the quivering water ;11
To the lonely isle returning,12
And the king’s deserted daughter.13

II.

From her couch of Orient forests—14
From the chamber of her rest15
Came, with queenly step, the Morning,16
Journeying onward to the West :17
And the glory of her presence18
Ting’d the sea and filled the air,19
Smote the lofty Hill of Drios,20
And the lonely watcher there ;21
Yet no bark across the water22
Came to lighten her despair.23
But with sighing of the pine-trees,24
By the low wind gently shaken25
All day long in mournful snatches26
Rose the plaint of Ariadne,27
Watching, weary, and forsaken.28

* A lofty hill on the island of Naxos, from the summit of which twenty-two isles
as well as the opposite shore of Asia Minor, may be seen.
A crowned figure in historical dress stretches her arms toward natural scenery in the background. The figure is contained within an embellished picture frame. The frame is surrounded by two classical columns and an ornate archway, which is decorated with garlands and mythological beings. Below the main frame, at the bottom of the archway, a second frame features a person lying in the grass, head in hands. Full page-illustration.

III.

In vain ! in vain !  The seventh bright day29
Is breaking o’er yon eastern land,30
That mid the light—a long dark band31
Lies dim and shadowy far away ;32
And still from morn till eve I’ve scann’d33
That weary sea from strand to strand,34
To mark his sail against the spray.35
In vain ! in vain ! The morning ray36
Shows not his bark mid all the seas,37
Tho’ I may trace from where I stand,38
All the flowery Cyclades.39
Seven days ! But oh ! how tardily40
Those lonely hours have crept away !41
And yet it seems but yesterday42
That, sailing o’er the Cretan Sea,43
I watch’d the melting shadows gray,44
And hail’d the dawn as emblem gay45
Of all the rapture yet to be,46
When I with him should wander free,47
Through fair Ilissus’ bowers of green.48
But now my love has gone for aye,49
And I am left alone alway, 50
To brood o’er all that might have been !51
“Oh ! had I to the shadows pass’d,52
Before the dark-eyed stranger came53
To light with love the fatal fame54
That aye will burn within my breast !55
The maids of Crete had named my name,56
Nor thought of love, nor yet of shame,57
But of a sister pure and chaste,58
In Death’s cold arms untimely pressed,59
And all from joy and sorrow reft :60
He might have lived his life of fame,61
And I had ne’er been loved and left !62
Or had the North Wind woke from sleep,63
As with our dark sails all outspread,64
Across the southern wave we fled,— 65
Down in the great Sea’s twilight deep,66
Some silent grot had been our bed,67
Where many a long-hair’d Nereïd,68
With ocean-flowers all garlanded,69
Had knelt by our low couch to weep :70
But softly o’er the brine the breeze did creep,71
Bearing us all too gently on our way ;72
While I of strong Poseidon pray’d73
To guard the life I mourn to-day !74
Ye memories of days gone by75
Ere clouds of woe began to lower,76
When life stretch’d all so bright before,77
And love was warm and hope was high ; —78
Of moonlight nights beside the shore,79
When by the infinite heaven he swore,80
And every star that gemm’d it o’er,—81
That love like his could never die :82
Unbidden guests of mine adversity !83
Dead hopes and haunting memories of the Past,84
That cling about my heart for evermore85
Oh! to forget you all, and die and be at rest !86
For rest alone awaiteth me87
Beyond Death’s portal dark and grim,88
Where Nature whispers that I soon shall be ;89
For robes of rest I cannot see90
Seem folding round each languid limb :91
My weary eyes are waxing dim,92
Scarce may I hear the evening hymn93
The birds are chanting joyously : —94
But oh ! for one more glimpse of thee,95
Theseus ! before mine eyelids sink for aye,—96
Or of thy sail beneath the westering day,97
O’er the horizon’s utmost rim,98
Looming far away ! ”99

IV.

Darkness o’er land and sea resum’d her sway,100
The fair Moon rose, dispensing silvery light,101
And softly fell the tears of mother Night102
O’er the outwearied watcher where she lay,103
Till in the Orient dawned again the Day,104
And all for joy o’er his triumphant birth,105
Arose the hymned praises of the Earth :106
The River murmured, rolling on his way,107
The wind-swept Forest sigh’d, and carols gay108
The wild bird litted from the dewy brake109
But Ariadne sleeps, and never more shall wake !110