Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ARIADNE WATCHING THE SAE AFTER THE DEPARTURE OF THESEUS, by LETITIA ELIZABETH LANDON



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ARIADNE WATCHING THE SAE AFTER THE DEPARTURE OF THESEUS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Lonely - lonely on the shore
Last Line: Loving, but beloved no more!
Alternate Author Name(s): L. E. L.; Maclean, Letitia
Subject(s): Ariadne; Grief; Mythology - Classical; Sorrow; Sadness


LONELY -- lonely on the shore --
Where the mighty waters roar,
Would that she could pass them o'er!
Doth the maiden stand.
Those small ivory feet are bare,
Rosy as the small shells are,
They are, than the feet, less fair
On that sea-beat strand!
Wherefore doth the girl complain?
Wind and wave will hear in vain.

Dark as is the raven's breast
Wand'ring wild in its unrest --
Like a human thought in quest
Of a future hour,
Do her raven tresses flow
Over neck and arm below,
White as is the silent snow,
Or the early flower!
Coming ere the summer sun
Colours what it shines upon.

Vainly does the west wind seek
To recall upon her cheek
How the red rose used to break
In her native isle --
Breaking with a lovely flush;
But her cheek has lost its blush
And her lip its smile:
Once how fair they used to spring
For the young Athenian King!

Desolate -- how desolate --
Does the Cretan lady wait
On the beach forlorn, who late
In a palace dwelt.
They will not -- the coming waves --
Watch her pleasure like the slaves
Who before her knelt;
And the least sign was command
From her slight but royal hand.

Lovely was the native bower
Where she dwelt a guarded flower,
In her other happier hour,
Ere love grew to pain.
Mid these grey rocks may she roam,
For the maiden hath no home --
None will have again.
Never more her eyes will meet
Welcome from her native Crete.

Little did that Princess fear,
When a thousand swords were near,
Where no other was her peer,
That an hour was nigh,
When her hands would stretch in vain
Helpless to the unpitying main,
To the unpitying sky --
Earth below and heaven above
Witness to the wrongs of Love.

On the white and sounding surge,
In the dark horizon's verge,
Does a vessel seem to urge
Fast her onward way.
And the swelling canvas spread,
Glitters in the early red
Of the coming day;
'Tis as if that vessel bore
All the sunshine from the shore.

Hath the young King left her side --
She but yesterday his bride --
Who for his sake cross'd the tide,
Gave him love and life?
He hath left her far behind
To the warring wave and wind.
But what is their strife,
To the war within the heart,
Which beholdeth him depart?

She hath perill'd life and fame
Upon an all desperate game;
What availeth now her claim
On the false and fled?
Not him only hath she lost --
All the spirit treasured most
Has its lustre shed.
Let the false one cross the main,
If she could believe again.

After hours may yet restore
To the cheek the rose it wore,
And, as it has smiled before,
So the lip will smile.
Let them be however bright,
Never will they wear the light
Of their native isle.
Trusting, happy were they then --
Such they cannot be again.

Strange the heart's emotions are,
How from out of its despair
Will it summon strength to hear
Desperate wrong and woe!
But such strength is as the light
Seen upon the grave by night --
There is death below:
And the very gleam that flashes
Kindles from the heart's sweet ashes.

Maiden! gazing o'er the sea,
Wistfully, how wistfully! --
Thine such weary doom must be --
Thine the weary heart.
Woe for confidence misplaced,
For affections run to waste,
And for hopes that part --
Leaving us their farewell word,
One for ever jarring chord.

There the Cretan maiden stands,
Wringing her despairing hands,
Lonely on the lonely sands --
'Tis a woman's lot:
Only let her heart be won,
And her summer hour is done --
Soon she is forgot;
Sad she strays by life's bleak shore,
Loving, but beloved no more!





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