Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ARIADNE, by SARA J. CLARKE



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ARIADNE, by            
First Line: Daughter of crete - how one brief hour
Last Line: "and blast him should he dare to turn!"
Subject(s): Ariadne; Mythology - Classical


DAUGHTER of Crete -- how one brief hour,
E'en in thy young love's early morn,
Sends storm and darkness o'er thy bower --
Oh doom'd, oh desolate, oh lorn!
The breast which pillow'd thy fair head
Rejects its burden -- and the eye
Which look'd its love so earnestly,
Its last cold glance hath on thee shed; --
The arms which were thy living zone,
Around thee closely, warmly thrown,
Shall others clasp -- deserted one!

Yet, Ariadne, worthy thou
Of the dark fate which meets thee now,
For thou art grovelling in thy woe!
Arouse thee! joy to bid him go;
For god above, or man below,
Whose love's impetuous fervent tide
Cold interest, or selfish pride
Can chill, or stay, or turn aside,
Is all too poor and mean a thing,
One shade o'er woman's brow to fling
Of grief, regret, or fear; --
To cloud one morning's golden light, --
Disturb the sweet dreams of one night, --
To cause the soft lash of her eye
To droop one moment mournfully,
Or tremble with one tear!

'T is thou should'st triumph -- thou art free
From chains which bound thee for awhile --
This, this the farewell meet for thee,
Proud Princess on that lonely isle: --

"Go -- to thine Athens bear thy faithless name!
Go, base betrayer of a holy trust!
Oh, I could bow me in my utter shame,
And lay my crimson forehead in the dust,
If I had ever loved thee as thou art,
Folding mean falsehood to my high true heart!

"But thus I loved thee not -- Before me bow'd
A being glorious in majestic pride,
And breathed his love and passionately vow'd
To worship only me his peerless bride;
And this was thou -- but crown'd, enrobed, entwined,
With treasures borrow'd from my own rich mind!

"I know thee not a creature of my dreams,
And my rapt soul went floating into thine!
My love around thee pour'd such halo-beams,
Had'st thou been true had made thee all divine --
And I, too, seem'd immortal in my bliss,
When my glad lip thrill'd to thy burning kiss!

"Shrunken and shrivell'd into Theseus now
Thou stand'st. Behold the gods have blown away
The airy crown that glittered on thy brow --
The gorgeous robes which wrapp'd thee for a day;
Around thee scarce one fluttering fragment clings --
A poor lean beggar in all glorious things!

"Nor will I deign to cast on thee my hate --
It were a ray to tinge with splendour still
The dull, dim twilight of thy after fate --
Thou shalt pass from me like a dream of ill --
Thy name be but a thing that crouching stole
Like a poor thief, all noiseless from my soul!

"Though thou hast dared to steal the sacred flame
From out that soul's high heaven, she sets thee free;
Or only chains thee with thy sounding shame --
Her memory is no Caucasus for thee;
And e'en her hovering hate would o'er thee fling
Too much of glory from its shadowy wing!

"Thou think'st to leave my life a lonely night --
Ha! it is night all glorious with its stars!
Hopes yet unclouded beaming forth their light,
And free thoughts rolling in their silver cars!
And queenly pride, serene, and cold, and high,
Moves the Diana of its calm, clear sky!

"If poor and humbled thou believest me,
Mole of a demi-god, how blind art thou!
For I am rich -- in scorn to pour on thee!
And gods shall bend from high Olympus' brow,
And gaze in wonder on my lofty pride,
Naxos be hallow'd, I be deified!"

On the tall cliff where cold and pale
Thou watchest his receding sail,
Where thou, the daughter of a King,
Wail'st like a wind-harp's breaking string,
Bend'st like a weak and wilted flower
Before a summer evening's shower, --
There should'st thou rear thy royal form,
Like a young oak amid the storm,
Uncrush'd, unbow'd, unriven!
Let thy last glance burn through the air,
And fall far down upon him there,
Like lightning-stroke from Heaven!

There should'st thou mark o'er billowy crest
His white sail flutter and depart,
No wild fears surging at thy breast,
No vain hopes quivering round thy heart;
And this brief, burning prayer alone
Leap from thy lips to Jove's high throne: --

"Just Jove! Thy wrathful vengeance stay,
And speed the traitor on his way!
Make vain the Syren's silver song,
Let Nereids smile the wave along --
O'er the wild waters send his barque
Like a swift arrow to its mark!
Let whirlwinds gather at his back,
And drive him on his dastard track!
Let thy red bolts behind him burn,
And blast him should he dare to turn!"





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