Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, MEROPE, by HENRY CLARENCE KENDALL



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MEROPE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Far in the ways of the hyaline wastes - in the face of the splendid
Last Line: "straits of the sea."


Far in the ways of the hyaline wastes -- in the face of the splendid
Six of the sisters -- the star-dowered sisters ineffably bright,
Merope sitteth, the shadow-like wife of a monarch unfriended
Of Ades -- of Orcus, the fierce, the implacable god of the night.
Merope -- fugitive Merope! lost to thyself and thy lover,
Cast, like a dream, out of thought, with the moons which
have passed into sleep,
What shall avail thee? Alcyone's tears, or the sight to discover
Of Sisyphus pallid for thee by the blue, bitter lights of the deep --
Pallid, but patient for sorrow? Oh, thou of the fire and the water,
Half with the flame of the sunset, and kin to the streams of the sea,
Hast thou the songs of old times for desire of thy
dark-featured daughter,
Sweet with the lips of thy yearning, O Aethra! with tokens of thee --
Songs that would lull her, like kisses forgotten of silence
where speech was
Less than the silence that bound it as passion is bound by a ban;
Seeing we know of thee, Mother, we turning and hearing how each was
Wrapt in the other ere Merope faltered and fell for a man?
Mortal she clave to, forgetting her birthright, forgetting
the lordlike
Sons of the many-winged Father, and chiefs of the plume and the star,
Therefore, because that her sin was the grief of the grand
and the godlike,
Sitteth thy child than a morning-moon bleaker, the faded, and far.
Ringed with the flower-like Six of the Seven, arrayed and anointed
Ever with beautiful pity, she watches, she weeps, and she wanes,
Blind as a flame on the hills of the Winter in hours appointed
For the life of the foam and the thunder -- the strength of
the imminent rains.
Who hath a portion, Alcyone, like her? Asterope, fairer
Than sunset on snow, and beloved of all brightness, say
what is there left
Sadder and paler than Pleione's daughter, disconsolate bearer
Of trouble that smites like a sword of the gods to the
break of the heft?
Demeter, and Dryope, known to the forests, the falls, and
the fountains,
Yearly, because of their walking and wailing and wringing of hands,
Are they as one with this woman? -- of Hyrie, wild in the mountains,
Breaking her heart in the frosts and the fires of the uttermost lands?
These have their bitterness. This, for Persephone, that for Oechalian
Homes, and the lights of a kindness blown out with the
stress of her shame:
One for her child, and one for her sin; but thou above all
art an alien,
Girt with the halos that vex thee, and wrapt in a grief beyond name.
Yet sayeth Sisyphus -- Sisyphus, stricken and chained of the minioned
Kings of great darkness, and trodden in dust by the feet of
the Fates --
"Sweet are the ways of thy watching, and pallid and
perished and pinioned,
Moon amongst maidens, I leap for thy love like a god at the gates --
Leap for the dreams of a rose of the heavens, and beat at the portals
Paved with the pain of unsatisfied pleadings for thee and for thine!
But Zeus is immutable Master, and these are the walls the immortals
Build for our sighing, and who may set lips at the lords and repine?
Therefore," he saith, "I am sick for thee, Merope, faint
for the tender
Touch of thy mouth, and the eyes like the lights of an altar to me;
But, lo, thou art far; and thy face is a still and a
sorrowful splendour!
And the storm is abroad with the rain on the perilous
straits of the sea."







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