Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, HERO AND LEANDER, by JOHANN CHRISTOPH FRIEDRICH VON SCHILLER



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

HERO AND LEANDER, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Mark ye how yon time-worn towers
Last Line: Of the unfathomable deep.
Alternate Author Name(s): Schiller, Friedrich Von
Subject(s): Dardanelles; Hero And Leander; Hellespont


MARK ye how yon time-worn towers,
In the golden noontide hours,
Greet each other o'er the straits,
Where the Hellespont rolls thundering
Through the Dardanelles, wide sundering
In his march their rocky gates?
Hear ye how the stormy surges,
Moaning, lash the naked rock,
Asia's coast from Europe rending?
Love fears not their sullen shock.

Long had Hero and Leander,
Pierced by Love's resistless arrow,
Nursed a sweet and secret pang;
Hero, fair as Hebe blooming,
He, through wild and mountain roaming,
Where the chase tumultuous rang.
Fearful feuds, their sires dividing,
Frowned upon the lovers' bliss,
And the fruit of sweet affection
Hung o'er danger's wild abyss.

There, on Sestos' rocky tower,
Where tempestuously each hour
Wild the Euxine moans and swells,
Sat the maiden, lone and weary,
Gazing o'er the waters dreary,
Where the fondly loved one dwells.
Ah, no bridge across those billows
Shall her trembling footsteps stay;
No bold vessel stems the surges;
Love alone hath found the way.

Darkly now the waves were flowing,
And she bade the torch bright-glowing
From the lofty window gleam.
The lone swimmer, faint and weary,
Mid the waste of waters dreary
Soon shall hail its guiding beam.
Wildly curl the blackening billows;
Every star is quenched on high,
And the moan of sullen breakers
Hoarsely speaks the tempest nigh.

Wide o'er Pontus' plains extending
Night now broods, and floods descending
Burst from every angry cloud;
Forked lightnings rend the heavens,
And from out their rocky caverns
All the storms howl wild and loud.
Now the gloomy, giant billows
To the skies in fury swell,
And now yawn the deep abysses,
Like the hungry jaws of Hell.

And the tempest's wild lash urges
Mountain-high the thundering surges
Up the cliff and o'er the rock;
Sullen moan the whitening breakers;
E'en the oak-ribbed vessel staggers,
Nor unshattered 'scapes the shock.
Flickering in the wind that moment,
Dies the torch's beacon-light;
And the billows and the landing
With wild horrors mock the sight.

And the wild winds cease their blowing,
And the steeds of Morn, bright-glowing,
Climb their eastern path on high.
Peaceful on his bed old Ocean
Flows along with shining motion,
Smiling to the smiling sky.
And the waves with gentlest whisper
Greet the rock and kiss the strand;
And at length a corpse comes floating
In their light wake up the sand.

Ay, 't is he, -- one glance reveals him, --
He, who e'en in death is faithful!
Faithful to his solemn vow!
Not a groan, -- no sigh she utters, --
Not a tear her pale cheek moistens, --
Marble-cold she stands there now.
O'er the dreary deep she gazes,
Looks despairing to the sky,
And a kindling fire illumines
Her pale cheek and fading eye.

In the breeze her loose robes flutter, --
From the battlement she plunges
Down into the sounding wave;
And the God of ocean proudly
Bears on high the holy corpses,
And himself prepares their grave.
Then triumphantly the billows
With their proud prey onward sweep,
From the never-failing fountains
Of the unfathomable deep.





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