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THE HESPERIDES.

“ Hesperus and his daughters three,
That sing about the golden tree." - Coxus.

The North-wind fallen, in the new-starrèd night
Zidonian Hanno, voyaging beyond
The hoary promontory of Soloë
Past Thymiaterion, in calmed bays,
Between the southern and the western Horn,
Heard neither warbling of the nightingale,
Nor melody o' the Lybian lotus-flute
Blown seaward from the shore; but from a slope
That ran bloom-bright into the Atlantic blue,
Beneath a highland leaning down a weight
Of cliffs, and zoned below with cedar-shade,
Came voices, like the voices in a dream,
Continuous, till he reached the outer sean

SONG.

I.

The golden apple, the golden apple, the hallowed

fruit,
Guard it well, guard it warily,
Singing airily,
Standing about the charmed root.
Bound aboat all is mute,
As the snow-field on the mountain-peaks,
As the sand-field at the mouritain-foot.
Crocodiles in briný creeks
Sleep and stir not: all is mute.

If ye sing not, if ye make false measure,
We shall lose eternal pleasure,
Worth eternal want of rest.
Laugh not loudly: watch the treasure
Qf the wisdom of the west.
In a corner wisdom whispers. Five and three
(Let it not be preached abroad) make an awful

mystery.
For the blossom unto threefold music bloweth;
Evermore it is born anew;
And the sap to threefold music floweth,
From the root
Drawn in the dark,
Up to the fruit,
Creeping under the fragrant bark,
Liquid gold, honey-sweet, through and through.
Keen-eyed sisters, singing airily,
Looking warily
Every way,
Guard the apple night and day,
Lest one from the east come and take it away.

II.

and aye,

Father Hesper, Father Hesper, watch, watch, ever
Looking under silver hair with a silver eye.
Father, twinkle not thy steadfast sight;
Kingdoms lapse, and climates change, and races die;
Honor comes with mystery ;
Hoarded wisdom brings delight.
Number, tell them over and number
How many the mystic fruit-tree holds,
Lest the red-combed dragon slumber
Rolled together in purple folds.
Look to him, father, lest he wink, and the golden

apple be stolen away, , For his ancient heart is drunk with overwatchings

night and day.

Round about the hallowed fruit-tree curled :
Sing away, sing aloud evermore in the wind, with-

out stop,
Lest his scalèd eyelid drop,
For he is older than the world.
If he waken, we waken,
Rapidly levelling eager eyes.
If he sleep, we sleep,
Dropping the eyelid over the eyes.
If the golden apple be taken,
The world will be overwise.
Five links, a golden chain, are we,
Hesper, the dragon, and sisters three,
Bound about the golden tree.

III.

Father Hesper, Father Hesper, watch, watch, night

and day,
Lest the old wound of the world be healed,
The glory unsealed,
The golden apple stolen away,
And the ancient secret revealed.
Look from west to east along :
Father, old Himala weakens, Caucasus is bold and

strong.
Wandering waters unto wandering waters call;
Let them clash together, foam and fall.
Out of watchings,

out of wiles,
Comes the bliss of secret smiles.
All things are not told to all.
Half-round the mantling night is drawn,
Purple-fringed with even and dawn.
Hesper hateth Phosphor, evening hateth morn.

IV.

Every flower and every fruit the redolent breath Of this warm sea-wind ripeneth,

Arching the billow in his sleep;
But the land-wind wandereth,
Broken by the highland-steep,
Two streams upon the violet deep:
For the western sun and the western star,
And the low west-wind, breathing afar,
The end of day and beginning of night,
Make the apple holy and bright;
Holy and bright, round and full, bright and blest,
Mellowed in a land of rest;
Watch it warily day and night;
All good things are in the west.
Till midnoon the cool east light
Is shut out by the round of the tall hill-brow;
But when the full-faced sunset yellowly
Stays on the flowering arch of the bough,
The luscious fruitage clustereth mellowly,
Golden-kernelled, golden-cored,
Sunset-ripened above on the tree.
The world is wasted with fire and sword,
But the apple of gold hangs over the sea.
Five links, a golden chain, are we,
Hesper, the dragon, and sisters three,
Daughters three,
Bound about
All round about
The gnarlèd bole of the charmed tree.
The golden apple, the golden apple, the hallowed

fruit,
Guard it well, guard it warily,
Watch it warily,
Singing airily,
Standing about the charmèd root.

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