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قراءة كتاب The New England Magazine Volume 1, No. 6, June, 1886, Bay State Monthly Volume 4, No. 6, June, 1886

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‏اللغة: English
The New England Magazine Volume 1, No. 6, June, 1886, Bay State Monthly Volume 4, No. 6, June, 1886

The New England Magazine Volume 1, No. 6, June, 1886, Bay State Monthly Volume 4, No. 6, June, 1886

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 5

torrent wide,
Grown fierce with melting snow, his progress barred;
And there beneath the cloudless dome, bright-starred,
Upon his tawny shield he laid him down,
And slept till morning with her rosy crown
Followed the car of Phœbus up the East.
Then, when his limbs from slumber were released,
And he had eaten of his frugal fare,
He stemmed the stream, and up a hillside bare
Of aught but tangled bush and hindering briar
Toiled slowly to the crest, whereon a spire
Of splintered pine like lonely sentry stood.
Below him lay a wide-outreaching wood,
And far beyond a hamlet that he knew,
Œnoë called. Before the thick night dew
Had dried from off the grass and rustling leaves,
Or shepherd maids from under well-thatched eaves
Had gone afield to watch the wandering
Of flocks that fed beside a crystal spring,
Stout Hercules had trodden half the way
That 'twixt the pine-tree and the hamlet lay.

A Titan power, while yet the world was young,
Within the woodland's shady heart had flung
The green earth open, and a dark ravine,
Through which a streamlet purled o'er mossy-green,
Gigantic boulders, formed the chosen lair
For ravening beasts that through the forest fare.
At night or morn the deer were wont to seek
The freshening nectar of the crystal creek;
At night or morn the pard, with stealthy tread,
Crept softly out upon the boughs o'erhead;
A wanderer from rocky realms remote,
Here laved the mountain bear his shaggy coat;
And birds, bright-mirrored on the sedgy brink
Of darkling pools, here paused to plume and drink.
Where o'er the granite ledge the noisy stream
Came tossing down athwart the slanting gleam
Of morning sunrays, Hercules reclined
Beneath a tangled growth of vines that twined
Around o'erhanging saplings, oak and elm.
Upon the ground was cast his weighty helm,
Likewise his shield and shafts, his club and bow.
Breathless he listened with his ear bent low
Upon the earth. The moments sped; around
The honey-hoarding bees' unceasing sound,
The crested jay's complaining, shrilly call,
Were intermingled with the water's fall.
But soon upon his keen, detecting ear
There fell a noise which told that hoof of deer
Was lightly rustling through the reeds and grass.
With eye alert he scanned the narrow pass
Beside the stream, and, in a moment more,
Beheld a stag upon the shelving shore
Whose hoofs seemed brazen, and whose horns outshone
With gold like that which binds the slender zone
Of fair Aurora, daughter of the Dawn.
Deep eyes more tender had no timid fawn;
Of perfect form was every graceful limb;
The tapering flank symmetrical and slim,
The head erect, the nostril fine of curve,
The shapely shoulders flawless, and the swerve
Of stately neck a marvel to behold.
This was the stag a woodland nymph of old
To swift Diana gave, remembering she
Had been her friend in dire extremity.
This stag it was that brave Mycenæ's king
Had bidden valiant Hercules to bring
Alive unto his court. And now so fair
The creature stood before him, unaware
A foe lurked near, that he at heart was fain
To capture it without the piercing pain
The wounding dart might give; and so aside
He cast his princely peplus, purple-dyed,
And softly crept from 'neath the viny roof.
But lo! the stag with smite of startled hoof
On yielding ground, and toss of antlers high,
Flashing a look from out his frightened eye,
With agile bound sprang knee-deep in the stream,
A moment paused as in a trance or dream;
Then, casting back a calmly questioning look,
Regained the bank above the brawling brook,
And ere the hero seized his barbed dart,
Had disappeared within the forest's heart.
Twelve weary months had slowly dragged away
Since Hercules, upon that fateful day,
Within Arcadian wilds had sought in vain
To snare the sacred stag; through sun and rain,
Through wintry cold and winds that tossed and whirled
The falling leaf, through drifting snows that pearled
Arcadian slopes, untiring in pursuit,
He held a lonely chase that bore no fruit;
If he at morn descried the stag afar,
At night it vanished like a falling star;
And though his subtlest woodcraft he had tried,
The brazen hoof his cunning still defied.
Oft did the harvesters and husbandmen
Behold him ranging through an Argive glen,
And oft the wandering shepherd saw him rest
On some Arcadian upland's bosky crest.
In rapid flight the hunted stag had come
From craggy heights of Artemesium
To placid Ladon's fruitful vale, and there
Had sought a refuge in a cavern ne'er
Beheld by mortal man. Remote it stood
Within the precincts of a pathless wood
To Dian sacred. Round its entrance grew
A tangled copse, and one gigantic yew
Towered at its mouth. The river ran near by,
And on its bank was heard the bittern's cry,
For May had come again.
One morn by chance,