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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.


By Richard Henry Hengist Horne (1802–1884)

From ‘Orion’

LEVEL with the summit of that eastern mount

By slow approach, and like a promontory

Which seems to glide and meet a coming ship,

The pale-gold platform of the morning came

Towards the gliding mount. Against a sky

Of delicate purple, snow-bright courts and halls

Touched with light silvery green, gleaming across,

Fronted by pillars vast, cloud-capitaled,

With shafts of changeful pearl, all reared upon

An isle of clear aerial gold, came floating;

And in the centre, clad in fleecy white,

With lucid lilies in her golden hair,

Eos, sweet Goddess of the Morning, stood.

From the bright peak of that surrounded mount,

One step sufficed to gain the tremulous floor

Whereon the Palace of the Morning shone,

Scarcely a bow-shot distant; but that step

Orion’s humbled and still mortal feet

Dared not adventure. In the Goddess’s face

Imploringly he gazed. “Advance!” she said,

In tones more sweet than when some heavenly bird,

Hid in a rosy cloud, its morning hymn

Warbles unseen, wet with delicious dews,

And to earth’s flowers all looking up in prayer,

Tells of the coming bliss. “Believe—advance!—

Or, as the spheres move onward with their song

That calls me to awaken other lands,

That moment will escape which ne’er returns!”

Forward Orion stepped: the platform bright

Shook like the reflex of a star in water

Moved by the breeze, throughout its whole expanse;

And even the palace glistened fitfully,

As with electric shiver it sent forth

Odors of flowers divine and all fresh life.

Still stood he where he stepped, nor to return

Attempted. To essay one pace beyond

He felt no power; yet onward he advanced

Safe to the Goddess, who, with hand outstretched,

Into the palace led him. Grace and strength,

With sense of happy change to finer earth,

Freshness of nature and belief in good,

Came flowing o’er his soul, and he was blest.

’Tis always morning somewhere in the world,

And Eos rises, circling constantly

The varied regions of mankind. No pause

Of renovation and of freshening rays

She knows; but evermore her love breathes forth

On field and forest, as on human hope,

Health, beauty, power, thought, action, and advance.

All this Orion witnessed, and rejoiced.

The turmoil he had known, the late distress

By loss of passion’s object and of sight,

Were now exchanged for these serene delights

Of contemplation, as the influence

That Eos wrought around forever, dawned

Upon his vision and his inmost heart

In sweetness and success. All sympathy

With all fair things that in her circle lay,

She gave, and all received; nor knew of strife:

For from the Sun her cheek its bloom withdrew,

And ere intolerant noon, the floating realm

Of Eos—queen of the awakening earth—

Was brightening other lands, wherefrom black Night

Her faded chariot down the sky had driven

Behind the sea. Thus from the earth upraised,

And over its tumultuous breast sustained

In peace and tranquil glory,—oh blest state!—

Clear-browed Orion, full of thankfulness

And pure devotion to the goddess, dwelt

Within the glowing Palace of the Morn.

But these serene airs did not therefore bring

A death-sleep o’er the waves of memory,

Where all its clouds and colors, specks of sails,

Its car-borne gods, shipwrecks, and drowning men,

Passed full in view; yet with a mellowing sense

Ideal, and from pain sublimed. Thus came

Mirrors of nature to him, and full oft

Downward on Chios turned his happy eyes,

With grateful thoughts that o’er life’s sorrows wove

The present texture of a sweet content,

Passing all wisdom, or its fairest flower.

He saw the woods, and blessed them for the sake

Of Artemis; the city, and rich gloom

That o’er the cedar forest ever hung,

He also blessed for Merope; the isle

And all that dwelt there, he with smiles beheld.