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

The Bulls

By Charles Marie René Leconte de Lisle (1818–1894)

From ‘Poémes Barbares’: Translation of Thomas Walsh

THE SEA’S broad desert makes a bar of gold

Against the blue of heaven’s unruffled fold.

Alone, a roseate loiterer in the sky

Wreathes like a languid reptile stretched on high

Above the surging of the mountain-chain.

O’er the savannah breathes a dreamy strain

To where the bulls, with massive horns high dressed

And shining coat, deep eye and muscled breast,

Crop at their will the salt grass of the coast.

Two negroes of Antongil, still engrossed

In the long day’s dull stupor, at their ease

With chin in hands and elbows on their knees,

Smoke their black pipes. But in the changing sky

The herd’s fierce chieftain scents the nightfall nigh,

Lifts his square muzzle flecked with silver foam

And bellows o’er the sea his summons home.