Ray, H. Cordelia
|BALLADS AND OTHER POEMS|
|Antigone and [OElig ]dipus|
Slow wand'ring came the sightless sire and she,
Great-souled Antigone, the Grecian maid,
Leading with pace majestic his sad steps,
On whose bowed head girm Destiny had laid
A hand relentless; oft the summer breeze
Raised the gold tresses from her veinčed cheek,
As with a dainty touch, so much she seemed
A being marvelous, regal yet meek.
Thus spake sad [OElig ]dipus: "Ah! whither now,
O daughter of an aged sire blind,
Afar from Thebes' pure, crested colonnades,
Shall we, sad exile, rest and welcome find?
Who will look on us with a pitying eye?
But unto me sweet resignation's balm
Suff"ring and courage bring; yet moments come
When naught restores my spirit's wonted calm.
"O rare dim vales and glitt'ring sunlit crags!
O vine-clad hills soft with the flush of dawn!
O silver cataract dancing to the sea,
And shad'wy pines and silent dewy lawn!
I ne'er can see you more. Alas! alas!
But whither go we? Speak! O daughter fair;
Thou must indeed be sight unto thy sire.
Does here a temple consecrate the air?"
"My father! grieve not for our distant land."
Thus made Antigone reply: "I see
Amid the forest's music-echoing aisles,
A spot of peace and blest repose for thee.
In solemn loftiness the towers rear
Their stately pinnacles; my eyes behold
The holy laurel decked in festive robes,
The olive pale, waving in sunset-gold.
"In the green leafage, tender nightingales
Are chanting dulcet harmonies meanwhile,
In the clear river's liquid radiance
The early stars, of when resplendent, smile.
It is a sacred spot; here we may shun
Dangers that threaten, and in sweet content
Ere we need wander more, a few short days
May in these hallowed shades be calmly spent.
My father! sorrow not because of Fate!
Perchance the gods may kindly deign to look
With glance benignant on our mournful doom.
Together thou and I, can we not brook
Th' assaults of stern-browed Destiny? May not
The fatal mesh contain some golden thread,
Ere it be spun complete with all of woe?
Father! my father! raise thy drooping head!"
"Immortal asphodels ne'er crowned a brow
More queenlike than is thine, my peerless child,
Calm-browed Antigone! an woe! sad fate!"
Then spake Antigone with aspect mild:
"My father! cease thy sadness! wherefore grieve?
Oh! let us dream that from the azure sky,
The gods gaze on us with a pitying glance.
Oh! let us hope a little ere we die!"