Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
The Fair Maid and the Sun
Arthur William Edgar O’Shaughnessy (1844–81)
O SONS of men, that toil, and love with tears!
Know ye, O sons of men, the maid who dwells
Between the two seas at the Dardanelles?
  Her face hath charm’d away the change of years,
And all the world is filled with her spells.        5
No task is hers forever, but the play
Of setting forth her beauty day by day:
  There in your midst, O sons of men that toil,
She laughs the long eternity away.
The chains about her neck are manypearl’d,        10
Rare gems are those round which her hair is curl’d;
  She hath all flesh for captive, and for spoil,
The fruit of all the labor of the world.
She getteth up and maketh herself bare,
And letteth down the wonder of her hair        15
  Before the sun; the heavy golden locks
Fall in the hollow of her shoulders fair.
She taketh from the lands, as she may please,
All jewels, and all corals from the seas;
  She layeth them in rows upon the rocks;        20
Laugheth, and bringeth fairer ones than these.
Five are the goodly necklaces that deck
The place between her bosom and her neck;
  She passeth many a bracelet o’er her hands;
And, seeing she is white without a fleck,        25
And seeing she is fairer than the tide,
And of a beauty no man can abide,
  Proudly she standeth as a goddess stands,
And mocketh at the sun and sea for pride:
And to the sea she saith: “O silver sea,        30
Fair art thou, but thou art not fair like me;
  Open thy white-tooth’d, dimpled mouths and try;
They laugh not the soft way I laugh at thee.”
And to the sun she saith: “O golden sun,
Fierce is thy burning till the day is done!        35
  But thou shalt burn mere grass and leaves, while I
Shall burn the hearts of men up every one.”
O fair and dreadful is the maid who dwells
Between the two seas at the Dardanelles,—
  As fair and dread as in the ancient years;        40
And still the world is filled with her spells.
O sons of men, that toil, and love with tears!


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