Verse > Anthologies > Walter Murdoch, comp. > The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse
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Walter Murdoch (1874–1970).  The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse.  1918.
 
57. Ortygia
 
By Jessie Mackay
 
 
IN Ortygia the Dawn land the old gods dwell,
And the silver’s yet a-quiver on the old wizard well
By the milk-white walls of the Temple of the Moon,
Where the Dawn Maids hallow the red gods’ tune,
And old grey Time is a nine-year child,        5
Back between the rivers ere man was ever ’guiled,
Or the knelling ‘Never, never!’ by the cherubim was rung.
It was there, there, there, in Ortygia the young,—
It was there, there, there, in the meadows of the sky
That first we went a-summering, my love of loves and I.        10
And well I wot the pleasaunce for them that thither go
Is litten with the beacons that the Dawn Maids know,
With their vigil at end in the Temple of the Moon,
And their prayer all prayer for the waked world’s boon.
The words they speak in that land are new as the dawn;        15
The rills that run in that land are diamond, drawn
From the old wizard well where the red gods croon.
And walk you in Ortygia or late or soon,
It is but lovers only that ever you will see;
For every silver wood-king’s a trysting tree,        20
And the dream-flowers are keeping their first high May
For the glad and the glamoured who walk yon way;
And to the summit etherous the track you cannot miss,
Though the hills are dim and sheeny with the rainbow’s kiss.
O, we walked the road of iris, my love of loves and I        25
In Ortygia the young with the red gods by!
 

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