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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882).  Complete Poetical Works.  1893.
 
The Masque of Pandora
VI. In the Garden
 
EPIMETHEUS.
YON snow-white cloud that sails sublime in ether
Is but the sovereign Zeus, who like a swan
Flies to fair-ankled Leda!

PANDORA.
                            Or perchance
Ixion’s cloud, the shadowy shape of Hera,
That bore the Centaurs.

EPIMETHEUS.
                    The divine and human.
        5
 
CHORUS OF BIRDS.
    Gently swaying to and fro,
    Rocked by all the winds that blow,
    Bright with sunshine from above,
    Dark with shadow from below,
    Beak to beak and breast to breast        10
    In the cradle of their nest,
    Lie the fledglings of our love.

ECHO.
                            Love! love!
 
EPIMETHEUS.
Hark! listen! Hear how sweetly overhead
The feathered flute-players pipe their songs of love,
And Echo answers, love and only love.        15
 
CHORUS OF BIRDS.
    Every flutter of the wing,
    Every note of song we sing,
    Every murmur, every tone,
    Is of love and love alone.

ECHO.
                            Love alone!
 
EPIMETHEUS.
Who would not love, if loving she might be
        20
Changed like Callisto to a star in heaven?
 
PANDORA.
Ah, who would love, if loving she might be
Like Semele consumed and burnt to ashes?
 
EPIMETHEUS.
Whence knowest thou these stories?

PANDORA.
                    Hermes taught me;
He told me all the history of the Gods.        25
 
CHORUS OF REEDS.
    Evermore a sound shall be
    In the reeds of Arcady,
    Evermore a low lament
    Of unrest and discontent,
    As the story is retold        30
    Of the nymph so coy and cold,
    Who with frightened feet outran
    The pursuing steps of Pan.
 
EPIMETHEUS.
The pipe of Pan out of these reeds is made,
And when he plays upon it to the shepherds        35
They pity him, so mournful is the sound.
Be thou not coy and cold as Syrinx was.
 
PANDORA.
Nor thou as Pan be rude and mannerless.
 
PROMETHEUS  (without).
Ho! Epimetheus!

EPIMETHEUS.
                ’T is my brother’s voice;
A sound unwelcome and inopportune        40
As was the braying of Silenus’ ass,
Once heard in Cybele’s garden.

PANDORA.
                            Let me go.
I would not be found here. I would not see him.
She escapes among the trees.
 
CHORUS OF DRYADES.
        Haste and hide thee,
        Ere too late,        45
        In these thickets intricate;
        Lest Prometheus
        See and chide thee,
        Lest some hurt
        Or harm betide thee,        50
        Haste and hide thee!
 
PROMETHEUS  (entering).
Who was it fled from here? I saw a shape
Flitting among the trees.

EPIMETHEUS.
                        It was Pandora.
 
PROMETHEUS.
O Epimetheus! Is it then in vain
That I have warned thee? Let me now implore.        55
Thou harborest in thy house a dangerous guest.
 
EPIMETHEUS.
Whom the Gods love they honor with such guests.
 
PROMETHEUS.
Whom the Gods would destroy they first make mad.
 
EPIMETHEUS.
Shall I refuse the gifts they send to me?
 
PROMETHEUS.
Reject all gifts that come from higher powers.
        60
 
EPIMETHEUS.
Such gifts as this are not to be rejected.
 
PROMETHEUS.
Make not thyself the slave of any woman.
 
EPIMETHEUS.
Make not thyself the judge of any man.
 
PROMETHEUS.
I judge thee not; for thou art more than man;
Thou art descended from Titanic race,        65
And hast a Titan’s strength and faculties
That make thee godlike; and thou sittest here
Like Heracles spinning Omphale’s flax,
And beaten with her sandals.

EPIMETHEUS.
                            O my brother!
Thou drivest me to madness with thy taunts.        70
 
PROMETHEUS.
And me thou drivest to madness with thy follies.
Come with me to my tower on Caucasus:
See there my forges in the roaring caverns,
Beneficent to man, and taste the joy
That springs from labor. Read with me the stars,        75
And learn the virtues that lie hidden in plants,
And all things that are useful.

EPIMETHEUS.
                            O my brother!
I am not as thou art. Thou dost inherit
Our father’s strength, and I our mother’s weakness:
The softness of the Oceanides,        80
The yielding nature that cannot resist.
 
PROMETHEUS.
Because thou wilt not.

EPIMETHEUS.
                Nay; because I cannot.
 
PROMETHEUS.
Assert thyself; rise up to thy full height;
Shake from thy soul these dreams effeminate,
These passions born of indolence and ease.        85
Resolve, and thou art free. But breathe the air
Of mountains, and their unapproachable summits
Will lift thee to the level of themselves.
 
EPIMETHEUS.
The roar of forests and of waterfalls,
The rushing of a mighty wind, with loud        90
And undistinguishable voices calling,
Are in my ear!

PROMETHEUS.
                Oh, listen and obey.
 
EPIMETHEUS.
Thou leadest me as a child. I follow thee.
They go out.
 
CHORUS OF OREADES.
    Centuries old are the mountains;
    Their foreheads wrinkled and rifted        95
    Helios crowns by day,
    Pallid Selene by night;
    From their bosoms uptossed
    The snows are driven and drifted,
    Like Tithonus’ beard        100
    Streaming dishevelled and white.
 
    Thunder and tempest of wind
    Their trumpets blow in the vastness;
    Phantoms of mist and rain,
    Cloud and the shadow of cloud,        105
    Pass and repass by the gates
    Of their inaccessible fastness;
    Ever unmoved they stand,
    Solemn, eternal, and proud.
 
VOICES OF THE WATERS.
    Flooded by rain and snow
        110
    In their inexhaustible sources,
    Swollen by affluent streams
    Hurrying onward and hurled
    Headlong over the crags,
    The impetuous water-courses        115
    Rush and roar and plunge
    Down to the nethermost world.
 
    Say, have the solid rocks
    Into streams of silver been melted,
    Flowing over the plains,        120
    Spreading to lakes in the fields?
    Or have the mountains, the giants,
    The ice-helmed, the forest-belted,
    Scattered their arms abroad;
    Flung in the meadows their shields?        125
 
VOICES OF THE WINDS.
    High on their turreted cliffs
    That bolts of thunder have shattered,
    Storm-winds muster and blow
    Trumpets of terrible breath;
    Then from the gateways rush,        130
    And before them routed and scattered
    Sullen the cloud-rack flies,
    Pale with the pallor of death.
 
    Onward the hurricane rides,
    And flee for shelter the shepherds;        135
    White are the frightened leaves,
    Harvests with terror are white;
    Panic seizes the herds,
    And even the lions and leopards,
    Prowling no longer for prey,        140
    Crouch in their caverns with fright.
 
VOICES OF THE FORESTS.
    Guarding the mountains around
    Majestic the forests are standing,
    Bright are their crested helms,
    Dark is their armor of leaves;        145
    Filled with the breath of freedom
    Each bosom subsiding, expanding,
    Now like the ocean sinks,
    Now like the ocean upheaves.
 
    Planted firm on the rock,        150
    With foreheads stern and defiant,
    Loud they shout to the winds,
    Loud to the tempest they call;
    Naught but Olympian thunders,
    That blasted Titan and Giant,        155
    Them can uproot and o’erthrow,
    Shaking the earth with their fall.
 
CHORUS OF OREADES.
    These are the Voices Three
    Of winds and forests and fountains,
    Voices of earth and of air,        160
    Murmur and rushing of streams,
    Making together one sound,
    The mysterious voice of the mountains,
    Waking the sluggard that sleeps,
    Waking the dreamer of dreams.        165
 
    These are the Voices Three,
    That speak of endless endeavor,
    Speak of endurance and strength,
    Triumph and fulness of fame,
    Sounding about the world,        170
    An inspiration forever,
    Stirring the hearts of men,
    Shaping their end and their aim.
 
 
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