Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
By Richard Henry Hengist Horne (1802–1884)
From ‘Orion’

LEVEL with the summit of that eastern mount
By slow approach, and like a promontory
Which seems to glide and meet a coming ship,
The pale-gold platform of the morning came
Towards the gliding mount. Against a sky        5
Of delicate purple, snow-bright courts and halls
Touched with light silvery green, gleaming across,
Fronted by pillars vast, cloud-capitaled,
With shafts of changeful pearl, all reared upon
An isle of clear aerial gold, came floating;        10
And in the centre, clad in fleecy white,
With lucid lilies in her golden hair,
Eos, sweet Goddess of the Morning, stood.
  From the bright peak of that surrounded mount,
One step sufficed to gain the tremulous floor        15
Whereon the Palace of the Morning shone,
Scarcely a bow-shot distant; but that step
Orion’s humbled and still mortal feet
Dared not adventure. In the Goddess’s face
Imploringly he gazed. “Advance!” she said,        20
In tones more sweet than when some heavenly bird,
Hid in a rosy cloud, its morning hymn
Warbles unseen, wet with delicious dews,
And to earth’s flowers all looking up in prayer,
Tells of the coming bliss. “Believe—advance!—        25
Or, as the spheres move onward with their song
That calls me to awaken other lands,
That moment will escape which ne’er returns!”
Forward Orion stepped: the platform bright
Shook like the reflex of a star in water        30
Moved by the breeze, throughout its whole expanse;
And even the palace glistened fitfully,
As with electric shiver it sent forth
Odors of flowers divine and all fresh life.
Still stood he where he stepped, nor to return        35
Attempted. To essay one pace beyond
He felt no power; yet onward he advanced
Safe to the Goddess, who, with hand outstretched,
Into the palace led him. Grace and strength,
With sense of happy change to finer earth,        40
Freshness of nature and belief in good,
Came flowing o’er his soul, and he was blest.
  ’Tis always morning somewhere in the world,
And Eos rises, circling constantly
The varied regions of mankind. No pause        45
Of renovation and of freshening rays
She knows; but evermore her love breathes forth
On field and forest, as on human hope,
Health, beauty, power, thought, action, and advance.
All this Orion witnessed, and rejoiced.        50
The turmoil he had known, the late distress
By loss of passion’s object and of sight,
Were now exchanged for these serene delights
Of contemplation, as the influence
That Eos wrought around forever, dawned        55
Upon his vision and his inmost heart
In sweetness and success. All sympathy
With all fair things that in her circle lay,
She gave, and all received; nor knew of strife:
For from the Sun her cheek its bloom withdrew,        60
And ere intolerant noon, the floating realm
Of Eos—queen of the awakening earth—
Was brightening other lands, wherefrom black Night
Her faded chariot down the sky had driven
Behind the sea. Thus from the earth upraised,        65
And over its tumultuous breast sustained
In peace and tranquil glory,—oh blest state!—
Clear-browed Orion, full of thankfulness
And pure devotion to the goddess, dwelt
Within the glowing Palace of the Morn.        70
  But these serene airs did not therefore bring
A death-sleep o’er the waves of memory,
Where all its clouds and colors, specks of sails,
Its car-borne gods, shipwrecks, and drowning men,
Passed full in view; yet with a mellowing sense        75
Ideal, and from pain sublimed. Thus came
Mirrors of nature to him, and full oft
Downward on Chios turned his happy eyes,
With grateful thoughts that o’er life’s sorrows wove
The present texture of a sweet content,        80
Passing all wisdom, or its fairest flower.
He saw the woods, and blessed them for the sake
Of Artemis; the city, and rich gloom
That o’er the cedar forest ever hung,
He also blessed for Merope; the isle        85
And all that dwelt there, he with smiles beheld.

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