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A Song of Phaeacia


The languid sunset, mother of roses,
Lingers, a light on the magic seas,
The wide fire flames, as a flower uncloses,
Heavy with odour, and loose to the breeze.

The red rose clouds, without law or leader,
Gather and float in the airy plain;
The nightingale sings to the dewy cedar,
The cedar scatters his scent to the main.

The strange flowers' perfume turns to singing,
Heard afar over moonlit seas:
The Siren's song, grown faint in winging,
Falls in scent on the cedar trees.

As waifs blown out of the sunset, flying,
Purple, and rosy, and grey, the birds
Brighten the air with their wings; their crying
Wakens a moment the weary herds.

Butterflies flit from the fairy garden,
Living blossoms of flying flowers;
Never the nights with winter harden,
Nor moons wax keen in this land of ours.

Great fruits, fragrant, green and golden,
Gleam in the green, and droop and fall;
Blossom, and bud, and flower unfolden,
Swing, and cling to the garden wall.

Deep in the woods as twilight darkens,
Glades are red with the scented fire;
Far in the dells the white maid hearkens,
Song and sigh of the heart's desire.

Ah, and as moonlight fades in morning,
Maiden's song in the matin grey,
Faints as the first bird's note, a warning,
Wakes and wails to the new-born day.

The waking song and the dying measure
Meet, and the waxing and waning light
Meet, and faint with the hours of pleasure,
The rose of the sea and the sky is white.



Andrew Lang