Song: The golden apple




I

The golden apple, the golden apple, the hallowed fruit, Guard it well, guard it warily, Singing airily, Standing about the charmèd root. Round about all is mute, As the snowfield on the mountain-peaks, As the sandfield at the mountain-foot. Crocodiles in briny creeks Sleep and stir not: all is mute. If ye sing not, if ye make false measure, We shall lose eternal pleasure, Worth eternal want of rest. Laugh not loudly: watch the treasure Of the wisdom of the West. In a corner wisdom whispers. Five and three (Let it not be preached abroad) make an awful mystery. For the blossom unto three-fold music bloweth; Evermore it is born anew; And the sap to three-fold music floweth, From the root Drawn in the dark, Up to the fruit, Creeping under the fragrant bark, Liquid gold, honeysweet thro' and thro'. Keen-eyed Sisters, singing airily, Looking warily Every way, Guard the apple night and day, Lest one from the East come and take it away.


II

Father Hesper, Father Hesper, watch, watch, ever and aye, Looking under silver hair with a silver eye. Father, twinkle not thy stedfast sight; Kingdoms lapse, and climates change, and races die; Honour comes with mystery; Hoarded wisdom brings delight. Number, tell them over and number How many the mystic fruittree holds, Lest the redcombed dragon slumber Rolled together in purple folds. Look to him, father, lest he wink, and the golden apple be stol'n away, For his ancient heart is drunk with over-watchings night and day, Round about the hallowed fruit tree curled-- Sing away, sing aloud evermore in the wind, without stop, Lest his scalèd eyelid drop, For he is older than the world. If he waken, we waken, Rapidly levelling eager eyes. If he sleep, we sleep, Dropping the eyelid over the eyes. If the golden apple be taken The world will be overwise. Five links, a golden chain, are we, Hesper, the dragon, and sisters three, Bound about the golden tree.


III

Father Hesper, Father Hesper, watch, watch, night and day, Lest the old wound of the world be healed, The glory unsealed, The golden apple stol'n away, And the ancient secret revealed. Look from west to east along: Father, old Himala weakens, Caucasus is bold and strong. Wandering waters unto wandering waters call; Let them clash together, foam and fall. Out of watchings, out of wiles, Comes the bliss of secret smiles. All things are not told to all, Half-round the mantling night is drawn, Purplefringed with even and dawn. Hesper hateth Phosphor, evening hateth morn.


IV

Every flower and every fruit the redolent breath Of this warm seawind ripeneth, Arching the billow in his sleep; But the landwind wandereth, Broken by the highland-steep, Two streams upon the violet deep: For the western sun and the western star, And the low west wind, breathing afar, The end of day and beginning of night Make the apple holy and bright, Holy and bright, round and full, bright and blest, Mellowed in a land of rest; Watch it warily day and night; All good things are in the west, Till midnoon the cool east light Is shut out by the round of the tall hillbrow; But when the fullfaced sunset yellowly Stays on the flowering arch of the bough, The luscious fruitage clustereth mellowly, Goldenkernelled, goldencored, Sunset-ripened, above on the tree, The world is wasted with fire and sword, But the apple of gold hangs over the sea, Five links, a golden chain, are we, Hesper, the dragon, and sisters three, Daughters three, Bound about All round about The gnarled bole of the charmèd tree, The golden apple, the golden apple, the hallowed fruit, Guard it well, guard it warily, Watch it warily, Singing airily, Standing about the charmed root.




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