His face was like a snake's -- wrinkled and loose
And withered--

by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Tu t'acharnes sur la beauté.
Et quelles femmes ont été
Victimes de ta cruauté !
Ève, Euridice, Cléopâtre ;
J'en connais encor trois ou quatre.

by Guillaume Apollinaire.

Ch 08 On Rules For Conduct In Life - Admonition 13

Strike the head of a serpent with the hand of a foe because one of two advantages will result. If the enemy succeeds thou hast killed the snake and if the latter, thou hast been delivered from a foe.

by Saadi Shirazi.

Wake The Serpent Not

Wake the serpent not—lest he
Should not know the way to go,--
Let him crawl which yet lies sleeping
Through the deep grass of the meadow!
Not a bee shall hear him creeping,
Not a may-fly shall awaken
From its cradling blue-bell shaken,
Not the starlight as he’s sliding
Through the grass with silent gliding.

by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Little's the good to sit and grieve
Because the serpent tempted Eve.
Better to wipe your eyes and take
A club and go out and kill a snake.

What do you gain by cursing Nick
For playing her such a scurvy trick?
Better go out and some villain find
Who serves the devil, and beat him blind.

But if you prefer, as I suspect,
To philosophize, why, then, reflect:
If the cunning rascal upon the limb
Hadn't tempted her she'd have tempted him.

by Ambrose Bierce.

Every man worth the name
has a yellow snake in his soul,
seated as on a throne, saying
if he cries: ‘I want to!’: ‘No!’
Lock eyes with the fixed gaze
of Nixies or Satyresses, says
the Tooth: ‘Think of your duty!’
Make children, or plant trees,
polish verses, or marble frieze,
the Tooth says: ‘Tonight, where will you be?’
Whatever he likes to consider
there’s never a moment passing
a man can’t hear the warning
of that insufferable Viper.

by Charles Baudelaire.

Anger in its time and place
May assume a kind of grace.
It must have some reason in it,
And not last beyond a minute.
If to further lengths it go,
It does into malice grow.
'Tis the difference that we see
'Twixt the serpent and the bee.
If the latter you provoke,
It inflicts a hasty stroke,
Puts you to some little pain,
But it never stings again.
Close in tufted bush or brake
Lurks the poison-swellëd snake
Nursing up his cherished wrath;
In the purlieux of his path,
In the cold, or in the warm,
Mean him good, or mean him harm,
Whensoever fate may bring you,
The vile snake will always sting you.

by Charles Lamb.

Baburam The Snake Charmer

Hullo, there Baburam – what have you got in there?
Snakes? Aha – and do you think there’s one that youcould spare
You know, I’d love to have one, but let me tell you this–
The ones that bite aren’t right for me – nor the onesthat hiss.

I’d also skip the ones that butt
As well the ones that whistle
Or the ones that slink about
Or show their fangs, or bristle.

As for eating habits, I think it would be nice
To go for ones that only take a meal of milk and rice.
I’m sure you know the kind of snake that want fromwhat I’ve said,
Do let me have one, Baburam, so I could bash itshead.

[Original: 'Baburam Shapure' (Bengali), Translated by: Satyajit Ray (the able son of Sukumar Roy)]

by Sukumar Ray.

"You talk of snakes," said Jack the Rat,
"But blow me, one hot summer,
I seen a thing that knocked me flat -
Fourteen foot long or more than that,
It was a reg'lar hummer!
Lay right along a sort of bog,
Just like a log!

"The ugly thing was lyin' there
And not a sign o' movin',
Give any man a nasty scare;
Seen nothin' like it anywhere
Since I first started drovin'.
And yet it didn't scare my dog.
Looked like a log!

"I had to cross that bog, yer see,
And bluey I was humpin';
But wonderin' what that thing could be
A-lyin' there in front o' me
I didn't feel like jumpin'.
Yet, though I shivered like a frog,
It seemed a log!

"I takes a leap and lands right on
The back of that there whopper!"
He stopped. We waited. Then Big Mac
Remarked: "Well, then, what happened, Jack?"
"Not much," said Jack, and drained his grog.
"It was a log!"

by William Thomas Goodge.

The Hospitable Caledonian And The Thankless Viper

A Caledonian piper
Who was walking on the wold
Nearly stepped upon a viper
Rendered torpid by the cold;
By the sight of her admonished,
He forbore to plant his boot,
But he showed he was astonished
By the way he muttered 'Hoot!'

Now this simple-minded piper
Such a kindly nature had
That he lifted up the viper
And bestowed her in his plaid.
'Though the Scot is stern, at least he
No unhappy creature spurns,
'Sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie,''
Quoth the piper (quoting Burns).

This was unaffected kindness,
But there was, to state the fact,
Just a slight
soupcon
of blindness
In his charitable act.
If you'd watched the piper, shortly
You'd have seen him leap aloft,
As this snake, of ways uncourtly,
Bit him suddenly and oft.

There was really no excuse for
This, the viper's cruel work,
And the piper found a use for
Words he'd never learned at kirk;
But the biting was so thorough
That although the doctors tried,
Not the best in Edinburgh
Could assist him, and he died.

And THE MORAL is: The piper
Of the matter made a botch;
One can hardly blame the viper
If she took a nip of Scotch,
For she only did what he did,
And
his
nippie wasn't small,
Otherwise, you see, he needed
Not have seen the snake at all.

by Guy Wetmore Carryl.

Snake And Potato Bug

A TRUE TALE.

'Can such things be and overcome us like a summer cloud,
without our special wonder, '-SHAKESPEAR.

In a grocery store in Ingersoll our attention was called to a copper-headed
snake wriggling in a glass jar. We noticed a peculiarity about its head, but
soon found out it was a potato bug, which was afraid of being drowned ; and
the only above water being the snake's head and neck, it was fondly clinging
thereto. There being 'no jutty-frieze buttress or coigne of vantage, where it
could make its pendant bed, elsewhere.

Some poets they abroad do roam,
But we find themes are near to home ;
As we do seldom travel far,
This is a song of a glass jar.

Snake of species of the copper,
And on its head there was live hopper,
For we saw that funny sight
In a store, it was last night.

There in water was a snake,
And a bug so wide awake;
He was afraid that he would drown
So he clomb up on the snake's crown.

This snake it is near a foot long,
Which doth suffer this great wrong,
It thinks the bug wants it to throttle
This makes it wriggle in the bottle.

But fondly the kind hearted bug,
It doth its preserver hug,
For the bug when on the water
It is only but a squatter.

And hath taken up homestead
On the top of the snake's head,
And on the waters it doth float
Safe and happy on this boat.

by James McIntyre.

See what delights in sylvan scenes appear!
Descending Gods have found Elysium here.
In woods bright Venus with Adonis stray'd,
And chaste Diana haunts the forest shade.
Come lovely nymph, and bless the silent hours,
When swains from shearing seek their nightly bow'rs;
When weary reapers quit the sultry field,
And crown'd with corn, their thanks to Ceres yield.
This harmless grove no lurking viper hides,
But in my breast the serpent Love abides.
Here bees from blossoms sip the rosy dew,
But your Alexis knows no sweets but you.
Oh deign to visit our forsaken seats,
The mossy fountains, and the green retreats!
Where-e'er you walk, cool gales shall fan the glade,
Trees, where you sit, shall crowd into a shade,
Where-e'er you tread, the blushing flow'rs shall rise,
And all things flourish where you turn your eyes.
Oh! How I long with you to pass my days,
Invoke the muses, and resound your praise;
Your praise the birds shall chant in ev'ry grove,
And winds shall waft it to the pow'rs above.
But wou'd you sing, and rival Orpheus' strain,
The wond'ring forests soon shou'd dance again,
The moving mountains hear the pow'rful call,
And headlong streams hang list'ning in their fall!
But see, the shepherds shun the noon-day heat,
The lowing herds to murm'ring brooks retreat,
To closer shades the panting flocks remove,
Ye Gods! And is there no relief for Love?
But soon the sun with milder rays descends
To the cool ocean, where his journey ends;
On me Love's fiercer flames for ever prey,
By night he scorches, as he burns by day.

by Alexander Pope.

The Lake Of The Dismal Swamp

'THEY made her a grave too cold and damp
For a soul so warm and true;
And she's gone to the Lake of the Dismal Swamp,
Where all night long, by a firefly lamp,
She paddles her white canoe.

And her firefly lamp I soon shall see,
And her paddle I soon shall hear;
Long and moving our life shall be
And I'll hide the maid in a cypress tree,
When the footstep of death is near.'

Away to the Dismal Swamp he speeds, -
His path was rugged and sore,
Through tangled juniper, beds of reeds,
Through many a fen where the serpent feeds,
And man never trod before.

And when on the earth he sank to sleep,
If slumber his eyelids knew,
He lay where the deadly vine doth weep
Its venemous tear, and nightly steep
The flesh with blistering dew!

And near him the she-wolf stirr'd the brake,
And the copper-snake breathed in his ear,
Till he starting cried, from his dream awake,
'Oh when shall I see the dusky Lake,
And the white canoe of my dear?'

He saw the Lake, and a meteor bright
Quick over its surface play'd, -
'Welcome,' he said, 'my dear one's light!'
And the dim shore echo'd for many a night
The name of the death-cold maid.

Till he hollow'd a boat of the birchen bark,
Which carried him off from the shore;
Far, far he follow'd the meteor spark,
The wind was high and the clouds were dark,
And the boat return'd no more.

But oft, from the Indian hunter's camp,
This lover and maid so true
Are seen at the hour of midnight damp
To cross the Lake by a firefly lamp,
And paddle their white canoe!

by Thomas Moore.

Old Snake-Doctor

Once I found an ant-lion's hole
And an ant-lion in it: nippers
Like a pair of rusty clippers.
And I saw a red ant roll
In its pit, and, quick as Ned,
This old ant-lion fanged its head,
Held it till the ant was dead.

II.

And I told my father: he
Smiled and said, 'He beats the dickens,
With his pinchers; even chickens
Have n't his voracity.
Think now what he would have done
Had you been an ant, my son,
Fallen in that pit like one.

III.

'Daniel in the lion's den!
Guess you'd come home good and gory.
But now here's another story:
You should see these ant-lions when
They have wings; and, blue and green,
Ponds and pools they fly between:
Prettiest things I've ever seen.

IV.

'Look just like the dragonflies;
And perhaps they are snake-feeders;
Name you'll never find in Readers
Read at school: but, I surmise,
Dragonflies are not the same
As these old snake-doctors; name
For which I am not to blame.

V.

'Who's to blame then? If it's not
I or, say, the dictionary,
Since we two seem so contráry,
Must be that old ant-lion what
Can't content itself, that's plain,
With its bug-estate; remain
Just a bug in sun and rain.

VI.

'Has to get himself new clothes!
Gauzy wings that shine and glitter;
Something that he thinks is fitter
His profession, I suppose,
Doctoring things, like water-snakes;
Finery that often takes
Eyes of hungry ducks and drakes:

VII.

'And of fishes, too, the fool.
Who his coat so bright and brassy,
Mirrored in the waters glassy,
Leap for, drag into the pool.
Old snake-doctor, flaunt your fill!
Feed the snakes or cure or kill
In the end you pay the bill.'

by Madison Julius Cawein.

The Boy And The Snake

Henry was every morning fed
With a full mess of milk and bread.
One day the boy his breakfast took,
And eat it by a purling brook
Which through his mother's orchard ran.
From that time ever when he can
Escape his mother's eye, he there
Takes his food in th'open air.
Finding the child delight to eat
Abroad, and make the grass his seat,
His mother lets him have his way.
With free leave Henry every day
Thither repairs, until she heard
Him talking of a fine grey bird.
This pretty bird, he said, indeed,
Came every day with him to feed,
And it loved him, and loved his milk,
And it was smooth and soft like silk.
His mother thought she'd go and see
What sort of bird this same might be.
So the next morn she follows Harry,
And carefully she sees him carry
Through the long grass his heaped-up mess.
What was her terror and distress,
When she saw the infant take
His bread and milk close to a snake!
Upon the grass he spreads his feast,
And sits down by his frightful guest,
Who had waited for the treat;
And now they both begin to eat.
Fond mother! shriek not, O beware
The least small noise, O have a care-
The least small noise that may be made,
The wily snake will be afraid-
If he hear the lightest sound,
He will inflict th'envenomed wound.
She speaks not, moves not, scarce does breathe,
As she stands the trees beneath;
No sound she utters; and she soon
Sees the child lift up its spoon,
And tap the snake upon the head,
Fearless of harm; and then he said,
As speaking to familiar mate,
'Keep on your own side, do, Grey Pate:'
The snake then to the other side,
As one rebukëd, seems to glide;
And now again advancing nigh,
Again she hears the infant cry,
Tapping the snake, 'Keep further, do;
Mind, Grey Pate, what I say to you.'
The danger's o'er-she sees the boy
(O what a change from fear to joy!)
Rise and bid the snake 'good-bye;'
Says he, 'Our breakfast's done, and I
Will come again to-morrow day:'
Then, lightly tripping, ran away.

by Charles Lamb.

(ll. 872-881) And straightway God made answer unto him: "Tell me,
My son, why stealest thou away into the darkness with shame?
Thou didst not formerly feel shame before Me, but only joy.
Wherefore art thou humbled and abashed, knowing sorrow, covering
thy body with leaves, sad of heart and wretched in thy woe,
saying thou needest clothing, except thou hast eaten of the fruit
of the tree which I forbade thee?"

(ll. 882-886) And Adam again made answer: "My Lord! this woman,
this lovely maid, gave me the fruit into my hand, and I took it
in trespass against Thee. And now I clearly bear the token upon
me and know the more of sorrow."

(ll. 887-895) Then Almighty God questioned Eve: "Of what avail,
My daughter, were My abundant blessings, the new-created Paradise
and pleasant growing things, that thou shouldest stretch thy
hands with yearning unto the tree, and pluck the apples growing
on its boughs, and eat the deadly fruit in trespass against Me,
and give to Adam, when by My word it was forbidden to you both?"

(ll. 895-902) And the lovely woman, put to shame, made answer:
"The serpent, the deadly snake, with fair words tempted me, and
eagerly enticed me to that deed of sin and evil appetite, until I
basely did the deed and wrought the wrong, despoiled the tree
within the wood, as was not right, and ate the fruit."

(ll. 903-905) Then our Saviour, the Almighty Lord, decreed unto
the serpent, the guilty snake, an endless wandering, and said:

(ll. 906-917) "All thy life upon thy belly shalt thou go to and
fro upon the fields of the broad earth, accursed, so long as life
and spirit dwell within thee. Dust shalt thou eat all the days
of thy life for the grievous evil thou hast wrought. The woman
shall loathe and hate thee under heaven. Her foot shall crush
thy head, and thou shalt bruise her heel anew. There shall be
strife between your seed for ever, while the world standeth under
heaven. Now thou knowest clearly, thou foul tempter, what thy
life shall be."

by Caedmon.

Tales Of A Wayside Inn : Part 1. The Musician's Tale; The Saga Of King Olaf Xiv. -- The Crew Of The Long Serpent

Safe at anchor in Drontheim bay
King Olaf's fleet assembled lay,
And, striped with white and blue,
Downward fluttered sail and banner,
As alights the screaming lanner;
Lustily cheered, in their wild manner,
The Long Serpent's crew.

Her forecastle man was Ulf the Red,
Like a wolf's was his shaggy head,
His teeth as large and white;
His beard, of gray and russet blended,
Round as a swallow's nest descended;
As standard-bearer he defended
Olaf's flag in the fight.

Near him Kolbiorn had his place,
Like the King in garb and face,
So gallant and so hale;
Every cabin-boy and varlet
Wondered at his cloak of scarlet;
Like a river, frozen and star-lit,
Gleamed his coat of mail.

By the bulkhead, tall and dark,
Stood Thrand Rame of Thelemark,
A figure gaunt and grand;
On his hairy arm imprinted
Was an anchor, azure-tinted;
Like Thor's hammer, huge and dinted
Was his brawny hand.

Einar Tamberskelver, bare
To the winds his golden hair,
By the mainmast stood;
Graceful was his form, and slender,
And his eyes were deep and tender
As a woman's, in the splendor
Of her maidenhood.

In the fore-hold Biorn and Bork
Watched the sailors at their work:
Heavens! how they swore!
Thirty men they each commanded,
Iron-sinewed, horny-handed,
Shoulders broad, and chests expanded.
Tugging at the oar.

These, and many more like these,
With King Olaf sailed the seas,
Till the waters vast
Filled them with a vague devotion,
With the freedom and the motion,
With the roll and roar of ocean
And the sounding blast.

When they landed from the fleet,
How they roared through Drontheim's street,
Boisterous as the gale!
How they laughed and stamped and pounded,
Till the tavern roof resounded,
And the host looked on astounded
As they drank the ale!

Never saw the wild North Sea
Such a gallant company
Sail its billows blue!
Never, while they cruised and quarrelled,
Old King Gorm, or Blue-Tooth Harald,
Owned a ship so well apparelled,
Boasted such a crew!

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Manfred (Excerpt: Incantation)

When the moon is on the wave,
And the glow-worm in the grass,
And the meteor on the grave,
And the wisp on the morass;
When the falling stars are shooting,
And the answer'd owls are hooting,
And the silent leaves are still
In the shadow of the hill,
Shall my soul be upon thine,
With a power and with a sign.

Though thy slumber may be deep,
Yet thy spirit shall not sleep;
There are shades which will not vanish,
There are thoughts thou canst not banish;
By a power to thee unknown,
Thou canst never be alone;
Thou art wrapt as with a shroud,
Thou art gather'd in a cloud;
And for ever shalt thou dwell
In the spirit of this spell.

Though thou seest me not pass by,
Thou shalt feel me with thine eye
As a thing that, though unseen,
Must be near thee, and hath been;
And when in that secret dread
Thou hast turn'd around thy head,
Thou shalt marvel I am not
As thy shadow on the spot,
And the power which thou dost feel
Shall be what thou must conceal.

And a magic voice and verse
Hath baptiz'd thee with a curse;
And a spirit of the air
Hath begirt thee with a snare;
In the wind there is a voice
Shall forbid thee to rejoice;
And to thee shall night deny
All the quiet of her sky;
And the day shall have a sun,
Which shall make thee wish it done.

From thy false tears I did distil
An essence which hath strength to kill;
From thy own heart I then did wring
The black blood in its blackest spring;
From thy own smile I snatch'd the snake,
For there it coil'd as in a brake;
From thy own lip I drew the charm
Which gave all these their chiefest harm;
In proving every poison known,
I found the strongest was thine own.

By thy cold breast and serpent smile,
By thy unfathom'd gulfs of guile,
By that most seeming virtuous eye,
By thy shut soul's hypocrisy;
By the perfection of thine art
Which pass'd for human thine own heart;
By thy delight in others' pain,
And by thy brotherhood of Cain,
I call upon thee! and compel
Thyself to be thy proper Hell!

And on thy head I pour the vial
Which doth devote thee to this trial;
Nor to slumber, nor to die,
Shall be in thy destiny;
Though thy death shall still seem near
To thy wish, but as a fear;
Lo! the spell now works around thee,
And the clankless chain hath bound thee;
O'er thy heart and brain together
Hath the word been pass'd--now wither!

by George Gordon Byron.

Indrajit's First Battle-The Serpent-Noose

Darkly round the leaguered city Rama's countless forces lay,
Far as Ravan cast his glances in the dawning light of day,

Wrath and anguish shook his bosom and the gates he opened wide,
And with ranks of charging Rakshas sallied with a Raksha's pride!

All the day the battle lasted, endless were the tale to tell,
What unnumbered Vanars perished and what countless Rakshas fell,

Darkness came, the fiery foemen urged the still unceasing fight,
Struggling with a deathless hatred fiercer in the gloom of night!

Onward came resistless Rakshas, laid Sugriva's forces low,
Crushed the broken ranks of Vanars, drank the red blood of the foe,

Bravely fought the scattered Vanars facing still the tide of war,
Struggling with the charging tusker and the steed and battle car,

Till at last the gallant Lakshman and the godlike Rama came,
And they swept the hosts of Ravan like a sweeping forest flame,

And their shafts like hissing serpents on the falt'ring foemen fell,
Fiercer grew the sable midnight with the dying shriek and yell!

Dust arose like clouds of summer from each thunder-sounding car,
From the hoofs of charging coursers, from the elephants of war,

Streams of red blood warm and bubbling issued from the countless slain,
Flooded battle's dark arena like the floods of summer rain,

Sound of trumpet and of bugle, drum and horn and echoing shell,
And the neigh of charging coursers and the tuskers' dying wail,

And the yell of wounded Rakshas and the Vanars' fierce delight,
Shook the earth and sounding welkin, waked the echoes of the night!

Six bright arrows Rama thundered from his weapon dark and dread,
Iron-toothéd Vajra-dranshtra and his fainting comrades fled,

Dauntless still the serried Rakshas, wave on wave succeeding came,
Perished under Rama's arrows as the moths upon the flame!

Indrajit the son of Ravan, Lanka's glory and her pride,
Matchless in his magic weapons came and turned the battle's tide,

What though Angad in his fury had his steeds and driver slayed,
Indrajit hid in the midnight battled from its friendly shade,

Shrouded in a cloud of darkness still he poured his darts like rain,
On young Lakshman and on Rama and on countless Vanars slain,

Matchless in his magic weapons, then he hurled his Naga-dart,
Serpent noose upon his foemen draining lifeblood from their heart!

Vainly then the royal brothers fought the cloud-enshrouded foe,
Vainly sought the unseen warrior dealing unresisted blow,

Fastened by a noose of Naga forced by hidden foe to yield,
Rama and the powerless Lakshman fell and fainted on the field!

by Valmiki.

Le Revenant (The Ghost)

Comme les anges à l'oeil fauve,
Je reviendrai dans ton alcôve
Et vers toi glisserai sans bruit
Avec les ombres de la nuit;

Et je te donnerai, ma brune,
Des baisers froids comme la lune
Et des caresses de serpent
Autour d'une fosse rampant.

Quand viendra le matin livide,
Tu trouveras ma place vide,
Où jusqu'au soir il fera froid.

Comme d'autres par la tendresse,
Sur ta vie et sur ta jeunesse,
Moi, je veux régner par l'effroi.

The Ghost

Like angels with wild beast's eyes
I shall return to your bedroom
And silently glide toward you
With the shadows of the night;

And, dark beauty, I shall give you
Kisses cold as the moon
And the caresses of a snake
That crawls around a grave.

When the livid morning comes,
You'll find my place empty,
And it will be cold there till night.

I wish to hold sway over
Your life and youth by fear,
As others do by tenderness.


— Translated by William Aggeler

The Ghost

Like angels fierce and tawny-eyed,
Back to your chamber I will glide,
And noiselessly into your sight
Steal with the shadows of the night.

And I will bring you, brown delight,
Kisses as cold as lunar night
And the caresses of a snake
Revolving in a grave. At break

Of morning in its livid hue,
You'd find I had bequeathed to you
An empty place as cold as stone.


Others by tenderness and ruth
Would reign over your life and youth,
But I would rule by fear alone.


— Translated by Roy Campbell

The Revenant

Like angels with bright savage eyes
I will come treading phantom-wise
Hither where thou art wont to sleep,
Amid the shadows hollow and deep.

And I will give thee, my dark one,
Kisses as icy as the moon,
Caresses as of snakes that crawl
In circles round a cistern's wall.

When morning shows its livid face
There will be no-one in my place,
And a strange cold will settle here

Others, not knowing what thou art,
May think to reign upon thy heart
With tenderness; I trust to fear.


— Translated by George Dillon

The Ghost

Like angels that have monster eyes,
Over your bedside I shall rise,
Gliding towards you silently
Across night's black immensity.
O darksome beauty, you shall swoon
At kisses colder than the moon
And fondlings like a snake's who coils Sinuous round the grave he soils.

When livid morning breaks apace,
You shall find but an empty place,
Cold until night, and bleak, and drear:
As others do by tenderness,
So would I rule your youthfulness
By harsh immensities of fear.


— Translated by Jacques LeClercq

by Charles Baudelaire.

Birth-Day Ode 02

Small is the new-born plant scarce seen
Amid the soft encircling green,
Where yonder budding acorn rears,
Just o'er the waving grass, its tender head:
Slow pass along the train of years,
And on the growing plant, their dews and showers they shed.
Anon it rears aloft its giant form,
And spreads its broad-brown arms to meet the storm.
Beneath its boughs far shadowing o'er the plain,
From summer suns, repair the grateful village train.

Nor BEDFORD will my friend survey
The book of Nature with unheeding eye;
For never beams the rising orb of day,
For never dimly dies the refluent ray,
But as the moralizer marks the sky,
He broods with strange delight upon futurity.

And we must muse my friend! maturer years
Arise, and other Hopes and other Fears,
For we have past the pleasant plains of Youth.
Oh pleasant plains! that we might stray
For ever o'er your faery ground--
For ever roam your vales around,
Nor onward tempt the dangerous way--
For oh--what numerous foes assail
The Traveller, from that chearful vale!

With toil and heaviness opprest
Seek not the flowery bank for rest,
Tho' there the bowering woodbine spread
Its fragrant shelter o'er thy head,
Tho' Zephyr there should linger long
To hear the sky-lark's wildly-warbled song,
There heedless Youth shalt thou awake
The vengeance of the coiling snake!

Tho' fairly smiles the vernal mead
To tempt thy pilgrim feet, proceed
Hold on thy steady course aright,
Else shalt thou wandering o'er the pathless plain,
When damp and dark descends the night
Shivering and shelterless, repent in vain.

And yet--tho' Dangers lurk on every side
Receive not WORLDLY WISDOM for thy guide!
Beneath his care thou wilt not know
The throb of unavailing woe,
No tear shall tremble in thine eye
Thy breast shall struggle with no sigh,
He will security impart,
But he will apathize thy heart!

Ah no!
Fly Fly that fatal foe,
Virtue shall shrink from his torpedo grasp--
For not more fatal thro' the Wretches veins
Benumb'd in Death's cold pains
Creeps the chill poison of the deadly asp.

Serener joys my friend await
Maturer manhood's steady state.
The wild brook bursting from its source
Meanders on its early course,
Delighting there with winding way
Amid the vernal vale to stray,
Emerging thence more widely spread
It foams along its craggy bed,
And shatter'd with the mighty shock
Rushes from the giddy rock--
Hurl'd headlong o'er the dangerous steep
On runs the current to the deep,
And gathering waters as it goes
Serene and calm the river flows,
Diffuses plenty o'er the smiling coast,
Rolls on its stately waves and is in ocean lost.

by Robert Southey.

Tales Of A Wayside Inn : Part 1. The Musician's Tale; The Saga Of King Olaf Xiii. -- The Building Of The Long Serpent

Thorberg Skafting, master-builder,
In his ship-yard by the sea,
Whistling, said, 'It would bewilder
Any man but Thorberg Skafting,
Any man but me!'

Near him lay the Dragon stranded,
Built of old by Raud the Strong,
And King Olaf had commanded
He should build another Dragon,
Twice as large and long.

Therefore whistled Thorberg Skafting,
As he sat with half-closed eyes,
And his head turned sideways, drafting
That new vessel for King Olaf
Twice the Dragon's size.

Round him busily hewed and hammered
Mallet huge and heavy axe;
Workmen laughed and sang and clamored;
Whirred the wheels, that into rigging
Spun the shining flax!

All this tumult heard the master,--
It was music to his ear;
Fancy whispered all the faster,
'Men shall hear of Thorberg Skafting
For a hundred year!'

Workmen sweating at the forges
Fashioned iron bolt and bar,
Like a warlock's midnight orgies
Smoked and bubbled the black caldron
With the boiling tar.

Did the warlocks mingle in it,
Thorberg Skafting, any curse?
Could you not be gone a minute
But some mischief must be doing,
Turning bad to worse?

'T was an ill wind that came wafting,
From his homestead words of woe;
To his farm went Thorberg Skafting,
Oft repeating to his workmen,
Build ye thus and so.

After long delays returning
Came the master back by night;
To his ship-yard longing, yearning,
Hurried he, and did not leave it
Till the morning's light.

'Come and see my ship, my darling!?
On the morrow said the King;
'Finished now from keel to carling;
Never yet was seen in Norway
Such a wondrous thing!'

In the ship-yard, idly talking,
At the ship the workmen stared:
Some one, all their labor balking,
Down her sides had cut deep gashes,
Not a plank was spared!

'Death be to the evil-doer!'
With an oath King Olaf spoke;
'But rewards to his pursuer!?
And with wrath his face grew redder
Than his scarlet cloak.

Straight the master-builder, smiling,
Answered thus the angry King:
'Cease blaspheming and reviling,
Olaf, it was Thorberg Skafting
Who has done this thing!'

Then he chipped and smoothed the planking,
Till the King, delighted, swore,
With much lauding and much thanking,
'Handsomer is now my Dragon
Than she was before!'

Seventy ells and four extended
On the grass the vessel's keel;
High above it, gilt and splendid,
Rose the figure-head ferocious
With its crest of steel.

Then they launched her from the tressels,
In the ship-yard by the sea;
She was the grandest of all vessels,
Never ship was built in Norway
Half so fine as she!

The Long Serpent was she christened,
'Mid the roar of cheer on cheer!
They who to the Saga listened
Heard the name of Thorberg Skafting
For a hundred year!

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

The Virtues Of Sid Hamet The Magician’s Rod

The rod was but a harmless wand,
While Moses held it in his hand;
But, soon as e'er he laid it down,
Twas a devouring serpent grown.
Our great magician, Hamet Sid,
Reverses what the prophet did:
His rod was honest English wood,
That senseless in a corner stood,
Till metamorphos'd by his grasp,
It grew an all-devouring asp;
Would hiss, and sting, and roll, and twist.
By the mere virtue of his fist:
But, when he laid it down, as quick
Resum'd the figure of a stick.
So, to her midnight feasts, the hag
Rides on a broomstick for a nag,
That, rais'd by magic of her breech,
O'er sea and land conveys the witch;
But with the morning dawn resumes
The peaceful state of common brooms.
They tell us something strange and odd,
About a certain magic rod,
That, bending down its top, divines
Whene'er the soil has golden mines;
Where there are none, it stands erect,
Scorning to show the least respect:
As ready was the wand of Sid
To bend where golden mines were hid:
In Scottish hills found precious ore,
Where none e'er look'd for it before;
And by a gentle bow divine
How well a cully's purse was lined;
To a forlorn and broken rake,
Stood without motion like a stake.
The rod of Hermes was renown'd
For charms above and under ground;
To sleep could mortal eyelids fix,
And drive departed souls to Styx.
That rod was a just type of Sid's,
Which o'er a British senate's lids
Could scatter opium full as well,
And drive as many souls to hell.
Sid's rod was slender, white, and tall,
Which oft he used to fish withal;
A PLACE was fasten'd to the hook,
And many score of gudgeons took;
Yet still so happy was his fate,
He caught his fish and sav'd his bait.
Sid's brethren of the conj'ring tribe,
A circle with their rod describe,
Which proves a magical redoubt,
To keep mischievous spirits out.
Sid's rod was of a larger stride,
And made a circle thrice as wide,
Where spirits throng'd with hideous din,
And he stood there to take them in;
But when th'enchanted rod was broke,
They vanish'd in a stinking smoke.
Achilles' sceptre was of wood,
Like Sid's, but nothing near so good;
Though down from ancestors divine
Transmitted to the heroes line;
Thence, thro' a long descent of kings,
Came an HEIRLOOM, as Homer sings.
Though this description looks so big,
That sceptre was a sapless twig,
Which, from the fatal day, when first
It left the forest where 'twas nurs'd,
As Homer tells us o'er and o'er,
Nor leaf, nor fruit, nor blossom bore.
Sid's sceptre, full of juice, did shoot
In golden boughs, and golden fruit;
And he, the dragon never sleeping,
Guarded each fair Hesperian Pippin.
No hobby-horse, with gorgeous top,
The dearest in Charles Mather's shop,
Or glittering tinsel of May Fair,
Could with this rod of Sid compare.
Dear Sid, then why wert thou so mad
To break thy rod like naughty lad?
You should have kiss'd it in your distress,
And then return'd it to your mistress;
Or made it a Newmarket switch,
And not a rod for thine own breech.
But since old Sid has broken this,
His next may be a rod in piss.

by Jonathan Swift.

A snake came to my water-trough
On a hot, hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat,
To drink there.
In the deep, strange-scented shade of the great dark carob-tree
I came down the steps with my pitcher
And must wait, must stand and wait, for there he was at the trough before
me.

He reached down from a fissure in the earth-wall in the gloom
And trailed his yellow-brown slackness soft-bellied down, over the edge of
the stone trough
And rested his throat upon the stone bottom,
And where the water had dripped from the tap, in a small clearness,
He sipped with his straight mouth,
Softly drank through his straight gums, into his slack long body,
Silently.

Someone was before me at my water-trough,
And I, like a second comer, waiting.

He lifted his head from his drinking, as cattle do,
And looked at me vaguely, as drinking cattle do,
And flickered his two-forked tongue from his lips, and mused a moment,
And stooped and drank a little more,
Being earth-brown, earth-golden from the burning bowels of the earth
On the day of Sicilian July, with Etna smoking.
The voice of my education said to me
He must be killed,
For in Sicily the black, black snakes are innocent, the gold are venomous.

And voices in me said, If you were a man
You would take a stick and break him now, and finish him off.

But must I confess how I liked him,
How glad I was he had come like a guest in quiet, to drink at my water-trough
And depart peaceful, pacified, and thankless,
Into the burning bowels of this earth?

Was it cowardice, that I dared not kill him? Was it perversity, that I longed to talk to him? Was it humility, to feel so honoured?
I felt so honoured.

And yet those voices:
If you were not afraid, you would kill him!

And truly I was afraid, I was most afraid, But even so, honoured still more
That he should seek my hospitality
From out the dark door of the secret earth.

He drank enough
And lifted his head, dreamily, as one who has drunken,
And flickered his tongue like a forked night on the air, so black,
Seeming to lick his lips,
And looked around like a god, unseeing, into the air,
And slowly turned his head,
And slowly, very slowly, as if thrice adream,
Proceeded to draw his slow length curving round
And climb again the broken bank of my wall-face.

And as he put his head into that dreadful hole,
And as he slowly drew up, snake-easing his shoulders, and entered farther,
A sort of horror, a sort of protest against his withdrawing into that horrid black hole,
Deliberately going into the blackness, and slowly drawing himself after,
Overcame me now his back was turned.

I looked round, I put down my pitcher,
I picked up a clumsy log
And threw it at the water-trough with a clatter.

I think it did not hit him,
But suddenly that part of him that was left behind convulsed in undignified haste.
Writhed like lightning, and was gone
Into the black hole, the earth-lipped fissure in the wall-front,
At which, in the intense still noon, I stared with fascination.

And immediately I regretted it.
I thought how paltry, how vulgar, what a mean act!
I despised myself and the voices of my accursed human education.

And I thought of the albatross
And I wished he would come back, my snake.

For he seemed to me again like a king,
Like a king in exile, uncrowned in the underworld,
Now due to be crowned again.

And so, I missed my chance with one of the lords
Of life.
And I have something to expiate:
A pettiness.

by David Herbert Lawrence.

The King And The Shepherd

Through ev'ry Age some Tyrant Passion reigns:
Now Love prevails, and now Ambition gains
Reason's lost Throne, and sov'reign Rule maintains.
Tho' beyond Love's, Ambition's Empire goes;
For who feels Love, Ambition also knows,
And proudly still aspires to be possest
Of Her, he thinks superior to the rest.

As cou'd be prov'd, but that our plainer Task
Do's no such Toil, or Definitions ask;
But to be so rehears'd, as first 'twas told,
When such old Stories pleas'd in Days of old.


A King, observing how a Shepherd's Skill
Improv'd his Flocks, and did the Pastures fill,
That equal Care th' assaulted did defend,
And the secur'd and grazing Part attend,
Approves the Conduct, and from Sheep and Curs
Transfers the Sway, and changed his Wool to Furrs.
Lord-Keeper now, as rightly he divides
His just Decrees, and speedily decides;
When his sole Neighbor, whilst he watch'd the Fold,
A Hermit poor, in Contemplation old,
Hastes to his Ear, with safe, but lost Advice,
Tells him such Heights are levell'd in a trice,
Preferments treach'rous, and her Paths of Ice:
And that already sure 't had turn'd his Brain,
Who thought a Prince's Favour to retain.
Nor seem'd unlike, in this mistaken Rank,
The sightless Wretch, who froze upon a Bank
A Serpent found, which for a Staff he took,
And us'd as such (his own but lately broke)
Thanking the Fates, who thus his Loss supply'd,
Nor marking one, that with amazement cry'd,
Throw quickly from thy Hand that sleeping Ill;
A Serpent 'tis, that when awak'd will kill.

A Serpent this! th' uncaution'd Fool replies:
A Staff it feels, nor shall my want of Eyes
Make me believe, I have no Senses left,
And thro' thy Malice be of this bereft;
Which Fortune to my Hand has kindly sent
To guide my Steps, and stumbling to prevent.
No Staff, the Man proceeds; but to thy harm
A Snake 'twill prove: The Viper, now grown warm
Confirm'd it soon, and fasten'd on his Arm.

Thus wilt thou find, Shepherd believe it true,
Some Ill, that shall this seeming Good ensue;
Thousand Distastes, t' allay thy envy'd Gains,
Unthought of, on the parcimonious Plains.
So prov'd the Event, and Whisp'rers now defame
The candid Judge, and his Proceedings blame.
By Wrongs, they say, a Palace he erects,
The Good oppresses, and the Bad protects.
To view this Seat the King himself prepares,
Where no Magnificence or Pomp appears,
But Moderation, free from each Extream,
Whilst Moderation is the Builder's Theme.
Asham'd yet still the Sycophants persist,
That Wealth he had conceal'd within a Chest,
Which but attended some convenient Day,
To face the Sun, and brighter Beams display.
The Chest unbarr'd, no radiant Gems they find,
No secret Sums to foreign Banks design'd,
But humble Marks of an obscure Recess,
Emblems of Care, and Instruments of Peace;
The Hook, the Scrip, and for unblam'd Delight
The merry Bagpipe, which, ere fall of Night,
Cou'd sympathizing Birds to tuneful Notes invite.
Welcome ye Monuments of former Joys!
Welcome! to bless again your Master's Eyes,
And draw from Courts, th' instructed Shepherd cries.
No more dear Relicks! we no more will part,
You shall my Hands employ, who now revive my Heart.
No Emulations, nor corrupted Times
Shall falsely blacken, or seduce to Crimes
Him, whom your honest Industry can please,
Who on the barren Down can sing from inward Ease.


How's this! the Monarch something mov'd rejoins.
With such low Thoughts, and Freedom from Designs,
What made thee leave a Life so fondly priz'd,
To be in Crouds, or envy'd, or despis'd?

Forgive me, Sir, and Humane Frailty see,
The Swain replies, in my past State and Me;
All peaceful that, to which I vow return.
But who alas! (tho' mine at length I mourn)
Was e'er without the Curse of some Ambition born.

by Anne Kingsmill Finch.

The Double-Headed Snake Of Newbury

Far away in the twilight time
Of every people, in every clime,
Dragons and griffins and monsters dire,
Born of water, and air, and fire,
Or nursed, like the Python, in the mud
And ooze of the old Deucalion flood,
Crawl and wriggle and foam with rage,
Through dusk tradition and ballad age.
So from the childhood of Newbury town
And its time of fable the tale comes down
Of a terror which haunted bush and brake,
The Amphisbaena, the Double Snake!

Thou who makest the tale thy mirth,
Consider that strip of Christian earth
On the desolate shore of a sailless sea,
Full of terror and mystery,
Half redeemed from the evil hold
Of the wood so dreary, and dark, and old,
Which drank with its lips of leaves the dew
When Time was young, and the world was new,
And wove its shadows with sun and moon,
Ere the stones of Cheops were squared and hewn.
Think of the sea's dread monotone,
Of the mournful wail from the pine-wood blown,
Of the strange, vast splendors that lit the North,
Of the troubled throes of the quaking earth,
And the dismal tales the Indian told,
Till the settler's heart at his hearth grew cold,
And he shrank from the tawny wizard boasts,
And the hovering shadows seemed full of ghosts,
And above, below, and on every side,
The fear of his creed seemed verified;-
And think, if his lot were now thine own,
To grope with terrors nor named nor known,
How laxer muscle and weaker nerve
And a feebler faith thy need might serve;
And own to thyself the wonder more
That the snake had two heads, and not a score!

Whether he lurked in the Oldtown fen
Or the gray earth-flax of the Devil's Den,
Or swam in the wooded Artichoke,
Or coiled by the Northman's Written Rock,
Nothing on record is left to show;
Only the fact that be lived, we know,
And left the cast of a double head
In the scaly mask which he yearly shed.
For he carried a head where his tail should be,
And the two, of course, could never agree,
But wriggled about with main and might,
Now to the left and now to the right;
Pulling and twisting this way and that,
Neither knew what the other was at.

A snake with two beads, lurking so near!
Judge of the wonder, guess at the fear!
Think what ancient gossips might say,
Shaking their heads in their dreary way,
Between the meetings on Sabbath-day!
How urchins, searching at day's decline
The Common Pasture for sheep or kine,
The terrible double-ganger heard
In leafy rustle or whir of bird!
Think what a zest it gave to the sport,
In berry-time, of the younger sort,
As over pastures blackberry-twined,
Reuben and Dorothy lagged behind,
And closer and closer, for fear of harm,
The maiden clung to her lover's arm;
And how the spark, who was forced to stay,
By his sweetheart's fears, till the break of day,
Thanked the snake for the fond delay.

Far and wide the tale was told,
Like a snowball growing while it rolled.
The nurse hushed with it the baby's cry;
And it served, in the worthy minister's eye,
To paint the primitive serpent by.
Cotton Mather came galloping down
All the way to Newbury town,
With his eyes agog and his ears set wide,
And his marvellous inkhorn at his side;
Stirring the while in the shallow pool
Of his brains for the lore he learned at school,
To garnish the story, with here a streak
Of Latin, and there another of Greek
And the tales he heard and the notes he took,
Behold! are they not in his Wonder-Book?

Stories, like dragons, are hard to kill.
If the snake does not, the tale runs still
In Byfield Meadows, on Pipestave Hill.
And still, whenever husband and wife
Publish the shame of their daily strife,
And, with mad cross-purpose, tug and strain
At either end of the marriage-chain,
The gossips say, with a knowing shake
Of their gray heads, 'Look at the Double Snake
One in body and two in will,
The Amphisbaena is living still!'

by John Greenleaf Whittier.

Eclogue The Second Hassan

SCENE, the Desert TIME, Mid-day
10 In silent horror o'er the desert-waste
The driver Hassan with his camels passed.
One cruse of water on his back he bore,
And his light scrip contained a scanty store;
A fan of painted feathers in his hand,
To guard his shaded face from scorching sand.
The sultry sun had gained the middle sky,
And not a tree and not an herb was nigh.
The beasts with pain their dusty way pursue,
Shrill roared the winds and dreary was the view!
20 With desperate sorrow wild, the affrighted man
Thrice sighed, thrice struck his breast, and thus began:
`Sad was the hour and luckless was the day,
When first from Schiraz' walls I bent my way.
`Ah! little thought I of the blasting wind,
The thirst or pinching hunger that I find!
Bethink thee, Hassan, where shall thirst assuage,
When fails this cruse, his unrelenting rage?
Soon shall this scrip its precious load resign,
Then what but tears and hunger shall be thine?

30 `Ye mute companions of my toils, that bear
In all my griefs a more than equal share!
Here, where no springs in murmurs break away,
Or moss-crowned fountains mitigate the day,
In vain ye hope the green delights to know,
Which plains more blest or verdant vales bestow.
Here rocks alone and tasteless sands are found,
And faint and sickly winds for ever howl around.
Sad was the hour and luckless was the day,
When first from Schiraz' walls I bent my way.
40 `Cursed be the gold and silver which persuade
Weak men to follow far-fatiguing trade.
The Lily-Peace outshines the silver store,
And life is dearer than the golden ore.
Yet money tempts us o'er the desert brown,
To every distant mart and wealthy town:
Full oft we tempt the land and oft the sea;
And are we only yet repaid by thee?
Ah! why was ruin so attractive made,
Or why fond man so easily betrayed?
50 Why heed we not, whilst mad we haste along,
The gentle voice of Peace or Pleasure's song?
Or wherefore think the flowery mountain's side,
The fountain's murmurs and the valley's pride,
Why think we these less pleasing to behold
Than dreary deserts, if they lead to gold?
Sad was the hour and luckless was the day,
When first from Schiraz' walls I bent my way.
`O cease, my fears! all frantic as I go,
When thought creates unnumbered scenes of woe,

60 What if the lion in his rage I meet!
Oft in the dust I view his printed feet:
And fearful! oft, when Day's declining light
Yields her pale empire to the mourner Night,
By hunger roused, he scours the groaning plain,
Gaunt wolves and sullen tigers in his train:
Before them death with shrieks directs their way,
Fills the wild yell and leads them to their prey.
Sad was the hour and luckless was the day,
When first from Schiraz' walls I bent my way!
70 `At that dead hour the silent asp shall creep,
If aught of rest I find, upon my sleep;
Or some swoll'n serpent twist his scales around,
And wake to anguish with a burning wound.
Thrice happy they, the wise contented poor,
From lust of wealth and dread of death secure.
They tempt no deserts and no griefs they find;
Peace rules the day, where reason rules the mind.
Sad was the hour and luckless was the day,
When first from Schiraz' walls I bent my way.
80 `O hapless youth! for she thy love hath won,
The tender Zara, will be most undone!
Big swelled my heart and owned the powerful maid,
When fast she dropped her tears, as thus she said:
``Farewell the youth whom sighs could not detain,
``Whom Zara's breaking heart implored in vain;
``Yet as thou goest, may every blast arise,
``Weak and unfelt as these rejected sighs!
``Safe o'er the wild, no perils mayst thou see,
``No griefs endure, nor weep, false youth, like me.''
O let me safely to the fair return,
Say with a kiss, she must not, shall not mourn.
Go teach my heart to lose its painful fears,
Recalled by Wisdom's voice and Zara's tears.'

He said, and called on heaven to bless the day,
When back to Schiraz' walls he bent his way.

by William Collins.

HER mouth is fragrant as a vine,
A vine with birds in all its boughs;
Serpent and scarab for a sign
Between the beauty of her brows
And the amorous deep lids divine.

Her great curled hair makes luminous
Her cheeks, her lifted throat and chin.
Shall she not have the hearts of us
To shatter, and the loves therein
To shred between her fingers thus?

Small ruined broken strays of light,
Pearl after pearl she shreds them through
Her long sweet sleepy fingers, white
As any pearl's heart veined with blue,
And soft as dew on a soft night.

As if the very eyes of love
Shone through her shutting lids, and stole
The slow looks of a snake or dove;
As if her lips absorbed the whole
Of love, her soul the soul thereof.

Lost, all the lordly pearls that were
Wrung from the sea's heart, from the green
Coasts of the Indian gulf-river;
Lost, all the loves of the world---so keen
Towards this queen for love of her.

You see against her throat the small
Sharp glittering shadows of them shake;
And through her hair the imperial
Curled likeness of the river snake,
Whose bite shall make an end of all.

Through the scales sheathing him like wings,
Through hieroglyphs of gold and gem,
The strong sense of her beauty stings,
Like a keen pulse of love in them,
A running flame through all his rings.

Under those low large lids of hers
She hath the histories of all time;
The fruit of foliage-stricken years;
The old seasons with their heavy chime
That leaves its rhyme in the world's ears.

She sees the hand of death made bare,
The ravelled riddle of the skies,
The faces faded that were fair,
The mouths made speechless that were wise,
The hollow eyes and dusty hair;

The shape and shadow of mystic things,
Things that fate fashions or forbids;
The staff of time-forgotten Kings
Whose name falls off the Pyramids,
Their coffin-lids and grave-clothings;

Dank dregs, the scum of pool or clod,
God-spawn of lizard-footed clans,
And those dog-headed hulks that trod
Swart necks of the old Egyptians,
Raw draughts of man's beginning God;

The poised hawk, quivering ere he smote,
With plume-like gems on breast and back;
The asps and water-worms afloat
Between the rush-flowers moist and slack;
The cat's warm black bright rising throat.

The purple days of drouth expand
Like a scroll opened out again;
The molten heaven drier than sand,
The hot red heaven without rain,
Sheds iron pain on the empty land.

All Egypt aches in the sun's sight;
The lips of men are harsh for drouth,
The fierce air leaves their cheeks burnt white,
Charred by the bitter blowing south,
Whose dusty mouth is sharp to bite.

All this she dreams of, and her eyes
Are wrought after the sense hereof.
There is no heart in her for sighs;
The face of her is more than love---
A name above the Ptolemies.

Her great grave beauty covers her
As that sleek spoil beneath her feet
Clothed once the anointed soothsayer;
The hallowing is gone forth from it
Now, made unmeet for priests to wear.

She treads on gods and god-like things,
On fate and fear and life and death,
On hate that cleaves and love that clings,
All that is brought forth of man's breath
And perisheth with what it brings.

She holds her future close, her lips
Hold fast the face of things to be;
Actium, and sound of war that dips
Down the blown valleys of the sea,
Far sails that flee, and storms of ships;

The laughing red sweet mouth of wine
At ending of life's festival;
That spice of cerecloths, and the fine
White bitter dust funereal
Sprinkled on all things for a sign;

His face, who was and was not he,
In whom, alive, her life abode;
The end, when she gained heart to see
Those ways of death wherein she trod,
Goddess by god, with Antony.

by Algernon Charles Swinburne.

Born in the garret, in the kitchen bred,
Promoted thence to deck her mistress' head;
Next for some gracious service unexpress'd,
And from its wages only to be guess'd­
Raised from the toilette to the table,­ where
Her wondering betters wait behind her chair.
With eye unmoved, and forehead unabash'd,
She dines from off the plate she lately wash'd.
Quick with the tale, and ready with the lie,
The genial confidante, and general spy,
Who could, ye gods! her next employ­ment guess--
An only infants earliest governess!
She taught the child to read, and taught so well,
That she herself, by teaching, learn'd to spell.
An adept next in penmanship she grows;
As many a nameless slander deftly shows.
What she had made the pupil of her art,
None know--but that high Soul secured the heart,
And panted for the truth it could not hear,
With longing breast and undeluded ear.
Foil'd was perversion by that youthful mind,
Which Flattery fool'd not, Baseness could not blind,
Deceit infect not, near Contagion soil,
Indulgence weaken, nor Example spoil,
Nor master'd Science tempt her to look down
On humbler talents with a pitying frown,
Nor Genius swell, nor Beauty render vain,
Nor Envy ruffle o retaliate pain,
Nor Fortune change, Pride raise, nor Passion bow,
Nor virtue teach austerity-till now.
Serenely purest of her sex that live,
But wanting one sweet weakness--to for­give,
Too shock'd at faults her soul can never know,
She deems that all could be like her be­low:
Foe to all vice, yet hardly Virtue's friend,
For Virtue pardons those she would amend.

But to the theme, now laid aside too long,
The baleful burthen of this honest song,
Though all her former functions are no more,
She rules the circle which she served before.

If mothers--none know why--before her quake;
If daughters dread her for the mothers' sake;
If early habits--those false links, which bind
At times the loftiest to the meanest mind­
Have given her power too deeply to instil
The angry essence of her deadly will;
If like a snake she steal within your walls,
Till the black slime betray her as she crawls;
If like a viper to the heart she wind,
And leave the venom there she did not find;
What marvel that this hag of hatred works
Eternal evil latent as she lurks,
To make a Pandemonium where she dwells,
And reign the Hecate of domestic hells?
Skill'd by a touch to deepen scandal's tints
With all the kind mendacity of hints,
While mingling truth with falsehood, sneers with smiles,
A thread of candour with a web of wiles:
A plain blunt show of briefly--spoken seaming,
To hide her bloodless heart's soul­-harden'd scheming;
A lip of lies; a face form'd to conceal,
And, without feeling, mock at all who feel:
With a vile mask the Gorgon would disown ,
A cheek of parchment, and an eye of stone.
Mark, how the channels of her yellow blood
Ooze to her skin, and stagnate there to mud,
Cased like the centipede in saffron mail,
Or darker greenness of the scorpion's scale--
(For drawn from reptiles only may we trace
Congenial colours in that soul or face)
Look on her features! and behold her mind
As in a mirror of itself defined:
Look on the picture! deem it not o'ercharged
There is no trait which might not be enlarged:
Yet true to 'Nature's journeymen,' who made
This monster when their mistress left off trade--
This female dog-star of her little sky,
Where all beneath her influence droop or die.

Oh! wretch without a tear-without a thought,
Save joy above the ruin thou hast wrought--
The time shall come, nor long remote, when thou
Shalt feel far more than thou inflictest now;
Feel for thy vile self-loving self in vain,
And turn thee howling in unpitied pain.
May the strong curse of crush 'd affections light
Back on thy bosom with reflected blight!
And make thee in thy leprosy of mind
As loathsome to thyself as to mankind!
Till all thy self-thoughts curdle into hate,
Black--as thy will for others would create:
Till thy hard heart be calcined into dust,
And thy soul welter in its hideous crust.
Oh, may thy grave be sleepless as the bed,
The widow'd couch of fire, that thou hast spread!
Then, when thou fain wouldst weary Heaven with prayer,
Look on thine earthly victims--and despair!
Down to the dust!--and, as thou rott'st away,
Even worms shall perish on thy poisonous clay.
But for the love I bore, and still must bear,
To her thy malice from all ties would tear--
Thy name--thy human name--to every eye
The climax of all scorn should hang on high,
Exalted o'er thy less abhorr'd compeers--
And festering in the infamy of years.

by George Gordon Byron.

Johnson’s Antidote

Down along the Snakebite River, where the overlanders camp,
Where the serpents are in millions, all of the most deadly stamp;
Where the station-cook in terror, nearly every time he bakes,
Mixes up among the doughboys half-a-dozen poison-snakes:
Where the wily free-selector walks in armour-plated pants,
And defies the stings of scorpions, and the bites of bull-dog ants:
Where the adder and the viper tear each other by the throat,—
There it was that William Johnson sought his snake-bite antidote.
Johnson was a free-selector, and his brain went rather queer,
For the constant sight of serpents filled him with a deadly fear;
So he tramped his free-selection, morning, afternoon, and night,
Seeking for some great specific that would cure the serpent’s bite.
Till King Billy, of the Mooki, chieftain of the flour-bag head,
Told him, “Spos’n snake bite pfeller, pfeller mostly drop down dead;
Spos’n snake bite old goanna, then you watch a while you see,
Old goanna cure himself with eating little pfeller tree.”
“That’s the cure,” said William Johnson, “point me out this plant sublime,”
But King Billy, feeling lazy, said he’d go another time.
Thus it came to pass that Johnson, having got the tale by rote,
Followed every stray goanna, seeking for the antidote.


. . . . .
Loafing once beside the river, while he thought his heart would break,
There he saw a big goanna fighting with a tiger-snake,
In and out they rolled and wriggled, bit each other, heart and soul,
Till the valiant old goanna swallowed his opponent whole.
Breathless, Johnson sat and watched him, saw him struggle up the bank,
Saw him nibbling at the branches of some bushes, green and rank;
Saw him, happy and contented, lick his lips, as off he crept,
While the bulging in his stomach showed where his opponent slept.
Then a cheer of exultation burst aloud from Johnson’s throat;
“Luck at last,” said he, “I’ve struck it! ’tis the famous antidote.

“Here it is, the Grand Elixir, greatest blessing ever known,—
Twenty thousand men in India die each year of snakes alone.
Think of all the foreign nations, negro, chow, and blackamoor,
Saved from sudden expiration, by my wondrous snakebite cure.
It will bring me fame and fortune! In the happy days to be,
Men of every clime and nation will be round to gaze on me—
Scientific men in thousands, men of mark and men of note,
Rushing down the Mooki River, after Johnson’s antidote.
It will cure delirium tremens, when the patient’s eyeballs stare
At imaginary spiders, snakes which really are not there.
When he thinks he sees them wriggle, when he thinks he sees them bloat,
It will cure him just to think of Johnson’s Snakebite Antidote.”

Then he rushed to the museum, found a scientific man—
“Trot me out a deadly serpent, just the deadliest you can;
I intend to let him bite me, all the risk I will endure,
Just to prove the sterling value of my wondrous snakebite cure.
Even though an adder bit me, back to life again I’d float;
Snakes are out of date, I tell you, since I’ve found the antidote.”
Said the scientific person, “If you really want to die,
Go ahead—but, if you’re doubtful, let your sheep-dog have a try.
Get a pair of dogs and try it, let the snake give both a nip;
Give your dog the snakebite mixture, let the other fellow rip;
If he dies and yours survives him, then it proves the thing is good.
Will you fetch your dog and try it?” Johnson rather thought he would.
So he went and fetched his canine, hauled him forward by the throat.
“Stump, old man,” says he, “we’ll show them we’ve the genwine antidote.”

Both the dogs were duly loaded with the poison-gland’s contents;
Johnson gave his dog the mixture, then sat down to wait events.
“Mark,” he said, “in twenty minutes Stump’ll be a-rushing round,
While the other wretched creature lies a corpse upon the ground.”
But, alas for William Johnson! ere they’d watched a half-hour’s spell
Stumpy was as dead as mutton, t’other dog was live and well.
And the scientific person hurried off with utmost speed,
Tested Johnson’s drug and found it was a deadly poison-weed;
Half a tumbler killed an emu, half a spoonful killed a goat,
All the snakes on earth were harmless to that awful antidote.


. . . . .
Down along the Mooki River, on the overlanders’ camp,
Where the serpents are in millions, all of the most deadly stamp,
Wanders, daily, William Johnson, down among those poisonous hordes,
Shooting every stray goanna, calls them “black and yaller frauds”.
And King Billy, of the Mooki, cadging for the cast-off coat,
Somehow seems to dodge the subject of the snake-bite antidote.

by Banjo Paterson.

Indrajit's Third Battle And Fall

Healing herbs from distant mountains Hanuman in safety brought,
Rama rose and gallant Lakshman, once again their foemen sought.

And when night its sable mantle o'er the earth and ocean drew,
Forcing through the gates of Lanka to the frightened city flew!

Gallant sons of Kumbha-kama vainly fought to stem the tide,
Hanuman and brave Sugriva slew the brothers in their pride,

Makaraksha, shark-eyed warrior, vainly struggled with the foe,
Rama laid him pierced and lifeless by an arrow from his bow.

Indrajit arose in anger for his gallant kinsmen slayed,
In his arts and deep devices Sita's beauteous image made,

And he placed the form of beauty on his speeding battle car,
With his sword he smote the image in the gory field of war!

Rama heard the fatal message which his faithful Vanars gave,
And a deathlike trance and tremor fell upon the warrior brave,

But Bibhishan deep in wisdom to the anguished Rama came,
With his words of consolation spake of Rama's righteous dame:

'Trust me, Rama, trust thy comrade,-for I know our wily house,-
Indrajit slays not the woman whom his father seeks as spouse,

'Tis for Sita, impious Ravan meets thee on the battle-field,
Stakes his life and throne and empire, but thy Sita will not yield,

Deem not that the king of Rakshas will permit her blood be shed,
Indrajit slays not the woman whom his father seeks to wed!

'Twas an image of thy Sita, Indrajit hath cleft in twain,
While our army wails and sorrows,-he performs his rites again,

To the holy Nikumbhila, Indrajit in secret hies,
For the rights which yield him prowess, hide him in the cloudy skies.

Let young Lakshman seek the foeman ere his magic rites be done,
Once the sacrifice completed, none can combat Ravan's son,-

Let young Lakshman speed through Lanka till his wily foe is found,
Slay the secret sacrificer on the sacrificial ground!'

Unto holy Nikumbhila, Lakshman with Bibhishan went
Bravest, choicest of the army, Rama with his brother sent,

Magic rites and sacrifices Indrajit had scarce begun,
When surprised by arméd foemen rose in anger Ravan's son!

'Art thou he,' thus to Bibhishan, Indrajit in anger spake,
'Brother of my royal father, stealing thus my life to take,

Raksha born of Raksha parents, dost thou glory in this deed,
Traitor to thy king and kinsmen, false to us in direst need?

Scorn and pity fill my bosom thus to see thee leave thy kin,
Serving as a slave of foemen, stooping to a deed of sin,

For the slave who leaves his kindred, basely seeks the foemans grace,
Meets destruction from the foeman after he destroys his race!'

'Untaught child of impure passions,' thus Bibhishan answer made,
'Of my righteous worth unconscious bitter accents hast thou said,

Know, proud youth, that Truth and Virtue in my heart precedence take,
And we shun the impious kinsman as we shun the pois'nous snake!

Listen, youth! this earth no longer bears thy father's sin and strife,
Plunder of the righteous neighbour, passion for the neighbour's wife,

Earth and skies have doomed thy father for his sin-polluted reign,
Unto Gods his proud defiance and his wrongs to sons of men!

Listen more! this fated Lanka groans beneath her load of crime,
And shall perish in her folly by the ruthless hand of Time,

Thou shalt perish and thy father and this proud presumptuous state,
Lakshman meets thee, impious Raksha, by the stern decree of Fate!'

'Hast thou too forgot the lesson,' Indrajit to Lakshman said,
'Twice in field of war unconscious thee with Rama have I laid,

Dost thou stealing like a serpent brave my yet unconquered might,
Perish, boy, in thy presumption, in this last and fatal fight!'

Spake the hero: 'Like a coward hid beneath a mantling cloud,
Thou hast battled like a caitiff safe behind thy sheltering shroud,

Now I seek an open combat, time is none to prate or speak,
Boastful word is coward's weapon, weapons and thy arrows seek!

Soon they mixed in dubious combat, fury fired each foeman's heart,
Either warrior felt his rival worthy of his bow and dart,

Lakshman with his hurtling arrows pierced the Raksha's golden mail,
Shattered by the Raksha's weapons Lakshman's useless armour fen,

Red with gore and dim in eyesight still the chiefs in fury fought,
Neither quailed bef ore his f oeman, pause nor grace nor mercy sought,

Till with more than human valour Lakshman drew his bow amain,
Slayed the Raksha's steeds and driver, severed too his bow in twain.

'If the great and godlike Rama is in faith and duty true,
Gods assist the cause of virtue!'-Lakahman uttered as he drew,

Fatal was the dart unerring,-Gods assist the true and bold,
On the field of Nikumbhila, Lakshman's foeman headless rolled!

by Valmiki.

She bade me follow to her garden where
The mellow sunlight stood as in a cup
Between the old grey walls; I did not dare
To raise my face, I did not dare look up
Lest her bright eyes like sparrows should fly in
My windows of discovery and shrill 'Sin!'

So with a downcast mien and laughing voice
I followed, followed the swing of her white dress
That rocked in a lilt along: I watched the poise
Of her feet as they flew for a space, then paused to press
The grass deep down with the royal burden of her:
And gladly I'd offered my breast to the tread of her.

'I like to see,' she said, and she crouched her down,
She sunk into my sight like a settling bird;
And her bosom crouched in the confines of her gown
Like heavy birds at rest there, softly stirred
By her measured breaths: 'I like to see,' said she,
'The snap-dragon put out his tongue at me.'

She laughed, she reached her hand out to the flower
Closing its crimson throat: my own throat in her power
Strangled, my heart swelled up so full
As if it would burst its wineskin in my throat,
Choke me in my own crimson; I watched her pull
The gorge of the gaping flower, till the blood did float

        Over my eyes and I was blind --
Her large brown hand stretched over
The windows of my mind,
And in the dark I did discover
Things I was out to find:

My grail, a brown bowl twined
With swollen veins that met in the wrist,
Under whose brown the amethyst
I longed to taste: and I longed to turn
My heart's red measure in her cup,
I longed to feel my hot blood burn
With the lambent amethyst in her cup.

Then suddenly she looked up
And I was blind in a tawny-gold day
Till she took her eyes away. So she came down from above
And emptied my heart of love . . .
So I helf my heart aloft
To the cuckoo that fluttered above,
And she settled soft.

It seemed that I and the morning world
Were pressed cup-shape to take this reiver
Bird who was weary to have furled
Her wings on us,
As we were weary to receive her:

This bird, this rich
Sumptuous central grain,
This mutable witch,
This one refrain,
This laugh in the fight,
This clot of light,
This core of night.

She spoke, and I closed my eyes
To shut hallucinations out.
I echoed with surprise
Hearing my mere lips shout
The answer they did devise.

Again, I saw a brown bird hover
Over the flowers at my feet;
I felt a brown bird hover
Over my heart, and sweet
Its shadow lay on my heart.
I thought I saw on the clover
A brown bee pulling apart
The closed flesh of the clover
And burrowing into its heart.

She moved her hand, and again
I felt the brown bird hover
Over my heart . . . and then
The bird came down on my heart,
As on a nest the rover
Cuckoo comes, and shoves over
The brim each careful part
Of love, takes possession and settles down,
With her wings and her feathers does drown
The nest in a heat of love.

She turned her flushed face to me for the glint
Of a moment. 'See,' she laughed, 'if you also
Can make them yawn.' I put my hand to the dint
In the flower's throat, and the flower gaped wide with woe.
She watched, she went of a sudden intensely still,
She watched my hand, and I let her watch her fill.

I pressed the wretched, throttled flower between
My fingers, till its head lay back, its fangs
Poised at her: like a weapon my hand stood white and keen,
And I held the choked flower-serpent in its pangs
Of mordant anguish till she ceased to laugh,
Until her pride's flag, smitten, cleaved down to the staff.

She hid her face, she murmured between her lips
The low word 'Don't!' I let the flower fall,
But held my hand afloat still towards the slips
Of blossom she fingered, and my crisp fingers all
Put forth to her: she did not move, nor I,
For my hand like a snake watched hers that could not fly.
Then I laughed in the dark of my heart, I did exult
Like a sudden chuckling of music: I bade her eyes
Meet mine, I opened her helpless eyes to consult
Their fear, their shame, their joy that underlies
Defeat in such a battle: in the dark of her eyes
My heart was fierce to make her laughter rise . . .
Till her dark deeps shook with convulsive thrills, and the dark
Of her spirit wavered like water thrilled with light,
And my heart leaped up in longing to plunge its stark
Fervour within the pool of her twilight:
Within her spacious gloom, in the mystery
Of her barbarous soul, to grope with ecstasy.

And I do not care though the large hands of revenge
Shall get my throat at last -- shall get it soon,
If the joy that they are lifted to avenge
Have risen red on my night as a harvest moon,
Which even Death can only put out for me,
And death I know is beter than not-to-be.

by David Herbert Lawrence.

The Bridge: The Dance

The swift red flesh, a winter king—
Who squired the glacier woman down the sky?
She ran the neighing canyons all the spring;
She spouted arms; she rose with maize—to die.

And in the autumn drouth, whose burnished hands
With mineral wariness found out the stone
Where prayers, forgotten, streamed the mesa sands?
He holds the twilight’s dim, perpetual throne,


Mythical brows we saw retiring—loth,
Disturbed and destined, into denser green.
Greeting they sped us, on the arrow’s oath:
Now lie incorrigibly what years between . .


There was a bed of leaves, and broken play
There was a veil upon you, Pocahontas, bride—
O Princess whose brown lap was virgin May;
And bridal flanks and eyes hid tawny pride.


I left the village for dogwood. By the canoe
Tugging below the mill-race, I could see
Your hair’s keen crescent running, and the blue
First moth of evening take wing stealthily.


What laughing chains the water wove and threw.
I learned to catch the trout’s moon whisper; I
Drifted how many hours I never knew,
But, watching, saw that fleet young crescent die,—


And one star, swinging, take its place, alone,
Cupped in the larches of the mountain pass—
Until, immortally, it bled into the dawn.
I left my sleek boat nibbling margin grass . . .


I took the portage climb, then chose
A further valley-shed; I could not stop.
Feet nozzled wat’ry webs of upper flows;
One white veil gusted from the very top.


O Appalachian Spring! I gained the ledge;
Steep, inaccessible smile that eastward bends
And northward reaches in that violet wedge
Of Adirondacks!—wisped of azure wands,


Over how many bluffs, tarns, streams I sped!
—And knew myself within some boding shade:—
Grey tepees-tufting the blue knolls ahead,
Smoke swirling through the yellow chestnut glade . . .


A distant cloud, a thunder-bud—it grew,
That blanket of the skies: the padded foot
Within,—I heard it; ’til its rhythm drew,
—Siphoned the black pool from the heart’s hot root!


A cyclone threshes in the turbine crest,
Swooping in eagle feathers down your back;
Know, Maquokeeta, greeting; know death’s best;
—Fall, Sachem, strictly as the tamarack!


A birch kneels. All her whistling fingers fly.
The oak grove circles in a crash of leaves;
The long moan of a dance is in the sky.
Dance, Maquokeeta: Pocahontas grieves . . .


And every tendon scurries toward the twangs
Of lightning deltaed down your saber hair.
Now snaps the flint in every tooth; red fangs
And splay tongues thinly busy the blue air . . .


Dance, Maquokeeta! snake that lives before,
That casts his pelt, and lives beyond! Sprout, horn!
Spark, tooth! Medicine-man, relent, restore—
Lie to us,—dance us back the tribal morn!


Spears and assemblies: black drums thrusting on—
O yelling battlements,—I, too, was liege
To rainbows currying each pulsant bone:
Surpassed the circumstance, danced out the siege!


And buzzard-circleted, screamed from the stake;
I could not pick the arrows from my side.
Wrapped in that fire, I saw more escorts wake—
Flickering, sprint up the hill groins like a tide.


I heard the hush of lava wrestling your arms,
And stag teeth foam about the raven throat;
Flame cataracts of heaven in seething swarms
Fed down your anklets to the sunset’s moat.


0, like the lizard in the furious noon,
That drops his legs and colors in the sun,
—And laughs, pure serpent, Time itself, and moon
Of his own fate, I saw thy change begun!


And saw thee dive to kiss that destiny
Like one white meteor, sacrosanct and blent
At last with all that’s consummate and free
There, where the first and last gods keep thy tent.


. . . .


Thewed of the levin, thunder-shod and lean,
Lo, through what infinite seasons dost thou gaze—
Across what bivouacs of thine angered slain,
And see’st thy bride immortal in the maize!


Totem and fire-gall, slumbering pyramid—
Though other calendars now stack the sky,
Thy freedom is her largesse, Prince, and hid
On paths thou knewest best to claim her by.


High unto Labrador the sun strikes free
Her speechless dream of snow, and stirred again,
She is the torrent and the singing tree;
And she is virgin to the last of men . . .


West, west and south! winds over Cumberland
And winds across the liana grass resume
Her hair’s warm sibilance. Her breasts are fanned
O stream by slope and vineyard—into bloom!


And when the caribou slant down for salt
Do arrows thirst and leap? Do antlers shine
Alert, star-triggered in the listening vault
Of dusk?—And are her perfect brows to thine?


We danced, 0 Brave, we danced beyond their farms.
In cobalt desert closures made our vows . . .
Now is the strong prayer folded in thine arms,
The serpent with the eagle in the boughs.

by Harold Hart Crane.

The King's Lament

Is this torturing dream or madness, do my feeble senses fail,
O'er my darkened mind and bosom doth a fainting fit prevail?

So the stricken monarch pondered and in hushed and silent fear,
Looked on her as on a tigress looks the dazed and stricken deer,

Lying on the unswept pavement still he heaved the choking sigh,
Like a wild and hissing serpent quelled by incantations high!

Sobs convulsive shook his bosom and his speech and accent failed,
And a dark and deathlike faintness o'er his feeble soul prevailed,

Stunned awhile remained the monarch, then in furious passion woke.
And his eyeballs flamed with redfire, to the queen as thus he spoke:

'Traitress to thy king and husband, fell destroyer of thy race,
Wherefore seeks thy ruthless rancour Rama rich in righteous grace,

Traitress to thy kith and kindred, Rama loves thee as thy own,
Wherefore then with causeless vengeance as a mother hate thy son!

Have I courted thee, Kaikeyi, throned thee in my heart of truth,
Nursed thee in my home and bosom like a snake of poisoned tooth,

Have I courted thee, Kaikeyi, placed thee on Ayodhya's throne,
That my Rama, loved of people, thou shouldst banish from his own?

Banish far my Queen Kausalya, Queen Sumitra saintly wife,
Wrench from me my ancient empire, from my bosom wrench my life,

But with brave and princely Rama never can his father part,
Till his ancient life is ended, cold and still his beating heart!

Sunless roll the world in darkness, rainless may the harvests thrive,
But from ri~hteous Rama severed, never can his sire survive,

Feeble is thy aged husband, few and brief on earth his day,
Lend me, wife, a woman's kindness, as a consort be my stay!

Ask for other boon, Kaikeyi, aught my sea-girt empire yields,
Wealth or treasure, gem or jewel, castled town or smiling fields,

Ask for other gift, Kaikeyi, and thy wishes shall be given,
Stain me not with crime unholy in the eye of righteous Heaven!'

Coldly spake the Queen Kaikeyi: 'If thy royal heart repent,
Break thy word and plighted promise, let thy royal faith be rent,

Ever known for truth and virtue, speak to peers and monarchs all,
When from near and distant regions they shall gather in thy hall,

Speak if so it please thee, monarch, of thy evil-destined wife,
How she loved with wife's devotion, how she served and saved thy life,

How on plighted promise trusting for a humble boon she sighed,
How a monarch broke his promise, how a cheated woman died!'

'Fair thy form,' resumed the monarch, 'beauty dwells upon thy face,
Woman's winsome charms bedeck thee, and a woman's peerless grace,

Wherefore then within thy bosom wakes this thought of cruel wile,
And what dark and loathsome spirit stains thy heart with blackest guile?

Ever since the day, Kaikeyi, when a gentle bride you came,
By a wife's unfailing duty you have won a woman's fame,

Wherefore now this cruel purpose hath a stainless heart defiled,
Ruthless wish to send my Rama to the dark and pathless wild?

Wherefore, darkly-scheming woman, on unrighteous purpose bent,
Doth thy cruel causeless vengeance on my Rama seek a vent,

Wherefore seek by deeds unholy for thy son the throne to win,
Throne which Bharat doth not covet,-blackened byhis mother's sin?

Shall I see my banished Rama mantled in the garb of woe,
Reft of home and kin and empire to the pathless jungle go,

Shall I see disasters sweeping o'er my empire dark and deep,
As the forces of a foeman o'er a scattered army sweep?

Shall I hear assembled monarchs in their whispered voices say,
Weak and foolish in his dotapre, Dasa-ratha holds his sway,

Shall I say to righteous elders when they blame my action done,
That by woman's mandate driven I have banished thus my son?

Queen Kansalya, dear-loved woman! she who serves me as a slave,
Soothes me like a tender sister, helps me like a consort brave,

As a fond and loving mother tends me with a watchful care,
As a daughter ever duteous doth obeisance sweet and fair,

When my fond and fair Kausalya asks me of her banished son,
How shall Dasa-ratha answer for the impious action done,

How can husband, cold and cruel, break a wife's confiding heart,
How can father, false and faithless, from his best and eldest part?'

Coldly spake the Queen Kaikeyi: 'If thy royal heart repent,
Break thy word and plighted promise, let thy royal faith be rent,

Truth-abiding is our monarch, so I heard the people say,
And his word is all inviolate, stainless virtue marks his sway,

Let it now be known to nations,-righteous Dasa-ratha lied,
And a trusting, cheated woman broke her loving heart and died!'

Darker grew the shades of midnight, coldly shone each distant star,
Wilder in the monarch's bosom raged the struggle and the war:

'Starry midnight, robed in shadows! give my wearied heart relief,
Spread thy sable covering mantle o'er an impious monarch's grief,

Spread thy vast and inky darkness o'er a deed of nameless crime,
Reign perennial o'er my sorrows heedless of the lapse of time,

May a sinful monarch perish ere the dawning of the day,
O'er a dark life sin-polluted, beam not morning's righteous ray!'

by Valmiki.

La Serpent Qui Danse (The Dancing Serpent)

Que j'aime voir, chère indolente,
De ton corps si beau,
Comme une étoffe vacillante,
Miroiter la peau!

Sur ta chevelure profonde
Aux âcres parfums,
Mer odorante et vagabonde
Aux flots bleus et bruns,

Comme un navire qui s'éveille
Au vent du matin,
Mon âme rêveuse appareille
Pour un ciel lointain.

Tes yeux, où rien ne se révèle
De doux ni d'amer,
Sont deux bijoux froids où se mêle
L'or avec le fer.

À te voir marcher en cadence,
Belle d'abandon,
On dirait un serpent qui danse
Au bout d'un bâton.

Sous le fardeau de ta paresse
Ta tête d'enfant
Se balance avec la mollesse
D'un jeune éléphant,

Et ton corps se penche et s'allonge
Comme un fin vaisseau
Qui roule bord sur bord et plonge
Ses vergues dans l'eau.

Comme un flot grossi par la fonte
Des glaciers grondants,
Quand l'eau de ta bouche remonte
Au bord de tes dents,

Je crois boire un vin de Bohême,
Amer et vainqueur,
Un ciel liquide qui parsème
D'étoiles mon coeur!


The Dancing Serpent

Indolent darling, how I love
To see the skin
Of your body so beautiful
Shimmer like silk!

Upon your heavy head of hair
With its acrid scents,
Adventurous, odorant sea
With blue and brown waves,

Like a vessel that awakens
To the morning wind,
My dreamy soul sets sail
For a distant sky.

Your eyes where nothing is revealed
Of bitter or sweet,
Are two cold jewels where are mingled
Iron and gold.

To see you walking in cadence
With fine abandon,
One would say a snake which dances
On the end of a staff.

Under the weight of indolence
Your child-like head sways
Gently to and fro like the head
Of a young elephant,

And your body stretches and leans
Like a slender ship
That rolls from side to side and dips
Its yards in the sea.

Like a stream swollen by the thaw
Of rumbling glaciers,
When the water of your mouth rises
To the edge of your teeth,

It seems I drink Bohemian wine,
Bitter and conquering,
A liquid sky that scatters
Stars in my heart!


— Translated by William Aggeler

The Snake that Dances

I love to watch, while you are lazing,
Your skin. It iridesces
Like silk or satin, smoothly-glazing
The light that it caresses.

Under your tresses dark and deep
Where acrid perfumes drown,
A fragrant sea whose breakers sweep
In mazes blue or brown,

My soul, a ship, to the attraction
Of breezes that bedizen
Its swelling canvas, clears for action
And seeks a far horizon.

Your eyes where nothing can be seen
Either of sweet or bitter
But gold and iron mix their sheen,
Seem frosty gems that glitter.

To see you rhythmically advancing
Seems to my fancy fond
As if it were a serpent dancing
Waved by the charmer's wand.

Under the languorous moods that weigh it,
Your childish head bows down:
Like a young elephant's you sway it
With motions soft as down.

Your body leans upon the hips
Like a fine ship that Iaves
Its hull from side to side, and dips
Its yards into the waves.

When, as by glaciers ground, the spate
Swells hissing from beneath,
The water of your mouth, elate,
Rises between your teeth —

It seems some old Bohemian vintage
Triumphant, fierce, and tart,
A liquid heaven that showers a mintage
Of stars across my heart.


— Translated by Roy Campbell

Dancing Serpent

Indolent love, with what delight
I watch the tawny flesh
Of your sweet body shimmer bright
As a bright silken mesh.

On your thick tresses, love, you wear
Sharp perfumes for a crown,
A venturesome sweet sea, your hair,
With billows blue and brown.

Your eyes never betray by sign
What grief or joy they hold,
They are cold jewels that combine
Strong iron and rare gold.

Even as a vessel that awakes
When morning breezes rise,
So my dream-laden spirit takes
Off for strange distant skies.

Your sinuous cadenced walk enhancing
Your slim proud gait, a frond
Swaying, you are, or a snake dancing
Atop a fakir's wand.

Under a laziness like lead
Your childlike head aslant
Sways soft and gentle as the head
Of a young elephant,

Your body like a slender ship
In tense or bowing motion
Rolls, slow, from side to side to dip
Its yards deep in the ocean.

Ice thawed by currents from the south
Swell the swift streams beneath,
So when the water of your mouth
Rises against your teeth,

I seem to drink Bohemian wine
Victorious and tart,
A liquid sky that strews benign
Stars in my peaceful heart.


— Translated by Jacques LeClercq

The Dancing Serpent

How I love to watch, dear indolent creature,
The skin of your so
Beautiful body glisten, like some
Quivering material!

On your deep coiffure
Bitter scented,
Scented, restless sea,
With the blue and brown waves,

Like a ship waking
To the wind of morning,
My dreamy soul prepares
For skies far away.

Your eyes, where nothing is revealed
Of sweet or sour,
Are two cold gems whose gold
Is mixed with iron.

Seeing your harmonious walk,
Abandoned beauty,
One would say a snake was dancing
At the end of a stick.

Under the weight of your sloth
Your infant head
Is balanced with the indolence
Of a young elephant,

And your body bends and stretches
Like a delicate ship
Pitching from side to side and sinking
Its spars in the water.

Like a wave swelled by the melting
Of a groaning glacier,
When your saliva rises
To the edges of your teeth,

I feel I drink some Bohemian wine,
Bitter, victor,
A liquid sky that scatters
Stars in my heart!


— Translated by Geoffrey Wagner

by Charles Baudelaire.

It was Lilith the wife of Adam:
(Sing Eden Bower!)
Not a drop of her blood was human,
But she was made like a soft sweet woman.
Lilith stood on the skirts of Eden;
(Alas the hour!)
She was the first that thence was driven;
With her was hell and with Eve was heaven.
In the ear of the Snake said Lilith:—
(Sing Eden Bower!)
“To thee I come when the rest is over;
A snake was I when thou wast my lover.
“I was the fairest snake in Eden:
(Alas the hour!)
By the earth's will, new form and feature
Made me a wife for the earth's new creature.
“Take me thou as I come from Adam:
(Sing Eden Bower!)
Once again shall my love subdue thee;
The past is past and I am come to thee.
“O but Adam was thrall to Lilith!
(Alas the hour!)
All the threads of my hair are golden,
And there in a net his heart was holden.
“O and Lilith was queen of Adam!
(Sing Eden Bower!)
All the day and the night together
My breath could shake his soul like a feather.
“What great joys had Adam and Lilith!—
(Alas the hour!)
Sweet close rings of the serpent's twining,
As heart in heart lay sighing and pining.
“What bright babes had Lilith and Adam!
(Sing Eden Bower!)
Shapes that coiled in the woods and waters,
Glittering sons and radiant daughters.
“O thou God, the Lord God of Eden!
(Alas the hour!)
Say, was this fair body for no man,
That of Adam's flesh thou mak'st him a woman?
“O thou Snake, the King-snake of Eden!
(Sing Eden Bower!)
God's strong will our necks are under,
But thou and I may cleave it in sunder.
“Help, sweet Snake, sweet lover of Lilith!
(Alas the hour!)
And let God learn how I loved and hated
Man in the image of God created.
“Help me once against Eve and Adam!
(Sing Eden Bower!)
Help me once for this one endeavour,
And then my love shall be thine for ever!
“Strong is God, the fell foe of Lilith:
(Alas the hour!)
Nought in heaven or earth may affright Him;
But join thou with me and we will smite Him.
“Strong is God, the great God of Eden:
(Sing Eden Bower!)
Over all He made He hath power;
But lend me thou thy shape for an hour!
“Lend thy shape for the love of Lilith!
(Alas the hour!)
Look, my mouth and my cheek are ruddy,
And thou art cold, and fire is my body.
“Lend thy shape for the hate of Adam!
(Sing Eden Bower!)
That he may wail my joy that forsook him,
And curse the day when the bride-sleep took him.
“Lend thy shape for the shame of Eden!
(Alas the hour!)
Is not the foe-God weak as the foeman
When love grows hate in the heart of a woman?
“Wouldst thou know the heart's hope of Lilith?
(Sing Eden Bower!)
Then bring thou close thine head till it glisten
Along my breast, and lip me and listen.
“Am I sweet, O sweet Snake of Eden?
(Alas the hour!)
Then ope thine ear to my warm mouth's cooing
And learn what deed remains for our doing.
“Thou didst hear when God said to Adam:—
(Sing Eden Bower!)
‘Of all this wealth I have made thee warden;
Thou'rt free to eat of the trees of the garden:
“‘Only of one tree eat not in Eden:
(Alas the hour!)
All save one I give to thy freewill,—
The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.’
“O my love, come nearer to Lilith!
(Sing Eden Bower!)
In thy sweet folds bind me and bend me,
And let me feel the shape thou shalt lend me.
“In thy shape I'll go back to Eden;
(Alas the hour!)
In these coils that Tree will I grapple,
And stretch this crowned head forth by the apple.
“Lo, Eve bends to the breath of Lilith!
(Sing Eden Bower!)
O how then shall my heart desire
All her blood as food to its fire!
“Lo, Eve bends to the words of Lilith!—
(Alas the hour!)
‘Nay, this Tree's fruit,—why should ye hate it,
Or Death be born the day that ye ate it?
“‘Nay, but on that great day in Eden,
(Sing Eden Bower!)
By the help that in this wise Tree is,
God knows well ye shall be as He is.’
“Then Eve shall eat and give unto Adam;
(Alas the hour!)
And then they both shall know they are naked,
And their hearts ache as my heart hath achèd.
“Ay, let them hide `mid the trees of Eden,
(Sing Eden Bower!)
As in the cool of the day in the garden
God shall walk without pity or pardon.
“Hear, thou Eve, the man's heart in Adam!
(Alas the hour!)
Of his brave words hark to the bravest:—
‘This the woman gave that thou gavest.’
“Hear Eve speak, yea list to her, Lilith!
(Sing Eden Bower!)
Feast thine heart with words that shall sate it—
‘This the serpent gave and I ate it.’
“O proud Eve, cling close to thine Adam,
(Alas the hour!)
Driven forth as the beasts of his naming
By the sword that for ever is flaming.
“Know, thy path is known unto Lilith!
(Sing Eden Bower!)
While the blithe birds sang at thy wedding,
There her tears grew thorns for thy treading.
“O my love, thou Love-snake of Eden!
(Alas the hour!)
O to-day and the day to come after!
Loose me, love,—give breath to my laughter.
“O bright Snake, the Death-worm of Adam!
(Sing Eden Bower!)
Wreathe thy neck with my hair's bright tether,
And wear my gold and thy gold together!
“On that day on the skirts of Eden,
(Alas the hour!)
In thy shape shall I glide back to thee,
And in my shape for an instant view thee.
“But when thou'rt thou and Lilith is Lilith,
(Sing Eden Bower!)
In what bliss past hearing or seeing
Shall each one drink of the other's being!
“With cries of ‘Eve!’ and ‘Eden!’ and ‘Adam!’
(Alas the hour!)
How shall we mingle our love's caresses,
I in thy coils, and thou in my tresses!
“With those names, ye echoes of Eden,
(Sing Eden Bower!)
Fire shall cry from my heart that burneth,—
‘Dust he is and to dust returneth!’
“Yet to-day, thou master of Lilith,—
(Alas the hour!)
Wrap me round in the form I'll borrow
And let me tell thee of sweet to-morrow.
“In the planted garden eastward in Eden,
(Sing Eden Bower!)
Where the river goes forth to water the garden,
The springs shall dry and the soil shall harden.
“Yea, where the bride-sleep fell upon Adam,
(Alas the hour!)
None shall hear when the storm-wind whistles
Through roses choked among thorns and thistles.
“Yea, beside the east-gate of Eden,
(Sing Eden Bower!)
Where God joined them and none might sever,
The sword turns this way and that for ever.
“What of Adam cast out of Eden?
(Alas the hour!)
Lo! with care like a shadow shaken,
He tills the hard earth whence he was taken.
“What of Eve too, cast out of Eden?
(Sing Eden Bower!)
Nay, but she, the bride of God's giving,
Must yet be mother of all men living.
“Lo, God's grace, by the grace of Lilith!
(Alas the hour!)
To Eve's womb, from our sweet to-morrow,
God shall greatly multiply sorrow.
“Fold me fast, O God-snake of Eden!
(Sing Eden Bower!)
What more prize than love to impel thee?
Grip and lip my limbs as I tell thee!
“Lo! two babes for Eve and for Adam!
(Alas the hour!)
Lo! sweet Snake, the travail and treasure,—
Two men-children born for their pleasure!
“The first is Cain and the second Abel:
(Sing Eden Bower!)
The soul of one shall be made thy brother,
And thy tongue shall lap the blood of the other.”
(Alas the hour!)

by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

The Dukite Snake

Well, mate, you’ve asked about a fellow
You met to-day, in a black-and-yellow
Chain-gang suit, with a peddler’s pack,
Or with some such burden, strapped to his back.
Did you meet him square? No, passed you by?
Well, if you had, and had looked in his eye,
You’d have felt for your irons then and there;
For the light in his eye is a madman’s glare.
Ay, mad, poor fellow! I know him well,
And if you’re not sleepy just yet, I’ll tell
His story,—a strange one as ever you heard
Or read; but I’ll vouch for it, every word.

You just wait a minute, mate: I must see
How that damper’s doing, and make some tea.
You smoke? That’s good; for there’s plenty of weed
In that wallaby skin. Does your horse feed
In the hobbles? Well, he’s got good feed here,
And my own old bush mare won’t interfere.
Done with that meat? Throw it there to the dogs,
And fling on a couple of banksia logs.

And now for the story. That man who goes
Through the bush with the pack and the convict’s clothes
Has been mad for years; but he does no harm,
And our lonely settlers feel no alarm
When they see or meet him. Poor Dave Sloane
Was a settler once, and a friend of my own.
Some eight years back, in the spring of the year,
Dave came from Scotland, and settled here.
A splendid young fellow he was just then,
And one of the bravest and truest men
That I ever met: he was kind as a woman
To all who needed a friend, and no man—
Not even a convict—met with his scorn,
For David Sloane was a gentleman born.
Ay, friend, a gentleman, though it sounds queer:
There’s plenty of blue blood flowing out here,
And some younger sons of your “upper ten”
Can be met with here, first-rate bushmen.
Why, friend, I—Bah! curse that dog! you see
This talking so much has affected me.

Well, Sloane came here with an axe and a gun;
He bought four miles of a sandal-wood run.
This bush at that time was a lonesome place,
So lonesome the sight of a white man’s face
Was a blessing, unless it came at night,
And peered in your hut, with the cunning fright
Of a runaway convict; and even they
Were welcome, for talk’s sake, while they could stay.
Dave lived with me here for a while, and learned
The tricks of the bush,—how the snare was laid
In the wallaby track, how traps were made,
How ’possums and kangaroo rats were killed,
And when that was learned, I helped him to build
From mahogany slabs a good bush hut,
And showed him how sandal-wood logs were cut.
I lived up there with him days and days,
For I loved the lad for his honest ways.
I had only one fault to find: at first
Dave worked too hard; for a lad who was nursed,
As he was, in idleness, it was strange
How he cleared that sandal-wood off his range.
From the morning light till the light expired
He was always working, he never tired;
Till at length I began to think his will
Was too much settled on wealth, and still
When I looked at the lad’s brown face, and eye
Clear open, my heart gave such thought the lie.
But one day—for he read my mind—he laid
His hand on my shoulder: “Don’t be afraid,”
Said he, “that I’m seeking alone for pelf.
I work hard, friend; but ’tis not for myself.”

And he told me then, in his quiet tone,
Of a girl in Scotland, who was his own,—
His wife,—’twas for her: ’twas all he could say,
And his clear eye brimmed as he turned away.
After that he told me the simple tale:
They had married for love, and she was to sail
For Australia when he wrote home and told
The oft-watched-for story of finding gold.

In a year he wrote, and his news was good:
He had bought some cattle and sold his wood.
He said, “Darling, I’ve only a hut,—but come.”
Friend, a husband’s heart is a true wife’s home;
And he knew she’d come. Then he turned his hand
To make neat the house, and prepare the land
For his crops and vines; and he made that place
Put on such a smiling and homelike face,
That when she came, and he showed her round
His sandal-wood and his crops in the ground,
And spoke of the future, they cried for joy,
The husband’s arm clasping his wife and boy.

Well, friend, if a little of heaven’s best bliss
Ever comes from the upper world to this,
It came into that manly bushman’s life,
And circled him round with the arms of his wife.
God bless that bright memory! Even to me,
A rough, lonely man, did she seem to be,
While living, an angel of God’s pure love,
And now I could pray to her face above.
And David he loved her as only a man
With a heart as large as was his heart can.
I wondered how they could have lived apart,
For he was her idol, and she his heart.

Friend, there isn’t much more of the tale to tell:
I was talking of angels awhile since. Well,
Now I’ll change to a devil,—ay, to a devil!
You needn’t start: if a spirit of evil
Ever came to this world its hate to slake
One mankind, it came as a Dukite Snake.

Like? Like the pictures you’ve seen of Sin,
A long red snake,—as if what was within
Was fire that gleamed through his glistening skin.
And his eyes!—if you could go down to hell
And come back to your fellows here and tell
What the fire was like, you could find no thing,
Here below on the earth, or up in the sky,
To compare it to but a Dukite’s eye!

Now, mark you, these Dukites don’t go alone:
There’s another near when you see but one;
And beware you of killing that one you see
Without finding the other; for you may be
More than twenty miles from the spot that night,
When camped, but you’re tracked by the lone Dukite,
That will follow your trail like Death or Fate,
And kill you as sure as you killed its mate!

Well, poor Dave Sloane had his young wife here
Three months,—’twas just this time of the year.
He had teamed some sandal-wood to the Vasse,
And was homeward bound, when he saw in the grass
A long red snake: he had never been told
Of the Dukite’s ways,—he jumped to the road,
And smashed its flat head with the bullock-goad!

He was proud of the red skin, so he tied
Its tail to the cart, and the snake’s blood dyed
The bush on the path he followed that night.

He was early home, and the dead Dukite
Was flung at the door to be skinned next day.
At sunrise next morning he started away
To hunt up his cattle. A three hours’ ride
Brought him back: he gazed on his home with pride
And joy in his heart; he jumped from his horse
And entered—to look on his young wife’s corse,
And his dead child clutching his mother’s clothes
As in fright; and there, as he gazed, arose
From her breast, where ’twas resting, the gleaming head
Of the terrible Dukite, as if it said,
“I’ve had vengeance, my foe: you took all I had.”

And so had the snake—David Sloane was mad!
I rode to his hut just by chance that night,
And there on the threshold the clear moonlight
Showed the two snakes dead. I pushed in the door
With an awful feeling of coming woe:
The dead was stretched on the moonlit floor,
The man held the hand of his wife,—his pride,
His poor life’s treasure,—and crouched by her side.
O God! I sank with the weight of the blow.

I touched and called him: he heeded me not,
So I dug her grave in a quiet spot,
And lifted them both,—her boy on her breast,—
And laid them down in the shade to rest.
Then I tried to take my poor friend away,
But he cried so woefully, “Let me stay
Till she comes again!” that I had no heart
To try to persuade him then to part
From all that was left to him here,—her grave;
So I stayed by his side that night, and, save
One heart-cutting cry, he uttered no sound,—
O God! that wail—like the wail of a hound!

’Tis six long years since I heard that cry,
But ’twill ring in my ears till the day I die.
Since that fearful night no one has heard
Poor David Sloane utter sound or word.
You have seen to-day how he always goes:
He’s been given that suit of convict’s clothes
By some prison officer. On his back
You noticed a load like a peddler’s pack?
Well, that’s what he lives for: when reason went,
Still memory lived, for the days are spent
In searching for Dukites; and year by year
That bundle of skins is growing. ’Tis clear
That the Lord out of evil some good still takes;
For he’s clearing this bush of the Dukite snakes.

by John Boyle O'Reilly.

Seasonal Cycle - Chapter 01 - Summer

"Oh, dear, this utterly sweltering season of the highly rampant sun is drawing nigh, and it will always be good enough to go on taking daytime baths, as the lakes and rivers will still be with plenteous waters, and at the end of the day, nightfall will be pleasant with fascinating moon, and in such nights Love-god can somehow be almost mollified...[who tortured us in the previous vernal season... but now without His sweltering us, we can happily enjoy the nights devouring cool soft drinks and dancing and merrymaking in outfields...]

"Oh, beloved one, somewhere the moon shoved the blackish columns of night aside, somewhere else the palace-chambers with water [showering, sprinkling and splashing] machines are highly exciting, and else where the matrices of gems, [like coolant pearls and moon-stone, etc.,] are there, and even the pure sandalwood is liquefied [besides other coolant scents,] thus this season gets an adoration from all the people...

"The beloved ones will enjoy the summer's clear late nights while they are atop the rooftops of buildings that are delightful and fragranced well, while they savour the passion intensifiers like strong drinks and while the ladylove's face suspires the bouquets of those drinks together with melodious instrumental and vocal music...

"The women are ameliorating the heat of their lovers with their chicly silken coolant fineries gliding onto their rotund fundaments, for they are knotted loosely, and on those silks glissading are their golden cinctures with their dangling tassels that are unfastened on and off, and with their buxom bosoms that are bedaubed with sandal-paste and semi-covered with pearly strings and golden lavalieres, and with their locks of hair that are sliding onto their faces, which locks are fragrant with bath-time emulsions, which are just applied before their oil bath...

"Brightly coloured with the reddish foot-paint that is akin to the colour of lac's reddish resin, adorned with anklets that are festooned with jingling bells, whose tintinnabulations on their stepping after stepping mimic the clucks of swans, with such feet those women with bumpy behinds are rendering the hearts of people impassioned, in these days of pre-summer...

"These days the bosoms of womenfolk are bedaubed with scents and sandal-paste, and they are given out to snowily and whitely pearly pendants that are sported on those bosoms, and even their hiplines are with the dangling golden griddle-strings, with such a lovely ostentation whose heart is it, that does not fill with raptures...

"The seams of limbs of ladies of age are conquered by the often emerging sweat, thus those peaky bosomed lustful ladies are presently banding their bosoms with softish fineries, casting aside their roughish apparels ...

"The rustles of air comprising the aroma of watered sandal-paste, blown off by the fans with peacocks' plumage, and the rustle of strings of pearls when the roundish bosoms of loves are hugged, together with the subtle melody of string instruments, and subtly sung intonations of singers, now appear to awaken Love-god, Manmatha, who is as though asleep after his manoeuvres in the last spring season...

"On leisurely seeing the faces of the maids that are comfortably sleeping well on the tops of whitish edifices, the moon of these nights is highly ecstasized, for he is unpossessed with any such flawless face, as his own face is flawed with rabbit-like, deer-like foibles, and when the night dwindles, he doubtlessly goes into state of pallidity, as though ashamed to show his face to the flawless sun...

"The intolerable westerly wind of the summer is up-heaving the clouds of dust, even the earth is ablaze, set by the blazing sun, and the itinerants whose hearts are already put to blaze by the blazing called the detachment from their ladyloves, and now it has become impossible for them even to look at the blazing earth, to tread further...

"The reigning sun's torridity rendered the animals parched, and with unquenchable thirst highly shrivelled are their tongues, throats and lips, and on seeing kneaded blackish mascara like mirages on the sky in another forest, that are cloudlike in their shine, those animals are rushing there, presuming them to be water...

"The women of charm are with smiles and slanted looks, and now they are on par with the twilights that are ornamented with a beautiful ornament called moon, and they are now decorating themselves confusedly and they are inciting the incorporeal Love-god in the hearts of itinerants...

"Extremely seared by the rays of sun, and even by the already seared dust on the pathway, with its slithery motion and downcast hood, repeatedly suspiring when being scalded thus awfully, that serpent is sinking down under the pave of peacock's plumage, distrait of the fact that a peacock is an enemy of serpents, thus distrait is the relative danger from a born enemy or from the searing summer...

"Thwarted are the valorousness and venturesomeness of that king of animals, the lion, for the thirst is abnormal, thereby gaping his mouth much lengthily, and suspiring repeatedly with a lengthened and dangling tongue, and repeatedly whisking his frontal hair of the mane, that lion is not pawing the elephants, though they are at his nearby, and though they both of them are born rivals, thus the scalding summer cooled off their mutual contempt...

"Verily dried up are their throats, but somehow some cool water remaining in their trunks is brought to those dry throats with the prehensility of their trunks, but too scanty is that water for those mega-vores, further muchly scorched by sun's scorching rays and overpowered by heightened thirst, even those water-seeking tuskers are unafraid of those nearby lions, as negligible is the physical danger than the natural danger...

"The scorching sunrays that are akin to the tongues of blazed up Ritual-fire, by them the bodies as well as the souls of peacocks are wilted, thus they wedge their faces in the pack of their plumage for certain coolness, and though they mark the serpents that are milling about under the very same plumage through the plumes and feathers, they peck not those serpents to death, as their priority is to cool off their faces and heads...

"The slime in the ponds is dried up but in some areas Bhadramusta grass is available, and while the herd of wild boars is digging up that grass with their long and broad snouts for a piggish slumber, the sunrays have highly sweltered their backs, but that herd dug the dry swamp more and more, as though to enter the interior of earth, to get a mucky, miry, muddy slumber...

"With the unbearable prickly heat of sunrays highly seared is a frog, and jumping up from a pond with mud and muddy water, it jumped to sit under the shade of a parasol, called the hood of a snake... neither thirstier frog is aware that it is the shade of a snake's hood, nor the thirstiest snake is aware that it is shading a thirsty frog...

"When each other elephant is highly huddling, belaboured is that lake by their elephantine limbs, and completely uprooted are the tall slender stems of lilies and lotuses of that lake, without any remnants of standing lotuses or lilies, thus trampled and agglutinated with mud, they are heaped up under the feet of elephants, and ill-fated are the fishes when trodden by elephants underfoot, and the Saarasa waterfowls are fleeing with fear of this rumpus...

"Akin to sunshine upcast is irradiance of the jewel on its hood, and wigwagging is its twinned tongue licking the air, and it is seared by its own venom, by fiery soil, and by the searing sun as well, and thus tottering thirstily, that hooded serpent is not draining the dregs of frogs, to the dregs...

"Frothily gaping and reeling are the two-pieced snouts, and jerkily extruding are the lightly reddened tongues, and staggering thirstily looking for water with upraised snouts, those herds of she-buffalos are extruding from the caves of mountain with such snouts and gaits, wherein they took shade from the scorching sun so far, but thirst drove them out of those cool caves...

"Extremely withered as though by wildfire and utterly shrivelled are the tender stalks of crops, and windswept by harsh winds they are uprooted and completely wilted and reduced to straw, and all over scorched are they in an overall manner as the water is evaporated, and if seen from highlands till the end of forest, this summer is foisting upon the onlookers a kind of disconcert, as the straw in the wind about the monsoon is unnoticeable...

"Perching on the trees with wilted leaves, flocks of birds are hyperventilating, the overtired troops of monkeys are going nigh of viny caves on the mountain, the water-craving herds of buffalos are rambling hither and thither, the straight flying Sharabha birds are nose-diving into wells and easily lifting up the water...

"The wildfire, that is simulative of a just blossomed bright and fierily ochreish safflower, is exceedingly speedy and further whipped up by the speed of the wind it is eagerly embracing the treetops, that are on the banks of lakes and rivers, with tongues of fire, onto which trees the apices of climber plants are eager to embrace, thus that wildfire has burnt down every quarter of land, in a trice...

"That wildfire, now intensified by the gusts, is blazing the valleys of mountains, and thus skittering across it entered the stands of bamboos, only to shatter them in a second with clattering rattles, then escalated by gusts it is overspreading the straw fields, then from their within, on smacking the perimeter of straw-field, it is broiling the herds of deer, tumultuously ...

"That wildfire taking a rebirth in the copses of silk-cotton trees is extremely blazing, and from within the cavities of the trees it is erupting with the glint of golden yellow, and thus uprooting the wizened leaves on wizened branches along with their trees, and then hurled by gusts it is whirling everywhere in that woodland unto its edging...

"When fire scorched their bodies, their dichotomic thinking of mutual hostilities had to be discarded, and those elephants, buffalos and lions come together as friends, and when blighted by the fire, they are quickly exiting their habitual confines to enter the areas of rivers that have broad sandbanks...

"Oh, dear melodious singer, what if the summer is scorching... fragrant lotuses are overlaid on coolant waters, agreeably refreshing is the fragrance of Trumpet flowers, comfortable is the fresh water in bathing pools, pleasurable are those moonbeams, and with these pearly pendants and these jasmine garlands, let our simmering summer nights enjoyably slip by, while we abide on the tops of buildings right under the moonscape, savouring potations and amidst music and song...

by Kalidasa.

The Fight With The Dragon

Why run the crowd? What means the throng
That rushes fast the streets along?
Can Rhodes a prey to flames, then, be?
In crowds they gather hastily,
And, on his steed, a noble knight
Amid the rabble, meets my sight;
Behind him--prodigy unknown!--
A monster fierce they're drawing on;
A dragon stems it by its shape,
With wide and crocodile-like jaw,
And on the knight and dragon gape,
In turns, the people, filled with awe.

And thousand voices shout with glee
"The fiery dragon come and see,
Who hind and flock tore limb from limb!--
The hero see, who vanquished him!
Full many a one before him went,
To dare the fearful combat bent,
But none returned home from the fight;
Honor ye, then, the noble knight!"
And toward the convent move they all,
While met in hasty council there
The brave knights of the Hospital,
St. John the Baptist's Order, were.

Up to the noble master sped
The youth, with firm but modest tread;
The people followed with wild shout,
And stood the landing-place about,
While thus outspoke that daring one:
"My knightly duty I have done.
The dragon that laid waste the land
Has fallen beneath my conquering hand.
The way is to the wanderer free,
The shepherd o'er the plains may rove;
Across the mountains joyfully
The pilgrim to the shrine may move."

But sternly looked the prince, and said:
"The hero's part thou well hast played
By courage is the true knight known,--
A dauntless spirit thou hast shown.
Yet speak! What duty first should he
Regard, who would Christ's champion be,
Who wears the emblem of the Cross?"--
And all turned pale at his discourse.
Yet he replied, with noble grace,
While blushingly he bent him low:
"That he deserves so proud a place
Obedience best of all can show."

"My son," the master answering spoke,
"Thy daring act this duty broke.
The conflict that the law forbade
Thou hast with impious mind essayed."--
"Lord, judge when all to thee is known,"
The other spake, in steadfast tone,--
"For I the law's commands and will
Purposed with honor to fulfil.
I went not out with heedless thought.
Hoping the monster dread to find;
To conquer in the fight I sought
By cunning, and a prudent mind."

"Five of our noble Order, then
(Our faith could boast no better men),
Had by their daring lost their life,
When thou forbadest us the strife.
And yet my heart I felt a prey
To gloom, and panted for the fray;
Ay, even in the stilly night,
In vision gasped I in the fight;
And when the glimmering morning came,
And of fresh troubles knowledge gave,
A raging grief consumed my frame,
And I resolved the thing to brave."

"And to myself I thus began:
'What is't adorns the youth, the man?
What actions of the heroes bold,
Of whom in ancient song we're told,
Blind heathendom raised up on high
To godlike fame and dignity?
The world, by deeds known far and wide,
From monsters fierce they purified;
The lion in the fight they met,
And wrestled with the minotaur,
Unhappy victims free to set,
And were not sparing of their gore.'"

"'Are none but Saracens to feel
The prowess of the Christian steel?
False idols only shall be brave?
His mission is the world to save;
To free it, by his sturdy arm,
From every hurt, from every harm;
Yet wisdom must his courage bend,
And cunning must with strength contend.'
Thus spake I oft, and went alone
The monster's traces to espy;
When on my mind a bright light shone,--
'I have it!' was my joyful cry."

"To thee I went, and thus I spake:
'My homeward journey I would take.'
Thou, lord, didst grant my prayer to me,--
Then safely traversed I the sea;
And, when I reached my native strand,
I caused a skilful artist's hand
To make a dragon's image, true
To his that now so well I knew.
On feet of measure short was placed
Its lengthy body's heavy load;
A scaly coat of mail embraced
The back, on which it fiercely showed."

"Its stretching neck appeared to swell,
And, ghastly as a gate of hell,
Its fearful jaws were open wide,
As if to seize the prey it tried;
And in its black mouth, ranged about,
Its teeth in prickly rows stood out;
Its tongue was like a sharp-edged sword,
And lightning from its small eyes poured;
A serpent's tail of many a fold
Ended its body's monstrous span,
And round itself with fierceness rolled,
So as to clasp both steed and man."

"I formed the whole to nature true,
In skin of gray and hideous hue;
Part dragon it appeared, part snake,
Engendered in the poisonous lake.
And, when the figure was complete,
A pair of dogs I chose me, fleet,
Of mighty strength, of nimble pace,
Inured the savage boar to chase;
The dragon, then, I made them bait,
Inflaming them to fury dread,
With their sharp teeth to seize it straight,
And with my voice their motions led."

"And, where the belly's tender skin
Allowed the tooth to enter in,
I taught them how to seize it there,
And, with their fangs, the part to tear.
I mounted, then, my Arab steed,
The offspring of a noble breed;
My hand a dart on high held forth,
And, when I had inflamed his wrath,
I stuck my sharp spurs in his side,
And urged him on as quick as thought,
And hurled my dart in circles wide
As if to pierce the beast I sought."

"And though my steed reared high in pain,
And champed and foamed beneath the rein,
And though the dogs howled fearfully,
Till they were calmed ne'er rested I.
This plan I ceaselessly pursued,
Till thrice the moon had been renewed;
And when they had been duly taught,
In swift ships here I had them brought;
And since my foot these shores has pressed
Flown has three mornings' narrow span;
I scarce allowed my limbs to rest
Ere I the mighty task began."

"For hotly was my bosom stirred
When of the land's fresh grief I heard;
Shepherds of late had been his prey,
When in the marsh they went astray.
I formed my plans then hastily,--
My heart was all that counselled me.
My squires instructing to proceed,
I sprang upon my well-trained steed,
And, followed by my noble pair
Of dogs, by secret pathways rode,
Where not an eye could witness bear,
To find the monster's fell abode."

"Thou, lord, must know the chapel well,
Pitched on a rocky pinnacle,
That overlooks the distant isle;
A daring mind 'twas raised the pile.
Though humble, mean, and small it shows
Its walls a miracle enclose,--
The Virgin and her infant Son,
Vowed by the three kings of Cologne.
By three times thirty steps is led
The pilgrim to the giddy height;
Yet, when he gains it with bold tread,
He's quickened by his Saviour's sight."

"Deep in the rock to which it clings,
A cavern dark its arms outflings,
Moist with the neighboring moorland's dew,
Where heaven's bright rays can ne'er pierce through.
There dwelt the monster, there he lay,
His spoil awaiting, night and day;
Like the hell-dragon, thus he kept
Watch near the shrine, and never slept;
And if a hapless pilgrim chanced
To enter on that fatal way,
From out his ambush quick advanced
The foe, and seized him as his prey."

"I mounted now the rocky height;
Ere I commenced the fearful fight,
There knelt I to the infant Lord,
And pardon for my sins implored.
Then in the holy fane I placed
My shining armor round my waist,
My right hand grasped my javelin,
The fight then went I to begin;
Instructions gave my squires among,
Commanding them to tarry there;
Then on my steed I nimbly sprung,
And gave my spirit to God's care."

"Soon as I reached the level plain,
My dogs found out the scent amain;
My frightened horse soon reared on high,--
His fear I could not pacify,
For, coiled up in a circle, lo!
There lay the fierce and hideous foe,
Sunning himself upon the ground.
Straight at him rushed each nimble hound;
Yet thence they turned, dismayed and fast,
When he his gaping jaws op'd wide,
Vomited forth his poisonous blast,
And like the howling jackal cried."

"But soon their courage I restored;
They seized with rage the foe abhorred,
While I against the beast's loins threw
My spear with sturdy arm and true:
But, powerless as a bulrush frail,
It bounded from his coat of mail;
And ere I could repeat the throw,
My horse reeled wildly to and fro
Before his basilisk-like look,
And at his poison-teeming breath,--
Sprang backward, and with terror shook,
While I seemed doomed to certain death."

"Then from my steed I nimbly sprung,
My sharp-edged sword with vigor swung;
Yet all in vain my strokes I plied,--
I could not pierce his rock-like hide.
His tail with fury lashing round,
Sudden he bore me to the ground.
His jaws then opening fearfully,
With angry teeth he struck at me;
But now my dogs, with wrath new-born,
Rushed on his belly with fierce bite,
So that, by dreadful anguish torn,
He howling stood before my sight."

"And ere he from their teeth was free,
I raised myself up hastily,
The weak place of the foe explored,
And in his entrails plunged my sword,
Sinking it even to the hilt;
Black gushing forth, his blood was spilt.
Down sank he, burying in his fall
Me with his body's giant ball,
So that my senses quickly fled;
And when I woke with strength renewed,
The dragon in his blood lay dead,
While round me grouped my squires all stood."

The joyous shouts, so long suppressed,
Now burst from every hearer's breast,
Soon as the knight these words had spoken;
And ten times 'gainst the high vault broken,
The sound of mingled voices rang,
Re-echoing back with hollow clang.
The Order's sons demand, in haste,
That with a crown his brow be graced,
And gratefully in triumph now
The mob the youth would bear along
When, lo! the master knit his brow,
And called for silence 'mongst the throng.

And said, "The dragon that this land
Laid waste, thou slew'st with daring hand;
Although the people's idol thou,
The Order's foe I deem thee now.
Thy breast has to a fiend more base
Than e'en this dragon given place.
The serpent that the heart most stings,
And hatred and destruction brings,
That spirit is, which stubborn lies,
And impiously cast off the rein,
Despising order's sacred ties;
'Tis that destroys the world amain."

"The Mameluke makes of courage boast,
Obedience decks the Christian most;
For where our great and blessed Lord
As a mere servant walked abroad,
The fathers, on that holy ground,
This famous Order chose to found,
That arduous duty to fulfil
To overcome one's own self-will!
'Twas idle glory moved thee there:
So take thee hence from out my sight!
For who the Lord's yoke cannot bear,
To wear his cross can have no right."

A furious shout now raise the crowd,
The place is filled with outcries loud;
The brethren all for pardon cry;
The youth in silence droops his eye--
Mutely his garment from him throws,
Kisses the master's hand, and--goes.
But he pursues him with his gaze,
Recalls him lovingly, and says:
"Let me embrace thee now, my son!
The harder fight is gained by thee.
Take, then, this cross--the guerdon won
By self-subdued humility."

by Friedrich Schiller.

A Story Of Doom: Book Vi.

Night. Now a tent was pitched, and Japhet sat
In the door and watched, for on a litter lay
The father of his love. And he was sick
To death; but daily he would rouse him up,
And stare upon the light, and ever say,
'On, let us journey'; but it came to pass
That night, across their path a river ran,
And they who served the father and the son
Had pitched the tents beside it, and had made
A fire, to scare away the savagery
That roamed in that great forest, for their way
Had led among the trees of God.
The moon
Shone on the river, like a silver road
To lead them over; but when Japhet looked,
He said, 'We shall not cross it. I shall lay
This well-belov餠head low in the leaves,—
Not on the farther side.' From time to time,
The water-snakes would stir its glassy flow
With curling undulations, and would lay
Their heads along the bank, and, subtle-eyed,
Consider those long spirting flames, that danced,
When some red log would break and crumble down;
And show his dark despondent eyes, that watched,
Wearily, even Japhet's. But he cared
Little; and in the dark, that was not dark,
But dimness of confused incertitude,
Would move a-near all silently, and gaze
And breathe, and shape itself, a man餠thing
With eyes; and still he cared not, and the form
Would falter, then recede, and melt again
Into the farther shade. And Japhet said:
'How long? The moon hath grown again in heaven,
After her caving twice, since we did leave
The threshold of our home; and now what 'vails
That far on tumbled mountain snow we toiled,
Hungry, and weary, all the day; by night
Waked with a dreadful trembling underneath,
To look, while every cone smoked, and there ran
Red brooks adown, that licked the forest up,
While in the pale white ashes wading on
We saw no stars?—what 'vails if afterward,
Astonished with great silence, we did move
Over the measureless, unknown desert mead;
While all the day, in rents and crevices,
Would lie the lizard and the serpent kind,
Drowsy; and in the night take fearsome shapes,
And oft-times woman-faced and woman-haired
Would trail their snaky length, and curse and mourn;
Or there would wander up, when we were tired,
Dark troops of evil ones, with eyes morose,
Withstanding us, and staring;—O! what 'vails
That in the dread deep forest we have fought
With following packs of wolves? These men of might,
Even the giants, shall not hear the doom
My father came to tell them of. Ah, me!
If God indeed had sent him, would he lie
(For he is stricken with a sore disease)
Helpless outside their city?'
Then he rose,
And put aside the curtains of the tent,
To look upon his father's face; and lo!
The tent being dark, he thought that somewhat sat
Beside the litter; and he set his eyes
To see it, and saw not; but only marked
Where, fallen away from manhood and from power,
His father lay. Then he came forth again,
Trembling, and crouched beside the dull red fire,
And murmured, 'Now it is the second time:
An old man, as I think (but scarcely saw).
Dreadful of might. Its hair was white as wool:
I dared not look; perhaps I saw not aught,
But only knew that it was there: the same
Which walked beside us once when he did pray.'
And Japhet hid his face between his hands
For fear, and grief of heart, and weariness
Of watching; and he slumbered not, but mourned
To himself, a little moment, as it seemed,
For sake of his loved father: then he lift
His eyes, and day had dawned. Right suddenly
The moon withheld her silver, and she hung
Frail as a cloud. The ruddy flame that played,
By night on dim, dusk trees, and on the flood,
Crept red amongst the logs, and all the world
And all the water blushed and bloomed. The stars
Were gone, and golden shafts came up, and touched
The feathered heads of palms, and green was born
Under the rosy cloud, and purples flew
Like veils across the mountains; and he saw,
Winding athwart them, bathed in blissful peace,
And the sacredness of morn, the battlements
And out-posts of the giants; and there ran
On the other side the river, as it were,
White mounds of marble, tabernacles fair,
And towers below a line of inland cliff:
These were their fastnesses, and here their homes.

In valleys and the forest, all that night,
There had been woe; in every hollow place,
And under walls, like drifted flowers, or snow,
Women lay mourning; for the serpent lodged
That night within the gates, and had decreed,
'I will (or ever I come) that ye drive out
The women, the abhorred of my soul.'
Therefore, more beauteous than all climbing bloom,
Purple and scarlet, cumbering of the boughs,
Or flights of azure doves that lit to drink
The water of the river; or, new born,
The quivering butterflies in companies,
That slowly crept adown the sandy marge,
Like living crocus beds, and also drank,
And rose an orange cloud; their hollowed hands
They dipped between the lilies, or with robes
Full of ripe fruitage, sat and peeled and ate,
Weeping; or comforting their little ones,
And lulling them with sorrowful long hymns
Among the palms.
So went the earlier morn.
Then came a messenger, while Japhet sat
Mournfully, and he said, 'The men of might
Are willing; let thy master, youth, appear.'
And Japhet said, 'So be it'; and he thought,
'Now will I trust in God'; and he went in
And stood before his father, and he said,
'My father'; but the Master answered not,
But gazed upon the curtains of his tent,
Nor knew that one had called him. He was clad
As ready for the journey, and his feet
Were sandalled, and his staff was at his side;
And Japhet took the gown of sacrifice
And spread it on him, and he laid his crown
Upon his knees, and he went forth, and lift
His hand to heaven, and cried, 'My father's God!'
But neither whisper came nor echo fell
When he did listen. Therefore he went on:
'Behold, I have a thing to say to thee.
My father charged thy servant, 'Let not ruth
Prevail with thee, to turn and bear me hence,
For God appointed me my task, to preach
Before the mighty.' I must do my part
(O! let it not displease thee), for he said
But yesternight, 'When they shall send for me,
Take me before them.' And I sware to him.
I pray thee, therefore, count his life and mine
Precious; for I that sware, I will perform.'

Then cried he to his people, 'Let us hence:
Take up the litter.' And they set their feet
Toward the raft whereby men crossed that flood.
And while they journeyed, lo, the giants sat
Within the fairest hall where all were fair,
Each on his carven throne, o'er-canopied
With work of women. And the dragon lay
In a place of honor; and with subtlety
He counselled them, for they did speak by turns;
And they being proud, might nothing master them,
But guile alone: and he did fawn on them;
And when the younger taunted him, submiss
He testified great humbleness, and cried,
'A cruel God, forsooth! but nay, O nay,
I will not think it of Him, that He meant
To threaten these. O, when I look on them,
How doth my soul admire.'

And one stood forth,
The youngest; of his brethren, named 'the Rock.'
'Speak out,' quoth he, 'thou toothless slavering thing,
What is it? thinkest thou that such as we
Should be afraid? What is this goodly doom?'
And Satan laughed upon him. 'Lo,' said he,
'Thou art not fully grown, and every one
I look on, standeth higher by the head,
Yea, and the shoulders, than do other men;
Forsooth, thy servant thought not thou wouldst fear,
Thou and thy fellows.' Then with one accord,
'Speak,' cried they; and with mild persuasive eyes,
And flattering tongue, he spoke.

'Ye mighty ones,
It hath been known to you these many days
How that for piety I am much famed.
I am exceeding pious: if I lie,
As hath been whispered, it is but for sake
Of God, and that ye should not think Him hard,
For I am all for God. Now some have thought
that He hath also (and it, may be so
Or yet may not be so) on me been hard;
Be not ye therefore wroth, for my poor sake;
I am contented to have earned your weal,
Though I must therefore suffer.

'Now to-day
One cometh, yea, an harmless man, a fool,
Who boasts he hath a message from our God,
And lest that you, for bravery of heart
And stoutness, being angered with his prate,
Should lift a hand, and kill him, I am here.'

Then spoke the Leader, 'How now, snake? Thy words
Ring false. Why ever liest thou, snake, to us?
Thou coward! none of us will see thee harmed.
I say thou liest. The land is strewed with slain;
Myself have hewn down companies, and blood
Makes fertile all the field. Thou knowest it well;
And hast thou, driveller, panting sore for age,
Come with a force to bid us spare one fool?'

And Satan answered, 'Nay you! be not wroth;
Yet true it is, and yet not all the truth.
Your servant would have told the rest, if now
(For fulness of your life being fretted sore
At mine infirmities, which God in vain
I supplicate to heal) ye had not caused
My speech to stop.' And he they called 'the Oak'
Made answer, ''Tis a good snake; let him be.
Why would ye fright the poor old craven beast?
Look how his lolling tongue doth foam for fear.
Ye should have mercy, brethren, on the weak.
Speak, dragon, thou hast leave; make stout thy heart.
What! hast thou lied to this great company?
It was, we know it was, for humbleness;
Thou wert not willing to offend with truth.'

'Yea, majesties,' quoth Satan, 'thus it was,'
And lifted up appealing eyes, and groaned;
'O, can it be, compassionate as brave,
And housed in cunning works themselves have reared,
And served in gold, and warmed with minivere,
And ruling nobly,—that He, not content
Unless alone He reigneth, looks to bend
O break them in, like slaves to cry to Him,
'What is Thy will with us, O Master dear?'
Or else to eat of death?

'For my part, lords,
I cannot think it: for my piety
And reason, which I also share with you,
Are my best lights, and ever counsel me,
'Believe not aught against thy God; believe,
Since thou canst never reach to do Him wrong,
That He will never stoop to do thee wrong.
Is He not just and equal, yea, and kind?'
Therefore, O majesties, it is my mind
Concerning him ye wot of, thus to think
The message is not like what I have learned
By reason and experience, of the God.
Therefore no message 'tis. The man is mad.'
Thereat the great Leader laughed for scorn. 'Hold, snake;
If God be just, there SHALL be reckoning days.
We rather would He were a partial God,
And being strong, He sided with the strong.
Turn now thy reason to the other side,
And speak for that; for as to justice, snake,
We would have none of it.'

And Satan fawned:
'My lord is pleased to mock at my poor wit;
Yet in my pious fashion I must talk:
For say that God was wroth with man, and came
And slew him, that should make an empty world,
But not a bettor nation.'

This replied,
'Truth, dragon, yet He is not bound to mean
A better nation; may be, He designs,
If none will turn again, a punishment
Upon an evil one.'
And Satan cried,
'Alas! my heart being full of love for men,
I cannot choose but think of God as like
To me; and yet my piety concludes,
Since He will have your fear, that love alone
Sufficeth not, and I admire, and say,
'Give me, O friends, your love, and give to God
Your fear.'' But they cried out in wrath and rage,
'We are not strong that any we will fear,
Nor specially a foe that means us ill.'

by Jean Ingelow.