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The Earthly Paradise   By: (1834-1896)

The Earthly Paradise by William Morris

First Page:

THE EARTHLY PARADISE

A POEM.

BY

WILLIAM MORRIS Author of the Life and Death of Jason.

Part II.

ELEVENTH IMPRESSION

LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO. 39 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON NEW YORK AND BOMBAY 1903

CONTENTS.

PAGE

MAY 2

The Story of Cupid and Psyche 5

The Writing on the Image 98

JUNE 112

The Love of Alcestis 114

The Lady of the Land 164

JULY 186

The Son of Croesus 188

The Watching of the Falcon 210

AUGUST 244

Pygmalion and the Image 246

Ogier the Dane 275

THE EARTHLY PARADISE.

MAY, JUNE, JULY, AUGUST.

MAY.

O love, this morn when the sweet nightingale Had so long finished all he had to say, That thou hadst slept, and sleep had told his tale; And midst a peaceful dream had stolen away In fragrant dawning of the first of May, Didst thou see aught? didst thou hear voices sing Ere to the risen sun the bells 'gan ring?

For then methought the Lord of Love went by To take possession of his flowery throne, Ringed round with maids, and youths, and minstrelsy; A little while I sighed to find him gone, A little while the dawning was alone, And the light gathered; then I held my breath, And shuddered at the sight of Eld and Death.

Alas! Love passed me in the twilight dun, His music hushed the wakening ousel's song; But on these twain shone out the golden sun, And o'er their heads the brown bird's tune was strong, As shivering, twixt the trees they stole along; None noted aught their noiseless passing by, The world had quite forgotten it must die.

Now must these men be glad a little while That they had lived to see May once more smile Upon the earth; wherefore, as men who know How fast the bad days and the good days go, They gathered at the feast: the fair abode Wherein they sat, o'erlooked, across the road Unhedged green meads, which willowy streams passed through, And on that morn, before the fresh May dew Had dried upon the sunniest spot of grass, From bush to bush did youths and maidens pass In raiment meet for May apparelled, Gathering the milk white blossoms and the red; And now, with noon long past, and that bright day Growing aweary, on the sunny way They wandered, crowned with flowers, and loitering, And weary, yet were fresh enough to sing The carols of the morn, and pensive, still Had cast away their doubt of death and ill, And flushed with love, no more grew red with shame.

So to the elders as they sat, there came, With scent of flowers, the murmur of that folk Wherethrough from time to time a song outbroke, Till scarce they thought about the story due; Yet, when anigh to sun setting it grew, A book upon the board an elder laid, And turning from the open window said, "Too fair a tale the lovely time doth ask, For this of mine to be an easy task, Yet in what words soever this is writ, As for the matter, I dare say of it That it is lovely as the lovely May; Pass then the manner, since the learned say No written record was there of the tale, Ere we from our fair land of Greece set sail; How this may be I know not, this I know That such like tales the wind would seem to blow From place to place, e'en as the feathery seed Is borne across the sea to help the need Of barren isles; so, sirs, from seed thus sown, This flower, a gift from other lands has grown.

THE STORY OF CUPID AND PSYCHE.

ARGUMENT.

Psyche, a king's daughter, by her exceeding beauty caused the people to forget Venus; therefore the goddess would fain have destroyed her: nevertheless she became the bride of Love, yet in an unhappy moment lost him by her own fault, and wandering through the world suffered many evils at the hands of Venus, for whom she must accomplish fearful tasks... Continue reading book >>




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