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Hymen   By: (1886-1961)

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Transcriber's Note Obvious typographical errors have been corrected in this text. For a complete list, please see the bottom of this document.

HYMEN

By

H. D.

NEW YORK HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY 1921

FOR BRYHER AND PERDITA

They said: she is high and far and blind in her high pride, but now that my head is bowed in sorrow, I find she is most kind.

We have taken life, they said, blithely, not groped in a mist for things that are not are if you will, but bloodless why ask happiness of the dead? and my heart bled.

Ah, could they know how violets throw strange fire, red and purple and gold, how they glow gold and purple and red where her feet tread.

Acknowledgements are due to the editors of the following periodicals in which certain of these poems have appeared: Poetry (Chicago), The Dial , Contact and The Bookman (New York), The Nation , The Sphere , The Anglo French Review and The Egoist (London).

CONTENTS

HYMEN 7

DEMETER 15

SIMAETHA 19

THETIS 20

CIRCE 21

LEDA 23

HIPPOLYTUS TEMPORIZES 24

CUCKOO SONG 25

THE ISLANDS 27

AT BAIA 30

SEA HEROES 31

"NOT HONEY" 33

EVADNE 34

SONG 35

WHY HAVE YOU SOUGHT 36

THE WHOLE WHITE WORLD 37

PHAEDRA 38

SHE CONTRASTS WITH HERSELF HIPPOLYTA 40

SHE REBUKES HIPPOLYTA 42

EGYPT 44

HELIOS 45

PRAYER 47

HYMEN

As from a temple service, tall and dignified, with slow pace, each a queen, the sixteen matrons from the temple of Hera pass before the curtain a dark purple hung between Ionic columns of the porch or open hall of a palace. Their hair is bound as the marble hair of the temple Hera. Each wears a crown or diadem of gold.

They sing the music is temple music, deep, simple, chanting notes:

From the closed garden Where our feet pace Back and forth each day, This gladiolus white, This red, this purple spray Gladiolus tall with dignity As yours, lady we lay Before your feet and pray:

Of all the blessings Youth, joy, ecstasy May one gift last (As the tall gladiolus may Outlast the wind flower, Winter rose or rose), One gift above, Encompassing all those;

For her, for him, For all within these palace walls, Beyond the feast, Beyond the cry of Hymen and the torch, Beyond the night and music Echoing through the porch till day.

The music, with its deep chanting notes, dies away. The curtain hangs motionless in rich, full folds. Then from this background of darkness, dignity and solemn repose, a flute gradually detaches itself, becomes clearer and clearer, pipes alone one shrill, simple little melody.

From the distance, four children's voices blend with the flute, and four very little girls pass singly before the curtain, small maids or attendants of the sixteen matrons. Their hair is short and curls at the back of their heads like the hair of the chryselephantine Hermes... Continue reading book >>






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