Passing by Helicon

by Frances Fuller Victor

My steps are turned away;

Yet my eyes linger still,

On their beloved hill,

In one long, last survey:

Gazing through tears that multiply the view,

Their passionate adieu!

O, joy-empurpled height,

Down whose enchanted sides

The rosy mist now glides,

How can I loose thy sight?

How can my eyes turn where my feet must go,

Trailing their way in woe?

Gone is my strength of heart;

The roses that I brought

From thy dear bowers, and thought

To keep, since we must part—

Thy thornless roses, sweeter until now,

Than round Hymettus' brow.

The golden-vested bees

Find sweetest sweetness in—

Such odors dwelt within

The moist red hearts of these—

Alas, no longer give out blissful breath,

But odors rank with death.

Their dewiness is dank;

It chills my pallid arms,

Once blushing 'neath their charms;

And their green stems hang lank,

Stricken with leprosy, and fair no more,

But withered to the core.

Vain thought! to bear along,

Into this torrid track,

Whence no one turneth back

With his first wanderer's song

Yet on his lips, thy odors and thy dews,

To deck these dwarfed yews.

No more within thy vales,

Beside thy plashing wells,

Where sweet Euterpe dwells

With songs of nightingales,

And sounds of flutes that make pale Silence glow,

Shall I their rapture know.

Farewell, ye stately palms!

Clashing your cymbal tones,

In thro' the mystic moans

Of pines at solemn psalms:

Ye myrtles, singing Love's inspired song,

We part, and part for long!

Farewell, majestic peaks!

Whereon my listening soul

Hath trembled to the roll

Of thunders that Jove wreaks—

And calm Minerva's oracles hath heard

All more than now unstirred!

Adieu, ye beds of bloom!

No more shall zephyr bring

To me, upon his wing,

Your loveliest perfume;

No more upon your pure, immortal dyes,

Shall rest my happy eyes.

I pass by; at thy foot,

O, mount of my delight!

Ere yet from out thy sight,

I drop my voiceless lute:

It is in vain to strive to carry hence

Its olden eloquence.

Your sacred groves no more

My singing shall prolong,

With echoes of my song,

Doubling it o'er and o'er.

Haunt of the muses, lost to wistful eyes,

What dreams of thee shall rise!

Rise but to be dispelled—

For here where I am cast,

Such visions may not last,

By sterner fancies quelled:

Relentless Nemesis my doom hath sent—

This cruel banishment!