Gargaphie, by Madison Cawein

"Succinctae sacra Dianae".—OVID

  There the ragged sunlight lay
  Tawny on thick ferns and gray
    On dark waters: dimmer,
  Lone and deep, the cypress grove
  Bowered mystery and wove
  Braided lights, like those that love
  On the pearl plumes of a dove
    Faint to gleam and glimmer.


  There centennial pine and oak
  Into stormy cadence broke:
    Hollow rocks gloomed, slanting,
  Echoing in dim arcade,
  Looming with long moss, that made
  Twilight streaks in tatters laid:
  Where the wild hart, hunt-affrayed,
    Plunged the water, panting.


  Poppies of a sleepy gold
  Mooned the gray-green darkness rolled
    Down its vistas, making
  Wisp-like blurs of flame. And pale
  Stole the dim deer down the vale:
  And the haunting nightingale
  Throbbed unseen—the olden tale
    All its wild heart breaking.


  There the hazy serpolet,
  Dewy cistus, blooming wet,
    Blushed on bank and bowlder;
  There the cyclamen, as wan
  As first footsteps of the dawn,
  Carpeted the spotted lawn:
  Where the nude nymph, dripping drawn,
    Basked a wildflower shoulder.


  In the citrine shadows there
  What tall presences and fair,
    Godlike, stood!—or, gracious
  As the rock-rose there that grew,
  Delicate and dim as dew,
  Stepped from boles of oaks, and drew
  Faunlike forms to follow, who
    Filled the forest spacious!—


  Guarding that Boeotian
  Valley so no foot of man
    Soiled its silence holy
  With profaning tread—save one,
  The Hyantian: Actćon,
  Who beheld, and might not shun
  Pale Diana's wrath; undone
    By his own mad folly.


  Lost it lies—that valley: sleeps
  In serene enchantment; keeps
    Beautiful its banished
  Bowers that no man may see;
  Fountains that her deity
  Haunts, and every rock and tree
  Where her hunt goes swinging free
    As in ages vanished.