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Poem by Madison Julius Cawein

The Limnad


The lake she haunts gleams dreamily
'Twixt sleepy boughs of melody,
Set 'mid the hills beside the sea,
In tangled bush and brier;
Where the ghostly sunsets write
Wondrous things in golden light;
And above the pine-crowned height,
Clouds of twilight, rosy white,
Build their towers of fire.


'Mid the rushes there that swing,
Flowering flags where voices sing
When low winds are murmuring,
Murmuring to stars that glitter;
Blossom-white, with purple locks,
Underneath the stars' still flocks,
In the dusky waves she rocks,
Rocks, and all the landscape mocks
With a song most sweet and bitter.


Soft it sounds, at first, as dreams
Filled with tears that fall in streams;
Then it soars, until it seems
Beauty's very self hath spoken;
And the woods grow silent quite,
Stars wax faint and flowers turn white;
And the nightingales that light
Near, or hear her through the night,
Die, their hearts with longing broken.


Dark, dim and sad o'er mournful lands,
White-throated stars heaped in her hands,
Like wildwood buds, the Twilight stands,
The Twilight dreaming lingers;
Listening where the Limnad sings
Witcheries, whose beauty brings
A great moon from hidden springs,
Pale with amorous quiverings
Feet of fire and silvery fingers.


In the vales Auloniads,
On the mountains Oreads,
On the leas Leimoniads,
Naked as the stars that glisten,
Pan, the Satyrs, Dryades,
Fountain-lovely Naiades,
Foam-lipped Oceanides,
Breathless 'mid their seas and trees,
Stay and stop and lean and listen.


Large-eyed, Siren-like she stands,
In the lake or on its sands,
And with rapture from the hands
Of the Night some stars are shaken;
To her song the rushes swing,
Lilies nod and ripples ring,
Lost in helpless listening
These will wake that hear her sing,
But one mortal will not waken.

Madison Julius Cawein

Madison Julius Cawein's other poems:
  1. The Picture
  2. The Ribbon
  3. Wood Notes
  4. The Wood God
  5. Processional

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